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Old Yesterday, 06:04 PM   #1
Airfish
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Experiment: What PASSIVE pickups for baritone ESP LTD?

Hi there.

I bought a 6-string baritone ESP LTD EC 401B a few moths ago and I am satisfied with the thing. But I like experimenting. And I would like to try some high output passive pickups for that axe, instead of the active EMGs (81&60) that are stock in there. Could you give me some recommendations, what pickups would sound good in there? It´s a magahony body, set maple neck, mostly I tune it to drop A and the string gauge I use is 12-68. And I play high-gain stuff around 80% of the time, plus maybe 10% clean and 10% crunch. And I would like to achieve a similar tight sound as the EMGs produce, but maybe a bit more organic. I already have passive Duncans in my Strat and in my Dean and I reall love em. So maybe now I would like to try some Di Marzios.... but what model could do the job I need them do to?

Thank you all in advance for your tips.
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Old Yesterday, 08:09 PM   #2
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I haven't tried either myself, but two examples that come to my mind:
- Seymour Duncan Nazgul - it seems to be enormously popular for heavy stuff since it came out, Keith Merrow uses those (and pretty much all he does is low tunings) and sounds awesome.
- DiMarzio Illuminators - John Petrucci signatures, he also uses those for his 7-string stuff and his tone is pretty much my personal definition of an awesome progressive metal tone. Big, massive and clear-sounding.
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Old Today, 02:59 AM   #3
AWACS
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As far as I know, and maybe someone more knowledgeable will come and help out, but you may have to completely re-do the wiring. The pots for actives and passives will be different. They have different ohm values, so along with new pickups you'll need new pots, and re-solder everything.

What do you mean when you say you want a more organic tone? Have you re-EQ'd your amp between playing the Strat, Dean, and LTD? I would start there first myself.
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Old Today, 03:05 AM   #4
dannyalcatraz
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I'd look at:

Lace Alumitone Deathbuckers
RailHammer Chisel and/or Anvil
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Old Today, 03:57 AM   #5
Airfish
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AWACS
As far as I know, and maybe someone more knowledgeable will come and help out, but you may have to completely re-do the wiring. The pots for actives and passives will be different. They have different ohm values, so along with new pickups you'll need new pots, and re-solder everything.

What do you mean when you say you want a more organic tone? Have you re-EQ'd your amp between playing the Strat, Dean, and LTD? I would start there first myself.


By "more organic" I mean the difference, that I already hear between the active EMGs in some of my guitars and passive SDs in the other ones. The EMGs are very tight, focused, which is cool, but they sound a bit more "cold" or "artificial" or "anorganic" to me.... And yes, I do a lot of EQ tweaking.... The settings of the 4-band EQ on my Engl preamp never stay the same for different guitars, plus there is a presence and deep control on my Marshall power amp plus I have a MXR EQ pedal in my loop for even more tweaking.... And I understand the need for changing the pots and rewiring too....
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Old Today, 04:00 AM   #6
Airfish
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dannyalcatraz
I'd look at:

Lace Alumitone Deathbuckers
RailHammer Chisel and/or Anvil


Thank you sir, I believe those could be killer pickups. But unfortunately the market here, where I live (Slovakia, Europe), is small, exotic brands are very hard to get, shipping from overseas is very expensive, so I have to stick to "more common global brands" like SD or DiM, which are much easier to get for me....
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Old Today, 05:07 AM   #7
dannyalcatraz
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Lace isn't exactly small, but I can understand if you can't find them easily. But they ARE sold in Europe- try here:

http://www.lacemusic.eu
www.lacemusic.com/international.php
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Old Today, 07:26 AM   #8
Airfish
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dannyalcatraz
Lace isn't exactly small, but I can understand if you can't find them easily. But they ARE sold in Europe- try here:

http://www.lacemusic.eu
www.lacemusic.com/international.php



Really.... I took a look at those pages, but somehow the product-inquiry feature does not work. But maybe you know: would those Deathbuckers fit in the openings of the stock active EMGs, without the need to modify the guitar body? And would they sound good both at neck and bridge position?
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Old Today, 11:40 AM   #9
dannyalcatraz
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Deathbuckers- like all Alumitones- are made to be drop-in replacements for standard passive HB & singlecoil pickups. They should fit as well as any other passive replacement you'll find.

As for their sound, that's subjective. I like them. So do many UGers I know. But several dislike them.
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Old Today, 01:08 PM   #10
Watterboy
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Let me make a few less drastic suggestions that you could try yourself for little cost/little time before doing something drastic like totally replacing the pickups and wiring.

If you like the emg sound but just want it to be slightly more organic, you could try using the 18volt mod on the emgs first. You might find that it does the trick for you and opens your sound up like a lot of people claim. It is supposed to add headroom and reduce compression. Second, you could try swapping the 81 into the neck and 60 into the bridge. The 60 seems to have more of a mid punch or a warmth thing going on, and sounds different than the thin bite of the 81. 81 seems to work well in the neck, since the neck is naturally fatter and bassier. Lastly, You could also try the emg 57/66 combo, which is supposed to be more open and vintagey sounding. Wouldnt be cheap, but is easier to install vs swapping for passives.

Ive noticed that i FAR prefer passives for clean sounds, but when it comes to high gain my emgs seem to outperform my passives; therefore, personally I would try making some smaller changes to retain my emgs before getting rid of them.
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Old Today, 04:17 PM   #11
Airfish
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Watterboy
Let me make a few less drastic suggestions that you could try yourself for little cost/little time before doing something drastic like totally replacing the pickups and wiring.

If you like the emg sound but just want it to be slightly more organic, you could try using the 18volt mod on the emgs first. You might find that it does the trick for you and opens your sound up like a lot of people claim. It is supposed to add headroom and reduce compression. Second, you could try swapping the 81 into the neck and 60 into the bridge. The 60 seems to have more of a mid punch or a warmth thing going on, and sounds different than the thin bite of the 81. 81 seems to work well in the neck, since the neck is naturally fatter and bassier. Lastly, You could also try the emg 57/66 combo, which is supposed to be more open and vintagey sounding. Wouldnt be cheap, but is easier to install vs swapping for passives.

Ive noticed that i FAR prefer passives for clean sounds, but when it comes to high gain my emgs seem to outperform my passives; therefore, personally I would try making some smaller changes to retain my emgs before getting rid of them.



That sounds very reasonable, sir.... But maybe I would just slightly change your proposed order: I would start with just swapping the bridge & neck PUs, cos that don´t cost me nothing. And if that does not perform the trick, then I would move on to the next step - 18 Volt mod.... What do you think?
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Old Today, 04:21 PM   #12
Airfish
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dannyalcatraz
Deathbuckers- like all Alumitones- are made to be drop-in replacements for standard passive HB & singlecoil pickups. They should fit as well as any other passive replacement you'll find.

As for their sound, that's subjective. I like them. So do many UGers I know. But several dislike them.



....yep, and I guess the design thing could be subjective either, cos they really are far from conventional looking. I personally dig their visual style, that´s one small positive point. But tone wins in the end. Maybe I should try to find as much videos and reviews as I can, before making a decision....
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Old Today, 04:50 PM   #13
Watterboy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Airfish
That sounds very reasonable, sir.... But maybe I would just slightly change your proposed order: I would start with just swapping the bridge & neck PUs, cos that don´t cost me nothing. And if that does not perform the trick, then I would move on to the next step - 18 Volt mod.... What do you think?


You could do that. You could try the 18v with the 60 in bridge first too, and then switch them back if you dont like it. Gives you a few alternatives. I wouldnt expect these alterations to be night and day, although some people swear by them. They are nice cuz theyre cheap and quick mods for different sounds
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Old Today, 04:53 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Airfish
And I would like to achieve a similar tight sound as the EMGs produce, but maybe a bit more organic.


Sounds like you should just check out Seymour Duncan Blackouts (AHB-1). Or even more Organic, EMG X (81X & 60X or 60AX? Maybe 85X in bridge?).
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Old Today, 05:00 PM   #15
Airfish
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Shoot.... those Deathbuckers are damm expensive here in Europe.... I haven´noticed that before.... now I´m afraid I would have to forget the idea of getting them. For a price of one piece I could have a pair of Di Marzios or a pair of Duncans.... well, almost.... anyway they are well over my budget (max. 100 Euro per piece) - and all passive DiMarzios and Duncans are within that budget. So if Watterboy´s swap trick and/or the 18V mod does not bring me THE result, I would have to chose from those two brands....
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