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Old 11-17-2012, 09:37 AM   #1
hr113
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Pup advice needed

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Hey guys, i've got a problem

I've been asked to join a deathcore/deathmetal band recently and the problem is my guitar sounds "small" compared to my bandmates.

Now, we have tried swaping our amps, trying to match our tones (with my weaker sound i added as much mids as i could, he scooped his) and so on.

I'm playing with Kramer imperial S404S. Adler body, maple neck, rosewood fretboard. Passive, medium output Quad-rail pups with coil split feature that i rarely use.

My bandmate plays Schecter demon. Mahogany body, maple neck, rosewood fretbeard.
"Duncan Designed" HB-105 active pickups.


At our rehearsal space we have Peavey 5150, Randall RG50 (tube), Randall RG100 (not sure which series, solid state), Peavey Valveking 100.

No matter what amps we plug into, when volume levels are even my guitar just sounds smaller/thinner compared to his. Thats not good for our overall sound at all.


Im thinking about swaping my bridge pup first, since 90% of the time im playing with pup position switch turned to bridge.

First pup that comes to mind - Dimarzio X2N.

Some of my idols play/played with this pup (Chuck Schuldiner of Death, Muhammed Suicmez of Necrophagist and o on)
I'm already biased towards this pup, i assume it will get me the tone i want, but few questions still remain.

Will it give me that "mass" that i need?
How does it work with low tunings (Namely Bb)? Clarity? Tightness?

I'm not too eager to start drilling holes in my guitar for active pups batteries.

If any of you can get me some insight on this baby, or maybe recommend something that would suit my needs even better (in similar price range) i would be very grateful.
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Old 11-17-2012, 09:52 AM   #2
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Have you looked at lace drop and gains?
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Old 11-17-2012, 09:57 AM   #3
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Just googled them. Will read up. Probably should have mentioned in the OP - i'm from eastern EU. My best choice is to buy from Thomann (e-store)
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Old 11-17-2012, 10:48 AM   #4
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Dimarzio crunchlab
Seymour Duncan SH-6/custom custom
BKP Nailbomb/Aftermath

Any of these should be a huge improvement over the stock pickups.
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Old 11-17-2012, 10:52 AM   #5
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How are you EQing the amps, and please tell me you're not simply using the same eq settings as the other guy

I'm not convinced pickups are your issue here. If they are I doubt the X2N is the solution, that thing just makes noise
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Old 11-17-2012, 12:44 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robbgnarly
Dimarzio crunchlab
Seymour Duncan SH-6/custom custom
BKP Nailbomb/Aftermath

Any of these should be a huge improvement over the stock pickups.

I'll check those out
BKP is way out of my price range, i still need my kidneys


Quote:
Originally Posted by steven seagull
How are you EQing the amps, and please tell me you're not simply using the same eq settings as the other guy

I'm not convinced pickups are your issue here. If they are I doubt the X2N is the solution, that thing just makes noise


Nope, our EQ isnt all that similar. One thing we definitely have in common is that we both love mids.

I dont have some default "preset" that i would do on every amp. I try to listen to tone when EQ'ing.

Tuned to drop Bb

General rule of thumb is to have a bit less of bass (close to 12 o'clock, most of the time lower) for tight, crunchy chugging;

quite a bit of mids (almost always my mid are >12 o'clock, how much depends on the amp) to get more "meat";

lots of highs for smooth leads (treble is usually somewhere around 3 o'clock).

I tried to max the mids, cut treble, upping the bass. Tone changes, but it doesnt really add more mass. It just lacks that punch compared to our other guitarist (its even worse when he plugs into 5150, then my guitar sounds like a mosquito next to a roaring bear)

Naturally, volume levels are balanced, im very much audible, its just that the sound is weak.

Any help is appreciated



I already was tinkering with the idea of changing pups to something like DiMarzio X2N(B)/Breed(N) or D-Activator-X set. Maybe SD Invaders?

Now might be the right time to do it, we have a big show booked only a month away, so if i'm to order something i have to do it pretty soon.

Again, if anything can be done to get a more powerful sound without changing anything - I'm listening
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Last edited by hr113 : 11-17-2012 at 12:51 PM.
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Old 11-17-2012, 12:57 PM   #7
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Also check out a diecent EQ pedal. You'll be amazed at what one can do for you MXR 6 band/10band, Boss 7 band

Or even a BBE sonic stomp pedal.
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Old 11-17-2012, 01:05 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robbgnarly
Also check out a diecent EQ pedal. You'll be amazed at what one can do for you MXR 6 band/10band, Boss 7 band

Or even a BBE sonic stomp pedal.


I was thinking about throwing in an EQ pedal into right after guitar ( i dont use any pedals, just guitar->head->cab). There is an EQ pedal at our rehearsal pace that seens to be left unused for some reason, will see what i can do with it.

BBE sonic stomp box looks very interesting, almost exactly what i need if it does what they say it does
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Blasphemy as severe as this is fucking unforgivable and by bullshito code you must commit sudoku for disgracing famirys honoru.
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Old 11-17-2012, 01:09 PM   #9
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I just got a rackmount BBE sonic maximizer the other day for my PA. but I threw it in my guitar rig to see what it does, and I'll deff be getting the sonic stomp next.
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Old 11-17-2012, 07:58 PM   #10
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Some things you might be overlooking:

What speaker cabs are you using?

What speakers are in these cabs?

Are you using a quality cables?

Have you tried switching places within the room? It could be that the acoustics of the room play more to where his amp is than where yours is.

Those are just some thoughts I had before you assume it's your pickups and spend a bunch of money on those just to find out it was something much simpler.
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Old 11-18-2012, 05:44 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blktiger0
Some things you might be overlooking:

What speaker cabs are you using?

What speakers are in these cabs?

Are you using a quality cables?

Have you tried switching places within the room? It could be that the acoustics of the room play more to where his amp is than where yours is.

Those are just some thoughts I had before you assume it's your pickups and spend a bunch of money on those just to find out it was something much simpler.



Im not sure what speakers are in the cabs there. I highly doubt that the case.

We have tried switching amps (we even plugged his guitar into a B100 (bass amp) with metal muff in front for the lulz, tone sucked, but sound was still bigger than mine).

Tried a few different cables two of my own, borrowed two at our rehearsal pace, change was miniscule.

All guitar amps/cabs stand next to each other, i guess that rolls out the acoustics, since walls there are soundproof. Acoustically it a nice place.

My concern here is that if my sound is so weak here, what will be at the show where venue provides equally good gear for all members (at rehearsals i can at least plug into 5150 and somehow even things out against a randall rg100. But if there will be rectos for both of us im pretty much screwed)

Still thanks for the input

EDIT: after checking out BBE sonic stomp box I found this video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2yyP...ture=plpp_video

could describe my situation pretty well. Just assume that other guitarists "stompbox" is on, mine is off

both audible, my sound is much weaker.

What do?
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Quote:
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Blasphemy as severe as this is fucking unforgivable and by bullshito code you must commit sudoku for disgracing famirys honoru.

Last edited by hr113 : 11-18-2012 at 05:54 AM.
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Old 11-18-2012, 04:17 PM   #12
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Bumping this thread up, if not for advice on what to do, the at least for info on X2N or some other alternatives
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Blasphemy as severe as this is fucking unforgivable and by bullshito code you must commit sudoku for disgracing famirys honoru.
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Old 11-18-2012, 04:23 PM   #13
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Honestly I don't like the X2N. have you checked out the crunchlab yet?
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Old 11-18-2012, 09:38 PM   #14
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You said BKP would be out of your price. what about just one? your playing death metal honestly how often are you going to use your neck pup?

if you can do it. try and aftermath.. or if you really want to cut through. the pain killer (super mid heavy)
the aftermath will keep nice and tight at that tuning.

if not give the duncan full shred or the good old tried and true sh-6 distortion.
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Old 11-18-2012, 09:52 PM   #15
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I think something with an Alnico 5 magnet would help fatten your sound. I like dimarzio tone zones, ridiculously fat pickups.
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Old 11-19-2012, 02:11 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robbgnarly
Honestly I don't like the X2N. have you checked out the crunchlab yet?


Cant check it out IRL, since no store (there are whole 2 of them) arround here hs JP signature guitars or any guitars with them intalled, by youtube clips they sound nice, but its description on dimarzios website still makes me wonder if it will suit me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bladed-Vaults
You said BKP would be out of your price. what about just one? your playing death metal honestly how often are you going to use your neck pup?

if you can do it. try and aftermath.. or if you really want to cut through. the pain killer (super mid heavy)
the aftermath will keep nice and tight at that tuning.

if not give the duncan full shred or the good old tried and true sh-6 distortion.


it goes for ~109 pounds eh? thats pretty affordable and im sure it will deliver.

I'm all for BKP. Will check out other suggestions, if nothing comes out of it. Im going for this one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dementiacaptain
I think something with an Alnico 5 magnet would help fatten your sound. I like dimarzio tone zones, ridiculously fat pickups.


To be honest, one of the best advices in this thread.

Ill look for pups with Alnico 5


Thank you, everyone
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Blasphemy as severe as this is fucking unforgivable and by bullshito code you must commit sudoku for disgracing famirys honoru.
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Old 11-19-2012, 04:58 AM   #17
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I think you're underestimating the amount of effect speakers/cabs have on your overall sound. If he is just using more efficient speakers that pump more mids, he'll slice right through you, even if all other gear is the same. For example, if his cab has V30's and you're running T75's, a pickup swap is going to do very little to help you.

Another thing you might consider is if you're EQing for a full mix. In my band, our other guitarist has a Rectoverb with a Mesa Recto 2x12 cab that's loaded with V30's. Naturally with that setup, he has a lot of upper-mid bite. To keep us from competing for the same frequencies, I use my MXR 10-Band in addition to my amp's EQ features to put an emphasis on lower-mids in my tone, giving me a darker growl. In addiion to that, I have a section of my EQ scooped out for our bassist so that he's got some room in the mix. It gives us a pretty full overall sound, with everyone able to be heard.

Speakers most definitely have more of an effect on your tone than the pickups in your guitar. Unless you're talking Single Coil vs Humbucker, but you're going from humbucker to humbucker. Both of the pickups in my main guitar are AlNiCo II pickups that are made for much lighter styles of music than what I play. The bridge pup is definitely scooped. I've played with guys using AlNiCo V and Ceramic pups that are very mid-heavy and still sliced right through them in a mix.
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Old 11-19-2012, 12:56 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blktiger0
I think you're underestimating the amount of effect speakers/cabs have on your overall sound. If he is just using more efficient speakers that pump more mids, he'll slice right through you, even if all other gear is the same. For example, if his cab has V30's and you're running T75's, a pickup swap is going to do very little to help you.

Another thing you might consider is if you're EQing for a full mix. In my band, our other guitarist has a Rectoverb with a Mesa Recto 2x12 cab that's loaded with V30's. Naturally with that setup, he has a lot of upper-mid bite. To keep us from competing for the same frequencies, I use my MXR 10-Band in addition to my amp's EQ features to put an emphasis on lower-mids in my tone, giving me a darker growl. In addiion to that, I have a section of my EQ scooped out for our bassist so that he's got some room in the mix. It gives us a pretty full overall sound, with everyone able to be heard.

Speakers most definitely have more of an effect on your tone than the pickups in your guitar. Unless you're talking Single Coil vs Humbucker, but you're going from humbucker to humbucker. Both of the pickups in my main guitar are AlNiCo II pickups that are made for much lighter styles of music than what I play. The bridge pup is definitely scooped. I've played with guys using AlNiCo V and Ceramic pups that are very mid-heavy and still sliced right through them in a mix.


Thanks for input. Some good info to think about here.

There are 2 identical Marshall 1960 4x12 cabs with V30's
So speakers arent the problem. Cables maybe. Since the venue we're going to be playing will provide all the gear but guitars/bass, I doubt our amps/cabs will differ much.

EQ pedal is definitely on my to buy list.
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Old 11-19-2012, 09:55 PM   #19
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also i just skimmed through this thread and i didnt see if anyone mentioned an OD.. prefferably a mid heavy OD (maxon808 ibby ts9-808 ect.) great way to not only tighten up your tone but shove a bit of mid in before you even hit the amp

imo regaurdless of what head you own you should have an od pedal. there are just times when they are absolutely usefull (breakdown.. solo.. tech riff over chords..... or all the time on!)

that also being said. pups for that guitar may be a good idea as stock pups usually blow.
except caparison.. they do shit right but thats a different matter all together.
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Old 11-20-2012, 02:34 PM   #20
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those quad rails are super-duper hot. they're pretty rubbish pickups, but they are hot. the heat of the pickups isn't the problem, in other words, so going for the x2n risks being a "cracking a walnut with a sledgehammer" type of solution... and to add insult to injury, you might not even have a problem in the first place.
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