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vega

Pickup Advice (Bridge Humbuckers)

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I'm considering replacing the stock Gibson bridge pickup in my SG with something else, and wondered if anyone had anything they would recommend? Either companies or specific pickups.

 

Live, I play through a Marshall Vintage Modern 100w and use the "high dynamic range" channel as my main sound overall. I use an EQ pedal to quieten things every now and again, but mostly try and use the overall dynamic of specific parts to determine how much gain is needed, how hard to dig in, etc. 

 

In the studio, I use the same amp and guitar, but double almost everything with a Fender Jazzmaster.

The results can be heard here: http://carsonwells.bandcamp.com

 

In terms of the sound I'm going for with a new pick-up, I'd like something tighter from the guitar, with a little bit more definition, whilst keeping the overall dynamic control (if this makes sense?!). I'm happy with the way the amp sounds, but want a bit more clarity overall. I can achieve this at the moment by rolling back the pre-amp gain on the amp, but this inevitably makes things a lot cleaner and I'd rather avoid this. I've tried reversing how the current set-up works by rolling off the amp gain and boosting using an EQ, but it sounds too hyper/forced.

 

So far, I've been tempted by:

 

Di Marzio 'Super Distortion' - simply because Iain McKaye of Fugazi used one in his SG (played through a Marshall), and is probably the king of the whole 'dynamic' sound.

 

Bare Knuckle 'The Mule' - recommended by the chap who recorded the album posted above, and viewed as a half-way house between my current live sound and the overall sound of the album. 

 

Apologies for the long essay. Any help is appreciated! 

 

 

Edited by vega

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Gibson SG Special Faded (made around 2000, according to the serial number). 

 

Stock pickups are Gibson 490R and 490T.

 

Thanks for those suggestions, I'll check them out! 

 

Is there any particular reason for going for a ceramic magnet? I have never replaced pickups in a guitar before and I'm clueless over stuff like that. 

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Fail safe:

 

Seymour Duncan JB, use widely through out all music styles and you can pick them up very cheap.

 

Cheers for this! 

 

I've been watching some of the test videos on YouTube. A fair few of them test the JB against the likes of the Custom Custom and Seymour Duncan's own version of the Super Distortion. Against the SD Distortion, the JB seems a lot clearer, but the Custom Custom is definitely the most 'smooth' sounding of all three. Definitely plenty of weight in the JB too.

 

I long for the day when YouTube gear videos don't consist solely of E-to-G powerchords and pentatonic noodling. Bah. 

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I have one in a mahogany bodied superstrat which is tuned uber low, so naturally I have to crank the mids and treble to make it cut more.


however in different guitars I've played in regular tuning they are brighter.

 

guys in the last band used Duncan Invaders tuned in drop C, didn't much care for his tone. too shrill and top end, not much bottom end either, and that was with a heavy LTD eclipse.

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I have one in a mahogany bodied superstrat which is tuned uber low, so naturally I have to crank the mids and treble to make it cut more.

however in different guitars I've played in regular tuning they are brighter.

 

guys in the last band used Duncan Invaders tuned in drop C, didn't much care for his tone. too shrill and top end, not much bottom end either, and that was with a heavy LTD eclipse.

 

A JB in your Strat? 

 

I tune around Open D and really push my mids (around 7/8) normally. 

 

A former bandmate of mine also had Duncan Invaders (in an Epiphone Les Paul Custom). They seemed a bit of a one-trick pony, only good for intricate metal picking. Terrible clean sound.

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To me straight away wanting something mid focused with clarity on chords and for a tight sound = bareknuckle aftermath. However I think it sounds a bit thin at lower gain settings and I always preferred the warpig for everything other than modern metal type tones.

 

Don't know how well they'd fit in with your sound though as they are very much marketed at the metal community. The warpig has great clean tones though. You're welcome to try my guitars that have them but again they are quite different to what you use.

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To me straight away wanting something mid focused with clarity on chords and for a tight sound = bareknuckle aftermath. However I think it sounds a bit thin at lower gain settings and I always preferred the warpig for everything other than modern metal type tones.

 

Don't know how well they'd fit in with your sound though as they are very much marketed at the metal community. The warpig has great clean tones though. You're welcome to try my guitars that have them but again they are quite different to what you use.

 

I went through all of the Bare Knuckle sound clips yesterday and remember liking the Aftermath's clean. It's "applications" list punk as the first relevant genre of music, but the sound clips (other than the clean) are 'modern metal' and 'death metal'. While I totally get what you mean in regards to a tight sound with plenty of mids (it sounds great in those clips), it's hard to get an idea of what it's like through a 'driven' amp when it seems marketed for a distorted metal sound.

 

I might well take you up on the offer to try out your guitars. Which pick-ups do you use? Are there any of your guitars which are tuned close to Open-D/E-Standard?

 

I joined the Bare Knuckle Pickup forum and will post my query there. 

 
For the time being, though, I'm tempted to stick to Seymour Duncan and Di Marzio both for price and availability of samples. 

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My 7 string has a calibrated set of aftermaths and is tuned AEADGBE so if you just ignore the lowest string then it's in standard! The guitar with the warpig in the bridge is CGCFAD. It has a bareknuckle nailbomb in the neck. Both guitars have the bridge pickup coil tapped too if you want to see what a tapped aftermath/warpig is like. They are both mahogany bodied super strats but one is very slim and the other is quite a bit heavier so not sure how they would compare to your guitars.

 

I do have a 6 string with an aftermath but it's off getting the nut replaced and I don't know when it will be back with me.

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.

I tried to PM you but it wasn't working. You want to try them out? I'm free all tomorrow and Sunday night which is unusual for me so ideal time.

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Someone trying to buy records said they couldn't PM me either....hmm. 

 

Sorry dude, I'm back in Dundee now. Many thanks for the offer though! I'll get in touch soon. 

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Someone trying to buy records said they couldn't PM me either....hmm. 

 

Sorry dude, I'm back in Dundee now. Many thanks for the offer though! I'll get in touch soon. 

It must be the number of messages in your inbox. Quite a few people have had that problem since switch to the new software. I think the message limit used to be much higher and it's now only 100. So just delete old PM's and it should work again.

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I put a Seymour Duncan JB in the bridge of my SG (and a jazz in the neck) and it made a whoooring difference for the better. Managed to track down pickup covers for them too so they look like stock but sound superb.

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Ended up going for the Bare Knuckle Riff Raff in the bridge and a Mule in the neck. Really excited to get them installed! 

 

Ordered the pickups direct from Bare Knuckle on Monday and they arrived on Thursday. The customer service was outstanding, and considering that their pickups are hand-made to order, the turn-around was exceptionally quick. 

 

Thanks again to everyone for their suggestions and comments! 

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