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Thread: New Pickups

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    Default New Pickups

    Thinking of putting new pick ups in my back up guitar here at home.. right now I've got a Dimarzio Air Classic in it, and I like it on it's tone, but I want a smidge more midrange and growl to it I think. What does everyone here use or what have people here found on what pick ups work for what wood and what amp combinations?

    I know for more alder and ash with a marshall or more overdriven sounds those PAFish stuff works good. Has anyone else noticed that Seymour Duncan seems to have cornered the more classic overdriven sounds with a few modern high gain pickups while Dimarzio seemed to go more with modern high gain stuff with fewer older stuff? Or is that just me? haha.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pancho View Post
    Thinking of putting new pick ups in my back up guitar here at home.. right now I've got a Dimarzio Air Classic in it, and I like it on it's tone, but I want a smidge more midrange and growl to it I think. What does everyone here use or what have people here found on what pick ups work for what wood and what amp combinations?

    I know for more alder and ash with a marshall or more overdriven sounds those PAFish stuff works good. Has anyone else noticed that Seymour Duncan seems to have cornered the more classic overdriven sounds with a few modern high gain pickups while Dimarzio seemed to go more with modern high gain stuff with fewer older stuff? Or is that just me? haha.
    I love the DiMarzio Tone Zone in the bridge of my alder tele, but that pickup does scoop the mids some in it's frequency range; which probably wouldn't be right for you. I agree about the DiMarzio/Modern-Duncan/Classic point and I prefer DiMarzios. However, I've always had good results choosing pickups by using DiMarzio's descriptions on their website and the reviews on Harmony Central.
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    I've found the Duncan Custom Custom to be a sweet midrange/growl pickup. It's very "brown" in the guitars I've got it in (a Kramer & Stienberger GR). The DiMarzios I have installed are a PAF and a Tone Zone (both in Ernie Ball Music Man copies) and while they're ok, they don't have the tone of the Custom Custom. The DiMarzios seem more subtle (still GREAT pickups though).

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    Quote Originally Posted by HipCat5 View Post
    I've found the Duncan Custom Custom to be a sweet midrange/growl pickup. It's very "brown" in the guitars I've got it in (a Kramer & Stienberger GR). The DiMarzios I have installed are a PAF and a Tone Zone (both in Ernie Ball Music Man copies) and while they're ok, they don't have the tone of the Custom Custom. The DiMarzios seem more subtle (still GREAT pickups though).
    +1 on the CC. I've never met a Dimarzio p/u I like...they all sound somewhat synthetic to me.
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    have my share of dimarzios and seymour duncans but , i dig the gibson 500T in my epi les paul custom.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Otis5150 View Post
    I love the DiMarzio Tone Zone in the bridge of my alder tele, but that pickup does scoop the mids some in it's frequency range; which probably wouldn't be right for you.
    The Tone Zone is ALL lower mids and upper bass.

    It's something like 9-9-4 on the frequency chart (bass/middle/treble)

    It has almost zero treble compared to almost every other pickup they have, so it's anything but scooped. It's a "frown" shape. Scooped would be like a '59, which is all bass & treble, but no mids.

    In the case above (Air Classic) it's a PAF with an A5 magnet, but it uses their "air" tickery to simulate an A2 magnet, giving it more mids while softening the treble & bass.

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    I've really liked the SD 59s I've put in a couple of guitars now.

    Also, for those seeking a P-90 tone, the SD Phat Cats are awesome! I've got a pair in a Wolfgang, and I find myself going to that guitar in the recording studio a lot.

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    Well I already have a Tone Zone that ... it was ok.. a lil TOO much bass and upper mids and not enough grit to it for me I guess,, I run a more older overdriven setup then high gain also I have to point out and the zone wasn't warm enough for me I guess.. good harmonics and sound not what i wanted. I have tried a Screamon Deamon hoping for more bite and yeah but not enough bass and a lil too much distortion for me.. I found that Pearly Gates was great but not enough bass either for me, the dimarzio PAF was great, clean, warm but not enough highs, and the air classic as i said seems like the mids are a little less, it almost has a "quack" sound to it.

    What bout the EVH or 78 model,, and anyone tried the virtual hot paf of dimarzio?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Majestic View Post
    The Tone Zone is ALL lower mids and upper bass.

    It's something like 9-9-4 on the frequency chart (bass/middle/treble)
    I stand corrected. Just went back and read the frequency chart. Must've been confusing it with something else. That aside, it sounds unreal in the bridge of my tele...
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    IMO, it really all depends on the guitar ...
    I have a Tone Zone in a VH1 replica I built which was made from mahogany and it sounds awesome. The same pickup in a guitar made from alder just doesn't sound all that good to me. I'd probably suggest trying the "Custom Custom" if the body is made of alder.

    I also have to say I'm a big fan of Gibson pickups too, especially the '57 Classic.
    Too bad they don't offer them "F-spaced".

    Also keep in mind that I have a high gain amp (5150).
    I believe that's also a big factor.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dino5150 View Post
    IMO, it really all depends on the guitar ...
    I have a Tone Zone in a VH1 replica I built which was made from mahogany and it sounds awesome. The same pickup in a guitar made from alder just doesn't sound all that good to me. I'd probably suggest trying the "Custom Custom" if the body is made of alder.

    I also have to say I'm a big fan of Gibson pickups too, especially the '57 Classic.
    Too bad they don't offer them "F-spaced".

    Also keep in mind that I have a high gain amp (5150).
    I believe that's also a big factor.
    Yeah that's exactly what I've been talking about, who here has found what pickups work best with what woods through what amps... I know the tone zone I got to my ears doesnt sound good through an older amp sound, they sound a little razzy sounding not warm,, and my PAF sounds not big enough in a high gain amp but perfect in my marshall..

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    Quote Originally Posted by Otis5150 View Post
    I stand corrected. Just went back and read the frequency chart. Must've been confusing it with something else. That aside, it sounds unreal in the bridge of my tele...
    Cool. I hope I didn't sound like a d*ck. And the other guys are right.....the same pickup can sound different across multiple guitars. In fact, the same pickup can sound different even in the SAME guitar depending on the frets and the setup. That happened to me.

    To the original poster: if you're hung-up on DiMarzio, you could try the Mo'Joe or the Fred for more growl without "offensiveness", or even a Breed.

    The Breed is like the Tone Zone, but with the mid focus shifted towards the upper mids, which make a "growling" sound through a Marshall-style amp. Less beef (while STILL being meaty), and more teeth, but without you having to cover your ears.


    If you're going Duncan, then either:
    1) buy a 59/Custom Hybrid with an A2 magnet from BachToRock, who assembles & sells them for the stock Duncan pickup price. It's like a Duncan Custom Shop '78 "on the cheap".

    2) suck it up and buy the '78. It somehow, some way, has growl, bite, warmth, yet clarity at the same time.

    By the way: sometimes you're not sure what somebody's point of view is when they're giving you recommendations. I don't own any of these pickups. I'm merely taking what you "sort of like", bouncing it off my knowledge from the psychos at the Duncan forums (and experience), and saying,

    "well, he likes what he has, but wants to cut a bit of the fat, and get back some tiger-like growl".

    In no way am I suggesting that any of these recommendations are the "ultimate" pickup, or anything like that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Majestic View Post
    Cool. I hope I didn't sound like a d*ck. And the other guys are right.....the same pickup can sound different across multiple guitars. In fact, the same pickup can sound different even in the SAME guitar depending on the frets and the setup. That happened to me.

    To the original poster: if you're hung-up on DiMarzio, you could try the Mo'Joe or the Fred for more growl without "offensiveness", or even a Breed.

    The Breed is like the Tone Zone, but with the mid focus shifted towards the upper mids, which make a "growling" sound through a Marshall-style amp. Less beef (while STILL being meaty), and more teeth, but without you having to cover your ears.


    If you're going Duncan, then either:
    1) buy a 59/Custom Hybrid with an A2 magnet from BachToRock, who assembles & sells them for the stock Duncan pickup price. It's like a Duncan Custom Shop '78 "on the cheap".

    2) suck it up and buy the '78. It somehow, some way, has growl, bite, warmth, yet clarity at the same time.

    By the way: sometimes you're not sure what somebody's point of view is when they're giving you recommendations. I don't own any of these pickups. I'm merely taking what you "sort of like", bouncing it off my knowledge from the psychos at the Duncan forums (and experience), and saying,

    "well, he likes what he has, but wants to cut a bit of the fat, and get back some tiger-like growl".

    In no way am I suggesting that any of these recommendations are the "ultimate" pickup, or anything like that.

    That's exactly what I wanted, I didnt know about the 59/custom hybrid... might have to try that one.. Pick ups are so hard cause you can't exactly try them out on the cheap and the only way to really know if it's right for you or not is to buy it, stick it in and just play for awhile. I know most have a refund policy but you feel like a dick if you try 10 pick ups to not buy ya know?

    I think we all pretty much want that classic VHI sound of lots of bass, mids and treble, with bite and growl and snarl to it, but yet I want it to be able to be versitle and sound good with a clean setting too. Over the years I've tried different woods and pick ups and amps and pedals and in the end you shell out a lot of dough for something that collects dust on a shelf, and it's good to have a sound board here with people.

    I guess to explain my situation I have a OLD dimarzio PAF that I bought from a magazine add when I was 15 in 1985. My baby pick up I call it. I found a jem in it, just the day it was made it had mojo to it. In my bands I would get other guitar players braggin on their JB's, Pearly Gates, Super Distortions, all that stuff, then they'd hear my guitar and set up and go.. DAMN. But I'll admit even though the tone was increadible it seemed like I was always wanted just a hair more treble and for my volume to go to 11.. so I always tried and bought different pick ups through the years and I stick it in and go yeah this one is it,, then after a couple months I stick my baby pick up back in and go,, dont know why I left you,, well the baby pick up doesnt work now and I'm searching for something like it..

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    I got an EMG active 81 in my new VHII replica and it sings, howls and is as brown as I want it to be. I recommend it highly.

    I also recommend any Godin bridge pick-up - yes Godin. My Godin LGT has probably the best rock sound around for the $
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    Quote Originally Posted by Majestic View Post
    Cool. I hope I didn't sound like a d*ck. And the other guys are right.....the same pickup can sound different across multiple guitars. In fact, the same pickup can sound different even in the SAME guitar depending on the frets and the setup. That happened to me.
    Not at all. Actually, sometimes I think the same pickup in the same guitar can sound different on any given day...
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