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Author Topic: Larrivee pickups: Matthew's passion  (Read 2242 times)
Mikeymac
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« on: September 12, 2012, 08:43:36 AM »

For those who haven't seen this interview with Matthew Larrivee about his passion for designing and building electric guitar pickups, here's a link.

Here's one brief quote from that page:

"In 2008 when we made the decision to craft our own pickups again, Jean was traveling in Europe visiting distributors and he gave me a lot of leeway with this project. I normally give every project my all, but for some reason I REALLY dug into this. Pickups became an obsession for me. I decided to go down a different path than my father had mostly because the RS-4 is a different instrument – It’s particularly efficient at producing some classic rock tones, but it also has a strong modern rock streak in it as well.
"I started back at the drawing board and learned many of the basics on my own – Basic items such as how much tension to use, what type of wire, what type of magnets to use etc.… It was so challenging and so much fun at the same time. I really started to do some heavy research."


Now you understand how much passion, thought and energy goes into not just Larrivee pickups, but everything Larrivee makes!

 bowdown
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(The Rev) Mikeymac

My Larrivees (left-handed):     1992 OM-05     2010 D-03 w/Italian Spruce top     2009 RS-4 w/Larrivee humbuckers in Rootbeer Burst    
2010 RS-2 w/P-90's in Amber satin    2013 C-10 Italian Spruce/Silver Oak
JOYCEfromNS
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« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2012, 09:32:41 AM »

Mike thanks for the Link 

I have said it before and will say it again it's my belief ML will be as much or more to the electric guitar world as JCL was/is to the acoustic world.
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bacchus
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« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2012, 10:30:06 AM »

I have read that interview before, but I loved reading it again after having experienced his work myself. 

It would be really cool to see some updates given the evolution of that HB as well as the new additions to Matthew's pickup arsenal.
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Cameron

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Mikeymac
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« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2012, 01:16:00 PM »

It would be really cool to see some updates given the evolution of that HB as well as the new additions to Matthew's pickup arsenal.

AGREED!
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(The Rev) Mikeymac

My Larrivees (left-handed):     1992 OM-05     2010 D-03 w/Italian Spruce top     2009 RS-4 w/Larrivee humbuckers in Rootbeer Burst    
2010 RS-2 w/P-90's in Amber satin    2013 C-10 Italian Spruce/Silver Oak
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« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2012, 07:39:35 PM »

Matthew won me over when he made a humbucker pu that sound good and I've disliked humbuckers for a long time.His Mini's are amazing but his tele bridge pu is about the best tele pu I've heard.For once some one thought,reseached,tested and produced something new,a pu that doesn't sound like everyone else.Thankyou Matthew. bowdown
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Strings4Him
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« Reply #5 on: September 13, 2012, 03:55:08 AM »

 +1
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Mikeymac
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« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2012, 06:57:05 AM »

My Bakersfield is on it's way back to me - could be here tomorrow - but possibly not until Monday or Tuesday.

I'll give a full report on the Bakersfield bridge pickup and what the mini-humbucker sounds like in this bolt-on guitar (so far the mini's have been used for the Forum V set-neck all hog guitars...).
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(The Rev) Mikeymac

My Larrivees (left-handed):     1992 OM-05     2010 D-03 w/Italian Spruce top     2009 RS-4 w/Larrivee humbuckers in Rootbeer Burst    
2010 RS-2 w/P-90's in Amber satin    2013 C-10 Italian Spruce/Silver Oak
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« Reply #7 on: September 20, 2012, 07:00:38 AM »

My Bakersfield is on it's way back to me - could be here tomorrow - but possibly not until Monday or Tuesday.

I'll give a full report on the Bakersfield bridge pickup and what the mini-humbucker sounds like in this bolt-on guitar (so far the mini's have been used for the Forum V set-neck all hog guitars...).
  looking forward to that.

All hog guitars
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Mikeymac
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« Reply #8 on: September 20, 2012, 12:10:21 PM »

  looking forward to that.

All hog guitars

I forgot about the (beautiful!) maple tops on the Forum V guitars! Sorry for the confusion!   whistling blush rolleye
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(The Rev) Mikeymac

My Larrivees (left-handed):     1992 OM-05     2010 D-03 w/Italian Spruce top     2009 RS-4 w/Larrivee humbuckers in Rootbeer Burst    
2010 RS-2 w/P-90's in Amber satin    2013 C-10 Italian Spruce/Silver Oak
Mikeymac
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« Reply #9 on: October 05, 2012, 10:12:32 PM »

I've had my Bakersfield back since yesterday, and I've had a chance to play it now through most of my gear and the pedals that I use (Carr Rambler, Ethos Overdrive Amp through a 212 Dr. Z cab, Wampler Paisley Drive pedal, etc.).

My take on the Bakersfield bridge pickup and the mini-humbucker is that they are very similar to the SD pickups that were in here, but (and I'm going from memory here; don't have recordings to compare) a notch above in Tele bite on the bridge and high end sparkle and clarity on the mini. But I'd say they're pretty close - a side by side comparison would be necessary to give more specifics.

Also, there's some discussion of lefty pots in another thread. Mine still work perfectly after this pickup change: they have a gradual taper to them all the way up and down the dial - no complaints there.

I will say this - the guitar plays great - I lowered the three barrel saddles some to get the action where I want it, now it's very comfortable. And the sustain on notes siims even better than it was before; with some drive - and even clean - notes last forever!

I did one other mod: I replaced the standard chrome volume and tone knobs with some small chicken head knobs. These are a little shorter, and have more slope to them on the pointer end, which makes it easier to grab and change the 3-way switch. This is my only real gripe with the Tele design - the switch is hard to change quickly because it's so close to the volume knob. I'd actually rather have a Gibson style 3-way switch on a Tele, and I would even set it up to go up and down (to ceiling or floor) instead of back and forth.

BTW, it was sent back to Larrivee because my tech thought the neck had a hump in it. Matthew explained that the last few frets at the top of the neck have a slight drop-off built in, and if there is too much relief in the neck, it does create a hump around the 12th fret. So it works best to have the neck adjusted with very little or no relief in it.

So I'm a happy camper, and my son is happy, too, because the Seymour Duncan's that came out of my Bakersfield are going into the Warmoth Tele I built him (when the new pickguard gets here with the cutout for the mini bucker at the neck).
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(The Rev) Mikeymac

My Larrivees (left-handed):     1992 OM-05     2010 D-03 w/Italian Spruce top     2009 RS-4 w/Larrivee humbuckers in Rootbeer Burst    
2010 RS-2 w/P-90's in Amber satin    2013 C-10 Italian Spruce/Silver Oak
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« Reply #10 on: October 07, 2012, 10:43:23 PM »

Glad to hear you got it back and that you are satisfied.
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JOYCEfromNS
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« Reply #11 on: October 08, 2012, 04:43:39 AM »

Glad to hear you got it back and that you are satisfied.
+1 Nice write-up Mike, bet you missed it
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« Reply #12 on: October 28, 2012, 04:27:14 PM »

It was this long and wonderful article (interview with David Wren) that convinced me to buy an RS4, sight unseen. Never looked back, except to buy the RS4 with P-90's.
 Clearly Matt has his Dad's passion for detail......
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larsonjeffp
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« Reply #13 on: October 28, 2012, 05:01:56 PM »

Just out of curiosity, is there a physical way to tell if you have the SD pu's or the ones made by Matthew on the Bakersfields?
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Mikeymac
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« Reply #14 on: October 28, 2012, 05:20:57 PM »

Just out of curiosity, is there a physical way to tell if you have the SD pu's or the ones made by Matthew on the Bakersfields?

Yes, the bottom of the SD bridge pup is clearly marked "Seymour Duncan Custom Shop" or something along those lines. My neck SD mini-humbucker pup also had the Seymour Duncan logo on the bottom of it.

Not sure if the Larrivee pickups have any specific markings on them - I haven't opened my Bakersfield up since getting it back from Larrivee.

However, just looking at the tops of the bridge pickups, they look pretty similar (and the neck mini-buckers look identical on top). So I think you have to "pop the top" to know for sure.
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(The Rev) Mikeymac

My Larrivees (left-handed):     1992 OM-05     2010 D-03 w/Italian Spruce top     2009 RS-4 w/Larrivee humbuckers in Rootbeer Burst    
2010 RS-2 w/P-90's in Amber satin    2013 C-10 Italian Spruce/Silver Oak
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« Reply #15 on: October 28, 2012, 06:12:47 PM »

Just out of curiosity, is there a physical way to tell if you have the SD pu's or the ones made by Matthew on the Bakersfields?
Without taking them out I don't think so. Whats the serial # date of Mfg of your RS4


From what I have gleaned on the Larrivee HB PUPS there were the 3 generations the 1st generation are somewhat rare ( I believe I have a set ). Generation 2 were on most guitars made prior to 2010, with generation 3 on the 2010 to and including the present.  Matthew of course would certainly be able to confirm or refute my historical understanding of the Larrivee PUPS


Generation 1
Wound on the homemade winder
Double Black Bobbins
Polysol Wire (copper color)
Custom Slugs
Alnico 2 bridge
Alnico 5 neck

Generation 2
Wound on the Leesona Winder
Double Black, or Zebra Bobbins
Plain Enamel Wire (Purple)
Custom Slugs
Alnico 2 bridge
Alnico 4 neck


Generation 3
Wound on the Leesona Winder
Larrivee’s Butyrate Bobbins in either Black, Zebra, Reverse Zebra, or Double Cream
Plain Enamel Wire (Purple)
PAF style Slugs
Alnico 8 bridge
Alnico 6 neck

"pop the top" as Mike suggest and both Lollar, SD & Larrivee will be marked appropriate as to the maker
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larsonjeffp
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« Reply #16 on: October 28, 2012, 08:41:53 PM »

OK, it's looks like they're the Larrivee ones, I unscrewed the pick guard and looked at the back of the neck pick up, and there wasn't anything written on the back. I thought they might be, as i just received it a little over a week ago and it had just been shipped from Larrivee a week before that. Thanks 
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« Reply #17 on: October 28, 2012, 09:12:41 PM »

OK, it's looks like they're the Larrivee ones, I unscrewed the pick guard and looked at the back of the neck pick up, and there wasn't anything written on the back.

Yes, I have a couple sets of Larrivee humbuckers that I purchased "aftermarket" (one from a private seller [a Larrivee employee, though] and one set directly from Matthew); neither set has any kind of markings or stickers on the back of the pickups. However, I think the pickups in my RS-4 do have a Larrivee label/sticker on the back of them (it shipped from Larrivee around 12/15/09; I received it on December 21st or 22nd - what a GREAT Christmas present!).
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(The Rev) Mikeymac

My Larrivees (left-handed):     1992 OM-05     2010 D-03 w/Italian Spruce top     2009 RS-4 w/Larrivee humbuckers in Rootbeer Burst    
2010 RS-2 w/P-90's in Amber satin    2013 C-10 Italian Spruce/Silver Oak
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« Reply #18 on: October 31, 2012, 08:19:18 AM »

Matthew won me over when he made a humbucker pu that sound good and I've disliked humbuckers for a long time.His Mini's are amazing but his tele bridge pu is about the best tele pu I've heard.For once some one thought,reseached,tested and produced something new,a pu that doesn't sound like everyone else.Thankyou Matthew. bowdown

I wonder what my hand carved solid walnut tele body with two of Matt's P90's will sound like?
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« Reply #19 on: October 31, 2012, 08:24:17 AM »

I wonder what my hand carved solid walnut tele body with two of Matt's P90's will sound like?

Probably bright and cutting with strong midrange...you might want to wire it up with 250K pots to keep the harsh highs away.

The neck pickup should sound awesome because it will not get woofy in the bass (walnut, like maple, is a more midrangey tone wood - I have three walnut bodied warmoth guitars).

Dialed in properly, it should sound very good. (I always have my bridge tone control on my RS-2 /P-90's dialed back to around '6' unless I want Telecaster killing highs.)
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(The Rev) Mikeymac

My Larrivees (left-handed):     1992 OM-05     2010 D-03 w/Italian Spruce top     2009 RS-4 w/Larrivee humbuckers in Rootbeer Burst    
2010 RS-2 w/P-90's in Amber satin    2013 C-10 Italian Spruce/Silver Oak
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