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  1. #1
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    12.14.17 @ 12:39 PM
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    Default SD 78 & Basswood

    Is anyone using a Seymour Duncan 78 in a basswood strat body with a maple neck? I put this pickup in a project guitar I'm close to finishing and early testing has left some interesting and unexpected results.

    The 78 is very clear and articulate. It has harmonics for days but it is a bit thin sounding, almost like a single coil but just a bit beefier, but by no means thick and beefy the way some humbuckers are. It's also a bit noisy. I don't know if the thinness has to do with the basswood body but I wasn't expecting this from a humbucker...and it doesn't sound bad, it's a very nice pickup, just wasn't what I was expecting.

    My only amp right now is an original 5150 and I must say, this pickup and guitar combination really changes the sound of my 5150. It doesn't sound nearly as aggressive and nasty as I'm used too...it almost has more of a Marshall kerrang to it know. Again, I'm not criticizing, it's just I'm not used to that sound at all from a 5150.

    I need to finish the guitar and do more testing. I'm going to give it a good few months of playing before I make a final decision, but right now I am a bit shocked at the results.

    What experiences do you guys have with the SD 78? How about an alder guitar? If I don't keep this combination together, what would you guys recommend for a 5150 with a basswood guitar?

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    Hot For Teacher VanLaing5150's Avatar
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    12.26.11 @ 12:28 AM
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    Have you checked over at the Seymour Duncan boards? As I remember quite a few people have tried the '78 in basswood and have like the result. I've put a very similar pickup to the '78 in an alder body guitar running through 5150III and liked the character of the sound very much. I do get what you are saying about the single-coil'ness of the pickup though...listening to some of those early boots from 79-82 it almost sounds like a beefed-up single coil...too each his own.
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    10.26.16 @ 03:37 PM
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    Interesting. I've had the same kind of results with various pickups (for example, the GFS VEH). None of them sounded bad at all -- just VERY different thru my 5150. For a basswood guitar like yours, into a 5150, I'd say a DiMarzio Tone Zone is your best bet for clear, but still powerful great EVH-ish tone. (it can sound a lot of different ways too) The 5150 was designed for the Axis pickup, which is almost identical to the Tone Zone.

    Another thing to try: turn on your crunch switch, turn off the bright switch, and turn the preamp gain to 9-10 on your rhythm channel and play thru that. I've found that with the pickups that responded to the 5150 like you are describing (mostly the early EVH tone copy pickups like the SD 78), they really seem to shine thru the rhythm channel when run like that. Sounds SUPER Marshall-y... you'd be surprised to hear it coming from a 5150!

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    12.14.17 @ 12:39 PM
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrjstudios View Post
    Interesting. I've had the same kind of results with various pickups (for example, the GFS VEH). None of them sounded bad at all -- just VERY different thru my 5150. For a basswood guitar like yours, into a 5150, I'd say a DiMarzio Tone Zone is your best bet for clear, but still powerful great EVH-ish tone. (it can sound a lot of different ways too) The 5150 was designed for the Axis pickup, which is almost identical to the Tone Zone.

    Another thing to try: turn on your crunch switch, turn off the bright switch, and turn the preamp gain to 9-10 on your rhythm channel and play thru that. I've found that with the pickups that responded to the 5150 like you are describing (mostly the early EVH tone copy pickups like the SD 78), they really seem to shine thru the rhythm channel when run like that. Sounds SUPER Marshall-y... you'd be surprised to hear it coming from a 5150!
    That's a good idea, I will try that. The rhythm channel still has more gain than a lot of other amps gain channel.

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    11.06.14 @ 04:06 AM
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    Quote Originally Posted by vhin04 View Post
    Is anyone using a Seymour Duncan 78 in a basswood strat body with a maple neck? I put this pickup in a project guitar I'm close to finishing and early testing has left some interesting and unexpected results.

    The 78 is very clear and articulate. It has harmonics for days but it is a bit thin sounding, almost like a single coil but just a bit beefier, but by no means thick and beefy the way some humbuckers are. It's also a bit noisy. I don't know if the thinness has to do with the basswood body but I wasn't expecting this from a humbucker...and it doesn't sound bad, it's a very nice pickup, just wasn't what I was expecting.

    My only amp right now is an original 5150 and I must say, this pickup and guitar combination really changes the sound of my 5150. It doesn't sound nearly as aggressive and nasty as I'm used too...it almost has more of a Marshall kerrang to it know. Again, I'm not criticizing, it's just I'm not used to that sound at all from a 5150.

    I need to finish the guitar and do more testing. I'm going to give it a good few months of playing before I make a final decision, but right now I am a bit shocked at the results.

    What experiences do you guys have with the SD 78? How about an alder guitar? If I don't keep this combination together, what would you guys recommend for a 5150 with a basswood guitar?

    Oddly enough- the SD 78 sounds like a single coil to me, as well. I have it in a mahogany bodied guitar. Weird...
    Dammit!!! I still smell like cotton candy!!!

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    Ya I was surprised at the thinness of it...but I also have a Floyd on this guitar so that doesn't help I suppose. But I'm liking the pickup quite a bit, it's very articulate and it reveals every tiny mistake you make, which is forcing me to play better. It's going to take some getting used to that's for sure.

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    12.06.17 @ 10:09 AM
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    I've experienced the best tones from an EVH '78 when I paired it with Northern Ash. Alder and mahogany, not so much... basswood- never tried it.

  8. #8
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    12.15.17 @ 07:25 AM
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrjstudios View Post
    Interesting. I've had the same kind of results with various pickups (for example, the GFS VEH). None of them sounded bad at all -- just VERY different thru my 5150. For a basswood guitar like yours, into a 5150, I'd say a DiMarzio Tone Zone is your best bet for clear, but still powerful great EVH-ish tone. (it can sound a lot of different ways too) The 5150 was designed for the Axis pickup, which is almost identical to the Tone Zone.

    Another thing to try: turn on your crunch switch, turn off the bright switch, and turn the preamp gain to 9-10 on your rhythm channel and play thru that. I've found that with the pickups that responded to the 5150 like you are describing (mostly the early EVH tone copy pickups like the SD 78), they really seem to shine thru the rhythm channel when run like that. Sounds SUPER Marshall-y... you'd be surprised to hear it coming from a 5150!
    I don't turn my preamp gain up that high , but I have also found a little preamp push to be a big help when I switch from my Wolfgang to my guitar with the SD78 pickup.

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    12.15.17 @ 12:08 PM
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    I think the 5150 sounds much better through the crunch channel. The thing that I have discovered is that the amp sounds much better if you let an overdrive pedal do some of the boosting. I now play my 5150 combo with both the crunch and bright buttons off, and the pre-gain set to about 6.5 to 7. I use a Boss Super Overdrive in front of the amp. This allows you to get a relatively clean sound out of your amp with the pedal off and the volume on your guitar rolled back. When you roll the guitar volume to 10, the amp gives you a good semi-dirty classic rock tone. When you kick on the pedal, you have a good early VH tone.

    BTW: Play throught the low gain input.
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    10.26.16 @ 03:37 PM
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    Quote Originally Posted by clawedmonet View Post
    I don't turn my preamp gain up that high , but I have also found a little preamp push to be a big help when I switch from my Wolfgang to my guitar with the SD78 pickup.
    If you run guitar straight to amp, you can get away with having it that high with one of these 'vintage EVH' or just plain vintage pickups. It has only slightly more gain then Ed's old Marshall. (Unless you have perhaps all Electro Harmonix preamp tubes ...)

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    5150 clawedmonet's Avatar
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    12.15.17 @ 07:25 AM
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrjstudios View Post
    If you run guitar straight to amp, you can get away with having it that high with one of these 'vintage EVH' or just plain vintage pickups. It has only slightly more gain then Ed's old Marshall. (Unless you have perhaps all Electro Harmonix preamp tubes ...)
    Hahaha! The coincidence is that my preamp tubes need to be replaced. I'll stay away from the Electro Harmonix!

    I run "pretty much" straight to the amp - only the flanger, phaser, carbon copy and noise gate are between the guitar and the amp. Tone is so subjective, anyway. I'll love my tone one day, go back to play at exactly the same settings and hate it. It's tough to be Clawed.

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    12.14.17 @ 12:39 PM
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrjstudios View Post
    If you run guitar straight to amp, you can get away with having it that high with one of these 'vintage EVH' or just plain vintage pickups. It has only slightly more gain then Ed's old Marshall. (Unless you have perhaps all Electro Harmonix preamp tubes ...)
    Actually I do have EH preamp tubes across the board...what's up with the EH tubes? I haven't had any problems with them and with my other guitars my 5150 sounds tremendous. This pickup has me stumped at the moment...

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    10.26.16 @ 03:37 PM
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    Quote Originally Posted by vhin04 View Post
    Actually I do have EH preamp tubes across the board...what's up with the EH tubes? I haven't had any problems with them and with my other guitars my 5150 sounds tremendous. This pickup has me stumped at the moment...
    It depends, I was kinda kidding when I gave them a bad rap. The 5150 was designed somewhat for 'bad' preamp tubes. JJ's don't sound right in it if you are going for the true EVH/5150 tone. Right now, I'm running a Tung Sol reissue in V1, and chinese (YES, CHINESE) preamp tubes in the rest of the slots. I've had all JJs, and a fair amount of other brand combinations, and this mix is by far the best the amp has sounded. The 2nd best it has sounded was with a mix of 90's GT 12AX7s, 1 90's EH, and the rest older chinese tubes -- all of which are some of the worst regarded 12AX7s.

    Basically, some of the 90's EH's are terrible. Like if I put 2 in V1 and V2 of my 5150 combo, it sounds like I'm running a fuzz pedal -- seriously! But then again, I've had 2-3 of them in my 5150 head and it sounded pretty good overall. It just depends on the era of the EH tubes.
    Last edited by mrjstudios; 03.24.09 at 04:06 PM.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrjstudios View Post
    It has only slightly more gain then Ed's old Marshall. (Unless you have perhaps all Electro Harmonix preamp tubes ...)
    Can you clarify your thoughts on that a bit?

    Because the way I'm reading it, you're suggesting that Ed's old Plexi has gain levels almost equivalent to a 5150. That of course isn't even remotely true. And that's BEFORE we even hit the "Lead" channel.

    I'm surprised by your remark about the Tone Zone as well. I've never heard anyone describe the Tone Zone as "clear". If anything, the first word that comes to people's minds is "mud", especially in pickup forums. That's certainly one of the reasons I never jacked the gain on my 5150 with my Axis guitars. Yikes. Preamp distortion at "3" on the Rythm Channel was as heavy as I ever went for classic VH with a 5150. MAYBE 4.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Majestic View Post
    Can you clarify your thoughts on that a bit?

    Because the way I'm reading it, you're suggesting that Ed's old Plexi has gain levels almost equivalent to a 5150. That of course isn't even remotely true. And that's BEFORE we even hit the "Lead" channel.

    I'm surprised by your remark about the Tone Zone as well. I've never heard anyone describe the Tone Zone as "clear". If anything, the first word that comes to people's minds is "mud", especially in pickup forums. That's certainly one of the reasons I never jacked the gain on my 5150 with my Axis guitars. Yikes. Preamp distortion at "3" on the Rythm Channel was as heavy as I ever went for classic VH with a 5150. MAYBE 4.
    With the rhythm channel (crunch out) from pre-gain 7-10 on my 5150 head, I'd say it has just a little more gain then how Ed's Marshall sounded, if not about the same. I've played with a 50 watt Super Lead clone quite a bit, and honestly they are close. Yes, the 5150 sounds more modern, etc. etc., but the overall gain/compression/harmonics is about the same. (I should mention my EQ settings are pretty backed off, so that may be why I can get away with higher pre-gain settings).

    Also, I'm talking NO pedals -- straight from guitar to amp.

    Of course the 5150 in general has MUCH more gain then the Marshall -- you are correct. Also, remember that a lot of the 'gain' people think about comes from the massive power tube distortion that Ed achieved with his Marshall. So when I say the 5150 comes close on the rhythm channel on 7-10, I realize it is doing it in a VERY different way. The 5150 having pretty much 95% of the 'gain/distortion/compression' coming from the preamp, and the Marshall having perhaps only 50-60% of it coming from the preamp.

    As for the Tone Zone, in a basswood (or similar light wood) guitar with or without a maple cap, I have had great luck. It was designed basically for the Axis type of guitar, as it is nearly the same pickup as the Axis pickup (as I have been told, and it sure seems to be). When put in that type of guitar, I think it is really clear sounding -- every note in a chord can be heard. I mean, listen to anything on Balance. Super-chimey and clear throughout, and that is basically an Axis through a 5150. The bootlegs from that era were also very crisp. And I know for a fact EVH was using the lead channel on pre-gain 6-7 for that tour. Very different sound then old EVH, (much more gain, etc.) but still very articulate. I should mention also that I have tried a Tone Zone in a very heavy/dense guitar -- and it is VERY dark, and fairly muddy in there.

 

 

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