by Zack Uidl
When I first started hearing about the Neodymium Q-Tuner guitar pickups, I had to get more information as soon as possible. After a short review of the website I was convinced and ordered the Q2.0 7 string guitar pickups. The customer service was great due to their knowledgeable and kind staff and they made this experience very personal and even guided me in finding the pickups that were perfect for my playing style and what I do in the music industry.
When the pickups arrived, I opened the box and thought to myself, “these look incredible.” The craftsmanship and the attention to detail that went into making each pickup was astonishing. I had never seen this amount of work and commitment go into a making a pickup ever before.
After having them installed, I rushed home to test them out with my rig. As soon as I turned the rig on and plugged in my guitar, I was amazed and could not believe how amazing the sounds that were coming from my guitar were. The clarity of each note, no matter how high my gain settings were, was far beyond anything that I had ever experienced with any other pickup. Each note was clearly audible and even when playing full 7-string chords. I was in awe when I realized that I could play 7-string scales and arpeggios without the tone being sacrificed when the low end of my instruments were reached.
In my playing style, progressive-rock, fusion, and instrumental shred guitar, it is very important to have the perfect dynamic response. The Neodymium Q-Tuner pickups delivered just what I needed. Whether I am playing 100 notes per minute or 1500 notes per minute, each note is dynamically perfect and audible without the notes bleeding together. And, on top of this, the sustain that these pickups offer is beautiful and long lasting. The tone and dynamic ranges never ceases to impress audiences.
When Q-Tuners say that they are “a revolutionary new approach to passive pickup design,” they really mean it. I used to use active pickups almost exclusively, but after hearing these pickups, I will not be using any others. The range of the sonic spectrum that is picked up from these pickups literally cannot be matched be any other pickup.
These high-performance pickups are 100% perfect for every situation. Whether playing live, in recording studios, or just in your home, these pickups will allow the endless emotions to travel directly from your heart and through your guitar.
I do not ever go to a studio for session work, go to a venue to perform, or practice at my home studio without these pickups in my guitars. No matter what environment I am in, everyone is always amazed at the incredible sound that these pickups are producing.
I am honored and proud to endorse such an incredible product. Thank you neodymium Q-Tuner pickups for such a fantastic relationship.
Professional Guitarist, Session/Studio Musician, Composer and Instructor
by Jamal Hurse
I think every Musician reaches a point in their career where they are not satisfied with their sound. For me this started at the beginning of my musical life, and didn’t end until recently, some 30 years later.
I have often wondered why my Bass could not sound like it does when I put my ear to it. When I was young I couldn’t have an amp, as my folks were not well off. I would spend long sleepless nights with my ear to my instrument, plucking out the tunes of the day. You know that rich full even sound that just sustains forever and is reminiscent of hitting a note on a grand piano? That’s what I heard, and this made Smoke On The Water sound pretty good. When I got my first amp at around 15 years old, those beautiful sounds were gone. I had entered the world of electric guitars with those awful tones, and accepted this as normal because, hey, it was the 70’s and it was loud, and loud was cool.
As time progressed, I worked on my chops, and that wonderful sound took up residence somewhere in the back of my mind. I tried all the popular gear over the next 30 years, and still no grand piano sound. Somewhere in my 40’s, I found myself a Solo Instrumentalist, completely dissatisfied with the tone of my gear. Having saved some considerable funds, it was time to finally do it right. It was time to capture the sound of wood and strings and have more than a lone child in the dark hear it.
As an active pickup man myself, I had heard in music stores and recordings just about everything out there. I considered all the high-end electronics with dual batteries; the pre-amps with all those push-pull, twisty-turney knobs that, in my opinion, take me further away from my goal by further filtering the signal. I have always found the best sound I could get was by removing the tone controls from my instruments, and in some cases the volume controls as well.
Realizing my search for the ultimate sound was not to be fulfilled in my local music stores, I took my quest to the Internet. It was there that I found a custom Luthier at www.KRGuitars.com, named Kevin Robertson, who was willing to work with me on some modifications to one of his very sweet designs. From the beginning, this bass was intended to have full, rich, even sound with wide resolution and exceptional resonate properties. I wanted a 4 string fretless grand piano, and this would take some exceptional pickups to capture. I was beginning to think that I would have to have these pickups handmade specifically for this project.
Further Online research led me to www.Q-Tuner.com. After reading the literature, and hearing the demos, I was convinced the pickups I found there could do the job and give me the sound I was seeking. I contacted Erno Zwaan, the man behind these ingenious pickups, and had several emails with him about the sound I wanted to capture. Erno, a Luthier and Musician himself, made several recommendations for this project.
We decided on a pair of his Q2.0 bass 4 string pickups. These are a high output, high-performance neodymium, dual coil, and passive humbuckers. Available for any playing style you are interested in and they come protected with black or transparent covers. I have both pickups in the transparent casing.
Finally, after 6 months of only seeing this bass in process photos, and dreaming of the possible sound, the Big Day had arrived. It was time to plug her in and give a listen…………
I gotta be honest here, I was so in awe, and I couldn’t play…. Pure tones and brilliant resonance. This sound just could not be! I was hearing harmonics in order and magnitude I have not yet heard from any other pickup ever. These pickups kick MAJOR BOOTY! The output is incredible for a passive setup. They are quieter and seemingly more powerful than my active stuff. The sound is just awesome with an exceptional bottom end definition that can only be described as hitting the pedal notes on a grand piano; and bright highs that are not harsh or unpleasant at all. The frequency response seems very even across the spectrum. I can pluck a crystal clear harmonic anywhere on any string effortlessly, this is also true for artificial harmonics. Octaves, intervals and chords play true with incredible intonation. The notes do not crash into each other canceling each other out or becoming dissonant, the sound sustains as long as the strings are still moving. These pickups are so alive you can just blow across the strings and it sounds like wind chimes.
These pickups are definitely high-end gear for the aural connoisseur. I am using them without any tone controls to clog the signal. I have them wired separate with one 500k audio taper pot for each. They each have their own output jack. This setup isn’t for everybody; some guys just want their bass to sound like a bass. So I did some EQ tests to tone them down a bit, and still, I could only hear improvement. I honestly think these pickups would make any instrument sound better.
I would like to say I have that grand piano sound or the sound I had as a child with my ear to the bass…..but I really think it is better than that…. My quest is finally over.
by Ben Swanwick
The first I heard of Q-Tuners was when I was emailed by Erno Zwaan and asked if I would be prepared to record demos in order to illustrate the suitability of these pickups for rock/metal. After checking out the Q-Tuner website, I was suitably intrigued, and agreed to do so. I’ve been playing guitar for about 20 years, mostly rock and metal, so I know exactly the sound I want from a pickup – punchy, ‘clean’ when distorted, and with a nice high output – and having used the same pickups for about seven years now, I believed I had the best there was available.
I received the pickups – a pair of q-tuner 6 string guitar humbuckers – a couple of weeks later, very carefully packaged, and was immediately taken with their appearance. I like things which look a little ‘different’, hence I’d ordered the transparent q-tuners. They looked amazing: put together to a very high quality and very futuristic-looking. I was ready to go in no time.
I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect when I plugged my guitar in but I needn’t have worried: the sound from the q-tuners surpassed my expectations several times over. Playing with a distorted tone, the sound is incredibly punchy and tight, but loses no articulation whatsoever – every note is audible. I found them perfect for rhythm-playing, as well as excellent for soloing. The definition on each note is brilliant, extremely clean and precise, so long runs, arpreggios, tapped lines are all spot on and of incredible clarity (which also encourages any sloppy technique to be eradicated pretty fast!). I must also add that pinched harmonics squeal like never before with these pickups – right up to the highest frets on the top B and E strings. Their versatility is also a major bonus, with the capability to adjust the height of the pole pieces should you wish.
With the gain off, I tried out the clean sounds through my valve amp. I’ve never really experimented much with clean sounds to be honest, but again I was very impressed. The sound from the q-tuners is wonderfully clear, giving almost with a glassy/bell-like yet warm tone, and natural harmonics just ping off the guitar and sustain for ages.
I would recommend these pickups to anyone who is looking for the clearest sound they can get out of a guitar with the maximum possible tone – they really are that good.
by Dave Ropper
I have just taken delivery of a new KR Guitars Ursa Major ‘XL’. I first came across KR Guitars half-way through 2007. I was instantly drawn to the shape of the Ursa, which is certainly not an ‘out of the box’ design! I then contacted KR Guitars and I had the pleasure of working with them creating my ‘ultimate’ bass.
Early on in the process we came to the question of electronics: pick-ups and pre-amps. My initial reaction, especially considering the sum of money I was investing into the bass, was a default, “Go with active circuitry”!
However, at this time KR directed me to the Q-Tuner website and told me to have a look and listen and then consider selecting a matched pair of q-tuners 2.0 4 string pick-ups for my bass. KR spoke very highly of these pick-ups, but my initial thought was: “What, go with a passive set up? Yikes!”
However, following a review of the Q-Tuner site, I was attracted to the punchy tone and the bell-like sound of the harmonics on the sound file. The distinctive looks of the pick-ups was also appealing to me. So, that was enough and therefore on KR’s recommendation, I ‘took the plunge’ and selected a matched pair of Q-Tuner neodymium 4 string bass pick-ups for my Ursa Major XL.
So how do these pick-ups sound?
Firstly, the Q-Tuner q2.0 4 string bass pickups are tonally diverse with a great output. There is definitely no need for a pre-amp! I opted for a tone pot on my bass (I have three pots in total: volume, mix and tone) to give me a little control, but I’ve found most of the time I set it fully open.
The basic sound is punchy and tight, but between the mix pot and a tone pot I can get a real range of sounds, covering a wide range of musical styles. The natural harmonics are stunning and have that bell like quality I heard on the demo. The ‘pinch’ harmonics are as good as I’ve heard on a bass; they are so clear with lots of overtones!
Playing in a band situation, my band-mates have remarked on how they love the sound of my ‘XL’– it cuts through without being too “in your face”.
KR’s build quality is as good as it gets and the attention to detail is right up there with the best, so it is now no surprise to me that they recommended Q-Tuner to me. The simple, yet striking design, with the visible copper windings of the Q-Tuner pick-ups, would really set off the look of any bass. I now have a stunning bass with stunning pick-ups, both aurally and visibly!
I can easily say that in 25 years of playing I haven’t come across a better sounding (or looking!) pick-up and I would definitely recommend Q-Tuner pick-ups for your stock or custom bass and if you go with a custom who better to build it than KR Guitars!