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Old 03-04-2016, 11:50 AM   #1
scarletcantos
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Passive and Active Pickup question

I know that if you want to put active pickups into a guitar that came with passives it's a whole ordeal, because you have to carve out a place for the batteries and so on. But if you have a guitar that came with EMG 81s, and now you want to install passives, like a Duncan Invader, is that relatively straightforward?



Also, while I'm on here, maybe you can help settle an argument with a friend. I said that that, when it comes to pickups, the most important thing is that you get something that suits your style. My friend, on the other hand, insists that you should always go for top quality above all else.
To give an example, lets say your ideal pickup is the Seymour Duncan Invader. But what you actually have is a Duncan Detonator (Duncan Design low budget Invader) and a Seymour Duncan JB. Would you install the Detonator or the JB?
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Old 03-04-2016, 12:37 PM   #2
ltdguy27
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Depending on the guitar you have you don't need to carve out a place for a battery as their is usually enough space in the control cavity. Going from actives to passives will require you to change the pots from the 25k ones that come with EMGs to 500k pots.

As for your other question you do both by getting a pickup that suits you while being high quality. For example for the metal I play it makes no sense to spend a lot of cash on a quality pickup like a Seth Lover SD when it won't suit my needs. On the other side it also makes no sense to spend money on a cheap high output pup simply because high output is good for metal.
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Old 03-04-2016, 12:45 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scarletcantos
I know that if you want to put active pickups into a guitar that came with passives it's a whole ordeal, because you have to carve out a place for the batteries and so on. But if you have a guitar that came with EMG 81s, and now you want to install passives, like a Duncan Invader, is that relatively straightforward?


You'll dump most everything in the pickup and control cavities and sub in new. So if that's straightforward enough, then yes.
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Old 03-04-2016, 12:50 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dspellman
You'll dump most everything in the pickup and control cavities and sub in new. So if that's straightforward enough, then yes.



+1 on that, plus you can sell your 81's on ebay to help pay for the conversion
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Old 03-04-2016, 12:56 PM   #5
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I've put the Invader in three different guitars and hated it every time. YMMV.

If you like SD and metal, I'm a huge fan of the good ol' SH-6, as well as the Nazgul and Pegasus. I have a Pegasus/Sentient combo in my Viper right now and I'm rather pleased.
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Old 03-04-2016, 01:04 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scarletcantos

Also, while I'm on here, maybe you can help settle an argument with a friend. I said that that, when it comes to pickups, the most important thing is that you get something that suits your style. My friend, on the other hand, insists that you should always go for top quality above all else.
To give an example, lets say your ideal pickup is the Seymour Duncan Invader. But what you actually have is a Duncan Detonator (Duncan Design low budget Invader) and a Seymour Duncan JB. Would you install the Detonator or the JB?


Several issues with the premise of the argument on BOTH sides.

One, your friend is assuming that the SD is "top quality" (because it's more expensive?). Truth is, most pickups are made of the same wire/magnets/, etc. and there's really no substantive "quality" difference.

Two, you're assuming that the Duncan Design Detonator is similar to the real Invader.

And three, you're assuming that the Invader is a better pickup than what you have (highly subjective).

Regarding #2: I have an HSS-configured superstrat that came with a pair of Duncan Design Hot Rail (alikes). They sounded like crap. I pulled them and replaced them with a pair of real Hot Rails. For starters, the Duncan Design versions were two-wire pickups (real Hot Rails have four) and when I peeled the DD versions apart, they were constructed nothing like the real ones. It wasn't a "cheap version" of the HR, it was a whole different thing. OTOH, the full-size humbucker (I still have NO idea what it is) in the bridge position was awesome sounding, so I left it.

Regarding #3: I have a pair of Invaders that I pulled from a custom-built flying V (the builder didn't put them in there; some 15-year-old did, losing the original pickups in the process. The originals were more expensive pickups, but because he'd never heard of them before, he *assumed* the SDs were better. Moron.). Invaders have never been my favorite pickup, so I pulled them and replaced them with Tom Andersons and put the Invaders in the accessories pocket. I also redid the wiring (hashed by the guy who replaced the pickups).

And finally, a JB is a whole different pickup from an Invader. I'd personally prefer it over an Invader, but... The one absolutely right on the money argument is, "Use a pickup that does what YOU need it to do."
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Old 03-04-2016, 01:47 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ltdguy27
As for your other question you do both by getting a pickup that suits you while being high quality. For example for the metal I play it makes no sense to spend a lot of cash on a quality pickup like a Seth Lover SD when it won't suit my needs. On the other side it also makes no sense to spend money on a cheap high output pup simply because high output is good for metal.

Basically this.
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Old 03-04-2016, 02:20 PM   #8
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Real non straight-forward issues would arise if you wanted to use both an active and a passive.
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Old 03-04-2016, 02:51 PM   #9
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Hopefully, with all the discussion you are having with your friend, you are playing on good quality tube amps. Otherwise, this pickup talk means nothing.
And yes, going from one to the other means all new pots, etc.
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Old 03-04-2016, 11:15 PM   #10
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Go on youtube and look at comparison vids of pickups to help you choose. Yes, quality pickups are important, but do you want a Mercedes, a Porsche, or a Hummer? All can be good quality but their characteristics need to match what you want.

Most quality metal-oriented pickups will be sufficient for playing generic metal. However, if you want scooped mids, if you play in standard E or drop tuning..there are some pickups better for these different uses.
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Old 03-05-2016, 04:41 AM   #11
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Top quality, best etc, all very subjective. Some people hate EMG some love them, some hate passive some active, there is no wrong, so assuming something is bad because it didn't work for an specific job in a particular time/person is just not pragmatic. Experience will only give you the right answers. so try it all!
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Old 03-05-2016, 11:52 AM   #12
scarletcantos
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Thanks for all the feedback. That's very interesting about the Duncan Designed Hot Rails, dspellman. As for the amp, for the rest of the year I'll be playing on a Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier. I don't own it, but I'm super stoked just to have access to such a beautiful piece of equipment.

@JustRooster, Invaders are such a specific sounding pickup, I reckon you love them or hate them. Personally, I love them.
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Old 03-05-2016, 03:40 PM   #13
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The only real way to see would be to try the Detonator and the JB and see which one you prefer.

Although if it was me I would go for the JB, Detonators/Invaders tend to get a bit muddy IMO and I can only imagine the problem would be worse in the cheaper model.

The JB is also a great pickup.
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Old 03-07-2016, 07:01 AM   #14
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What amp are you using?

All this discussion about pickups is academic if your amp is rubbish.
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Old 03-07-2016, 07:48 AM   #15
scarletcantos
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Originally Posted by T00DEEPBLUE
What amp are you using?

All this discussion about pickups is academic if your amp is rubbish.


Recto
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Old 03-07-2016, 10:08 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by N1ghtmar3C1n3ma
Although if it was me I would go for the JB, Detonators/Invaders tend to get a bit muddy IMO and I can only imagine the problem would be worse in the cheaper model.

The JB is also a great pickup.


+1 for the SH-4 JB, the SH-6 Duncan Distrotion is also great for metal.
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Old 03-07-2016, 03:55 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by scarletcantos
Recto

Well if your amp is a Mesa Rectifier, then I'd suggest using something like a JB or an SH-6.

They're both just really well-rounded pickups. Putting a pickup as muddy as an Invader in front of an amp as bassy as a Recto is counterproductive.
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