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Old 11-27-2012, 07:06 AM   #1
podgie81
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upgrading my black beauty!

i have a epiphone les paul black beauty and im planning upgrading the pickup's for a more clean clear sound, what pickups would you's recommened?
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Old 11-27-2012, 07:37 AM   #2
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Old 11-27-2012, 05:18 PM   #3
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Duncan Antiquitys are nice. Very vintage PAF sound. Try installing coil splitters. Unlike taps they actually turn the humbucker into a single-coil, so you get (in my opinion) the best clean sound possible.
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Old 11-27-2012, 10:08 PM   #4
MrFlibble
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If you want a similar tone you have with the stock pickups, just clearer, try:
  1. Seymour Duncan '59 or DiMarzio PAF Pro. Very similar to the stock pickups, just a little brighter and generally more responsive. Good for all styles of amplifier and playing and in any pickup position.
  2. Gibson Burstbucker #2 (bridge) and #1 (neck) or Seymour Duncan Seth Lover. A slightly softer and clearer sound than the stock pickups. Best suited to blues and classic rock, though they can do heavier stuff with an appropriate amplifier. Better in the neck and middle than in the bridge.
  3. DiMarzio Air Classic. Kind of halfway between the above two. It's got some of the softer tone of the Burstbucker/Seth Lover, but also some of the added brightness and power of the '59. It won't give you a drastically different tone to what you have now, but it will open your sound up a little, give you a bit more definition. Good for all styles of music and amp and good in all positions.
  4. Seymour Duncan Pearly Gates. Very similar to the Seth Lover/Burstbucker, but very, very slightly more modern, with a tiny bit more treble. Specialises in heavy blues, classic rock and hard rock, but it can do everything else too; I use one for grunge. Good in all positions, though blues and jazz players tend to find them too hot for the neck and metal players find them too weak in the bridge, so depending on what you play you may not find it ideal in all three positions.
  5. Seymour Duncan '59/Custom Hybrid. Take the Epiphone stock pickups and increase everything a little bit and you've got the 59/Custom Hybrid. More bass, clearer mids, more treble, slightly more output, more response. It's a bit generic-sounding, but it's pretty much the best all-round bridge pickup available. Only use it in the bridge, unless you play metal in which case it would be better im the middle position too; it's not a good pick for the neck, no matter what you play.
  6. Seymour Duncan Custom or Custom 5. Like the 59/Custom Hybrid, but another boost again. The Custom has more treble and tighter bass, the Custom 5 has a slightly softer sound. Both are great in the bridge for any kind of rock or metal; they're not terribly good for lighter stuff, though.


Or, if you'd like to step away from the standard humbucker sound a bit further:
  1. DiMarzio Bluesbucker. A much brighter and lighter sound than any regular humbucker. Sounds almost like a P-90, but just a tiny bit smoother and with less hum. Good in any position for blues and classic rock, or just the middle and neck for hard rock and metal.
  2. Seymour Duncan Phat Cat or Gibson P94. Extra large single coil (P90, not Strat or Tele-like) tones in a humbucker size. These will give you way more clarity and much more sensitive response, but they also hum. If you play with medium or higher distortion, use with caution. Best in the neck or middle, but can work well in the bridge if you're not going to try and do chug-chug drop-tuned death metal or whatever.
  3. Seymour Duncan Jazz. Much brighter and lighter tone than the stock pickups have, but still smooth and with slightly boosted output. Not used by rhythm players often, but lots of lead players love them because they're so clear. Best in the neck or middle positions.
  4. DiMarzio Evo 2. Sounds like two Telecaster bridge pickups put together. Ridiculously clear and responsive, but that can make it too harsh for some people. Can do classic rock, but not blues or jazz; it's best suited to hard rock and metal.
  5. Benedetto A-6. It's designed just for jazz playing, but of course that doesn't mean that is the only thing to do. If clarity is what you want, this is your pick. Best to only use this in the neck and only for cleaner tones.

.... That's all the off-the-shelf, standard brand ones, anyway. Of course there are lots of smaller companies who will wind you pickups to your exact specification, but these cost much more and really are services intended for experienced pickup... er, pickers.


Not knowing exactly what and how you play, my top picks for a set of pickups for a Black Beauty LP that can take on all styles of music would be a Seymour Duncan '59/Custom Hybrid in the bridge, a Seymour Duncan Phat Cat in the middle and a Gibson Burstbucker #1, Seymour Duncan Seth Lover or DiMarzio Bluesbucker in the neck.
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Old 11-28-2012, 01:35 AM   #5
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look into BG. i haven't ordered any pickups from him yet, but i know a lot of people who do (AM at one point recommended them for me, but i was already familiar with them).

they are about as custom as custom gets. good prices (on par with Dimarzio or SD), he winds them by hand in california. ask him what he thinks would be good for you.

i am probably getting hellrails and a smoke stack. both brian and AM recommended the combination.

http://www.bg-pups.com/
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Old 11-28-2012, 09:07 AM   #6
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Cheers everyone, think im going to go with seymour duncun slash alnico pro ll in the neck and bridge, still not sure about the middle.
is this a good idea?
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Old 11-28-2012, 12:41 PM   #7
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Depends what sort of thing you play, what your amp is and what pedals (if any) you use. Generally I wouldn't advise anybody uses the Slash A2Ps, though; you're just paying for the name attached to them. There is nothing special about them, they're simply regular A2Ps with a few more winds on both coils. You can get the same tone and response from a million other standard, medium-output, alnico II humbuckers.

Usually for the middle position you either use the same pickup you have in the neck (the traditional Gibson way) or you go for something extra-bright and lower output, the idea being you have two 'lead' pickups in the neck and bridge and a middle-ground 'rhythm' pickup in the middle. A slightly higher-output bridge, a P-90 in the middle and a classic-style PAF-copy in the neck is pretty much the most common combination.
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Old 11-28-2012, 03:44 PM   #8
podgie81
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i play oasis, stone roses and like slash and anything britpop or indie!
my amps a marshall mfx50 and ive got a boss distortion stompbox.
i just really looking for a mixture of that!
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Old 11-28-2012, 05:32 PM   #9
MrFlibble
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Well with a solid state amp like that, and a distortion pedal, a change of pickups isn't going to do much for you. You can certainly get a brighter or darker tone, and get a little more clarity, but really the sort of tone you're chasing comes from valve amps. To use your examples, Oasis used a mixture of Vox combo and Marshall stack valve amplifiers, Stone Roses' tone comes from Fender combo amps, Slash of course makes use of a variety of Marshall stacks and most Britpop tends to use Vox and Orange valve amps. Basically... all completely opposite to what you're running.

Changing pickups is really a way of tweaking your tone and the response you get, once you've already got your core tone sorted out. A pickup swap won't make a solid state amp sound like a valve one or make a Marshall sound like a Fender. If you install coil splits you'll be able to get closer to the single coil tones used by many later alt pop bands and Britpop bands, but that will be the largest, most drastic change you'll be able to do.

With that in mind, if you're hell-bent on changing pickups then I'd go for a Seymour Duncan '59 in the bridge, an SD Phat Cat or DM Bluesbucker in the middle and a DM Bluesbucker, SD Seth Lover, Pearly Gates or Gibson Burstbucker #1 in the neck. If you opt to install coil splits then I'd use a '59 in the bridge and a Pearly Gates in both the neck and middle.
Though really, saving the money up and getting a Vox, Marshall or Orange valve combo is going to get you closer to the tone you're after.
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Old 11-28-2012, 06:23 PM   #10
podgie81
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i'll look in to changing my amp as well then too!
cheers for the info!
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Old 11-28-2012, 06:50 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by podgie81
i'll look in to changing my amp as well then too!
cheers for the info!


and we've arrived at the obvious end for almost all "what pickups for me" posts...

seriously though, that's the right call. upgrading the pickups when there's an average amp involved just doesn't make sense.
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Old 11-29-2012, 07:57 AM   #12
podgie81
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what sort of amp should i be looking at? good amp cheap as possible.
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Old 11-29-2012, 08:46 AM   #13
MrFlibble
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Be looking for a valve amp with medium-gain and a dark-ish tone. Vox, Marshall and Orange are the kings of this, though there are other companies like Peavey and Blackstar that make copies/similar systems. "Cheap" is very subjective, what is expensive for one person may be dirt cheap to another. But generally, the Orange Tiny Terror and Blackstar HT-Studio amps are, as far as I'm aware, the cheapest amps that will get you a tone remotely close to what you're chasing.
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Old 11-29-2012, 11:25 AM   #14
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Check out the Orange Micro Terror. Cheapest valve amp you can find as far as I can tell
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Old 11-29-2012, 01:12 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by KingSwedefire
Check out the Orange Micro Terror. Cheapest valve amp you can find as far as I can tell


orange micro terror isn't really a tube (valve) amp. it has 1 tube in the pre-amp, but everything else is solid-state. the mini terror is a much, much better amp.

some of the VHT stuff might be worth a look too.
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Old 11-29-2012, 02:32 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krehzeekid
orange micro terror isn't really a tube (valve) amp. it has 1 tube in the pre-amp, but everything else is solid-state. the mini terror is a much, much better amp.

some of the VHT stuff might be worth a look too.

Yeah, I just looked into it and VHT look like the best thing for what is needed. Handwired too!
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Old 11-29-2012, 02:36 PM   #17
podgie81
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i wash looking at mini terror, i'll check out VHT too. thanks for your help!
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