buxeyy
Registered User
Join date: Jul 2013
326 IQ
#1
I currently have a 1984 Epiphone Explorer that I bought just over a year ago on Ebay, and while it's a great guitar, I can't seem to get enough clarity through any amp/fx pedals etc. so I am looking at buying/replacing the pickups with some better ones, and this is where I'm stuck.

I know very little about pickups, just their uses etc. so I have no idea where to look, what makes are good or anything else, so any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

The sound I'm aiming for is grungy/noisey stuff, like Sonic Youth, but I'd like the nice high end/warm tones of stuff like Dinosaur Jr/Smashing Pumpkins/Nirvana

Thanks, Bouch
mikeYekim
Curses & Cranberries!!
Join date: Aug 2009
414 IQ
#2
There are an overwhelming number of pickups out there, and youre going to get a lot of different opinions about what kind is best because frankly, everyone's ear is different. PERSONALLY, I've always liked Seymour Duncan as a brand, and just to not complicate things for you I would suggest the JB/Jazz combo, which you can buy as a set. I would youtube them before you buy them, cuz its not always easy to try a pickup set. If you cant get the tones youre looking for out of that set than i would look at your gear (which may surprise you actually makes a bigger difference in your tone.) What kind of amp/fx do you have?
"Any statement beginning with the words 'In truth' is almost always a lie."

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buxeyy
Registered User
Join date: Jul 2013
326 IQ
#3
I don't have an amp I use consistently, I have a small practise amp at home which I never hook my pedal board up to, and I use different amps all the time at the rehearsal studio I use with my pedal board, but it sounds quite muddy through both..

My board has a Joyo Compressor, Boss Distortion, and Behringer Chorus, Delay, Ultra Tremolo, and Flanger.
mikeYekim
Curses & Cranberries!!
Join date: Aug 2009
414 IQ
#4
Well like I said, my opinion for you would be the JB/Jazz combo. If youre getting muddiness from all different amp setups it could be your pickups. I'm trying to find a good pickup myself, the stock set on my PRS just isnt cutting it.
"Any statement beginning with the words 'In truth' is almost always a lie."

The Legion
buxeyy
Registered User
Join date: Jul 2013
326 IQ
#5
cool thanks, any idea of companies/makes? and prices? I don't want to spend more than £150 really. Between £100 and £125 is about my price range...
mikeYekim
Curses & Cranberries!!
Join date: Aug 2009
414 IQ
#6
100 pounds is like 150 dollars, you should be able to get most passive pickup sets from Seymour Duncan or Dimarzio with that money. I'm not a pickup expert, I wish I was, and I don't have first hand experience with any companies except SD, Dimarzio and EMG. These three companies should suit the needs of any player out there unless youre into spending loads of money and want high end quality/tone.

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/accessories/seymour-duncan-hot-rodded-humbucker-set

That set is a very popular, versatile set. I've had this set personally and I don't see how it wouldnt be able to pull off the sound youre going for. But on the other hand, really try and figure out if its pickups you need. MOST of your tone comes from your amp and your fingers. If its not the pickups youll have ended up spending that money and go "shit! its still muddy!"

Last point, if youre going to replace the pickups you may as well replace all your wiring and pots at the same time. That guitar is almost 30 years old, it could probably use it.
"Any statement beginning with the words 'In truth' is almost always a lie."

The Legion
-MintSauce-
Time Lord
Join date: May 2006
2,394 IQ
#7
It might be worth looking into IronGear pickups, if you're not sure about what you want to get from your upgrade and you're on a budget. Be sure to scour eBay too, because you can always find pickups by Seymour Duncan/DiMarzio/EMG on there for much less than the RRP.

Also, if clarity is a serious issue, you might want to look at your pedals - have you tried putting a clean boost/buffer before everything with the compressor taken out?
runriot_z28
Registered User
Join date: Nov 2010
11 IQ
#8
Is your guitar the 1984 reissue? If so, it has EMG 81/85 pickups already. I have that set, and not once have I ever thought of them as muddy. I think your problem is elsewhere. Maybe get a cheap EQ pedal (Fish N Chips) so you can sculpt your tone better, or get a better amp.
mikeYekim
Curses & Cranberries!!
Join date: Aug 2009
414 IQ
#9
I've never heard of Irongear pickups, how do they compare to the big name brands?
"Any statement beginning with the words 'In truth' is almost always a lie."

The Legion
andersstruve
UG 's Degenerate Army
Join date: Jun 2012
301 IQ
#10
Quote by mikeYekim
PERSONALLY, I've always liked Seymour Duncan as a brand, and just to not complicate things for you I would suggest the JB/Jazz combo, which you can buy as a set.


Personally the only JB I'll ever fangirl over.
andersstruve
UG 's Degenerate Army
Join date: Jun 2012
301 IQ
#11
But in all seriousness, Corgan, from the Pumpkins is a devout Dimarzio fan. He's got his signature strat loaded with a chopper in the middle position, a good humbucker-single coil cross over. But first we should establish whether you want single coils or humbuckers. I'm assuming you're looking for humbuckers, but it wasn't uncommon for Thurston Moore to use p-90's. If you're into 90's alternative don't overlook "jazzy" sounding pickups.
Just remember some of Nirvana's most famous "hardcore" songs were played through jazz guitars.
buxeyy
Registered User
Join date: Jul 2013
326 IQ
#12
As far as I know (I might be wrong) but the humbuckers use is to aleviate some of the feedback? Am I right in saying that, because if so, I'd rather be able to feedback more easily - therefore go for a single coil
buxeyy
Registered User
Join date: Jul 2013
326 IQ
#13
Quote by andersstruve
it wasn't uncommon for Thurston Moore to use p-90's.


I've just had a look at those and they're very similar to the pickups I have now, I'm struggling to identify what they actually are(my pickups)...
xwolfengeistx
Registered User
Join date: Jun 2013
32 IQ
#15
Another thing you should definitely check are the values of potentiometers in your guitar. Humbuckers are generally "supposed" to use 500K (although I personally prefer 1 Meg or just bypassing the pots altogether). Since you bought the guitar used, there's really no way of knowing what somebody could have put in there. If somebody put 250K pots, it will almost certainly sound "muddy" no matter what kind of humbuckers you try. Changing pots is also WAY CHEAPER than changing pickups, so I always recommend starting there first.
xwolfengeistx
Registered User
Join date: Jun 2013
32 IQ
#16
And if your guitar has EMGs or other "active" pickups with a battery powered preamp, those use very specific pot values as well, generally 25K or somewhere in that range. Check all that before you spend your hard earned cash on a whole new set of pickups.
buxeyy
Registered User
Join date: Jul 2013
326 IQ
#17
Caution:
This post contains my opinion and/or inaccurate information


Quote by vayne92
I'm genuinely beginning to think you're the best troll of all time


"Emocore is like, when you cry when you break a guitar string"
- Thurston Moore