Comparison Clip: Seymour Duncan JB vs Suhr Doug Aldrich

Discussion in 'The Tone Zone' started by GuitarIV, Oct 23, 2019.

  1. GuitarIV

    GuitarIV Well-Known Member

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    So I got a set of Suhr Doug Aldrich signature pickups for real cheap off of a local auction site and I just had to snag them since I've been reading soo many good reviews all over the internet.

    I paid 160€ including shipping which is a really good price considering that a single new one goes for 140€. Prices in Europe that is.

    Now they are gold covered and will end up in a different (but similar) guitar, so I figured since I wanna take the JB out of my Eclipse anyway I might just as well do a quick comparison video and also try the pickup out in a band context tomorrow at rehearsal.

    Same strings have been used, same amp settings, same pedals, same IRs etc. the only thing that changed was the pickup in the bridge position.

    Now my impression is that the Aldrich is really not all that different to a JB. It seems to be a slightly refined version. The lows are tighter (very good thing in my book), it growls a bit more in the low mids and has less of that annoying nasal upper mid spike, still has the cocked wah thing going on you get in most mid heavy pickups. The highs are sweet, strings seperation is good but nothing exceptional. Sounds as clear as my Duncan Full Shred.

    The JB seems to have more aggression and more of a raw, grindy character recorded, but that's what I attribute to the upper mid spike, also since I haven't changed any of the amp settings I am fairly confident I can get the Aldrich there with a few tweaks on the amp.

    So my conclusion is: the Aldrich is a good sounding pickup, you get harmonics very easily, it gels well with both my JCM 800 and my Laney IRT Studio, articulate and tight low end, good clarity, sounds smooth and full with a pronounced but even midrange. Reminds me a lot of the Bareknuckle Holydiver I used to have.


    Is it worth the additonal dough over a regular JB? If you can snag one used for a good price, absolutely. If you wanna buy new... well get a used JB and a used EQ pedal and you won't be able to tell any difference.

    I will report back once I played it with the band tomorrow.

    Here are some pictures:

    20191023_185319.jpg 20191023_185332.jpg 20191023_185339.jpg 20191023_185344.jpg 20191023_185407.jpg 20191023_185411.jpg 20191023_185836.jpg 20191023_191553.jpg 20191023_191557.jpg

    Clip is Them Bones by Alice in Chains, so heavy music. I didn't have the time to demo all kinds of different sounds, if I decide to do that I will make a proper Youtube video with both my JCM 800 and my Laney.

    I used the Laney IRT Studio on the Crunch channel boosted with my Boss SD-1, utilizing the Two Notes Torpedo Wall of Sound Plugin for cab sims.

    First pickup you hear is the JB followed by the Aldrich and then they keep alternating. Please excuse the poor transitions, I was too lazy to cut everything perfectly together:




    Well guys, tell me what you think. I will put my Duncan SH-5 Custom into my Eclipse again, but only after I tried the Aldrich at rehearsal. As said, it'll end up in a different axe anyway.


    Cheers
     
  2. pedecamp

    pedecamp Well-Known Member

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    They both sound good to the point its hair splitting between the two, I could barely tell the difference, but like I said they both sound good. :yesway:
     
  3. BanditPanda

    BanditPanda Well-Known Member

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    ^^^^^^
    What Pede said.
    BP
     
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  4. Michael Roe

    Michael Roe Well-Known Member

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    I like the Suhr better. The treble isn't as spikey and it has a thicker lower mids.
    Well, at least that is what I hear. Sounds more like a Dimarzio, which I prefer.
     
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  5. GuitarIV

    GuitarIV Well-Known Member

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    As said, it's fascinating how close they are. I already read another comment from a guy saying how the DA is just a finetuned JB. I'd say the JB is more spikey and nasal and the Aldrich has a more throaty and fuller tone. For lack of better words.

    I tried the Aldrich with some Chorus and Delay and more gain, of course I played the riffs from Whitesnakes Still of the Night and it held up very well. Lows stay tight, harmonics jump out, string clarity is great, it refuses to mush up. So the DA likes distortion for sure!

    As said I'll get back to you guys after rehearsal today. I have a proper video planned with my 800 since @pedecamp asked for it :D
     
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  6. pedecamp

    pedecamp Well-Known Member

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    I had a JB Jr in my Strat bridge, nasal is a good description so out it came. Yeah I'm looking forward to your video! :yesway:
     
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  7. GuitarIV

    GuitarIV Well-Known Member

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    Well guys, I'm back from rehearsal and I must say: the Aldrich did damn well!

    I could hear myself very well in the mix, compared to the JB my guitar sounded quite a bit fatter and not as piercing, the low end was always tight, string seperation on full chords came through great and soloing was a blast!

    I am very happy with the pickup. It takes the good qualities of the JB and removes the bad. As said it sounds nice and fat in the low mids, doesn't compete with the bass and is very clear. I guess you gotta give it some volume and juice to make it shine but boy does it sing once you do!

    Only complaint left is that the gold plating is already coming off. My sweat eats through hardware like it's no ones business so I guess the pickup will turn silver pretty fast. This is the damage after ONE rehearsal and I wasn't even sweating much:

    IMG-20191024-WA0005.jpeg

    I think I might have to order another one for this Eclipse in black. My poor wallet :facepalm:
     
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  8. wakjob

    wakjob Well-Known Member

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    Can't say I've played a lot of JB's, but all the one's that were in Les Paul's... I really liked.

    Would you say that maybe a JB could get closer to the DA with a magnet swap and/or other mods?
     
  9. GuitarIV

    GuitarIV Well-Known Member

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    I'm no pickup expert, maybe if you threw an Alnico 8 into the JB it would get warmer. Other than that I actually don't think so, the Aldrich sounds simply like a smoother and tighter JB.
     
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  10. HOT TUBES 70

    HOT TUBES 70 Well-Known Member

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    I have a set in my one Lester and Love the Suhr Doug Aldrich set !!!
     
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  11. JeepO'Caster

    JeepO'Caster New Member

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    The Aldridge set has something special happening in the low mids for sure.
     
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  12. SkyMonkey

    SkyMonkey Well-Known Member

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    I notice you have gone from a Gibson spaced SH-4 (49mm) to a Fender/Floyd spaced DA bridge (53mm).
    Do you think that makes any difference. Do the strings still line up to the poles?
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2019 at 4:57 AM
  13. GuitarIV

    GuitarIV Well-Known Member

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    Initial reason I went for the wider spacing was because the set was on offer super cheap so I didn't really care. Turns out the ESP has a Gotoh bridge which has a spacing of 52mm, so right in the middle of the 50mm you find on American Gibson Style guitars and the wider 53mm trem spacing.

    Strings line up just fine. If anything it is a bit better with the wider spacing than with your standard 50mm because that way the high and low E Strings are within the polepieces whereas with the narrower spacing they are just about on the outer edge.

    It is mostly cosmetic I think. What I do have noticed is with Seymour Duncans JB Trembucker, the TB-4, which is also physically broader, the low end seems to suffer even more compared to the regular SH-4. Flubby, undefined mess. I hate that pickup with a passion, sold like 3 of them that came stock in guitars.

    Still digging the Aldrich very much. I tweaked my rig to the point where I sound full and defined in the band mix without the harshness I had with the JB before, but I still cut through. Great pickup, definitely a refined and more articulate JB. Get one if you find it used! :)
     

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