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  1. #1
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    10.26.16 @ 03:37 PM
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    Default Shootout: Best Pickup in a Basswood guitar

    Ok guys. I have a guitar with a solid basswood body. It's not the lightest basswood in the world -- actually, it is similar to the feel of alder, just not as hard. I would say it sounds a little darker than your average basswood guitar. I tried a Tone Zone in it and it felt kinda dead and dark to me (and tone zones are my go-to pickup for most of my guitars). I have a Mean Street Guitars Intruder pickup in there now, but it sounds too bitey and not very clean through my rig, so I'm looking to try something new in this guitar. The guitar has a floyd, and an all maple neck.

    So here is the challenge: What is your favorite bridge humbucker for a basswood guitar!? Keep in mind that I play an original 5150, and my musical style is similar to VH, ZZ Top, with a little more modern metal thrown in. (In other words, don't suggest your favorite clean-blues pickup to me...)


    As always, I'd like a really nice, balanced, rock and roll pickup that I can play huge chords on and have every note ring out, but I can also nail harmonics of all kinds on, and not have the thing sound like an ice pick through my 5150 But really, I need a pickup that rocks, but has a smoothness to it, since the 5150 doesn't need any help being a punchy beast all on it's own.

    So, lets have us a little shootout and see if there is a general consensus of what I should try in this guitar. Also, if any custom pickup guys think they have a sweet pickup for me to try out, let me know. If 3 or 4 custom guys chime in and wanna send me pickups, I'd be happy to do a full youtube video tone test shootout between them, and whatever the best 'name brand' suggested pickup is!
    Last edited by mrjstudios; 01.04.10 at 12:17 AM.

  2. #2
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    12.14.17 @ 12:39 PM
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    The Duncan 78 is a great pickup. It's a bit trebly and thin, almost like a single coil, but it has great clarity and harmonics. I tried it in a basswood body and quite liked it. In fact, it's sitting around waiting to be put into another basswood body project I can't seem to finish. I also play an original 5150 and I liked how it behaved with the amp. I also have an EVH Frankenstein pickup that is quite good as well. Voiced very similar to the 78 but with more output. I haven't tried it in basswood yet but it sounds great with the 5150. Right now those are my two favourite pickups.

  3. #3
    Baluchitherium
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    04.02.15 @ 07:26 AM
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    i have a lot of guitars fitted with a Duncan Pearly Gates (the Billy Gibbons pup), i have to say that for me, its perhaps the best pickup i've ever used, although it's not a high output type, its more along the lines of a good PAF, works very well with tons of amps including the 5150 and jcm800 that i usually use.
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  4. #4
    Romeo Delight markswolf's Avatar
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    08.21.12 @ 09:17 AM
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    some of my prefered pickups are duncan JB & 59's,worth a shot

  5. #5
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    07.04.16 @ 08:03 PM
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    Maybe try the GFS VEH. I liked it a lot in an ash guitar and found it to be a little too bright in alder. I bet it would sound nice and warm in basswood.

  6. #6
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    10.26.16 @ 03:37 PM
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    Ya know guys, it's funny -- I was leaning toward a Pearly Gates and either a VEH or a GFS Alnico pickup. I've played a Frankie pickup and I really like it, but I want something smoother in this guitar. I've got a VEH in a no-name wood guitar (it's as light and soft as BALSA wood, yes, Balsa wood), and I actually really like it in that.

    Now on the other end, I really like John Petrucci's tone, and I've had overall much better luck with dimarzio's than Duncans, so maybe I'll try a D-Sonic or a Crunch lab and go that route... he does play them in a basswood guitar.

    Anyway, so many options, still a lot of thinking to do.
    Last edited by mrjstudios; 01.05.10 at 12:48 AM.

  7. #7
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    12.14.17 @ 12:39 PM
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrjstudios View Post
    Ya know guys, it's funny -- I was leaning toward a Pearly Gates and either a VEH or a GFS Alnico pickup. I've played a Frankie pickup and I really like it, but I want something smoother in this guitar. I've got a VEH in a no-name wood guitar (it's as light and soft as BALSA wood, yes, Balsa wood), and I actually really like it in that.

    Now on the other end, I really like John Petrucci's tone, and I've had overall much better luck with dimarzio's than Duncans, so maybe I'll try a D-Sonic or a Crunch lab and go that route... he does play them in a basswood guitar.

    Anyway, so many options, still a lot of thinking to do.


    I find I'm the opposite. I rarely get along with Dimarzios for some weird reason. I bond with Duncans easily but Dimarzios all sound like mud when I use them, very uninspiring.

    In a mellower, warmer sounding wood like basswood I would be inclined to go with a brighter pickup, maybe something a little hotter too if you are installing a Floyd, especially if you have a rosewood neck. With an all maple neck I wouldn't want a pickup that is too bright.

  8. #8
    Good Enough SLEEPER5150's Avatar
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    12.03.10 @ 03:16 PM
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    I'd recommend the Pearly Gates or the 59', as I think these give great all around performance in basswood with excellent definition, but the important key to the '59 is that the rear pickup slot on the guitar is not located to closely to the bridge, especially with a Floyd. If it's relatively standard in it's location, then you should be golden, but on some of the more shredder oriented guitars (Ibanez/ESP/Shechter), the brightness is just too much to take with a lower output PAF style P/U. Another key point with basswood, is it is a wood that mellows very audibly with age. Most guitars sound better as they age, but one thing I've noticed on my basswood models with some 20 years on is they develop a real nice crisp bell like tone, and they become extremely resonant over time as moisture gradually disapates. Think of a cedar topped acoustic kind of resonance. If your guitar has got some mileage, this is definately a benefit, and either of these pickups will be that much better a choice.
    She looks so $#@!'n good ,so sexy and so frail....Somethin's got the bite on me, I'm goin' straight to Hell.

  9. #9
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    12.14.17 @ 08:20 PM
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    I'm really curious about this topic. I'm thinking about replacing the stock pickups in my Wolfgang for something smoother. The Wolfgang pups are just too hot for me.

  10. #10
    Good Enough SLEEPER5150's Avatar
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    12.03.10 @ 03:16 PM
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    Quote Originally Posted by ledvedder View Post
    I'm really curious about this topic. I'm thinking about replacing the stock pickups in my Wolfgang for something smoother. The Wolfgang pups are just too hot for me.
    To that end, it's kinda hard to imagine a Wolf sounding differently than how it was intended. I know it's been out for quite a while, and it's a classic in it's own right, but I dunno. Who the hell am I to say.....I've changed or modified the pups in most of my guitars anyhow. Why should you be different? LOL!
    She looks so $#@!'n good ,so sexy and so frail....Somethin's got the bite on me, I'm goin' straight to Hell.

  11. #11
    Little Dreamer BSE's Avatar
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    08.30.17 @ 06:31 PM
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    Have you considered the vhII from bareknuckles? I've followed your posts so I know that you're not a hack. I also run a 5150 original setup and had a FRED pickup lying around. I'm pleased with the clarity and performance, but you'll have to deviate from your normal settings to get it to sound right. The main question is do you go for tone from the preamp or postamp of the 5150?

  12. #12
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    10.26.16 @ 03:37 PM
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    Quote Originally Posted by BSE View Post
    Have you considered the vhII from bareknuckles? I've followed your posts so I know that you're not a hack. I also run a 5150 original setup and had a FRED pickup lying around. I'm pleased with the clarity and performance, but you'll have to deviate from your normal settings to get it to sound right. The main question is do you go for tone from the preamp or postamp of the 5150?
    Well, I've heard of the Bareknuckles pickup. I kinda though it was more of an early VH sound... meaning, really raw and punchy. I'd like to try one sometime before buying it, but I haven't tracked one down yet. I do not like the tone Satriani gets at all, although I'm a fan of most other dimarzio pickups.

    I use both the preamp and power section of my 5150 to get my tone. I use about as much gain on the front end as EVH did in the 90's, and I try to crank the power up as much as I can.

 

 

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