When it comes to PMS for your guitar, things aren't always what they seem on the surface. This is of course talking about building a solid foundation for your tone using a Pickup Mounting System like this one from FU-Tone.
The PMS is said to amplify your your guitar's natural wood resonance & optimize your pickup's sonic range.
Well how exactly does it do this? The theory seems to be that by solidifying your pickup mount, as opposed to mounting them onto a mounting ring or pickguard, you can achieve a more resonant characteristic in your tone.
This concept of "direct-mounting" pickups is nothing new & is a debatable when contrasted with regular ring-mounted pickups. Some do not perceive a change, however there are many who swear by direct mounting as a way to heighten their tone.
I could see how the change in density under the pickup could potentially alter what you hear in terms of tone. However, I was still rather skeptical as my guitars are all direct-mounted using pickup-rings or sit on top of foam.
The unit itself arrived quickly & was surprisingly heavy! It feels like it's well made, nice etching & finish, with quality hardware to match.
It did come with extra hardware in different sizes which was rather convenient as it allows you can install this into almost any guitar.
Please note that some guitars will need additional custom fabrication to fit the unit. I initially wanted to install this on an Ibanez guitar but noticed the round notches of the pickup cavity would not fit the square shape of the PMS.
Instead I opted to install this on a Cort G290 underneath a a set of EMG-89 active humbuckers. Posted below is a quick run through of the installation followed by a brief sound comparison.
The installation took about half an hour while fumbling with the camera & looking back, the only tool you really need to install this is a screwdriver. The tone demo was recording using Peavey 6505+ 112, mic'ed with a Line6 Sonic Port VX using both the Lead & "Clean" channel.
Installing the FU-Tone PMS:
Installation: 00:43 Sound Demo: 03:54
Start by measuring the distance from the top of your pickup, to the body of the guitar. You'll need this distance for adjusting your pickup height once the unit is secured onto the guitar. After that, just remove the strings & set them aside so you can access the pickup cavity freely.
Next, remove your pickup mounting ring (if you have one) & unscrew the pickup from the cavity. Once it's out & set aside, go ahead & drop in the unit then try to get it as centered in the cavity as possible. Now that you've got it in to position, just fasten it down with the 2 counter-sunk screws that are provided.
Now you can install the center-post, which is how you will adjust your pickup height. The kit comes with several sizes to best fit your guitar & in my case the smallest one did the trick. Just screw one of them in, drop in the pickup as if you were installing it for a test-fit, and then adjust accordingly until your original height is achieved.
Finally, use a set of the provided side screws to fasten your pickup to the PMS unit & you're golden. Just re-install the pickup ring if you'd like & get your strings back on so you're ready to rock!
Overall, the guitar it was installed into is one I play often & I definitely perceived a change in the way the pickups respond after the install.
In my case, I cant say much for sustain or added resonance but I feel like it definitely gave the pickups a little more presence & clarity.
The EMG 89s in humbucking mode produce a very saturated tone that can be a bit much at times when not playing metal. With this addition of the FU-Tone PMS, I found it gave each of the notes a tad more definition while strumming chords & the pickups just seemed more responsive in general.
It's quite difficult to explain its effects, but it's certainly different! If you do run into a guitar with direct mounted pickups definitely give it a try for some A/B testing of your own, or checkout performance upgrade for yourself at www.FU-Tone.com
FU-Tone Pickup Mounting System Overview
My initial impressions of this direct-mounting system
was more reserved until after the installation since I don't own a guitar with this sort of mounting. I think it's a well thought out product, has a good build quality, & is easy as pie to install.
Just note that some guitars might need some further modification to fit this system, for example an Ibanez S series with round mounting-notches in the pickup cavity.
The product certainly made a change in the way I perceived my EMG 89 pickup, it gave its super-saturated tone a more defined & articulate aspect which I was pleased to experience after the install.
To learn more about this modification, you can check out its very own Facebook page @ Facebook.com/PickupMountingSystem/
What do you prefer for your pickups, direct mounting or pickguard & ring-mounted?
If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to post your comments below & we'll get back to you ASAP, thanks!