Epiphone Ceramic Plus Humbuckers
Epiphone unveils the Ceramic Plus humbucker, a high output pickup designed for modern metal and rock.
Guitar Pickups Explained
It is described as the next step in "the next step in the House of Stathopoulo's ongoing crusade to merge the tone of the past with the tone of the future."
It features the same basic design as the ProBucker pickup, with 18% nickel silver unit bases, Gibson spec bobbins and Elektrisola magnet wire. However the new Ceramic Plus humbucker features a different magnet - Ceramic 8 magnets instead of Alnico.
Epiphone provided an interesting story that details how the Ceramic magnet pickup started. The first generation pickups used Alnico magnets, and it was chosen for the simple reason of accessibility and dependability. Things began to change by the late 60s and 70s, when players wanted their guitar to sound edgier and hotter. Alnico pickups were no longer enough for guitar players that play emerging music like metal and hard rock, and so many opted for Ceramic magnet based pickups, with their with their sharp, articulate, and more saturated tone.
Epiphone adds: "Early ceramic pickup designs were often poor sounding. Very little research or experimentation had yet taken place to discover how best to use ceramic magnets. They were typically used as a substitute for more expensive Alnico magnets. Even today, the mixed reception of those early designs gave ceramic magnets a bad reputation for almost a decade. But as custom pickup designers discovered the unique characteristics of ceramic magnets, players began taking notice and pickups that used ceramic magnets started improving--and selling--in a big way."
Because of modern rock's need for hotter output and more gain, the need for ceramic magnets rose. Resulting in better custom made Ceramic pickups, of which Epiphone's Ceramic Plus humbucker is now a part off.
While the ProBucker pickups try to emulate the sensitivity and tones of hand-wound humbuckers from the late 50s, Epiphone's new Ceramic Plus humbuckers are looking to the future, described as "high output modern pickups designed to provide a tight low-end response with both a smooth mid-range and a slightly more pronounced cut on the top end".
Epiphone designed this pickup to be suited for high-gain and intense volume applications. It works well with the biggest amps of today, able to handle high volume performances without sacrificing articulation. The company says, "Ceramic Plus pickups provide high output while still maintaining clarity and focus that's perfect for metal and hard driving rock. Ceramic Plus pickups also shine with incredible sustain, drive, and harmonic content at high volume."
Epiphone Research & Development head Richard Akers comments, "The physics dictates that when the impedance of a pickup increases the high end frequency response of the pickup decreases. As the need to drive amps further into saturation became desirable, the use of Ceramic magnets to compensate for this loss of frequency response became a perfect fit. Simply increasing the impedance of a pickup while maintaining the use of Alnico magnets in most cases creates a muddy sounding pickup that lacks clarity. The use of ceramic magnets helps to compensate for this and adds clarity and focus to high output pickups."
The first guitar to come with the new Ceramic Plus humbucker is the new Epiphone Les Paul Classic-T. It also features the company's Min-ETune mechanical tuner that allows for automatic tuning. The company assures us that more Ceramic Plus equipped guitars are on the way. Check out the new Les Paul Classic-T at Epiphone.
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