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joel_brown

Pickups and PODs

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I've tried a lot of pickups over the years.  Seymour Duncans, Dimarzios, Joe Bardins, EMGs, and of course various Fender and Gibson pickups too.  For a long time I settled on the DiMarzio Super Distortion.

 

btw - Even though I play in a Black Sabbath Tribute band I just go for a high gain tone, not trying to tone match.  I use Jackson Guitars and Marshall Amps with the PODHD acting as a PreAmp into the FX returns.

 

A friend brought his Epiphone Tony Iommi Signature SG to one of my gigs and asked if I would try it out.  I did a quick level check and made sure it wouldn't squeal then we kicked in.  Wow - was the only thing I could think of.  The pickups were friggin' amazing.  Turned out they were the new Gibson Tony Iommi Signature Pickups.  I did a little research and from what I could find, Gibson was working on a new set of high gain pickups then as an after thought they named them the TI Signature pickups.

 

Anyway, what I'm trying to say is all the little things I didn't like in my tone were gone.  I now had what I'd been searching for.  Thick, rich, sustainy tone and no unwanted feedback or micro-phonics.  And no hint of fizz either...

 

I'm not trying to tell anyone to use this particular pickup.  What I'm trying to say is maybe you need different pickups than what you have if you can't find the tone you're looking for.  Also the capacitor values on the tone knob can make a big difference too.  But that's another topic and this one is already too long.

 

What pickups do you use ?  What type of tone do you typically use ?  Hi-gain, Blues, Clean, Country, Jazz ?

 

Not the best recording but gives you an idea of the tone.

https://youtu.be/r0ZRJ9tKzfQ

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Try changing your picks as well. They make a big difference, too. Some have a gritty attack, some a softer attack, some make you hold them differently so you hit the string differently, etc. There are LOTS of things besides gear you can use to change your tone.

 

To the question at hand, I use SD P-Rails on my SG. Made it come to life and the tonal options are plentiful.

 

Edited: software -> softer

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I rarely like stock pick-ups, so as funds allow I swap them out. I have no single area of tone, so I have a mix of stuff. I use UK hand wound pick-ups because I like to support local industry, no taxes, less likely to get lost in the post.

 

I have Bare Knuckle, Catswhisker and Mojo at the moment and want to try a few others out. As much as as I like Bare Knuckle they are very expensive, as are The Creamery who I want to try soon though. I just like to mix things up on as many guitars as possible to cover all bases. I have single coil, humbuckers, wide range and PAF pick-ups in various guitars (as well as a couple with Sustainer pick-ups). I tend not to go for name brands like Syemour Duncan and EMGs are just not what I'm about tonally at all.

 

On the tone knob front I often have a Greasebucket circuit installed whilst having the pick-ups installed. I also have one guitar with a Stellartone ToneStyler pot. Again I like as many options as I can fit in each guitar.

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My tone when I'm not using my JTV comes from Gibson 57 Classics and Classic+. They are exactly what I hear in my head for MY style. I've tried a lot myself, and I was a fan of Burstbuckers too, but really don't like SD or EMG. Never used Dimarzio though.

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What pickups do you use ?  What type of tone do you typically use ?  Hi-gain, Blues, Clean, Country, Jazz ?

 

Not the best recording but gives you an idea of the tone.

https://youtu.be/r0ZRJ9tKzfQ

 

Nice video.

 

I use med to maybe high gain I guess most of the time. DiMarzio Evolutions, has a nice thick, rich midrange. Maybe too much sometimes. I also have a guitar with a DiMarzio PAF Pro, VS-1, and Double Whammy. I like the PAF-Pro better than an Evolution in the neck spot. The VS-1 is really nice; creates that single coil bell-like tone. The Double Whammy is nothing to complain about, but nothing really stands out about it too much. I should actually play this guitar more than I do, which is never.

 

Try changing your picks as well. They make a big difference, too. Some have a gritty attack, some a software attack, some make you hold them differently so you hit the string differently, etc. There are LOTS of things besides gear you can use to change your tone.

 

To the question at hand, I use SD P-Rails on my SG. Made it come to life and the tonal options are plentiful.

 

Software attack? What's that? Where? :ph34r:

 

Another thing affecting tone along the lines of pick choice and use is string distance from the pickups.

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Interesting story. But you left out the common denominator --- the patches. 

You used the same patch with different pickups. Yes, they will sound different. 

The real question is --- if you had those pickups, would you have made that same patch or would it have been tweaked differently? 

 

But, to answer the question: 

I usually stick with stock pickups. They help give each guitar their own personality. And if I do decide to change them, I usually go with the typical EMG set to keep everything 'the same'. There is the rare occasion that I would stick a specific pickup in a specific guitar. I mean, there is no need for 'country twang' on a BC Rich Warlock. So, high gain stuff would be used. 

 

*here's an interesting article about a cheap way to improve your pickups: 

http://www.lonephantom.com/2011/09/polishing-a-turd-or-how-to-improve-ibanez-v7v8-pickups/  

I did that to one of my guitars that had those same pickups that he tested. Quite impressive. A little time and effort, but no money needed. 

 

 

 

My favorite guitar is a Jackson. An older one with a J-90C, and JE-1200 circuit.  

When I first got my pod, the 1200 had no effect on the tone. Which very much scared the bajeebies out of me. I had set my old gear with other guitars, and then used the Jackson (hot pickup, and mid boost control) for that 'over the top' kick when it was needed. But there was no change when using it. So I was a bit perplexed. 

Eventually, the more I learned the pod, I realized that it was in the way I was programming it that negated the 1200 effect. So now, I know how to make it so that you can still hear the little nuances that make each pickup their own. 

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Good question.  I spent a lot of time tweaking my patch with my other pickup to get what I wanted but could never quite get there.  I was starting to think that maybe the PODHD with my rig just wasn't capable of giving me what I was looking for.  Maybe I needed to go back to an old school setup, maybe get a Helix or Kemper.

 

Different pickup and it came alive.  I'm happy and thought I'd share that info and maybe see what other people use and what their experience's are.  It may end up helping someone.  Like your article about changing magnets, that may help some people in the same situation.

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I use Dimarzios and I guess I am a medium gain fan. For a very long time I used a PAF neck and PAF Pro bridge....However, about 10 years ago I started using the Fred for the bridge and the Humbucker From Hell for the neck....In my old S540 I used a stock Fender strat bridge pup in the middle so I can run it lower...One of my newer guitars has a Mojo bridge...I think I like it a little better than the Fred...

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My favorite pickups right now are the stock ones in my PRS Tremonti Custom SE - I think they are essentially lower end versions of Mark Tremonti's signature pickup set. I used to prefer active EMGs, but now I prefer hi-gain passive pickups that clean up good when rolling the volume back. These do that really well and are very expressive. I may spring for some Bare Knuckle Juggernauts at some point.

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It is amazing what a different pickup makes to tone.

Unfortunately my debts keep me from upgrading from stock.

 

Recently I discovered playability is from the neck itself after ordering a replacement neck to a Squire jazz bass,

picked up for cheap recently due to rattling truss rod.

I been blown away with the difference!

.

I can't afford much but will upgrade the P'ups and electrics in due course.

 

My goal is to get it as close as I can to my mates $2,500 Fender jazz bass (LOL)which is probably about the best bass I have ever played.

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I have a Squire P Bass from years ago.  Plays really nice but the tone sucked and was very weak.  Stuck a DiMarzio pickup in it and made a huge difference.  But that's one of the first things they cheapen up on copies or low end guitars is the electronics. 

 

Usually with a good setup you can get them to play fairly good.  Keyword is "Usually" not always.

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I have recently removed all but 1 or two sets of EMGs from all of my guitars after almost 25 years of using only EMGs live.

 

The stock pups in my cheap PRS made me start re-evaluating my pickups.

 

Fender Vintage Noiseless/ Stock SDs in my new Squier Vintage Modified Strat etc...all sound better to me.

 

And the POD HD500 loves nice adjusted low passive pickups.

 

So do my tube amps!

 

YMMV-IMHO-GFYS etc...etc....

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'91 Fender Strat (USA)                    = stock neck and middle, DiMarzio HS3 bridge (very happy)

'91 Jackson Dinky XL (USA)            = stock (very happy)

'81 Peavey T-60                              = stock (very happy)

JTV69                                              = stock (very happy)

PRS SE Custom 24                         =stock (good but thinking about upgrading)

Schecter KM-7                                = stock Sentient / Nagzul (just awesome)

Schecter Banshee 6 Passive          = stock Sentient / Nazgul (just awesome)

Ibanez Artcore AFS75T                  = stock (fine for this style guitar)

Ibanez RGIR27FE                          = stock EMG 707's (very happy)

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Ooh a KM-7 is on my wish list!

 

They are really, really awesome!  The Nazgul / Sentient pickup combo is perfect for the KM-7 and Keith Merrow's style of playing in general.  The tone is so incredible that I bought the Banshee 6 - Passive as well.

 

All of my guitars sound great, to me, through the HD500X.

 

I'm really having a hard time deciding what pickups to put in the PRS SE Custom 24 though.

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