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FDP Forum / The 'Pup' Tent / Kent Armstrong Stealth 90 disappointment

Mick Reid
Contributing Member
***

Australia

American-made in Oz!!
Oct 16th, 2016 02:52 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I recently got a Stealth 90 for my G&L Tribute Fallout (P-90 neck, HB bridge - pics in profile)
I installed it the other day and whilst I liked the tone of it, I just could *not* get it to balance with the bridge humbucker.

I had to lower the HB so far down to get the volumes to match, that it just sounded anaemic.

I was very surprised by this, given that the specs on the Stealth should indicate quite a hot output.
The stock G&L P-90 balanced perfectly with the G&L HB (both Paul Gagon designed, USA made).
I even A/B’ed the Stealth 90 and the G&L by connecting them directly into my test amp and the stock G&L was noticeably louder.

I checked the DCR of the Stealth and it was spot with what was hand-written on the box. (see note below) I double checked the wiring for phase and everything was wired correctly.

I ended up putting the stock pickup back in and everything is harmonious again.
The power in my house is very good (quiet) so at home is not an issue. I was just going with the stealth because not all other power supplies are as friendly at rehearsal spaces etc.

Any suggestions are welcome, but I think it’s just a case of “didn’t work for me”.
Probably put it on ebay… (used for about 1 hour)

FWIW (and I know DCR is not the end all/be all re: output, but anyway...)
The G&L P-90: 7.75K
KA Stealth 90: 17.2k
G&L HB: 8.75k [edit: 17.05k - see my post below]

(This message was last edited by Mick Reid at 07:07 PM, Oct 17th, 2016)

littleuch
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Florida

Oct 16th, 2016 07:07 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I was really concerned with balance when I installed mine in the neck position of my Warmoth Thinline. I have a GFS Lil Puncher blade type bucker in the bridge and they balanced really really well. I believe that pickup is in the 10k range. Wiring-wise, do you have red and green in action or taped off?

Mick Reid
Contributing Member
***

Australia

American-made in Oz!!
Oct 16th, 2016 08:05 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

"Wiring-wise, do you have red and green in action or taped off?"

Yea, red & green soldered & heat-shrink.

I couldn't believe that the HB (basically a vintage output) would over-power the Stealth 90.
It's a real head scratcher.

And, like I said, the shame is that the KA sounded good on it's own. Just not loud enough to match.


Peegoo
Contributing Member
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Eat. Sleep. Guitar.

Repeat
Oct 16th, 2016 08:20 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Not surprising, actually. Sometimes mismatched pickups (from different makers) just won't sync up with each other. Sorry it didn't work for your G&L. They are GREAT guitars.

I have the Armstrong Stealth P90 in my Les Paul Junior (building another one as we speak and the AS90 is going into that one too), and I am really happy with it. Since the Junior is a one-pickup guitar, it was a good outcome.

littleuch
Contributing Member
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*****

Florida

Oct 16th, 2016 08:35 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Oddly enough, when I was swapping pickups in my Thinline for the umpteenth time, I asked GFS what bridge pickup might match up well with the Goldfoil I had slated for the neck position. They recommended their Lil Puncher. I wasn't pleased with the outcome. I felt the Goldfoil was too hifi for my purposes, the middle position had no character. I got all that back with the Stealth. Ya just never know until you try, I guess. It does seem conspicuous to me though that you'd have such a mismatch.

Mick Reid
Contributing Member
***

Australia

American-made in Oz!!
Oct 16th, 2016 04:34 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

"Ya just never know until you try, I guess. It does seem conspicuous to me though that you'd have such a mismatch."

Yes, if there's one one thing I've learnt from doing mods & builds, it's that there is almost never a guarantee of the outcome.

I confidently bought the KA Stealth 90 based on reading the comments/experiences from yous twos (I'm not casting blame there, btw)


SMark

Atlanta, GA USA

"Life is good when you love your tone."
Oct 16th, 2016 10:19 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

On a couple occasions I forced myself to take a Strat completely apart and start over because the tone was just not coming together. On paper it all sounded great, but once it was all together no amount of tweaking was going to save it. So I started over completely and only then was I able to get it to work for me.

Mick Reid
Contributing Member
***

Australia

American-made in Oz!!
Oct 17th, 2016 05:05 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Hi SMark!
Haven't 'seen' you 'round these parts for a long time! Good to know you're still out there.

And yes, as with many things (especially guitars) the whole is often greater than the sum of the parts.

------------------------------------------------

I'm afraid I have a rookie mistake to confess...
my reading of the G&L HB was only one coil :^(
D'oh!!!!

The correct DCR is 17.05k. Which in theory *should* match up ok with the KA.
I have also since learnt that it has A5 magnets.

So, I'm considering maybe a lower output A2 humbucker and see how it mates with the Stealth 90.

To be continued....

Mick Reid
Contributing Member
***

Australia

American-made in Oz!!
Nov 13th, 2016 06:25 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

UPDATE:

Before giving up and selling the Stealth 90 on ebay, I sent an email to WD (KA's distributor) explaining the situation and seeking advice.

A couple days later I get a reply from the man himself. (that would be Kent Armstrong) ;^)

Long story short, we exchanged a few more emails; I posted the pickup directly to him in VT; today I received an email saying it was wonky and he's rebuilt it for me! Now it's all good!

Also, earlier in the week I got a personal cheque in the mail from an Australian friend (& business associate) of Kent's to pay for my postage cost to US. It took a phone call to figure out why "this person" was sending me $25!
They explained the relationship etc, and I'm just blown away by what a great guy Kent is.

He just didn't want even *one* unhappy customer.
Wow!
Can't wait to the the "new" pickup and get it into the Fallout!

I love happy endings!


Peegoo
Contributing Member
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Onward

Christian Slater
Nov 13th, 2016 07:15 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Nice to hear Mr. Armstrong didn't turn out to be a total Kent.

haha!

But he IS!

Glad you chased this one down. I'm a huge fan of KA's stuff.

Mick Reid
Contributing Member
***

Australia

American-made in Oz!!
Nov 13th, 2016 11:07 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

"...total Kent."
Hah!! Good one P!!!

littleuch
Contributing Member
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Florida

Nov 14th, 2016 07:21 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

That is some impressive customer service worth sharing.

super mario
Contributing Member
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USA

tone to the bone no other way
Nov 14th, 2016 10:54 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Wow Mick that's impressive that Mr. Armstrong even sent postage for to cover costs. Looking forward to "hearing" how the rewire comes out!

FDP Forum / The 'Pup' Tent / Kent Armstrong Stealth 90 disappointment




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