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Old 06-10-2012, 04:44 PM   #1
terribleguitar
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What bridge humbucker for a Strat

Hello everyone, I have an ash american std strat and I recently got a HSS pickguard. My local shop has a great discount on dimarzio pickups, and I think it would be a great idea to try something new.

I play everything from 80s metal to progressive metal, and we have just started a band with my friend (we play modern metal, mostly djent). i also play a lot of blues and clean stuff, but i mainly use neck pickup for that.

My rig is
Fender Ash Strat (250k pots btw) > Soldano Supercharger OD > VOX AC4 head > VOX 1x12 cab (yeah I know that it is a weird rig for djent, but I started as a blues/rock player, and I don't have too much money to buy something more acceptable for metal)

I want something that would have enough output to drive my amp yet won't be significantly louder than my single coils, and will work well with 250k pots. Think Steve Vai's solos, Petrucci's rhythm, especially in his LTE days, and djent of course.

I narrowed my choice down to Evolution and PAF Pro, but I appreciate your opinions and any other options, including Seymour Duncan or Bare Knuckle or anything.

Thanks and excuse me for my bad english.

EDIT: What do you think of the new Dominion? I don't know who Mark Morton is and never heard any Lamb of God songs, but it seems that this pickup has lots of mids and is not as high output as some other humbuckers.

Last edited by terribleguitar : 06-11-2012 at 02:44 AM.
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Old 06-10-2012, 05:15 PM   #2
MrFlibble
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How is your Strat wired? Some have a tone control on the bridge pickup, others don't. If yours doesn't then the bridge pickup is only going through one pot, and one 250k pot has roughly the same effect on the tone as using two 500k pickups would. On the other hand if you do have a tone control on the bridge pickup then you've got two pots on it, which is going to warm up, smooth out and quieten the bridge pickup considerably.

If you do have two control pots on the bridge pickup, an SD JB is the first thing that springs to my mind. It's high output, but just cool enough to not completely overpower most single coils and it was originally designed to be used with 250k pots.
The Evolution is a little hotter than the JB and will overpower most single coil pickups. It's also ridiculously, ridiculously bright. It's far from a 'djent' pickup, and frankly it's a little too bright even for 80s prog shred and fusion. Plus it was designed around guitars with naturally warmer characteristics than your Strat. The Evo 2 may be a better option. It's just a tiny bit lower output than the regular Evo and a tiny bit smoother too.

If you do have just one control on the bridge pickup then the PAF Pro might be a good choice. Just be aware it can get a little bit muddy if you go really insane with the gain and bass. It will certainly balance very well with most single coils though. Not a 'metal' pickup, but a good all-rounder and an ideal match for most Strats.

Also for one control, take a look at the SD Custom and Custom/'59 hybrid. They're both very clear but with strong bass, good for anything from chunky metal rhythm to classic rock. The Custom/'59 hybrid is just a little lower output of the two, but slightly higher output than the PAF Pro. The SD Custom is about the same output as a JB or Evo 2, a little less than an Evolution. They're both equally good for lead and rhythm playing.
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Old 06-10-2012, 05:24 PM   #3
terribleguitar
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Thanks for your reply, MrFlibble! Yes, I have my tone control wired to the bridge pickup. By the way, I actually have a JB Jr installed in the bridge position I like it, but would enjoy a full-sized humbucker with modern voice and more mids
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Old 06-10-2012, 05:53 PM   #4
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There's actually not much of a difference between the JB Jr and the 'full' JB; both Seymour Duncan and DiMarzio ar every good at making their single coil-size humbuckers sound like normal-size humbuckers.

For reference, both the DiMarzio Evolution pickups are brighter and thinner-sounding than the JB pickup. So if you want more mids than your current pickup, the Evolution is certainly not where you want to be looking. I know DiMarzio's website says they have a lot of mids, but I've got the Evo 2 (the warmer and more mid-heavy of the two) in a very thick-sounding guitar with two 300k controls on it and it still sounds very 'hollow' and light on the mids. In fact DiMarzio in general are not too great for mids-heavy pickups, apart from a small number of their older designs. They tend to go more for big bass and treble.

DM Super Distortion, Tone Zone and Breed pickups will all give you much more mid power than the JB Jr you currently have, and they're all certainly great for Strats and for rhythm work, but they're not the best for shreddy/progressive lead playing. They all will also completely overpower most single coil pickups. The Breed and Tone Zone will likely get muddy with two 250k controls too.

A Seymour Duncan Custom will give you a slightly more mids than the JB Jr while staying clear even with two 250k pots. It doesn't have a completely modern tone though. An Alternative 8 will give you tons of mids (tons of everything, in fact), work decently enough with two 250k controls and is great for both heavy rhythm and for lead playing, but it will totally overpower most regular single coils. Its output is about three times more than that of most singles.
A Duncan Distortion would give you more punchy mids than the JB Jr, but it also has more treble so you may find it sounds too bright despite the increased mids.

To be honest, your best bet may be to simply swap your JB Jr for a Hot Rails. It's not a full size humbucker like you want, but it's got more mids and a more modern tone than anything else available. You may even find it's mids are too strong and it can overpower most humbuckers, let alone single coils. The DiMarzio Tone Zone S will balance very slightly better with your single coils, but it'll also get a little muddy with two controls.
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Old 06-10-2012, 06:02 PM   #5
terribleguitar
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Thank you. I'll think about SD pickups.

EDIT:
What do you think of the new Dominion? I don't know who Mark Morton is and never heard any Lamb of God songs, but it seems that this pickup has lots of mids and is not as high output as some other humbuckers.

Last edited by terribleguitar : 06-10-2012 at 06:15 PM.
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Old 06-11-2012, 02:41 AM   #6
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Need more opinions!
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