Neck pup recommendations

Discussion in 'Pickups' started by KillEmAll_w_BestWishes, Mar 8, 2018.

  1. KillEmAll_w_BestWishes

    KillEmAll_w_BestWishes Junior Member

    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    5
    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2012
    ***********
    [EDIT]: the problem l am trying to solve is getting good clean tones from the neck pickup. The info provided below about the bridge pickup and distortion pedal I use is just for FYI purposes. I am happy with the bridge and high-gain tones I am currenrly getting from current set-up.
    ************

    GUITAR:
    Ibanez ART300 Caiman; it is a singlecut with typical Les Paul specs: mahogany and fingerboard are mahogany, fingerboard is rosewood.

    ** the neck slot tones are typically woofy/boomy - not just a choice-of-pickup problem - like many other singlecut types suffer from.



    TONE GOALS:

    1) Bridge: Metallica/Pantera type thrash high-gain 2) Neck: super clean




    AMP & SPEAKERS
    Amp: "Acoustic" brand 120GSP 120W solid state head
    Cabinet: Marshall 1960A 4x12 loaded with stock Celestion G12T-75s

    SIGNAL CHAIN:

    Using a BOSS LS-2 Switcher to have two different signal paths for clean tones vs high gain tones:

    Clean Tones (neck pickup by itself):

    Guitar -> LS-2 -> Send A -> Boss EQ (GE-7) -> amp preamp input -> preamp send -> LS-2 Return A -> Boss LS-2 Out -> Boss FV-50 volume pedal -> amp Return -> amp power amp -> out to speaker cab


    High-Gain Tones (bridge pickup by itself):

    Guitar -> LS-2 -> Send B -> Biyang Metal-End Distortion Pedal -> Boss EQ (GE-7) -> LS-2 Return B -> Boss LS-2 Out -> Boss FV-50 volume pedal -> amp Return -> amp power amp -> out to speaker cab



    CURRENT PICKUPS AND THEIR PROBLEMS:

    Bridge: Seymour Duncan "neck" (A5 magnet); I am happy with what it does on high gain. I tried the SD "Bridge" (ceramic) magnet in this position first , and I prefer how the A5 sounds in this slot.

    Neck: Seymour Duncan "bridge" pickup (ceramic magnet). Even after lowering the pickup down as far as it can go, it is still woofy/boomy on its own. If I try to pair with the bridge pickup in parallel, the bridge pickup's tone is too shrill when the B and high E strings is too hot and shrill. I tried lowering the bridgen, EQing the amp, adding an EQ pedal before and after the preamp, to mitigate but it was not enough.



    OTHER PICKUPS I HAVE TRIED ALREADY:

    EMG 60/81, EMG 85/81, EMG 81X/85X. All of them clipped the signal routinely whereas the Blackouts don't clip. Blackouts also sounded better to my ear - more headroom, less compressed. I also preferred the 85 in the bridge over the 81, so I it seems whatever pickup I end up with in the bridge , will have to be an A5 based pickup. And, I obviously tried the stock Ibanez 3V active pickups that the guitar came with - which actually were less problematic in the neck slot than any of the replacements, but the bridge slot pickup was a little lackluster.



    WHAT I'M LEANING TOWARDS:

    A) If I keep this setup as active pickups:

    - Neck: Dimarzio Humbucker From Hell, Dimarzio PAF 36th Anniversary - wired up to a Seymour Blackout Modular Preamp which I already own and have available to me

    - Bridge: remains Blackout A5 magnet pickup


    B) If I change over to passive pickups:

    - Neck: Dimarzio Humbucker From Hell, Dimarzio PAF 36th Anniversary

    - Bridge: Dimarzio Super Distortion? Dimarzio PAF Pro? Dimarzio Super 3?



    NON-OPTIONS:

    1) replacing amp or distortion pedal with some other make/model.

    2) I do NOT want to have to adjust the volume or tone knobs on the guitar up or down when switching back and forth between pickups. This guitar has a separate volume for each pickup, and a master tone control for both pickups, so the control layout seems like it should be able to accommodate what I want to do.

    EDIT: 3) Expensive pickups (boutique, custom pickups, etc.) I am sure a good fit exists somewhere in the Seymour Duncan, Dimarzio, etc. lineups.

    --------------

    So, any recommendations on replacement pickups?



    Thanks in advance
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2018
  2. scott 351 wins

    scott 351 wins Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,075
    Likes Received:
    1,408
    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2009
    I've heard the Dimarzo 36th anv. PAF are very good.

    Have you considered a different head say Mesa Boogie Dual or Triple Rectifier or a Peavy 5150?

    I think once you get into a all Tube high gain amp you might be happier.
     
  3. T00DEEPBLUE

    T00DEEPBLUE Senior Member

    Messages:
    370
    Likes Received:
    322
    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2014
    Why not? That's ultimately what you need to do IMO.

    It doesn't matter what pickups you use. Cheap distortion pedals are almost universally going to make your guitar sound like just that: Cheap.

    Spending $200 on a set of pickups when you have such an amp setup is a poor use of your money. Dump the distortion pedal, get a good tube amp, then worry about new pickups.

    Sorry that's not what you wanted to hear, but I aim to give honest advice, not good feelings.
     
  4. bluesriffdev

    bluesriffdev Senior Member

    Messages:
    376
    Likes Received:
    256
    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2014
    This. Pickups can have a great effect on your tone, but they complement the tone your amp produces (some would argue it is the other way around since the pickups are the original tone source, but the amp has a greater effect). If you have a crappy base to begin with, you're still going to have a crappy tone. You can't polish a turd.

    While I'm not personally a fan of the screechy, high treble gain that many of the thrasher bands used, a lot of metal bands in the 80s plugged directly into the amp, and if they were using pedals, they weren't pedals to further drive the amp - it'd just be delay, flange, chorus and any other disgusting tacky effects bands of the era used (sorry I couldn't help myself).

    Solid state amps can produce great tones, some of my favourite amps include the Roland JC120 and Peavey Bandit, but they're usually quite sterile, and the distortion produced from them usually sound very underwhelming and unconvincing. To me they remind me of having the master at 2 and everything else cranked on a valve amp. I'm sorry, but solid state amps really just suck in most regards. Transistors are for fuzz pedals.

    The problem with valve amps obviously, is that they traditionally require a lot of volume to get balls. The good thing though, is that today they've started using the same designs but with smaller power stages. Case in point is the Orange OR-15 - I love that amp so much in terms of bang for buck, I'd buy one tomorrow if I didn't already have similar amps. It is arguably the best british style head you can buy today under $500 used.

    Upgrading pickups is great... When the rest of your rig doesn't suck. I'd take a well setup, POS squier plugged into a nice valve amp over an R9 Les Paul plugged into a Line 6 spider.
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2018
    bulletproof likes this.
  5. northernguitarguy

    northernguitarguy SWeAT hOg

    Messages:
    27,360
    Likes Received:
    44,401
    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2009
    I don't know that his pedal is 'cheap'. Most of those pedals from Joyo, Mooer, Biyang, et al. are just copies of others. The Joyo Ultimate Drive is a great OCD clone and costs under $50.

    OP, where are you at? If you're in the US or Canada, I suggest you find one of the amazing winders that frequent MLP. James from ReWind is well-loved. Electric City Pickups makes people happy. My favourite is Vineham, Craig winds amazing pups and I think his prices are second to none (cheaper than retail prices for Seymour Duncan, Gibson, DiMarzio, et al.) Contact one of them, tell them exactly what you want to sound like and what you use and they will deliver.

    http://www.vineham.com/humbucker_pickups.html
     
  6. GammyBird

    GammyBird Senior Member

    Messages:
    20,839
    Likes Received:
    13,932
    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2009
  7. scott 351 wins

    scott 351 wins Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,075
    Likes Received:
    1,408
    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2009
    I just found a extremely clean but used never been giged Adult owned (owner is in his early 50's) Peavy Triple X all Tube 4x12 half stack for $650.00 in my area.

    I watched some videos on that series, sounds pretty good. If I was still into playing metal I'd be all over it. I think you can find a nice clean used amp like this all day long if you look.

    The next step for you is to look into a high gain tube amp. I'd forget about distortion pedals. I'd look into tube over drive pedals and a high gain tube amp.

    I've had many solid state amps and you can find them with distortion but if you are tone chasing you should look into tube amps. Take your guitar to a store and plug into some high gain tube amps, I bet you'll hear a HUGE DIFFERENCE!!
     
    bulletproof likes this.
  8. Zoobiedood

    Zoobiedood Senior Member

    Messages:
    856
    Likes Received:
    285
    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2015
    I would rock a Jazz/Custom 5 passive set for that.
     
  9. KillEmAll_w_BestWishes

    KillEmAll_w_BestWishes Junior Member

    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    5
    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2012
    Peeps,

    My original post said the high-gain tones are NOT a problem. So no need for talk of high-gain amps or "better" distortion pedals.

    The problem that I am trying to solve is the clean tones from the nexk pickup
     
    northernguitarguy likes this.
  10. KillEmAll_w_BestWishes

    KillEmAll_w_BestWishes Junior Member

    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    5
    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2012
    Correct. While inexpensive because it is Chinese-made, it's a clone of a discontinued boutique Rivera distrortion pedal with amp simulation capabilities - cant recall which one.
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2018
    bulletproof likes this.
  11. scott 351 wins

    scott 351 wins Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,075
    Likes Received:
    1,408
    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2009
    Ok so I watched a few videos on your amp and distortion pedal.

    That amp has a pretty nice distortion all ready in it. I like it.
    You have to remember those tones on Metallica and Pantera albums are coming from tube amps and the mixing techniques.

    I think the problem lies with your pedal. Not saying it's a bad pedal but it doesn't capture the tone of those 2 bands you like. Perhaps a Boss distortion or a Boss Super Distortion will get you closer to those sounds.

    Here's a link for Hetfield's rigs over the years. I believe on the Kill'em All album he has a Seymour Duncan Invader.

    https://www.groundguitar.com/james-hetfield-guitars-and-gear/

    Here's link to Dimebag's rig

    https://www.groundguitar.com/dimebag-darrell-gear/
     
  12. bulletproof

    bulletproof aka tarddoggy Premium Member V.I.P. Member

    Messages:
    10,145
    Likes Received:
    21,654
    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2011
    NGG pegged it,brother.....while y’all could chase several big name neck pickups,why not get with a winder and explain what exactly you want from said pickup.
    The names he listed are a damn good bunch of guys and could help you achieve what you are after.
    Just my 2cents
     
  13. scott 351 wins

    scott 351 wins Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,075
    Likes Received:
    1,408
    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2009
    I'd suggest a pickup with a ceramic magnet then.
     
  14. space

    space Senior Member

    Messages:
    827
    Likes Received:
    513
    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2009
    I took a gibby 490 series bridge and installed in neck posit and it sounds amazing
    FWIW I hav a Hum from Hell as well as the predecessor of the 36th anniv dimarzio availaible
    Virtual PAF (no longer in production)
    T
     
  15. CheopisIV

    CheopisIV Copper Slinger MLP Vendor

    Messages:
    3,589
    Likes Received:
    2,647
    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2010
    Despite the name, one of the best low dollar pickups I've tried in the neck position is the DiMarzio Super Distortion. 36th were too muddy and flat, but that SD was pretty smooth!

    This guy goes to the neck at around 4:10.
     
  16. KillEmAll_w_BestWishes

    KillEmAll_w_BestWishes Junior Member

    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    5
    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2012
    I want to use the neck position for clean tones only. I.e. No dirt, no distortion. Are you saying the Super Distortion has great clean tones in the neck?
     
    northernguitarguy likes this.
  17. northernguitarguy

    northernguitarguy SWeAT hOg

    Messages:
    27,360
    Likes Received:
    44,401
    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2009
    Do you want warm, creamy tones or more clear? I have a T-Top in the neck of my MIJ LP copy and it has a sweet clear, clean tone. It's also great with dirt.
     
  18. Antigua

    Antigua Senior Member

    Messages:
    488
    Likes Received:
    132
    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2016
    I wonder if what people think is a Super Distortion in the neck isn't actually a PAF Pro, because the SD and the PAF Pro often come as a set, and they look the same same from the outside. In the video posted above he shows the underside of the bridge pickup, but not the neck pickup, so it's hard to say whether or not he payed close attention to which it really was.

    I made this mistake myself, in fact, even now, the product copy of the guitar in question says "Classic rock tones with hot output and mid-boost are produced by two screaming DiMarzio Super Distortion humbucking pickups." and then "Features: DiMarzio Super Distortion humbucking pickups" but when I popped them out to put in something else, sure enough the neck was a PAF Pro, which makes a ton more sense than putting an SD there. One easy way to tell us to just unscrew one of the pole pieces, the Super Distortion will have fat screws, head and shaft, where as the PAF Pro will have fat screw heads, but a thin shaft, like a normal filister screw.
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2018
  19. garybaldy

    garybaldy Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,681
    Likes Received:
    831
    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2011
    I'd go with the HFH. I have one paired with a SD JB.
     
  20. KillEmAll_w_BestWishes

    KillEmAll_w_BestWishes Junior Member

    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    5
    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2012
    Good question, I should have described what I meant by "great" clean tones.

    Answer: more clear.
     

Share This Page