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Old 03-08-2013, 02:55 PM   #1
Liliana_Vess
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Need advice on my custom set up.

So, the long and short of it is this.
I plan on purchasing this guitar... (Epiphone SG)

[forbidden link]

I then plan on purchasing these pick-ups... (DiMarzio DP102 X2N Pickup 2X)

[forbidden link] You can just simply google search the names of the guitar and the pickups I plan on purchasing.

My questions are, will this setup sound good?
I have absolutely no experience in setting up guitars, I suppose my first questions is, how much do pick-ups have an influence on the sound? Second question would be, how much does the body have to do with sound in solid-body electric guitars? Then thirdly, how do both of those influences interact with one another to produce the final tone? Which I suppose leads to my last question of, are my setup choices going to produce a good sound/tone?

Just a little backstory now that I got my question out of the way, I chose this guitar, and the pickups based on some research that I did on the equipment Buckethead uses. I know he didn't use an Epiphone SG, but he does use a Gibson SG of course. I'm just trying to create a budget friendly Buckethead sound and feel. Even if this is different than what Buckethead's Gibson SG is.
Thanks for reading my post, and all information and responses I gather here are greatly appreciated.
-LV

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Old 03-08-2013, 03:13 PM   #2
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What amp are you using? That's the main contributor to your sound.

Buy the guitar first. You may find you like it as it is & don't need to upgrade. Pickups should be the last thing on your shopping list. Remember, just because BucketHead uses those means doesn't mean they'll sound good for you.

To be honest IMO it's only worth upgrading high quality guitars. The one you're considering is only average in the overall scheme of things. It may be that you can find a guitar with the specs & pickups you want for the cost of buying the guitar & upgrading it.
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Old 03-08-2013, 04:37 PM   #3
von Layzonfon
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Very much all this. ^

Amp + FX > Pickups > Wood

Given the amount of gear listed here I'd imagine the guitar is the least of your concerns.
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Old 03-08-2013, 06:44 PM   #4
Liliana_Vess
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I am using a Marshall Half Stack MG100HDFX. I just want a good solid guitar, and I want it to be crafted in the likeness of my hero. I appreciate the information that you have given me Gary Billington. It has given me options to consider.
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Old 03-09-2013, 04:35 AM   #5
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An MG?

I think we all know what the appropriate advice is for this thread then.
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Old 03-10-2013, 12:48 AM   #6
Liliana_Vess
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And what would that be? Because I honestly don't know.
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Old 03-10-2013, 04:38 AM   #7
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Surf around the many 'what shall I buy' threads and you'll notice most of them somewhere along the line will have the phrase "What you really need is a new amp" posted. It's kind of an in-joke around here, but in a lot of cases it's true.

In your case....what you really need is a new amp.

MG's are decent practice amps, but nothing more than that. If you bought it thinking you could replicate the sounds you hear professional guitarists getting out of their Marshalls, or that it would be good for gigging, I'm afraid you made a pretty poor purchase. It's the absolute bottom end of Marshall's range and is in no way comparable to the tube amps you see your hero's using.

If you've reached the point where you're trying to fine-tune your sound and get the tone you really want, then you've outgrown that amp and need to purchase a real one.
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Old 03-10-2013, 12:41 PM   #8
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Thanks for everyone's great recommendations and advice, especially Gary Billington. You guys have given me a lot to think about sculpting my overall tone with trying to acquire the appropriate gear, but i'm not a popular musician like Buckethead, i'm just simply a bedroom guitarist trying to emulate his sound through budget, and I think you guys are missing that part, and I say that with the most respect and humbleness possible.

I know that the amp is a very important part of the sound, but at the moment I hate my current guitar, so a new guitar is more in my scopes at the moment, getting a better amp is definitely on the list, but just not something I can do at the moment, so as you guys have provided great information about sculpting my overall tone that has been tremendously useful.
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Old 03-10-2013, 01:02 PM   #9
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If you want to emulate Buckethead, wouldn't it be better to get a Les Paul these days? Also, why did you choose the X2Ns? They're a bit of a relic of a time when people needed a lot of output from a pickup to drive their amps, which is especially pointless if you're using a solid state. The Gibson 500T and 496R from his signature Les Paul and the DiMarzio Air Norton and Tone Zone set that he's apparently using now aren't as hot as the X2Ns.

Also, there's nothing wrong with putting decent hardware and good pickups in an economy guitar.
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Old 03-10-2013, 01:16 PM   #10
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Personally I'd find a guitar that I enjoy playing and like the style of (if it's inspired by your hero, great) and then save up for a decent practice amp. Once I'd sorted that out I'd decide if I wanted to upgrade the guitar or not.
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Old 03-10-2013, 01:21 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Liliana_Vess
I hate my current guitar

So why are you even considering upgrading it? If you hate it, that's where you should be spending your money (although even a great guitar won't sound great through that amp).

The link in your original post got blocked, but you said it was an Epiphone SG - Epiphones are good so long as you avoid their lower end models. Which one was it? If you accept that you aren't going to get close to Buckethead's tone by buying the pickups as well, you could probably afford something even better. What is your total budget for a new guitar?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Liliana_Vess
i'm just simply a bedroom guitarist trying to emulate his sound through budget, and I think you guys are missing that part

Being a bedroom guitarist on a budget doesn't stop you from buying quality kit - we've all been there and most of us have made the same mistakes you're making.

At the moment you have a low-quality amp that you probably never take above 1 on the volume knob. If you were to buy a smaller amp of higher quality you'd sound better instantly. You could probably afford something like a used Vypyr for the amount you could sell your MG for.
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Old 03-10-2013, 05:40 PM   #12
Liliana_Vess
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This thread has actually been unbelievably helpful to me. I'm thinking about making a switch here. I am now thinking about picking up a Epiphone Les Paul Studio and then putting the 500t in the bridge, and the 496 in the neck. I would definitely agree that that I could have a better amp, but how do I choose? I'm going to head over to the "what shall I buy" which was recommend, but I still want some feedback here.
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Old 03-10-2013, 06:00 PM   #13
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Something like a Peavey Valveking Royal 8, Orange Micro Terror, or a BlackStar HT-1 would be a good call for bedroom action. 1W and 5W valve amps are a lot louder than you'd expect - you can also crank them enough to get real overdrive without making your ears bleed or using an attenuator.

Whilst Buckethead apparently uses the 500T and 496R, I think they're still not worth it. Your budget would stretch further if you bought a comparable Seymour Duncan model second hand. Something like an SH-5 for the bridge and a '59 for the neck.
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Old 03-10-2013, 06:38 PM   #14
Liliana_Vess
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GaryBillington
So why are you even considering upgrading it? If you hate it, that's where you should be spending your money (although even a great guitar won't sound great through that amp).


I currently have a Greg Bennett Signature Series Metalhead, and I just don't care for it. It's tiny and it doesn't sound or play that great in my opinion. This is the guitar that I say I hate.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GaryBillington
The link in your original post got blocked, but you said it was an Epiphone SG - Epiphones are good so long as you avoid their lower end models. Which one was it? If you accept that you aren't going to get close to Buckethead's tone by buying the pickups as well, you could probably afford something even better. What is your total budget for a new guitar?


For the guitar I chose it was just a simple Epiphone SG, but now i'm leaning more towards a Epiphone Les Paul Studio. Budget wise is just a matter of how long I would have to save up to acquire it. $1,000 or so is fine, or even more maybe because you get what you pay for. I'm still looking for low budget though. Say I just pick up a whole new setup, amp, guitar, and pickups, I want to keep it around $1,500 to $2,000 for everything. If this is unrealistic, than I suppose I would have to save more. Someone said that it's not a bad idea to put decent pickups in economy priced guitars. I agree based on pricing, but i've never dabbled with it myself, thats why I came here.
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Old 03-10-2013, 06:38 PM   #15
Liliana_Vess
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Quote:
Originally Posted by -MintSauce-
Something like a Peavey Valveking Royal 8, Orange Micro Terror, or a BlackStar HT-1 would be a good call for bedroom action. 1W and 5W valve amps are a lot louder than you'd expect - you can also crank them enough to get real overdrive without making your ears bleed or using an attenuator.

Whilst Buckethead apparently uses the 500T and 496R, I think they're still not worth it. Your budget would stretch further if you bought a comparable Seymour Duncan model second hand. Something like an SH-5 for the bridge and a '59 for the neck.


Thanks for this, but why do you say you don't think the pickups Buckethead uses are worth it?
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Old 03-11-2013, 09:26 PM   #16
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I have listened to the BlackStar ht-1 and wow, that seems like a killer amp, and I love that it can power a 4x12 cab, I suppose a blackstar cab is the way to go? Can't beat the price, or the tone that I heard from that thing.

Am planning on heading to a local shop tomorrow to try one out hands on.
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Old 03-12-2013, 01:58 AM   #17
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Just a note on the pickups; the reaosn why the 500T and 496R are not worth buying is because Gibson pickups come at a premium price despite being made just the same as the slightly cheaper pickups of Seymour Duncan and DiMarzio. For the price of a Gibson pickup you can get a custom pickup wound for you by a boutique manufacturer; or you can save some money and get the same sound as the Gibsons by buying an appropriate SD or DM pickup.

But do bear in mind that pickup changes are often a false economy. The money you spend on pickups could be saved and spent elsewhere. Ultimately it is your amp that dictates your overall tone. When you listen to a recording of somebody playing it is almost impossible to tell what sort of pickups they're using and it's not much easier to tell what kind of guitar they have, but it's always pretty easy to tell what kind of amplifier they're playing through. If there is a particular tone you are after then the most important step will be buying an appropriate amp.

There's also the simple problem that different pickups create different sorts of tone in different guitars and amp. A Seymour Duncan Custom, for example, can sound like a thick classic rock humbucker in a Les Paul but will sound like a cutting, shred metal pickup in a Strat. Pickups do not define your tone as much as you may think. Amp, guitar construction, pickups. That's the order tone is made up in.
If you're thinking of changing guitar and/or amp then don't waste time planning out pickup purchases. Worry about pickups once you have both an amp and a guitar you are really happy with. Then you will know what your overall tone is like and then you can think about a pickup change to tweak that tone further. Planning pickups first is a waste of time and money.

Whatever money you're thinking of putting into pickups, put it into the guitar or amp instead. You may be able to get the next step up in quality that way, and spending more on the guitar/amp and getting better-quality gear which is fine by itself is much smarter than buying cheaper-quality guitars/amps and trying to add to them with pickups and other things.
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Old 03-12-2013, 05:06 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Liliana_Vess
I have listened to the BlackStar ht-1 and wow, that seems like a killer amp, and I love that it can power a 4x12 cab, I suppose a blackstar cab is the way to go? Can't beat the price, or the tone that I heard from that thing.

Am planning on heading to a local shop tomorrow to try one out hands on.


On the one hand, you're saying that you're only a bedroom player, but on the other, you're saying you want a 4x12? It doesn't really make much sense. 4x12s really are overkill - even for small gigs. You really are better off with getting a smaller amp. Even if you do end up in a band, a 1x12 combo is plenty loud enough. Other than that, I think blackstar amps look like quite good amps for the price.
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Old 03-12-2013, 06:11 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eddiehimself
On the one hand, you're saying that you're only a bedroom player, but on the other, you're saying you want a 4x12? It doesn't really make much sense. 4x12s really are overkill - even for small gigs. You really are better off with getting a smaller amp. Even if you do end up in a band, a 1x12 combo is plenty loud enough. Other than that, I think blackstar amps look like quite good amps for the price.


I read that as liking the fact that it could run a 4x12 cab, not that they intended to purchase one.

If you're looking at the HT1, you can go for the head with a cab (1x12, 4x8, etc) or just grab the combo which is a 1x8. Any of them will be just fine for bedroom practise, with the 4x8 being far more than you'd need.
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Old 03-12-2013, 07:10 PM   #20
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Getting a guitar that you don't "hate" is a great way to make yourself a better player - you will want to practice as opposed to loathing practice.

I would definitely look into an Epiphone or Gibson Les Paul as others have recommended. After that, purchase a new amp. Pickups should be the last upgrade purchased. The Blackstar is an excellent recommendation for your situation.

Also, +1 for the MTG username. I spend almost as much on MTG as I do on guitar gear...
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