pickup upgrade?

Discussion in 'Guitar Gear Talk Forum' started by jhon_gopal, May 29, 2011.

  1. jhon_gopal

    jhon_gopal New Member

    I have a basic jackson rhoads, fixed bridge. Was thinking of upgrading pickups. passive prefferd. i got duncans ALNICO II pro on my other guitar, a mex strat. what i found is that on the dirty mode these pickups have a very rich sound, extremely! cleans are wonderful. this would probably suit the needs for a jazz or a classic rock guitar player. thats not what i want now. Also seymor duncans are more organic and take on more of the characteristics of the wood.
    Now im looking for a blunt sound that suit heavy stuff.
    also I heard several times recently, that Dimarzios will sound more or less the same regardless of whether they are on an alder body or basswood or any other(what i heard, never played on a guitar w/ Dimarzios)

    Where do EMG's fit in this scale? How sensitive are they to say, alder vs. basswood vs. agathis on the jackson basic rhoads.
    I'll be getting the pickups changed after two weeks. by then please help me what is good for heavy. the jackson is made from basswood. budget is flexible.
     
  2. deepsal

    deepsal New Member

    Emg 81 85 set is the best bet for metal
    dont know about the sensivity part
     
  3. varunmm4

    varunmm4 New Member

    EMGs are fine for metal. But I found them to be a little hollow-sounding in a basswood body. I tried dropping 81/85 in my M-50 and didn't care much for the sound. YMMD. (to be honest I've found very few active pups to my liking)

    Maybe check with EMG / DMarzio customer support? If you wanna go with passives there are several high output passive buckers that are supposedly geared towards more of a metal sound but I haven't heard any A/B comparisons with actives.
     
  4. jhon_gopal

    jhon_gopal New Member

    Ah! my jackson is made of basswood. and also like said Im not much interested in actives. EMG actives I heard are very quiet pups and the do not have that tone that comes from a passive pickups. i tried the customer support. wasn't of much help.
    any more suggestions? do post reply.
    thank you.
     
  5. varunmm4

    varunmm4 New Member

    Almost all active pickups will tend to be noiseless actually. Check some reviews and demos of the Duncan Distortion and Invader models and the DMarzio X2N. The issue with getting new pickups is you need to rely on others' reviews since you can't try them out. Good luck.
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2011
  6. jhon_gopal

    jhon_gopal New Member

    yeah, the DMarzio X2N sounds promising. thanks will look upto some more reviews as well. i still have a two weeks time.
     
  7. JaxyNikil

    JaxyNikil New Member

    I have 4 months old EMG 81/85 Active pickups for sale....got it for 11,900....wana see it for 9000.....Negotiable....
     
  8. wylder

    wylder New Member

    From what I have heard, EMGs are the least sensitive to body wood.

    About EMGs sounding hollow, you must be talking about the 81.

    The EMG 81 has very less bass because it is designed for high gain. The bass reduction makes the pickup very clear (not muddy) when playing metal through a high gain amp. This pick up is hence not the ideal Jazz/Blues warm tone pick-up. Also when playing fast rhythm passages, this pickup keeps the percussive nature of the tone intact (like the final segment of Metallica's One).

    For good cleans/blues tones, try 85 or 60 in the neck. 85 is pretty dark and lo-mid heavy pick up, an exact compliment of 81 (like the clean/low gain solos in Ozzy Osbourne's "Old LA Tonight"). 60 is a lot more well balanced pickup with the best clean tones of the lot (like James Hetfield's clean tones).

    If you are totally into warm tones and don't care for a lot of hi-gain shred/rhythm, you can also try the 85 in the bridge. I haven't tried this but from what I have heard, it is pretty cool.

    ** Disclaimer: All examples given above are gross approximations of what the pickups should sound like. These artists use a hell lot of other (hi quality) gear and the engineers do a lot of work to make them sound like they do on record.
     
  9. jhon_gopal

    jhon_gopal New Member

    thanks wylder. well, i do care about the high gain shred and rhythm. would you recommend any other pick ups as well? I use an Mt-2 tube stack dist and a DS-2. also heard that passive>active. although, they say EMG actives are the best for metal. i generally play stuff which are very heavy, like LOG, COB. opeth etc etc. i have another guitar if i have to play the cleans.
    what would the final suggestion be?
    the DMarzio X2N and the EMG 81/85 combo sound promising. even though the DMarzio is passive and EMG have the actives. they're both HI-GAIN pick ups aren't they?

    I do understand that. thanks for the help. any more help will be greatly appreciated.
     
  10. wylder

    wylder New Member

    I don't think combining the active and passive is a good idea because the output voltage of the EMG is way higher than that of the passive. So there might be marked volume difference in levels of the two pickups. You aren't really getting rid of the batteries here either. Also, the grounding of the two pickups is different. This might kill the advantage that internally grounded EMGs have over passives in terms of noise.

    As far as passive pickup selection goes, maybe a medium output pickup might be more manageable on stage. X2N seems to be extreme high output, so its magnet might pick up interference with other appliances like CRTs and high power lighting easily. And it might cause a lot of string pull too which kills sustain and might cause slight intonation problems, especially in the neck position.

    It might be a better idea to use a medium output passive to get a more natural, uncompressed, airy tone out of your guitar. Suggestions - read up on Mark Morton's pickups, Seymour Duncan 59s. I have heard that the Duncan Jazz pickup is pretty awesome for the neck too. I have only heard these pups and not used them so hopefully somebody with first hand experience should guide you.

    If you want other active options, you might want to check out EMG 85 in the bridge. Thats what the Killswitch Engage guys use, and I like some of their tones too (they use a thousand different amps on their records though). Also, 60A is an Alnico version of the 60 and supposedly has more bass.

    About passive >/< active? That makes so many professional idiots (on either side) who play them.
     
  11. deepsal

    deepsal New Member

    Off topic but hey wylder,do you want to sell your hm-2 i've looking for one
     
  12. wylder

    wylder New Member

    I am currently not selling it but if I do, I'll let you know. You into Swedish death metal or looking for a general distortion pedal?
     
  13. deepsal

    deepsal New Member

    yes i am a bit thats why i was looking for it
     
  14. jhon_gopal

    jhon_gopal New Member

    okay, so the combo would be an epic FAIL. but what if I get the X2N on the bridge( w/ another passive at the necK)? my uncle's Ibanez has the X2N both at the neck and bridge, though he says the neck position sounds not-that-great, that the DiMs are non-interfering and that you can do whatever you want with them.also they have a very clean response and are very receptive to your touch. yeah, the mark Morton pickups sound interesting(the duncan invaders at the bridge and the duncan jazz at the neck)
    IN the active combination what is better the ZAKK WYLDE ones or the ALEXI LAIHO?
     
  15. rickkkyrich

    rickkkyrich Guest

    Well i use the Duncan Live Wire pickups (actives) in my VMNT which are based on the SH-4 JB and SH-2n Jazz Model. I must say its a very versatile combo.
     
  16. flood

    flood New Member

    i thought the HM-2 was tops for shoegaze, didn't like it for metal as such.
     
  17. rickkkyrich

    rickkkyrich Guest

    @deepsal: HM-2 is available on ebay with International shipping... Check it out if you need it badly..
     
  18. wylder

    wylder New Member

    I don't know too much about the X2Ns but I hope it works out great for you. Post a review if you get them.

    According to the EMG site, the Alexi Laiho set has EMG passive pickups (EMG-HZ). In any case, I would tend to like the ZW set a bit more because I play a bit of Ozzy. I found the 85 a tad dark in the neck for my cleans, so swapped to 60 in the neck. The 60 is a ceramic magnet pickup so the low end is a lot tighter/less muddy for distorted rhythm. Also the cleans are very well balanced. I never tried the 85 in the bridge though, something that I would love to try as it gets a lot of good reviews.

    BTW, the EMGs are so easy to swap around once you install them in your guitar. They have connector plugs at the back of the pickups so that you can just unplug them and swap them around without any soldering.
     
  19. jhon_gopal

    jhon_gopal New Member

    I gave up my strat and took my uncles Ibanez w/ the X2Ns, sounds awesome. i got the EMG 60 in the neck and 81 at the bridge. sounds nice. thanks for all the help everyone.
     
  20. wylder

    wylder New Member

    Congrats!! Btw, which Ibanez is it (Year/Model)?
     

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