Pickups are an electric guitar’s voice, and through them we hear our own personality, inflection of expression and soul. The origin of Scott “Wino” Weinrich’s soul may still be in debate, but there’s no questioning his skills as a guitar player or influence over thousands of heavy metal ax slingers.
His new signature Lifers humbuckers from Lace Music Products take full advantage of the company’s unique design philosophies, ultimately delivering his musical emotional range, from angry and wild to mellow and tender.
For those who are unfamiliar with Lace pickups or don’t remember greats like Clapton and Beck playing them in the early Nineties, they were originally developed by the late Don Lace, Sr. who utilized his knowledge of coil construction and transducers to reduce the noise and hum inherent in single-coil pickups. Not only did he succeed in this task, but the sound of his quieter pickups was more consistent, controllable and harmonically enhanced without the addition of active electronics or a preamp.
Weinrich’s Lifers are actually modified Lace Drop & Gain model pickups. These utilize mismatched coils to specifically articulate the response from drop-tuned strings without compromising sustain and dynamic range. They still drive the front end of an amp, just with defined frequencies rather than unrefined loose-string noise. Following Weinrich’s desires, his Lifers retain these base qualities and offer more overdrive in the low registers and a long-sustaining, smooth top end.
Much like active pickups, the Lace Lifers seem to generate extra energy from each struck note, so much so that high-gain tones almost feel like they’re connected to a sustainer circuit—notes rise in energy and swell to crescendo before naturally trailing off. Unlike some active pickups or artificially frequency sustainers, the Lifers’ dynamics do not suffer for the sake of sonic thrust, and there’s no ghosting on hard-picked staccato high notes. This was especially noticeable in the neck pickup’s ability to clearly deliver the guitar’s full range without ever sounding muddy or washed out.
Ever present from the Lifers is a bold bass crunch, whereby enhanced harmonics make power chords and single notes sound almost like they’re being played by two guitars. Medium-to-low-gain settings don’t reveal the Lifers’ best attributes, yet clean tones benefit greatly from the Lifers’ balance of fidelity and equalization, again making the guitar sound thicker and more robust than its innate acoustic character would suggest. And don’t think that the Lace Lifers will only deliver with detuned strings; they’re equally intriguing at full pitch, especially for sweepers who want a dynamic and even response from both bridge and neck pickups.
List Price $249.99
Manufacturer Lace Music Products, lacemusic.com
Widely mismatched coils make it possible for the Lifers to simultaneously generate a high-output, amp-driving signal that is especially articulate and animated in detuned guitars.
Strong bass harmonics combined with a low magnetic pull help both pickups, not just the neck humbucker, produce an amplitude-balanced response to swept arpeggios.
The Bottom Line
Whether you’re a drop-tuned player looking for a more pronounced tone or a hardcore shredder who appreciates enhanced lows and energetic sustain, the Lace signature Scott “Wino” Weinrich Lifers may shed a new light on your journey into darkness.