We’ve been talking about the TT73s for what feels like years now, and truth be told – they’ve always been one of those ever presents on our books in one form or another - designed near on a decade ago as a bit of a “get out of jail free” humbucker that could be used in a single coil route – we never really over thought them to be honest.
More recently, we’ve been bringing all pickups under review during the recording process, and honestly, not one pickup has surprised us as much as these little monsters!
After a very brief period of electrical development and analysis on the physics of the actual pickup, we didn’t really change too much from the old design. The basic principle is fairly straight forward really – you’ve got two very small bobbins, which have a steel “blade” running through a slot in the middle. Those blades make contact with a traditional Humbucker bar magnet underneath and act as the poles (as the screws and slugs would on a traditional humbucker). Wind up the coils and, in essence you’ve got a humbucker! Don’t get me wrong – it’s no PAF – but it’ll do everything a humbucker does, and more importantly, it’ll do it well!
The bar poles are probably the first thing people notice when it they first use the TTs – it’s a bit of a departure from the traditional, but the benefits are evident from the start – the magnetic field is evenly spread across the width of the blade, which gives a much tighter response then single “string specific poles” because the string can never escape the field.
We combined this innovative “blade pole” design with a hugely over wound coil setup in an aim to really harness that defined character and make it work hard in a style that demands only the most accurate voicing.
The results of those two critical elements have created one of the best Heavy Metal and Thrash pickup we’ve ever designed (and I’m not just talking little pickups here!). The middle frequency is scooped beyond belief, the bottom end is dark, rich and threatening and the tops are razor sharp and incredibly responsive – these things where made to chug along at speed – and they do it with ease.
The TT73s give a clear, articulate tone that really suits faster rhythm work, especially in the bridge position, giving a booming growl that’s absolutely perfect for Hardcore Punk and Metalcore if you really push them hard. The high output means they’ll take pinches and harmonics in their strides and the great response characteristics means there’s absolutely no loss in volume.
From a lead player’s point of view, it’s more of the same– beautifully voiced, but with enough clarity to not only battle through the distortion, but to come through the other side kicking and screaming. Speed is no problem, with the defined nature meaning that everything remains sharp when you want it. Be warned though – when used as a neck pickup – because of the extra string movement – is monstrously big.
We’ve tried not to compromise on the clean side of these pickups too, and they’ll do it in a similar tone to the distorted voicing they were designed for, but be warned – it’s a real challenge keeping them clean – they’re so lively, so aggressive and rich that it’s actually quite difficult to keep them from breaking up at any sort of volume. They’ll push, and they’ll push hard, making that lovely, flowing piece you had in mind sound rough and sleazy, with a certain toothy edge.
All in all, if you’re looking for that big, biting and aggressive tone to give you the power and clarity you need for most of the heaviest guitar applications – the TT73s will delivery every time.