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Old 03-25-2015, 09:01 PM   #1
PB26
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Active pickups messing with my perception of tone?

Ok, few days ago I got an LTD Snakebyte (Hetfield pickups) because my SG just wasn't giving me the necessary chug for Metallica tunes. Now I got the chug I want, and then some, but now when I go to play my SG I can barely stand it. It sounds totally hollow, like there's no juice behind it at all.

And I made sure it was the SG that was the first guitar I picked up tonight because I know switching tones drastically one minute to the next can mess with perceptions.

Am I losing my mind or is this common?
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Old 03-25-2015, 09:59 PM   #2
ltdguy27
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You're just hearing the extra kick from the actives. I had this same problem with my Les Paul. The Gibson will have much lower output pickups so I learned that I need to use a boost like my Maxon OD to bring it closed to my emg guitars. Also since my amp is single eq I also needed to adjust my eq settings. Play around with your amp and try a different eq, a higher gain chanel, or even a boost and you can start getting a little close to that fat emg sound.
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Old 03-25-2015, 10:13 PM   #3
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Higher output pickups makes everything easier to play, and you get that "chugh" thing going without effort. As much as you love it now...

You will notice that you have to work harder to get good tones out of the SG, and that's a good thing, because it means you have more control over dynamics and your overall tone just by adjusting your playing. Nothing wrong with liking the new guitar, but that 'wow' thing will soon wear off and it will be your new normal if you only play that one.

Work with both, switch between them until you can adjust your playing so that you think you can get useable tones out of both guitars. It will make you a much better player down the line.

So what I'm saying is the complete opposite to the post above. It's the tone in your fingers that need fine-tuning, not going lazy and boosting the lesser output pickups into sounding the same. (You can do that one a gig, but not while practicing/playing around).
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Last edited by HomerSGR : 03-25-2015 at 10:15 PM.
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Old 03-25-2015, 10:26 PM   #4
monwobobbo
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different pickups, different sounds. your SG wasn't equiped with chugging pups but i'm guessing it does other things perhaps better than the axe with EMGs. the eq curve on the pickups undoubtably is different as well.
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Old 03-25-2015, 10:35 PM   #5
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Thanks guys. I guess I'm still in the honeymoon phase with the LTD. My issue really is that the LTD isn't very good for the Sabbath tunes I play, but when I picked up the SG for that, it sounded just blah. I'm sure I'll get around it one way or anther. But honestly, when I plugged in today I thought my amp was toast. Tried a different amp, different cables, same thing. Kinda hilarious looking back at it.
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Old 03-27-2015, 08:58 PM   #6
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I'd actually focus on the "they're just different" aspect. I think it's not even debatable the LTD is going to sound better for heavy stuff in 90% of cases, but then the SG is probably going to sound better for many other things. High output pickups tend to be a bit messy with larger chords for example, and that's kind of subjective but cleans are often nicer on more moderate output passives as well.

I also have a guitar with actives and another one with passives (Seymour Duncan JB/Jazz), and while the former sounds a lot more aggressive and intense for heavy stuff, the latter offers a lot more versatility in less heavy playing. It's probably a matter of time of finding what you think each guitar does best according to your taste, unless you're all "heavy only", I think you'll find quite a few advantages of the SG eventually.
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Old 03-27-2015, 09:14 PM   #7
PB26
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Makes sense. I was actually just fiddling with the volume knob on the LTD, and rolling back the gain on the amp and the EMGs sound better than I thought at less than all out heaviness. That said, I think my ear is starting to better appreciate the differences between the different pickups.
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Old 03-27-2015, 09:48 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PB26
Now I got the chug I want, and then some, but now when I go to play my SG I can barely stand it. It sounds totally hollow, like there's no juice behind it at all.


Pretty standard early-player stuff. You've kicked the pendulum one way. At some point you will rediscover subtlety, and then that SG will have all kinds of sauce.
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Old 03-27-2015, 09:58 PM   #9
lemurflames
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dspellman
Pretty standard early-player stuff. You've kicked the pendulum one way. At some point you will rediscover subtlety, and then that SG will have all kinds of sauce.

+1 Eventually you'll just want to relax and play something completely different from your usual and that SG will be more appealing than ever.
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Old 03-28-2015, 10:05 AM   #10
PB26
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Cool, I did get back into playing about a year ago after a long, long layoff, so the early player syndrome makes total sense. I got a lot of my old moves back fairly quickly but subtlety is a different matter, but it'll come.
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Old 03-28-2015, 12:58 PM   #11
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You need to tweak your amp settings. Of course the EMGs will sound heavier because they drive the amp harder. To compensate, you would need to turn the amp gain higher when using the SG.
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Old Yesterday, 09:46 PM   #12
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You're just really enjoying the benefits of active pickups, that's all. Some people really take to them, and never look back. You will either end up missing the dynamics of the passives eventually and learn to love em' both, or throw actives in the other guitar :p
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Old Yesterday, 10:16 PM   #13
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Its definitely a game of give and take; there is something that my emgs (81/85) do for high gain tones that my passives simply cannot do. But I play equal parts clean and distorted, and the passives seem to destroy the emgs in clean tones. No matter what I do, the emgs never have the bell like chime and warmth that passives achieve for clean. Im thinking of trying the 57/66 to achieve best of both, but theyre alittle expensive to risk being disappointed
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