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Thread: Lace Alumitone

  1. #1
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    Default Lace Alumitone

    Has anyone tried a Lace Alumitone in an emando? I've got a Jonathon Mann EM5 with a DiMarzio Protrack pickup. It has the infamous weak E string problem. I've tried adjusting it, tried an .012 string -- no luck. I have an Alumitone ToneBar in a lap steel guitar which I'm quite happy with. It looks like the single coil version would fit the mando without too much hassle. Any reason this would be a bad idea? Any other suggestions for a good replacement pickup?

    --Chase Brady

  2. #2
    Registered User Tom Wright's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lace Alumitone

    I have only achieved good string balance with pickups that have adjustable poles, which Lace lacks. They make a bridge-mount pickup for archtop acoustic mandolins--have not heard if the string balance is good, but I would bet against it.

    The Almuse line uses an oversize neo magnet under the E, and the maker can provide pickups with adjusting screws. The Ryder stacked-single-coil design, my favorite, has individual alnico pole pieces which can be pushed up or down(with care). His humbucker, though, has a mounting plate underneath which prevents changing pole heights.

    I have my A low and my E high. When I was using a Ryder pickup in a soundhole mount I had Ryder provide one with a short A pole. I got excellent balance with bronze-wound strings by pushing them up, especially the D, and having the A way down, and the E up a little.

    I would contact either Steve Ryder or Pete Mallinson (Almuse) for a replacement pickup. Almuse offers a petite side-by-side that might be a good drop-in.
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Lace Alumitone

    My only experience with an Alumitone pickup:

    Many years ago, I picked up one of their electric bass pickups at a discount at a NAMM show. It sounded great on a display instrument they had at the booth.
    I didn't get around to installing it for a long time. It sat in a drawer for many years. A few months ago, I installed it in a bass.

    Some of the wires had been pre-soldered at the factory. At first it didn't work, and I had to go to the Lace website for a reference to correct the wiring configuration. That got the pickup working. But I wasn't satisfied with the sound, went back to the website, and changed the capacitor to one of a different value. That helped, but not much.

    The next week, I used it on a one-time sit-in gig with some out of town musicians. Somehow, the bass just wasn't sounding right no matter how I adjusted the instrument and amp. But I couldn't figure out the problem and limped through the job. The following week, I had a jazz gig with a fellow I had worked with hundreds of times. We hadn't worked together in a while, so we rehearsed once. At the rehearsal, Danny asked "What's wrong with your bass? It hasn't got any low-end response." There wasn't much time between the rehearsal and the gig, so I double checked the wiring, found it to be correct, and left it alone.

    We played the job, and the bass sounded awful. The next day, I pulled the Alumitone pickup out of the bass, carried it up to the local music store, and traded it in on a bunch of supplies. I put the original pickup back in my bass, and the instrument sounded like an electric bass again. As a matter of fact, it sounds better than it ever did. I had left the new capacitor in and it improved the sound.

    The music store sold the Alumitone pickup in a matter of days. I hope the new owner is happy. If I change a bass pickup again, I'm going to go with Fender or Bartolini. I'll not buy another Alumitone pickup. That's my Alumitone experience.

    I never could figure out why the Alumitone sounded so good in the NAMM show instrument and so bad in mine. Maybe their display bass had active electronics.
    Last edited by rcc56; Jun-14-2020 at 2:44pm.

  4. #4
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lace Alumitone

    I got a Fender by Lace, Strat, sensor - gold .. years ago, Many,, like 30..
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  5. #5
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    Default Re: Lace Alumitone

    As I remember, the old Fender-Lace Stratocaster pickups sounded pretty good.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Lace Alumitone

    I've used Lace Sensor resonator pickups on 2 mandos. They work great with no balance issues I've noticed.
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  7. #7
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    Default Re: Lace Alumitone

    I ordered one of the Alumitone pickups from Reverb. I will report on my impressions when it arrives and I get it installed. I think curiosity got the better of me. By the way, The Alumitone pickups are very different from the Sensors, and everything else out there. Despite being called "Single Coil" or "Humbucker", they don't have anything you would recognize as a coil. Totally different technology.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Lace Alumitone

    Just to update this, I got the Alumitone installed. I recorded some quick and dirty sound samples. This was playing through my Blackstar Fly mini-amp. (I live in an apartment. Didn't want to crank up my Quilter.) The first two are clean with no effects. The last one has a bit of Blues crunch and some delay. Recorded with an MXL 603S condenser mic.
    Not a huge improvement, but I'm going to play it a while and maybe tweak the height some more. https://soundcloud.com/chasebrady/se.../s-egf4F5KbjVB
    --Chase Brady
    Last edited by Varin; Jun-23-2020 at 7:56pm.

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