SWAPPING PICKUPS

jeffb

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The 500/496 combination is really good, hot yes but you just need to know to turn the gain down on your amp! :yesway:

IME, hot pickups sound best through low gain amps. Obviously the Super Distortion is the prime example- Its the early 70s, the amps (by today's standards) are low gain and people want more of that amp gain instead of using the fuzz box. And through an old NMV Marshall, it is absolutely righteous. Take one and run it through a really high gain amp..like a MArshall 900 or Joob or DSL and they get overcompressed and your tone gets that weird nasal liquid tonality like a bad jazz fusion recording. Same with many of the Duncans or the Gibson 500T.

Lower output pickups, especially T-Tops, handle the high gain amps way better because they don't get overcompressed and stay defined with some bite and clarity.
 

Filipe Soares

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BK makes excellent pups, I'm partial to the RRs and Stormy Mondays, but unless you happen to find a set used in the states they end up costing as much or more than having a set wound to exactly your specs from a custom winder. It's hard to justify the price in those cases. I'd much rather work with a custom builder for $375+ a set who will build me exactly what I want.
I use to buy them used. I keep track on local ads, ebay, everywhere... when one appears reasonably priced, it´s done. I totally agree they are very expensive, but is money well spent and you will probably change your guitar, keep the pickups and install it in the next one.
 

SkyMonkey

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I was sold a Dimarzio Tone Zone in '92 as a neck pickup to go with an X2N in a guitar I built.
I really knew nothing about pickups back then, not even that there were neck and bridge variants!
In some ways I can see where the shop guy was coming from: what can keep up with an X2N?
But I hated it, and the neck position never got selected.

Eventually it got swapped out for a D Activator-X neck and the TZ went into a box for 10 years.

But about 5 years ago I decided to try the TZ in the bridge of an SSH Charvel Fusion I bought, and boy did it fit!
I love the TZ now.
Neck in mahogany :noway:
Bridge in basswood :yesway:

Incidentally, the guy from Symphony-X, Mike Romeo, started using the X2N/TZ as his signature set a year or so after me.
I can't take any credit for that, but a TZ neck works for him apparently!
 
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SkyMonkey

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IME, hot pickups sound best through low gain amps. Obviously the Super Distortion is the prime example- Its the early 70s, the amps (by today's standards) are low gain and people want more of that amp gain instead of using the fuzz box. And through an old NMV Marshall, it is absolutely righteous. Take one and run it through a really high gain amp..like a MArshall 900 or Joob or DSL and they get overcompressed and your tone gets that weird nasal liquid tonality like a bad jazz fusion recording. Same with many of the Duncans or the Gibson 500T.

Lower output pickups, especially T-Tops, handle the high gain amps way better because they don't get overcompressed and stay defined with some bite and clarity.
I think I am finally getting my head to agree with this.
When I first got the X2N I had no idea, only a 2203 and wanted more POWER!!
Now that I've tried the TZ in the bridge position, I think I may revisit the TZ on the original guitar I made, with an Air Norton in the neck position.
The Tone Zone is still in the Dimarzio High Power range, but ranked almost at the bottom in terms of output.
 
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Filipe Soares

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I was sold a Dimarzio Tone Zone in '92 as a neck pickup to go with an X2N in a guitar I built.
I really knew nothing about pickups back then, not even that there were neck and bridge variants!
In some ways I can see where the shop guy was coming from: what can keep up with an X2N?
But I hated it, and the neck position never got selected.

Eventually it got swapped out for a D Activator-X neck and the TZ went into a box for 10 years.

But about 5 years ago I decided to try the TZ in the bridge of an SSH Charvel Fusion I bought, and boy did it fit!
I love the TZ now.
Neck in mahogany :noway:
Bridge in basswood :yesway:

Incidentally, the guy from Symphony-X, Mike Romeo, started using the X2N/TZ as his signature set a year or so after me.
I can't take any credit for that, but a TZ neck works for him apparently!

I have a superstrat with a X2N/TZ, I knew michael romeo used to play with this configuration, but I had a X2N in my drawer since 2003 and I bought a guitar that came with a TZ and I HATED the TZ in the bridge. so when I put my leftoverscaster together I thought "what the heck... and It sounds FUCKING GREAT!"
 

SkyMonkey

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I have a superstrat with a X2N/TZ, I knew michael romeo used to play with this configuration, but I had a X2N in my drawer since 2003 and I bought a guitar that came with a TZ and I HATED the TZ in the bridge. so when I put my leftoverscaster together I thought "what the heck... and It sounds FUCKING GREAT!"
Hey, it's got to work for someone!

What wood is the superstrat?
 

dragonvalve

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Gibson can't make a good pup to save their lives.................

If one nitpiks on tone... the gods of guitar have their pickups special wound to their guitar.

The guitar has it's tone/quirks and a ONE SIZE FITS ALL does not work in reality.

The pickup should be VOICED TO THE GUITAR!

Not unless you have roadie techs that are on a constant quest for your grail tone buying up everyone else's gear will one find Excalibur.

Hit and miss will a nitpiker be content with just buying off the shelf pickups expecting that the one time purchase is going to fer sure fix things off the bat.

The Sisyphus approach; buy 50 pickups and install/uninstall them in your guitar.

Now we know why guitarists usually have more than one guitar for different songs.

OR when you purchased your generic flame guitar, had gone through 25 of the same model to find something that has that harmonic convergence je ne sais quoi before plunking down your hard earned.

Could also be something simple like changing your strings to like D'Addario XL's.

Or you need another guitar.:coffee:

I was lucky to have met Seymour D when living in Santa Barbara and he personally rewound pickups for my '63 Jazzmaster.

I eventually went back to new Fender re-issues I bought from Darren Riley after having the guitar refinished to black nitro. Besides one of the family members took the whole pickguard/pickups off the JM that Seymour worked on and that went missing.:confused:

Back in the saddle!!!

Point being win some/lose some. The quest will remain for most.

I'm enjoying some Jackson Japan J-55 Hb's proli made by Gotoh for Grover to U.S. Jackson specs. They came stock in my Charvel. But I did go through 10 Charvels at the store before walking out the store with mine.

jackson-j-55-01.jpg

Jackson Japan J-55 by Gotoh
 
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lespaul339

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I also had a pair of 498T/490R in my Les Paul Classic as well and ended up changing them out for a 57 classic in the neck and a Burstbucker in the bridge. I just didn't vibe well with those pickups (498T/490R) in that guitar. They're honestly one of my least favorite pickups that Gibson makes. I just think they sound muddy and harsh. I have them in my SG faded too, and am planning on yanking them out of that guitar as well and putting in some humbucker sized p90's just for something different.
 

SlyStrat

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I tried every boutique humbucker made.
To me the SD Seth Lover is better or as good.
 

dragonvalve

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Some luthiers will suggest that pickups on a guitar are not set up properly on the guitar that rather than assume a different pickup is needed it may just need to be adjusted for height etc.
 

Marcomel79

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I also had a pair of 498T/490R in my Les Paul Classic as well and ended up changing them out for a 57 classic in the neck and a Burstbucker in the bridge. I just didn't vibe well with those pickups (498T/490R) in that guitar. They're honestly one of my least favorite pickups that Gibson makes. I just think they sound muddy and harsh. I have them in my SG faded too, and am planning on yanking them out of that guitar as well and putting in some humbucker sized p90's just for something different.
Funny, i took them out of my les paul classic as they were too bright and twangy there and put them in my sg and i love them there. No mud at all, lots of clarity and they can do it all....
 

Deftone

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The guitar has it's tone/quirks and a ONE SIZE FITS ALL does not work in reality.

The pickup should be VOICED TO THE GUITAR!
This.

IMHO this and also the amp, and speakers....but the amp can be tweaked more. It's really the chemistry between the player, pickup, guitar, amp and speakers.

EX: EMG 81/85 set sounded great in my LPS with every amp I have. Best sounding guitar I have ever played. So I tried them in my LPC, nope. Tried the LPS with a new amp set up, sounded like ass. Really spikey. Every other guitar sounds great with that Amp set up. WTF?

Another P'up sounds great with this guitar and this amp, but not this guitar and this amp. I've gone through numerous pickups including the 498T/490R, 500/496, SD JB's, EMG 81/85, Wolfetones, etc...What sounds great in one guitar may sound like ass in another.....or it may just be bland, uninspiring.

I personally really like the 498T/490R, I also really like the SD JB....I find it sounds great in almost everything I have tried it in. But that would be mostly Mahogany Gibsons....LP's, Flying V's, SG's...

Just my humble opinion, your mileage may vary, tone is subjective, etc.....
 

Deftone

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IME, hot pickups sound best through low gain amps. Obviously the Super Distortion is the prime example- Its the early 70s, the amps (by today's standards) are low gain and people want more of that amp gain instead of using the fuzz box. And through an old NMV Marshall, it is absolutely righteous. Take one and run it through a really high gain amp..like a MArshall 900 or Joob or DSL and they get overcompressed and your tone gets that weird nasal liquid tonality like a bad jazz fusion recording. Same with many of the Duncans or the Gibson 500T.

Lower output pickups, especially T-Tops, handle the high gain amps way better because they don't get overcompressed and stay defined with some bite and clarity.
Great points here and probably another reason some folks dont get along with JCM900's
 

George Dickens

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Just throw some bare knuckle pickups there and behold.

want a classic paf? the mule
a litte bit hotter? black dog
much hotter? aftermath + cold sweat (my favorite combo)
I like BKP, Ive tried many.
I prefer Blackhawks if had to and I was on a desert island = they can sound like what ever you want them too.
Ive tried the aftermath too with a nailbomb, it was a lovely but at times voltile relationship.
Super output P90's like the Stockholm Ive not tried. I did however try the Manhattan HS P90- its 50's Gibson style low output all the way and for old style jazz box, good for what it was I suppose I have a Ragnorok in my mutant 27 scale.
 

jeffb

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If one nitpiks on tone... the gods of guitar have their pickups special wound to their guitar.

The guitar has it's tone/quirks and a ONE SIZE FITS ALL does not work in reality.

I missed this earlier. You are exactly right.

I've got 3 Les Pauls right now, and in those, not one of the 13 or 14 pickups I've got sitting around (before everything went into storage) sounds great in all three. But all those pickups sound amazing in the right piece of wood and wire. All three guitars sound completely different-

One is warm/dark and mid focused without much low end content- it needs really open pickups with big bass and highs- no potting helps alot. It actually would make a great Jazz box, and I'd gather is exactly what Les Paul wanted his guitars to sound like- not very resonant and very warm.

One is very open and woody- good lows, good highs without being bright or brittle. But it needs pickups with boosted midrange to thicken it up.

My #1 is big/wide and clear with a very even EQ- It's a significantly better sounding guitar than the other two and really shows how good (or rather how bad) your pickups are- I've got some inexpensive import PAF types that sound good with the right magnets in the other two, but # 1 shows all their faults/cheap materials.- they are brittle and harsh. It's made some of my other pickups sound even better than I thought they did.



And that is kind of where I was going with my comment re: BK- for that kind of money I'd rather have somebody wind exactly what I need for the guitar in question, than spend 4 bills and "hoping for the best".
 

dragonvalve

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dragonvalve

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d_addario_exl120_exl120_super_light_plus_1290303.jpg

posting pics is easy....


Ok can someone explain how to do it with the new site update? When I click on the insert image icon I get this DROP or CLICK HERE pop up. Dropping adds the photo but on another tab and can't figure how to place it in the post. If CLICK it wants to upload from computer.:confused:
 


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