Neck pup recommendations

northernguitarguy

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Good question, I should have described what I meant by "great" clean tones.

Answer: more clear.
Vineham 6070 Classic or other T-Top clone. I will vouch for Craig’s stuff, he wound me two of the best humbuckers I’ve ever heard. Fast shipping and best price out there.

Or, of course, a T-Top which will be awesome but more expensive.
 

CheopisIV

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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.
I grabbed that video as an example; my own experience was with an older Super Distortion. It was a beast with distortion but cleaned up and gave really nice crisp tones in the neck.
 

cooljuk

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Here are my thoughts on pickups for the OP. Guitars with a naturally dark/muddy neck position are common. I'd say 1 in 10 have it slightly and 1 in 40 have it BAD. Most people trade them away and move on, but they can be worked with. I'll even say, when you get one of those guitars in shape, the sounds can be amazingly complex and interesting as you end up mixing two different types of pickups to get there and the range and combination of voicings from an instrument like that can be really impressive.


1) First, chose an appropriate neck pickup and dial the guitar/rig to that. Then, match the bridge pickup to that configuration. Not the other way around. Bridge pickups are easy to work with. Neck pickups are more difficult, especially in some guitars with naturally dark neck positions, which it sounds like yours has. You might find you need a warmer bridge pickup and to tweak your rig to get what you want, to balance with a bright/clear neck pickup.

1.5) You put a pickup on the brighter side in the bridge position. By doing that, you're handicapping yourself from the start. If your guitar has a naturally dark neck position, now you're requiring an even brighter and clearer neck pickup to balance with an already bright pickup in a position of a guitar which is naturally brighter, near the bridge.

2) "Duncan, Duncan, Duncan, Duncan...." You're capping your clarity off at a low point when that's all you're considering. Duncan aren't going to give you nearly the clarity, articulation and detail of many other brands, built with better materials and a more diverse range of methods, without a mass-appeal-price-point capping the quality/options.

3) Consider something with top end materials and diverse methods (because when you cheap out on parts and methods, treble is the first thing to either disappear or become harsh and clarity and detail are going to be compromised). Then, look at designs that have high coil offset favoring the screw coil, mixed wire types/gauges/patterns, American AlNiCo (probably long oriented A5 or A3 for what you're talking, I'd need more detail to make a solid recommendation), low carbon machined steel parts and a winder that can wind some coils with clarity in mind (hopefully, still keeping the sound interesting) and understands all this. If you want covers, don't cheap out. Covers can kill treble and clarity. Either go with high-end replica PAF covers, unplated thin raw nickel covers, or go uncovered for the most treble/detail.
 




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