Fishman pickups, why so much hatred now?

Captain Shoggoth

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They're good pickups for metal and their ERG offerings are way cheaper than offerings from Seymour Duncan etc; the hype train has rolled off but they're still a fundamentally decent product.

The versatility & different voices thing is definitely overegged though, certainly on the Abasis at least. Abasi set is touted as having 3 voices, but in reality 1 & 2 are similar enough that you'll probably just pick the one of them you prefer slightly. Voice 3 gives them another dimension of versatility but it's a pale imitation of the split position-2-and-4 sound it's emulating; I'd wager it's probably not hugely different from other split actives, plus a little EQ bump to emulate the percussive aspect. If anything I felt they were a step backward from his splittable HSH Ionizer set, those being the reason I got the goddamn Fluences in the first place :lol:

Also agreeing with consensus that the wiring and battery use are a nightmare. I had to get my XEN completely gutted & redone to accomodate them without issues (although in fairness the wiring in it was ass to begin with)
 
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CanserDYI

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To me theyre cold, stiff, and unforgiving. I actually LOVE them for clean stuff, metal stuff Ill go back to my passive SDs.
 

CanserDYI

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To me theyre cold, stiff, and unforgiving. I actually LOVE them for clean stuff, metal stuff Ill go back to my passive SDs.
 

frank falbo

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As you might surmise, I’ve been in the pickups R&D and product development game for a long time. And I have a lot of data that isn’t just the thread counts in which someone says they tried (usually the moderns) and hated them. It’s normal, healthy, and it relates to their actual popularity.

The more popular anything is, the higher the sample size, and the more prominent the contrarian opinions are. Moreover once something starts coming stock on a lot of OEM guitars, the more often people get it who got the guitar because it’s a cool guitar, but aren’t necessarily the right customer for the pickups. I hardly ever leave the pickups in any guitar I get.

As for the comments about having “one sound” each one literally has 2 or more sounds. And anyone who has played things like Javiers and Classics, Strats, Greg Koch P90 and Tele, Mike Inez…this technology is capable of literally anything you ask of it. If there’s not a Fluence that makes the sound you like, chances are at some point in the future there will be.

Knowing what I know about the growth and market share, this is super normal, expected, and actually welcomed. If you make a product with low negatives, it usually means it’s milquetoast and that’s when your sales are lackluster. Everything I’ve seen out there in Fluence discussions is pretty much exactly what you want to see in a growth cycle.
 

Neon_Knight_

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I wouldn't say they're hated now, but they're no longer being ridiculously over-hyped. SD Blackouts experienced a similar reception (over-hyped as a better alternative to EMGs, which anyone playing metal needs to own, then eventually treated as what they really are).

The reasons:
1) They are no longer new and shiny.
2) Now that they've been widely used for decent amount of time, neutral / negative reviews are less overshadowed by people trying to convince us (and themselves?) that their latest acquisition is the best thing since sliced bread.
3) People have started to realise that the "two voices" actually offer less versatility than an average set of HSH passives with a 5-way switch (and far less than 5-way switch + coil split).
4) It's now common knowledge that they drain batteries way faster than any other actives pickups on the market.
 

bostjan

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This is just our history with this site. Look back at when there were only a dozen seven string pickups on the market and how the ToneZone7 was touted as the greatest thing only to be relentlessly shit on once a few people tried it expecting it to shoot daggers and fire out of the guitar when you played it. Then, a few years later, people were raving about the Crunchlab and Liquifire as being the last pickups anyone would ever need to buy, only to swap them out for Bareknuckles a week later.

Guitarists tend to prefer tone chasing to actual tone finding, I've noticed. I'm somewhat guilty of this, as well, but I tend to be either way too early or way to late on these bandwaggons.
 

Neon_Knight_

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As for the comments about having “one sound” each one literally has 2 or more sounds. And anyone who has played things like Javiers and Classics, Strats, Greg Koch P90 and Tele, Mike Inez…this technology is capable of literally anything you ask of it. If there’s not a Fluence that makes the sound you like, chances are at some point in the future there will be.
Some people will want the latest innovation that's capable of producing the sound they like, while others are content to stick with creating the same sound (potentially more authentically) with older and less cool equipment. Neither approach is right/wrong, but the initial wave of people buying a new product will always die down after an initial spike in popularity - no matter how good the product is.
 

Emperoff

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It is quite simple. These were marketed super agressively as "EMG killers", apparently besting them out in every department (you know, the usual pickup marketing bullshit like dynamics, clarity, note separation and all those fancy words guitarists love so much).

Then when enough people try them, some actual facts appear:
- They drain batteries like mad (main reason I never cared for them)
- There have been quite some cases of "sudden death" reported
- The extra voices are kinda gimmick-y and most people won't care live.
- It's hard to get all the wiring and stuff correctly
- They have this autowah tone to them that you can't dial out. Fine if that's your thing, otherwise...

Then some subjective facts appear:
- If they are more dynamic and less compressed than EMGs, it's impossible they can best EMGs at what they do best. That compressed super agressive sound they're known for.
- If you want dynamics, just get yourself some passives
- Why the hell are we even talking about dynamics if the first thing we do is slam the front end of the signal chain with a dimed booster pedal?

So at that point you ask yourself: "Why purchase a pickup set that claims to be better than EMGs in everything, when they actually have quite big flaws to be concerned at?"

If you want great sounding actives get an EMG 57/66 set and enjoy.
 

bostjan

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I think that there's also a simple truth to the idea that people ask for bloated options, but generally prefer simplicity on the spot. If you install an EMG 81 in the bridge, it undoubtedly gives you that EMG-81 sound and does a really really good job at it, and it's actually a great tone. But tons of people will try that, love it, then, moments later, want the pickup to do something else. So they'll replace it with some low-output passive pickup, and then that new pickup does a lot of the things the EMG-81 would not do, so they're in love, but, moments later, realize that a more diverse jack-of-all-trades pickup won't do nearly as good of a job nailing the more aggressive/more crystal clear/more compressed tone that they wanted on the spot, and the cycle continues.

It's what I affectionately call the Swiss-Army-Knife Effect. A Swiss Army Knife is super diverse - it has a knife, a saw, a fish scaler, tweezers, a toothpick, a pair of scissors, etc. But the more options you add to it, the more useless those options actually are when you need them. Sure, you can scale a fish with a swiss army knife, but it definitely doesn't do a good enough job that you'd ever consider it if you had an actual fish scaling tool. Sure, you could saw through something with it, but again, you'd literally do better with any saw that is an actual saw. Et cetera. So, in the moment, you need an EMG-81, but overall, you think you need all of these additional bullshit features that you likely won't ever actually use (probably because those features aren't fully developed), so you end up trying everything under the sun and make a thread on ss.o about how you always end up going back to EMG or whatever.

The actual solution to this is to buy more guitars. Buy a dozen of the same model and drop different pickups in each one. Then your only problem is that you spend 20x as much time posting photos of your guitar collection. :lol:
 

HeHasTheJazzHands

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- The extra voices are kinda gimmick-y and most people won't care live.
Besides the classics, I'm curious if anyone even uses anything other than voice 1 or voice 3 on their Fishmans?
I think the only time I actually did that was for the Classics. Voice 1 sounds great cleans and with low gain. Voice 2 with high gain. But with the more metal sounding Fishmans, I tended to avoid Voice 2. With the KsE set I thought Voice 2 was cool with cleans... but I really didn't use it much. :lol: Just went with voice 3 for clean stuff or stuck with voice 1.
 

Emperoff

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Besides the classics, I'm curious if anyone even uses anything other than voice 1 or voice 3 on their Fishmans?
I think the only time I actually did that was for the Classics. Voice 1 sounds great cleans and with low gain. Voice 2 with high gain. But with the more metal sounding Fishmans, I tended to avoid Voice 2. With the KsE set I thought Voice 2 was cool with cleans... but I really didn't use it much. :lol: Just went with voice 3 for clean stuff or stuck with voice 1.

Thing is if you make your tones around a certain pickup's voice and then you change it, then the new voice probably won't sound that great. If you want to use both voices you will probably have to settle for something in between, so suddendly your extra tonal options become a compromise. Unless you do new presets for each voice, and by then you're juggling more than playing.

I think more people should try the TW versions of EMG pickups. They are not split coils, they are dual pickups (a humbucker + a single coil). And they sound fucking amazing (the 89 in single coil mode is instant Pulse-era Pink Floyd). There. More voicings that actually sound good and have proper wiring instructions :lol:
 

frank falbo

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You can trust Frank Falbo on this one. He's a completely unbiased source :lol:

You can. I have unique experiences and data that spans new product releases, legacy product lifecycles and trendy product hype arcs, and no reason to be disingenuous.
 

Strobe

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Besides the classics, I'm curious if anyone even uses anything other than voice 1 or voice 3 on their Fishmans?
I think the only time I actually did that was for the Classics. Voice 1 sounds great cleans and with low gain. Voice 2 with high gain. But with the more metal sounding Fishmans, I tended to avoid Voice 2. With the KsE set I thought Voice 2 was cool with cleans... but I really didn't use it much. :lol: Just went with voice 3 for clean stuff or stuck with voice 1.

Tosins / Moderns - I mostly just use voice 1. The passive vs. modern voice changes are perhaps a little too subtle for me and I usually prefer the active voice as I have long been an active pickup enjoyer. If I want a different voice, I reach for a different guitar with a different pickup before I switch to voice 2 on these.
Classics / Tele / Strat set - use all, love all

Frank's point about hate coming out when a product becomes more ubiquitous rings true for me. I have seen that in my professional life in other industries. I legitimately appreciate people involved in the design of these things posting here. Some folks seem to get ornery about that, but I like to hear the perspective. I get that an insider is going to have certain biases, but Frank seems open and honest here.
 

Legion

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To be quite honest I've seen very little hate outside of EMG worship threads...
I've always maintained that Fishmans are one of only 3 real innovations in pickup technology (after the invention of the humbucker, the invention of the active pickup, and now printed coils).
That being said, after doing my research I just came to the conclusion that Fishmans are just not the right product for me.
 

Kyle Jordan

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I think a lot of people regard Fishman Moderns as the 'Fishman sound' and Moderns can be polarizing. I'm not a fan of the Moderns but dig the Open Core Classics and their strat pickups. The Abasis' have some awesome tones but have a touch of the Modern vibe to them that has left me on the fence about them.

This is pretty similar for me.

The Moderns tone wise have more of what I dislike about the 81 and 85, which are already not my chosen EMG pickups. Abasi's are definitely my pick for the modern leaning Fluences, and seem to lend themselves more readily to manipulation by an EQ before the amp. Their curves, sans Voice 3, seem more balanced to my ear.

The Classics and Strat pickups are right up there with the EMG 60X and EMG SX/SAX as my favorite pickups. That's one of the main reasons I'm quite excited for the seemingly on the horizon 7/8 string singles Fishman appears to have coming.

Koch pups are great too.

I do have some pause when it comes to Fishman on the whole due to various things I've read and with my own limited interactions with the company, but I can say the same for a good deal of other companies in the gear game.
 


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