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Author Topic: Black/Back whats the truth?  (Read 5563 times)

Offline 908ssp

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Black/Back whats the truth?
« on: July 15, 2007, 09:00:12 AM »
I started to to write about the Black/Back pickups in Bills guitar and thought it was a change in topic so I started this one.

I was very impressed with the sound. The pickups have black painted back plates. My theory is that these are the Roman "black/backs". The auction said they were a JB and a Jazz but I honestly don't believe that to be true. The story from Roman sounds like a load absolute rubbish.


"The Black/Back Pickup is a proprietary pickup owned & designed by The Ultratone division of New Technologies Ltd.

Seymour Duncan actually manufactures the pickups in their custom shop. The Technology is owned by several different parties and it is almost impossible to patent. The R&D costs alone to try to get a patent for this product would be astronomical. The patent would also have to extend to the mounting system and wiring in the guitar. The possibilities are quite broad. Therefore anyone who is involved in the project is sworn to secrecy and has to sign a non disclosure agreement.  

The original product was named Black/Back ND.  ND meant non disclosure. However many people thought that ND stood for Neo Dimium which is a rare earth magnetic element.  Neo Dimium is a more expensive magnet than Aluminum Nickel Cobalt (Alnico) and of course much more costly than standard ceramic magnets. Many people have heard of the Electrovoice "NDYM" Microphones "Pronounced endime". These Microphones came out in the early 90's & they literally blew the Shure SM 57 and 58 out of the water. Today many speaker companies are also using Neo Dimium technology when they want much more powerful magnets.

These pickups are slightly more expensive than the usual Duncan pickups. Although we have been told numerous times that our price of $89.95 each is much lower than they would have expected to pay. We have also been told that people have paid that much for the normal Duncan pickups.

On the discontinued Eddie Van Halen guitars the lower brass assembly and back were painted black. This is where the name Black/Back TM came from. New Technologies has simply trademarked the black painted backs in an effort to try to lock out competition.  There are a few people who are Grand-fathered in before the trademark was granted so be careful. Make sure the guitar is a Seymour Duncan. Some of the very early ones about 350 were manufactured under license by Dimarzio.  We have seen these sell on Ebay for $275.00 a pickup. We think that is ludicrous because the Seymour Duncan product is far superior in quality. We do have several sets of totally Brand New Dimarzio Black/Backs in stock. If you are a Dimarzio freak then please give us a call.

I realize of course that tone and sound are objective. I also know that these pickups aren't for everybody. But I feel they are the most powerful, clean and controllable pickups I have ever used.  Originally they were designed for the LSR line of guitars back in 1997 and today there are about 14 companies that use them.

Seymour Duncan was not the first company to produce the Black/Back pickups for New/Tech. But Seymour Duncan was the company that helped them perfect it.

The Black/Backs are a matched set, You can use them separately of course but they are a matched set. One is specifically for the bridge position while the other one is made for the neck position.

You should never mount a single coil pickup in between them. Magnetism from the center magnet will interfere and alter the intended sound.."

Here is a coment from critic on Harmony Central

"Comments: supposedly ed roman modifies these pick ups. after my purchase, i spoke with an inside source at ed romans & he confessed that the only thing done to this p/u is being dipped in black paint. I can purchase a custom custom at guitar center for 60.00.........
DO NOT BUY THIS PICK UP FROM ED ROMAN!!!! Save your money. not that its a bad pick up, its just a scam. instead buy or make a custom 5 from a custom or custom custom & alnico 5 magnet from a jb."

Here is what Duncan says about them.

"Thanks for your interest in the Seymour Duncan pickups. We are supplying pickups on an OEM basis to LSR Guitars (a/k/a Ed Roman Guitars) located in New Fairfield, CT, along with a limited number of brands that are either built for Ed Roman Guitars or are distributed by Ed Roman Guitars. These brands include LSR Guitars, David T. McNaught Guitars, Gary Jacobs Guitars, Gledura Guitars, Jaros Guitars, and Jet Guitars. Each brand uses a proprietary pickup design called Black Backs which is built to Ed Roman's specification. If you want more information on the Black Back pickups or guitars, please check out their website at (http://www.edromanguitars.com). "

There are 39 reviews of ER guitars with B/B pickups and they are mixed but a lot of that has to be judged in context with customers disappointed with the quality of the guitars.

http://reviews.harmony-central.com/reviews/Guitar/product/Ed%20Roman/Quicksilver/10/1


Well that's all I could find on Goggle. Conclusion well if they hand paint the base plates then it is possible the pickups in Bills guitars are a JB and a jazz. But I don't think those were hand painted they looked like they were powder coated before they were assembled. But to be honest I wasn't really examining them for paint when I had it out. So I think that SD makes one special set of pickups for ER and he puts them in everything regardless of what the buyer asks for. The one critic from HC probably has it close to right. They are basically a stock pickup with some slight alteration like a change in magnet or maybe just painted black. In any case they do sound good in Bill's guitar.



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Alex

« Last Edit: July 15, 2007, 09:06:12 AM by 908ssp »
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Black/Back whats the truth?

Offline simonlock

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Black/Back whats the truth?
« Reply #1 on: July 15, 2007, 09:42:21 AM »
Odd mounting screws in that one. Is that an afterthought or something Alex or is that a feature that is designed into it?

Simon
Vancouver,BC
 

Black/Back whats the truth?

Offline Bill

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Black/Back whats the truth?
« Reply #2 on: July 15, 2007, 09:45:56 AM »
Yeah. Sounds like a load of garr-badge'

"...The patent would also have to extend to the mounting system ..."

Can you patent the process of turning a screw into a piece of wood?

Yeah that would be a tough patent to get. [:D]

Very interesting post. I don't know what the pups are but they do sound good. On mine, they both say "Seymour Duncan" so I think its safe to say they were at least put together there. I've seen other guitars that were suppose to be "Black Backs" but the bridge pup had no proprietory marking?

Anyway, once the ER store becomes a car lot, maybe a former employee will spill the beans? [:I]

Custom '03 Gen1N/Gen2B Hardtail Artist; Custom '98 Neutered (trem blocked) DuncanModed Artist; Fly Deluxe 2000; Gibson ES137(4sale); 1974 K.Yari DY85; SchecterDisposable; Martin Backpacker/paddle combo;VoxAD30VT;SWR California Blonde(working again and sounding great)
« Last Edit: July 15, 2007, 09:49:16 AM by Bill »
A few Flys in my soup

Black/Back whats the truth?

Offline Detonator

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Black/Back whats the truth?
« Reply #3 on: July 15, 2007, 09:57:36 AM »
Wouldn't put it past Ed, but nice to hear they sound good.

98 Fly Classic (trans emerald green)
93 strat plus
05 Schecter tempest Custom
04 Takamine AN10
ENGL Powerball 100 head
Boogie Recto 4x12
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98 Fly Classic (trans emerald green)
93 strat plus
04 Takamine AN10
Mesa Boogie Mark IV
Mills Acoustics Afterburner 412b
Roland Microcube
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Black/Back whats the truth?

Offline jamrcat

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Black/Back whats the truth?
« Reply #4 on: July 15, 2007, 10:04:35 AM »
I love mine, and that is what counts! [:D]

Thanks Alex for taking the time to assemble the info. I had read most of them before, but it's nice to have it all in one place! [;)]

01' Parker Fly Classic "Natural" w/SD Black Backs (Thanks Jay)
93' Parker Fly Deluxe hardtail RP "Blackie" KP Signature (Thank You! Bob & Ken)
D-Tar Mama Bear, and a 2FlyBob (Thanks Paul!)

jamrcat
Butte, Montana
« Last Edit: July 15, 2007, 10:06:44 AM by jamrcat »
"A Fly for each hand!"

Black/Back whats the truth?

Offline Pavel

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Black/Back whats the truth?
« Reply #5 on: July 15, 2007, 10:42:06 AM »
On the Seymour Duncan forum there are a lot of threads about them. Here are the two that I found the most informative:
http://www.seymourduncan.com/forum/showthread.php?t=93506&highlight=black+back+ed+roman
http://www.seymourduncan.com/forum/showthread.php?t=6002&highlight=black+back+ed+roman

The bridge pickup is basically an 13+K Alnico (some say 2, some say 5) pickup with mismatched coils. So it is really close to a Custom Custom or Custom 5. Another thing to consider is that the screws on the screw coil had been cut, so it brings the magnetic field closer to the strings and makes the sound brighter.

The neck pickup is said to be in the range 7.5-8.5K.

Well, the easiest way to get the info on your particular pickup is to take a multimeter and measure the DC resistance instead of reading the rumors on the forums 8) Don't forget to post the readings here 8)
1997 Parker Fly Deluxe (Antique Gold)with custom wound Alnico2 pickups (8K neck, 9K bridge, Dual Resonance, Airbucker and Virtual Vintage technologies in both pickups)

Black/Back whats the truth?

Offline 908ssp

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Black/Back whats the truth?
« Reply #6 on: July 15, 2007, 10:42:43 AM »
quote:
Originally posted by simonlock

Odd mounting screws in that one. Is that an afterthought or something Alex or is that a feature that is designed into it?



I don't know what you mean please explain?

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Black/Back whats the truth?

Offline simonlock

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Black/Back whats the truth?
« Reply #7 on: July 15, 2007, 11:38:12 AM »
Oh nevermind I didn't realize I was looking at the back of the pickup.

Simon
Vancouver,BC
 

Black/Back whats the truth?

Offline Jack Butler

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Black/Back whats the truth?
« Reply #8 on: July 15, 2007, 12:49:07 PM »
I can't tell from the picture how the pickup is mounted to the guitar.  Does it just use original A and B string pole pieces?
 

Black/Back whats the truth?

Offline 908ssp

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Black/Back whats the truth?
« Reply #9 on: July 15, 2007, 01:38:27 PM »
quote:
Originally posted by Jack Butler

I can't tell from the picture how the pickup is mounted to the guitar.  Does it just use original A and B string pole pieces?



They screwed the B pole piece into the brass insert. The rest of the pole pieces are screwed into the wood. But the pickup which I forgot to mention is a Trembucker is a really tight fit really tight so that the one screw is probably sufficient.

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Black/Back whats the truth?

Offline Lwinn171

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Black/Back whats the truth?
« Reply #10 on: July 15, 2007, 10:55:06 PM »
I don't doubt that Ed's claims are, well, exaggerated to say the least. But I will say that his repair shop knows Fly's, and not many can claim that. They replaced my piezo preamp (happened to have one, I suspect they're gone now), and did a good job at a reasonable price. Is Ed a pompous, truth bending, shameless self promoter? Sure. But his guys do know Fly's and for that I must thank them. In fact, I spoke with Ed on the phone (not knowing what the issue was, exactly) and he diagnosed it over the phone. And he was spot on. And, yes, he sounded like a real smooth talker. But his shop had my Fly fixed (with a few bonus things done) and back in my arms in about a week and a half, with a hard to find preamp installed.

That said... I'd love to hear what the Black Backs sound like. Sounds like something I'd enjoy!

Bill... Ricky... Alex, please describe the tone, as compared to Gen 1 and  2 Dimarzio's. A reference to a Mojo won't mean much to me as I've never heard one. I'm especially interested in the "pinch harmonic" response, which is one thing I miss in my Fly's. Oh they're there... but just not as pronounced as other guitars I've had (usually with a SD JB).

Lawrence Winn
2001 Classic, 98 Deluxe
various amps, various toys

Black/Back whats the truth?

Offline Bill

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Black/Back whats the truth?
« Reply #11 on: July 15, 2007, 11:06:15 PM »
I will have to leave that up to the guys who know what H*ll there talking about.[:I] I'm pretty new to electrification still.

Although I like them both, I can reassure you somewhat. After spending much of the day switching between the two guitars, I can say if I could have only one Fly, I'd pick one with Dimarzio's.

But, I have to qualify by saying I have been using my usual amp settings for comparison testing and have not explored or tweaked with the duncans in mind yet.

Custom '03 Gen1N/Gen2B Hardtail Artist; Custom '98 Neutered (trem blocked) DuncanModed Artist; Fly Deluxe 2000; Gibson ES137(4sale); 1974 K.Yari DY85; SchecterDisposable; Martin Backpacker/paddle combo;VoxAD30VT;SWR California Blonde(working again and sounding great)
A few Flys in my soup