HomeForumsEquipmentQuestion about pickups

This topic contains 9 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  safetyblitz 5 months ago.

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  • #21435

    j dogg39
    Participant

    I’m looking to change out the pickups on my Jackson JS32rt (basically a cheaper model of the Dinky). The pickups are okay but I’m looking for something a little punchier with some growl. I play mostly rock and metal through a Spider IV 150. I have been looking at pickups and prices and, wow, I don’t know where to begin. Do  any of you peeps have experience in pickups? Which are crap, which are over-priced, which are geared more for blues, or jazz, which are better for rock & metal? Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks

  • #21436

    MotleyCrue81
    Participant

    I would check out Seymour Duncan pickups for passives, and I think we can all agree that EMGs are probably the best active pickups. I currently have Seymour Duncan Full Shred pickups, model numbers sh-10n and sh-10b for the neck and bridge respectably. They sound pretty much the exact same as the EMG pickups in my Jackson RRXMG. I have also heard good things about DiMarzio pickups but haven’t had any experience with them.

    One thing to pay attention to though, if you change your pickups, depending on the kind you get, you may also have to get different control pots and a different capacitor. I’d check out the wiring scheme for whatever pickups you get.

    Bring hair metal back!

  • #21437

    rightonthemark
    Participant

    i currently have three guitars with three different set of pickups.
    all les paul copies.
    schaller pickups very hot and great tone especially for the harder rock metal type stuff.
    belcat pickups very middle of the road flat sound almost dull. but can be dirtied up with distortion/fx. will sound decent for any genre.
    wilkinson pickups kinda midrangey plenty of bite but not too hot. the ones in my harley benton are also coil tapped for the single sound too. very versatile from classic to hard rock not so much of a metal tone there.

    in the past i have had dimarzios but didn’t care for them. very hot but lacked the tone of my schallers.
    i have also had emg85 and emg81. loved the 85 big fat killer tone and sustain for days. the 81 probably has a place but after playing the 85 the 81 just seemed like a cruel joke. the 81 just seemed shrill sounding to me.

    i know several players who swear by seymour duncans.
    i’ve heard good things about bare knuckle pickups and tonerider pickups – no personal experience with either but know some players who like them.

    rock and roll ain't pretty; that's why they picked us to play it.

  • #21439

    safetyblitz
    Participant

    I’m looking to change out the pickups on my Jackson JS32rt (basically a cheaper model of the Dinky). The pickups are okay but I’m looking for something a little punchier with some growl. I play mostly rock and metal through a Spider IV 150. I have been looking at pickups and prices and, wow, I don’t know where to begin. Do any of you peeps have experience in pickups? Which are crap, which are over-priced, which are geared more for blues, or jazz, which are better for rock & metal? Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks

    Seymour Duncan and DiMarzio are the 900 pound gorillas in the world of pickups. They both have an interesting range of products, but they’re kind of overpriced for what they are.

    It’s a good idea to check out youtube videos to get an idea for what things can sound like, but the sound of the pickups over the computer will be colored by how they were recorded, and what speakers or headphones you’re listening through.

    Probably the best way to “audition” pickups, is to do some homework re: what pickups are installed on some brand name guitars, and try those guitars at a local store using an amp similar to the amp you will be using.

    A couple of the quintessential rock/metal pickups are the Seymour Duncan JB, Seymour Duncan Distortion, DiMarzio Super Distortion, DiMarzio Tone Zone. Note that these lean more towards the 80s definition of metal. If you’re more into the sound of bands like Meshuggah, you might find these examples not “metal” enough for you.

    In general, a lot of the pickups associated with rock/metal are descended from the humbuckers marked “Patent Applied For” that Gibson started putting in guitars in the 1950s. Seymour Duncan and DiMarzio largely built their brands by producing higher output versions of Gibson “PAF” style humbuckers. Originally, this was mostly just about wrapping more wire around the bobbins than was typically used on “stock” pickups in the 1970s (more wraps means more current induced by disruption of the pickup’s magnetic field). The biggest variables are the type of magnet used, and the number of turns of magnet wire on each bobbin. The most common wire gauge on passive pickups is AWG 42, though occasionally wire thicker or thinner than AWG 42 is used. There are some other potential variables, but those are the biggest ones.

    I like the DiMarzio Tone Zone, though it has a hint of an “open wah pedal” sound to it that people seem to either love or hate. One thing you can do is google for what pickups people use to try to sound like particular players.

    Next time I put a guitar together, I’m thinking I’ll experiment with pickups from guitarfetish.com. They are around 1/3 to 1/2 the price of the big names, and lots of people online have nice things to say about them. A downside is that unlike Duncan and DiMarzio, there’s no way to go into a guitar store and audition a guitar that has guitarfetish pickups installed.

  • #21440

    Guitarsmurf
    Participant

    Following, I have an Ibanez RG 320 DX (about the cheapest RG model ever) that I am thinking about changing pickups the ones in it currently are fairly noisy.

  • #21441

    MotleyCrue81
    Participant

    Noisy like making a lot of hum or something? Or noisy like just overly non-pleasing to the ear haha?

    Bring hair metal back!

  • #21460

    superblonde
    Keymaster

    I really like the piezo that is in my guitar (in the bridge) that has a blend knob to mix with the EMG’s plus active eq. Very wide range of tone, can sound almost acoustic then crank up the volume to overdrive it, or blended it adds a good warmth. I guess a piezo is an extreme makeover to fit one into an arbitrary guitar, I dont know.

    Maybe you could keep your pickups but put in some kind of active eq, change one of the tone knobs to control the eq?

    I'm an intermediate student of Metal Method. I play seitannic heavy metal. All Kale Seitan! The glutens will be eaten with relish!
    And on the Seventh Day, Mustaine said: ∇ ⨯ E = - ∂B / ∂t ; and there was Thrash; and it had a ♭3; and it was good.

    • #21474

      Guitarsmurf
      Participant

      Noisy like making a lot of hum or something? Or noisy like just overly non-pleasing to the ear haha?

      Well my playing is non-pleasing to the ear no matter what pick ups I use. These pick ups seem to catch every little noise from my pick moving my hands up and down the neck there is some hum none of my other guitars seem this noisy when playing, I have thought that if  could control the noise on these it make playing other guitars even quieter. Funny thing not because of the pick ups,  but i rarely play this guitar I have had it for 15-16 years now and it’s like new.

  • #21485

    Igglepud
    Participant

    I have an EMG 81/85 set in my Schecter. They rock pretty fierce. I was going to put them in my Strat, but I found I can get a guitar for slightly more than just the pickups.

    MY ROCK IS FIERCE!!!

  • #21491

    safetyblitz
    Participant

    A couple of the quintessential rock/metal pickups are the Seymour Duncan JB, Seymour Duncan Distortion, DiMarzio Super Distortion, DiMarzio Tone Zone. Note that these lean more towards the 80s definition of metal. If you’re more into the sound of bands like Meshuggah, you might find these examples not “metal” enough for you.

    After reflecting on this a little more, as far as “good, generic, classic hard rock pickup” is concerned, the safest suggestion is probably the Duncan Distortion, but certainly try out different pickups if you can, and see what sounds good to you.

    The Duncan JB is possibly the most popular humbucker of the last 40 years or so, but it’s slightly controversial because a lot of people find its high midrange to sound too harsh. And again, people like guitarfetish sell pickups that will supposedly get you in the ballpark of the brand name “hot PAF” type humbuckers for a lot less money.

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