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Bloodred Forum - View topic - Need help with pickups....
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 Need help with pickups.... 
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Bloodred Metalhead
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Post Need help with pickups....
Repost from my thread on sevenstring.org:

Anyhow, I'm getting a Carvin 727 in a few weeks and I'm trying to find a suitable set of pickups to replace the stock ones.

The first prerequisite is that it's a passive; I have EMG's and I'm beginning to loath them. That is an overstatement for sure, they have their purpose but I'd rather have passives for my future guitars.

I love metal so my primary sounds I'm going for are going to be heavy distorted sounds, though I'm also looking for good clean tones. For the distorted rhythm tones I'm looking for something that can handle several different type of tones; I love black and viking metal so I'm looking for something that can have the drony-ness of Enslaved or Emperor while actually being able to hear the notes. I'm also hugely fond of djent, prog, and power metal so something that can also have a tight, clean yet punchy sound. Less crunchy ala 80's metal. An example of a rhythm tone I like is that of Textures, Devin Townsend on Deconstruction, and Ola Englund's tone on his youtube video "Fireball 100 metal". Love that tone.

For leads I'm looking for something soaring, smooth, with a nice amount of overtones. So less like say, Jeff Loomis's lead tone where every note is sort of.... sticky in a way, but more fluid like Jari Maenpaa's lead tone. Every note in his solos is like water just flowing... it's quite nice. I originally was looking at Petrucci's Liquifire, but upon more demoing I've found that it wasn't just quite what I was looking for.

For cleans, I'm looking for something relatively flat, so it sounds more like an acoustic than a twangy strat. I'm not looking for pickups that will make my guitar sound like an acoustic, I'm well aware that that is impossible. I'm just looking for something that has a really dynamic, flat sound. IE as close as possible with magnetic pickups. I would invest in a piezo.... but I don't have an upwards of 400$ plus the money for magnetic pickups lying around.

The guitar I'm getting is a neck thru Alder body with a Claro Walnut top, a 5 piece maple neck with 2 walnut stripes, and all with a satin and tung oil finish.

The pickups I'm looking at right now are just a set of D Activators for both the bridge and neck, though I was looking at the Blaze for the neck. I was listening to the demos on Dimarzio's site and I loved the tone that Angel Vivaldi had on his demo for the D Activator 7 neck. It sounded just a tad bit.... out of the mix. But with a bit of EQing hopefully it'll make it sound a little more in the front as opposed to the back of the mix.

I was also looking at BKP but I think I'm going to stay away from them at the moment due to the price.

As for amps.... I'm stuck with a crappy practice amp at the moment. If anyone has suggestions for amps as well, I'm all for it. I'm looking at ENGLs right now, namely a Fireball 100 if I could afford it. Initially I was looking at a Savage but I found it to be slightly too metal for my tastes. Made certain playing styles somewhat muddy, at least that's what I found. My buddy has a Peter amp... and boy that thing is nice. Too bad it's over 3 grand.... anyhow. The amps are more in the distant future however..... at the present moment I'm just looking for pickups!

Anyways cheers guys! Let me know if there is any more info that you guys would need for better understanding of what works best.


Mon Nov 07, 2011 12:08 am
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Bloodred Metalhead
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Post Re: Need help with pickups....
Can't really help with pickups - but I can make one suggestion with respect to amps... Rent a few of your short listed amps for a day. Tell the guys at the shop that you are looking to buy, and that you need more time than you can take in the store. Ask him top apply the cost of the rental to the sale. If he believes that you are serious, he'll do it.

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Mon Nov 07, 2011 12:48 am
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Bloodred Metalhead
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Post Re: Need help with pickups....
That does sound like a good idea, when I get more serious about amp buying I'll certainly do that. Do you have any suggestions as to what sort of amps would be best for this though? Looking at an ENGL as that's the most cost effective product (a Fireball 100 would be lovely but more realistically a Thunder 50) Any other amps that would be suggested specifically? I'm not going to generalize with companies anymore as I quickly learned that every company produces good amps, bad amps, and situational amps. All being subjective of course... but I think it'll be pretty obvious when an amp sounds nice or like utter garbled shit with lower tunings :P

When I have time I can post some tones that I'm quite fond of, baring in mind the post album mastering and eqing and what not....


Mon Nov 07, 2011 12:59 am
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Bloodred Metalhead
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Post Re: Need help with pickups....
I haven't heard any ENGL amps, at least no that I know of...

I generally prefer a lower wattage amp and cabinet, as opposed to a higher power set-up, so you can drive the output a little harder, and get some natural compression from the speakers.

I like Marshalls, I like the Peavey 5150. I like Fenders for clean tones. I like the conventional stuff.

I haven't recorded anything tuned down lower than e-flat, so I'm can't say with any authority how much difference that makes.

You can get big bottom end with careful placement of the cabinet in the room, good micing selection and technique, and good processing to and from the recording medium. The one thing that I can't seem to get with those things is good, tight, repsonsive mids. That seems to come from the cab, and only the cab. I would look for that first, and worry about how to dial in thicker and lower lows after that.

Good luck to ya - Happy shopping!

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Mon Nov 07, 2011 11:38 pm
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Post Re: Need help with pickups....
For passive 7 string pickups, your options are limited. I'm a big fan of the DiMarzio Blaze series, I know they've got a 7. For the unconventional, check out the Lace Alumitone Bass Bars. Way interesting tone that can do a wide variety of styles. Very open and pure sound.

For downtuned stuff, especially if you're dropping that lowest string on your 7, amplification is difficult. I use a Peavey JSX with KT77s through a Krankenstein cab. The cab actually makes a huge difference, especially when you're dropped. Look for something oversized and something with speakers that have the ability to move a lot of air. And, for fuck sakes, don't buy new. Get better gear used. I'd take a dinged up Orange 4x12 over a brand new Bugera cab at the same price any day of the week.

While a largely agree with Antiquus on the "low wattage, get power tube saturation" thing, the lower your tuning, the more power you need to push those low notes crisply.


Mon Nov 21, 2011 2:31 am
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Bloodred Metalhead
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Post Re: Need help with pickups....
Thank you for the advice.... I'm currently debating between the new DAR preamp pedal to be released next year..... But also looking at the DV Mark Triple 6. It sounds pretty sick.


Watch it in 1080p :D



:horns:


Thu Nov 24, 2011 7:23 pm
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Powermetal Pansy
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Post Re: Need help with pickups....
David, I know how excited you are to get your guitar all Uber and what not.. but through a Line 6 practice amp you will hardly notice a difference with new pickups, and you never know, in the end the Carvin pickups may work well with the guitar.

For starters I recommend getting your guitar setup with thicker strings(a .56 on the low b is a joke for 25.5" scale), depending on the gauge this may require the tuner to be drilled out to make the hole slightly larger. I would say a .60 or .62 would be perfect for standard tuning and you probably wouldn't need to make any modifications. I use a .64 right now for A standard and am going to bump it up to a .66 next, not quite as tight as I like.

After you get your string situation sorted out, look for a new amp. The Peavey 5150 series(currently 6505) have garbage cleans but are well known for their uber tight metal sound and can be found quite cheap used as well. I suggest getting something like this to start with a really good cab (orange, mesa, engl) then upgrading the head down the road when you need to.. only until you have a real amp like this will pickups make you feel justified for spending the $300+ after installation.

Opposed to what was mentioned above, I found that smaller cabs give a much tighter response in the low end. I was using my other guitarists mesa over-sized road king cab and really didn't like what was happening with my low end, I finally got fed up and brought over my mesa stiletto cab and the difference was HUGE.. my low end was no longer the flub that it was before.

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Wed Jan 04, 2012 7:30 am
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Powermetal Pansy
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Post Re: Need help with pickups....
Also, let me help you put your purchase order into proper perspective..

First, what will make a larger difference in your sound and is more of a necessity?
pickups or amp?
Well, your guitar already has pickups that may not actually sound too bad, you probably wont be able to tell through any small practice amp, which leads to my next point

What is a less costly method for fine tuning your tone?
Pickups or amp?
Pickups durrr, find an amp you love the sound of(an amp makes up at least 75% of the tone in your entire rig), and change the pickups according to what your tone is with that amp and guitar combined. Is your setup too bright? get a "darker" sounding pickup. Is your setup too fizzy? try lower output pickups.

The advertising you read on all the pickup manufacturers websites is mostly garbage, you need to take what they say with a grain of salt. Every pickup will respond differently with every guitar and amp. You won't know what kind of pickups you actually want until you have your tone nearly complete by having your actual rig done first.

You see my point? Pickups should always be the last thing you focus on for your rig, asides from effects and all that jazz. Good luck, and when you get your guitar you are going to have to let me play it through my amp!

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Wed Jan 04, 2012 7:45 am
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Bloodred Metalhead
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Post Re: Need help with pickups....
Good read and very helpful, thank you sir! Yes yes we already talked :P


Thu Jan 05, 2012 1:00 am
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