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Unread 03-28-2009, 07:58 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Best Metal/Shredding/Pinch Harmonic Pickup?

What do you think is the best. I would prefer black non-covered pickups (black covers with chrome poles and slugs). Not EMGs because I have a whole bunch of them.

And let the light that will be shed on this topic save me.

Last edited by SABLE; 03-29-2009 at 09:21 AM.
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Unread 03-28-2009, 08:06 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Best Metal/Shredding/Pinch Harmonic Pickup?

Any of Bill Lawrence's L-500 series would be great for that. IMO they're about the best passive pickups for those technique. Home PageHe builds an incredible pickup, custom made to order, for a great price ($60 or less.) From a legendary pickup maker that's pretty incredible. Don't buy from anyone but his site though, there are some terrible copies out there that even say Bill Lawrence on them. His wife Becky is a sweetheart and they have the best customer service. Dimebag and Nuno used his pickup all the time, (as do many metal, rock, country and jazz players, it's that versatile.)

Aside from the Blackouts, (or the soon to be released EMG X Series,) you might try the Dimarzio D-Activators, DiMarzio D Activator from zZounds.com!, which are designed to sound like actives in a passive design. Also have great harmonics and really impressive tone. Their Fred, Mo Joe, and Tone Zone are good choices too.

From Duncan, the Pearly Gates is great, and it's lower output. The Screamin' Demon is a bit hotter, and then the Custom and Custom 5 are great for that as well. The Distortion is a bit hotter, (too hot for me,) but also does the pinch harmonic thing well. Also, the Parallel Axis buckers, (all of them,) are awesome pickups for that style. Lastly, the venerable JB is always worth a look for heavier music.

I'm a low-output pickup kinda guy myself, and what helped me most with pinch harmonics and speed was switching to small, stiff pick, (like the Dunlop Jazztones or Jazz III,) and lots of practice. Now I can get them without any distortion easily, every time.

Anyway, good luck!
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Unread 03-28-2009, 08:17 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Best Metal/Shredding/Pinch Harmonic Pickup?

Full-On Distortion, A5 model.



There are many models from many makers that would fit the bill. Just gotta choose one and try it out.
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Unread 03-28-2009, 09:01 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Best Metal/Shredding/Pinch Harmonic Pickup?



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Unread 03-28-2009, 09:03 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Best Metal/Shredding/Pinch Harmonic Pickup?

if you want to go with passive, dimarzio d activator

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Unread 03-28-2009, 10:48 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Best Metal/Shredding/Pinch Harmonic Pickup?

Go Dimarzio, D-Activator, or Tone Zone...
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Unread 03-28-2009, 11:35 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Best Metal/Shredding/Pinch Harmonic Pickup?

Quote:
Originally Posted by oilpit View Post
Go Dimarzio, D-Activator, or Tone Zone...
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Unread 03-28-2009, 11:42 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Best Metal/Shredding/Pinch Harmonic Pickup?

I've heard that active pickups are better for pinch harmonics, and I've had good experiences with them.
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Unread 03-29-2009, 01:06 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Best Metal/Shredding/Pinch Harmonic Pickup?

EMG 81's for the Pinch Harmonics. If you already have multiple sets of those, check out the Seymour Duncan Blackouts.

(Otherwise, then you're in passive territory...and I don't even know where to begin to offer any sort of rational explanation on passive pickups because there might be something about many of them that you might not like.)
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Unread 03-29-2009, 01:29 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Best Metal/Shredding/Pinch Harmonic Pickup?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SABLE View Post
I've heard that active pickups are better for pinch harmonics, and I've had good experiences with them.
If your only concerned with output, actives are the only way to go. the EMG 81 and the SD Blackouts are gonna have the craziest harmonics on the block.
I would still recommend passives 10 times out of 10 though, they just sound better.
(IMO)
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Unread 03-29-2009, 01:44 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: Best Metal/Shredding/Pinch Harmonic Pickup?

Quote:
Originally Posted by oilpit View Post
If your only concerned with output, actives are the only way to go. the EMG 81 and the SD Blackouts are gonna have the craziest harmonics on the block.
I would still recommend passives 10 times out of 10 though, they just sound better.
(IMO)
Oilpit....have you ever tried a set of SD blackouts personally?
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Unread 03-29-2009, 01:51 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: Best Metal/Shredding/Pinch Harmonic Pickup?

Quote:
Originally Posted by The_Sentry View Post
Oilpit....have you ever tried a set of SD blackouts personally?
I haven't, I do really want to, them and the EMG X series.
I have heard nothing but good things about the SD actives and from the clips I've heard they sound much much better than other actives.
I have tried EMGs, I even owned a guitar with a 81/85 set for a while, you can guess what I thought of them.
But, I got no beef with blackouts, if I had a guitar to put them in I might even try a set, but I am still going to recomend passives to someone because I haven't had experience with them. After re-reading the post I realize how it sounded, my apologies if it came off badly...
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Unread 03-29-2009, 02:03 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Re: Best Metal/Shredding/Pinch Harmonic Pickup?

Bill Lawrence was a good one,,Also the SD Dime Bucker is one....
But One that Impresses me (Both power, and price) is the Dimarzio Super Destortion...
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Unread 03-29-2009, 09:23 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Re: Best Metal/Shredding/Pinch Harmonic Pickup?

I am a total metalhead. About 15 is the ballpark I want to be in.
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Unread 03-29-2009, 03:16 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Re: Best Metal/Shredding/Pinch Harmonic Pickup?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SABLE View Post
I am a total metalhead. About 15 is the ballpark I want to be in.
It's important not to put too much stock in a pickup's DC resistance. A lot of variables affect that #, and overall it doesn't tell you very much about how a pickup will sound or respond, especially if comparing pickups from different brands. It's become pretty standard for guitarists talking pickups,
but it's not an indicator of very much on its own. (For example there are some WCR pickups in that range that sound very vintage and not very hot. Likewise for some of Bill Lawrence's stuff.)

Inductance is a much more objective indicator of output, but still, output and tone/response are very different issues.


Anyway--


If you don't want EMGs, since you have some, but want an active pickup, there aren't that many options. SD LiveWires, Blackouts and the Dave Mustaine set is about it, until EMG releases the X series. The only other thing I can think of is hunting down some old Bartolini's, or buying the little preamp from Guitar Fetish, and making your own actives, (25Db Mini Guitar Boost circuit- TINY size- HUGE Gain!.) (I've never used that, and part of me is skeptical of how turning passives into actives would sound, but another part is kind of curious. I think GF is a great shop, though, and they really care about tone and value.)

So anyway, seems like Duncan is your main option. In case you don't know, Duncan has a 21-day exchange program, so order a set of Duncan actives, and if you don't like them, exchange for one of their other active sets.

Good luck!
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Unread 03-29-2009, 04:05 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Re: Best Metal/Shredding/Pinch Harmonic Pickup?

I like the Dimarzio Super Distortion for pinch harmonics. Duncan ALT. 8 is really good for that kinda stuff also
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Unread 03-29-2009, 04:18 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Re: Best Metal/Shredding/Pinch Harmonic Pickup?

Quote:
Originally Posted by gmacdonnell View Post
I'm a low-output pickup kinda guy myself, and what helped me most with pinch harmonics and speed was switching to small, stiff pick, (like the Dunlop Jazztones or Jazz III,) and lots of practice. Now I can get them without any distortion easily, every time.

So true, if you can´t do it clean/unplugged you can´t really do it distorted either
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Unread 03-29-2009, 05:07 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Re: Best Metal/Shredding/Pinch Harmonic Pickup?

i love 498's
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Unread 03-29-2009, 05:13 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Re: Best Metal/Shredding/Pinch Harmonic Pickup?

Bareknuckles.

Tim Mills is a true MetalHead himself!!!
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Unread 03-29-2009, 07:52 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Re: Best Metal/Shredding/Pinch Harmonic Pickup?

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Bareknuckles.

Tim Mills is a true MetalHead himself!!!
So true! Kind of surprising the guy is a masterful metalhead, who played lead for Iced Earth, when you consider how gorgeous his vintage and low-output pickups are. And he's a black belt too! Some people are just extraordinarily talented and hard working.

I wasn't thinking of boutique answers to this question, but Bare Knuckles has to be the #1 in that realm.

The Warpig, Cold Sweat, Nail Bomb, Steve Stevens Rebel Yells: any of those would have killer tone for metal.
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Unread 03-29-2009, 07:57 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Re: Best Metal/Shredding/Pinch Harmonic Pickup?

I had EMG HZ's in a Schecter and added the AB circuit (on board active 20 db of Gain). I found that this made the guitar "hot". It would squeel without effort.
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Unread 03-30-2009, 06:51 AM   #22 (permalink)
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Re: Best Metal/Shredding/Pinch Harmonic Pickup?

Quote:
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So true! Kind of surprising the guy is a masterful metalhead, who played lead for Iced Earth, when you consider how gorgeous his vintage and low-output pickups are. And he's a black belt too! Some people are just extraordinarily talented and hard working.
agreed! It's strange how well Tim has tuned his ears to create p/us that go from vintage sweet to thermonuclear modern without a problem. My Relic "Praiseworthy" Strat has a set of slight underwound Apaches with AIII magnets and heavy formvar wire. They sound unreal....

I might try springs instead of rubber to see if there's any further improvement... whould you recommend it Gabriel??
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Unread 03-30-2009, 02:00 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Re: Best Metal/Shredding/Pinch Harmonic Pickup?

Quote:
Originally Posted by gmacdonnell View Post
It's important not to put too much stock in a pickup's DC resistance. A lot of variables affect that #, and overall it doesn't tell you very much about how a pickup will sound or respond, especially if comparing pickups from different brands. It's become pretty standard for guitarists talking pickups,
but it's not an indicator of very much on its own. (For example there are some WCR pickups in that range that sound very vintage and not very hot. Likewise for some of Bill Lawrence's stuff.)

Inductance is a much more objective indicator of output, but still, output and tone/response are very different issues.


Anyway--


If you don't want EMGs, since you have some, but want an active pickup, there aren't that many options. SD LiveWires, Blackouts and the Dave Mustaine set is about it, until EMG releases the X series. The only other thing I can think of is hunting down some old Bartolini's, or buying the little preamp from Guitar Fetish, and making your own actives, (25Db Mini Guitar Boost circuit- TINY size- HUGE Gain!.) (I've never used that, and part of me is skeptical of how turning passives into actives would sound, but another part is kind of curious. I think GF is a great shop, though, and they really care about tone and value.)

So anyway, seems like Duncan is your main option. In case you don't know, Duncan has a 21-day exchange program, so order a set of Duncan actives, and if you don't like them, exchange for one of their other active sets.

Good luck!
Great info, Gmac!

I guess if it's any consolation, when I put actives in my Studio...I went with SD Blackouts. I haven't been disappointed in the least! (But...if you do go that route...it's still isn't a bad idea to get the EMG quick connects and wiring harnesses. It makes upgrading and installation sooo simplified. )Guitarpartsdepot.com was a site recommended to me by EMG, and since going there I've become a regular customer...and they sell the SD Blackouts and the EMG actives...
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Unread 03-31-2009, 12:45 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Re: Best Metal/Shredding/Pinch Harmonic Pickup?

take some off of a first act guitar.
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Unread 03-31-2009, 03:13 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Re: Best Metal/Shredding/Pinch Harmonic Pickup?

Huh, I don't think First Act shit comes with metal pickups. If it does, I'll buy 15 since they cost like $75.
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Unread 03-31-2009, 04:38 PM   #26 (permalink)
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Re: Best Metal/Shredding/Pinch Harmonic Pickup?

of all the pups i tried, the best for pinched harmonics is the Dimarzio Evolution. the tone is not for everyone though.
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Unread 03-31-2009, 07:19 PM   #27 (permalink)
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Re: Best Metal/Shredding/Pinch Harmonic Pickup?

Quote:
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Huh, I don't think First Act shit comes with metal pickups. If it does, I'll buy 15 since they cost like $75.
I think he meant, (if he wasn't joking,) the US First Act guitars, which have great pickups handmade by Kent Armstrong himself. I've been really impressed with those guitars, and the pickups in them, and I'm not very easily impressed. Easily on par with Gibson Historics in quality, (not surprising considering that's where their designer and head luthier came from.) Those pickups though rival anything on the boutique market. Some are like Filtertron's, some are like PAF's, 1 is a P-90, and 1 is a fairly hot, great-sounding rock pickup.
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Unread 03-31-2009, 07:31 PM   #28 (permalink)
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Re: Best Metal/Shredding/Pinch Harmonic Pickup?

Dirty Fingers or X2N
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Unread 03-31-2009, 07:53 PM   #29 (permalink)
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Re: Best Metal/Shredding/Pinch Harmonic Pickup?

DiMarzio.com
I had a norton in the bridge of my les paul standard for a while, something was magic about it, really REALLY hot and syrupy, but more of like an billy gibbons type harmonic then a zakk wylde harmonic
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Unread 03-31-2009, 10:21 PM   #30 (permalink)
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Re: Best Metal/Shredding/Pinch Harmonic Pickup?

What if I said you can include EMGs in this now? Would it still be EMG 81?
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