The Trident I humbucker set of the new Hades line from Texas-based Elysian Pickups. These are a more budget-oriented option for players wanting the patented TAP tech crafting their tone.
What is TAP technology? The guitar pickup market is an ever-expanding landscape of many winders saturating the options with variations of what has already been done. It is few and far between that someone has the gumption to take a seat at the big table with a new idea.
The Tuned Aperture Pickup (TAP) tech is what happens when a Texan comes back to a challenge with “I’m your huckleberry!”
Pickup Building 101 is putting wire around a bobbin. That makes a coil. A lot of what’s going on with the tone has to do with the coil geometry. Historically speaking, the common attitude toward the bobbin can easily be dismissed as just something the wire is applied upon.
There are examples of different bobbin dimensions. On the most basic of approaches to that notion from one bobbin to another, you can find examples of slight variances in height, length, and width. The rub is that each variation of a bobbin is generally consistent unto itself. That is that each dimension is the same across the respective plane of that bobbin.
The TAP tech is a bobbin design where one end of the bobbin is wider than the other. That means that the wire has to travel further to get around that wider end. As such, there is more wire on the wide end and less on the narrow/standard sized end.
Pickup maxim: more wire is hotter and fuller, less wire is more open and articulate. That’s not something you tend to expect out of a single pickup. Maybe a complete set, across 2-3 positions. Until now.
For this application, the Hades series Trident I set is fitted with a Ceramic magnet in the bridge and an Alnico 5 in the neck. You can also order them with all Ceramic or all Alnico. This set is installed in a 2-hum alder body with maple neck and rosewood board. Each pickup is connected to it’s own series/split/parallel wiring option.
The Ceramic-based Trident I bridge is an excellent rocker. It’s not a straight-up face-melter, but there’s plenty of sizzle. Riffage is right on target with healthy mids and punchy lows. Snarling upper mids and an evenly-voiced high end serve up abundant presence and edge for lead work. Clean amp settings respond much better than some might expect.
Paired a Alnico 5 neck humbucker, variety is the name of the game. Dirty and clean amp tones alike are both warm and full with the Hades Trident I neck position. While not too big or boomy or woofy, there is a pleasant blend of sweet and bold. Highs have some cut and lows have some beef.
Here’s the secret weapon of this set: the orientation. A traditional install puts the bigger part of the bobbin beneath the high strings for a little more volume and bigger tone. The smaller, normal size of the bobbin is beneath the wound strings for a little more focus. Let’s say you want the opposite response. Just spin the pickups. This is also a nifty solution if you’re a lefty.
I think this approach is fascinating. Check out this video of some TAP bobbins being made on the CNC:
Let’s look at some specs:
Trident I Bridge – Hades Series
Series – 15.555 K
Inductance – 5.915 H
Split – 7.778 K
Split – 7.81 K
Parallel – 3.894 K
Magnet – Ceramic
Trident I Neck – Hades Series
Series – 13.239 K
Inductance – 4.668 H
Split – 6.574 K
Split – 6.683 K
Parallel – 3.313 K
Magnet – Alnico 5
The Hades line currently offers models based on the Trident I (discussed in this article) and the Trident II, which is a hotter version. Options include 6 or 7-string, as well as Alnico 5 or Ceramic magnets. Check out Elysian’s other models that include single coils, multi-scale, and humbuckers that all range from vintage to molten metal in 6, 7, and 8-string options.
For reference, the Elysian Hades series Trident I humbucker pickup set evaluation was conducted with a Fractal Axe-Fx II XL+ featuring Celestion Impluse Responses and Fractal MFC-101 MIDI Foot Controller. Real cabs used were Marshall 1960B cabs loaded with Celestion Vintage 30s and G12M Greenbacks.