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Porter Custom Bridge Humbucker for HSS Guitars


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The HSS configuration is a very flexible combination for Strat®type guitars, but achieving the proper pickup balance can be tricky. While we were working with Porter Pickups to create a custom set for the G&L Fallout, it occurred to us that this humbucker would be a greatanchor in the HSS guitars like the Legacy HSS. This special Porter bridge pickup uses Alnico 2 magnets for a smoother, more musical tone that compliments the brightness of the neck and
middle pickups, while suppressing any harsh vibes.

Many "rock" humbucker pickups optimized for the bridge location are often wound pretty hot and use Alnico 5 magnets. Among other things this formula boosts output and provides strong attack qualities. This may work well on a Les Paul, but it may not be optimal for a Fender-style guitar. Taking advantage of the additional clarity and attack that you naturally get with a longer scale bolt-on guitar, we opted for Alnico 2 magnets and moderate output. Alnico 2 has a softer magnetic pull, which results in slightly less wound string attack, but a smoother top end with more open harmonic response and better sustain.

Our Porter Alnico 2 bridge pickup is similar to the Porter Smooth Bridge, but is underwound 5% and measures out in the 8.7-8.9K range. Compared to a hotter Alnico5 pickup the upper end clarity is greatly improved, and while there is ample treble response it's more refined and not sharp or spiky. The
midrange response is more balanced and less dark, and being mounted near the bridge you still get good attack qualities but with better bass
response. It's what we like in a humbucker: Full sounding, but with lots of clarity, detail, and ringing harmonics.

When used with pedals or gain channels you do lose some of the tightness and immediacy of a hotter Alnico 5 type pickup. But the harmonics are a little richer, freer and more detailed. And there is no accentuated upper midrange bump that can get a little fatiguing at times. And do you really need a hot pickup? With modern amplifiers and pedals there is no shortage of gain, and the need for a high output pickup to overdrive the amplifier is not as important as it once was. Our preference is to dial back the pickup, hear what the guitar actually sounds like, and work the amp a little harder.

If you love your HSS guitar but want a little more balance and finesse, the Porter Special Bridge will add tonal versatility and sweetness to any HSS guitar. It's a Velvet Hammer for your bridge position.

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