#1
Hey.

I bought an Ibanez AWD83t a little while ago because I wanted a cheap semi-hollow guitar and I liked the shape and design of this guitar over a big, more traditional hollow guitar. Also, I'm a pretty heavy trem-user, so the idea of a trem on a semi-hollow that wasn't a bigsby appealed to me.

Anyway, I'm doing a few mods to it; schaller locking tuners, Graph-tech nut and new pickups.

I need your help with pickup choice. I'm a big dimarzio fan and have the tonezone and air-norton in a solid-body guitar. I love that combination, but I wan't something different for this guitar.
Maybe somethng not quite as in-your-face as a tonezone.

The stuff I play with it is like jazzed-up, post-rockish, experimental stuff. I'd like it to sound nice for the clean jazzy parts, but be able to hold its own when the gain is turned up. Not metal-gain, but still pretty heavy at times.
I use a lot of feedback and harmonics, so I guess it would be a bonus if the bridge pickup has good harmonics.

I thought maybe an EJCustom would be nice in there somewhere, but I'm not sure. They might be too strat-ish and I prefer humbuckers.
#4
Anyone at all got any suggestions? The current pickups a very bland annd I could do with some quick advice.
#5
PM CorduroyEW, he'll give you some advice, and probably wind them for you too!
------

Shwiggity.
#6
DiMarzio FRED in the bridge will give you loads of crazy harmonics, great tone and isn't particularly high gain. Also consider a PAF 36th, Air Norton or Bluesbucker. And a Humbucker from Hell in the neck is great.

(If you'd wanted metal pickups, I bet everyone would have more to say than just "talk to Cord")

Also, look into Bare Knuckles. If you can afford them they're amazing, and a PG Blues set would probably be good, or maybe the Mule.
#7
The FRED sounds like just what I'm looking for. I never considered it until now, but its definately a possibility. Harmonics are a big deal to me, so if it does what it says on the box, then awesome!

It might just be me, but I find a really treble-ey guitar tone kinda harsh on the ears. I'm not too keen on "jingley jangley" guitars, hence my reason for using humbuckers most of the time.

You reckon the HFH might be a little to screechy for me? Or will it be ok in the neck position?
#10
Quote by inefficiency
The FRED sounds like just what I'm looking for. I never considered it until now, but its definately a possibility. Harmonics are a big deal to me, so if it does what it says on the box, then awesome!

It might just be me, but I find a really treble-ey guitar tone kinda harsh on the ears. I'm not too keen on "jingley jangley" guitars, hence my reason for using humbuckers most of the time.

You reckon the HFH might be a little to screechy for me? Or will it be ok in the neck position?

If you want a rounder tone, the Air Norton and PAF Joe are both great in the neck. As a bonus, they both balance in output fantastically with the FRED. A winner? I think so. Factor in the fact that the Air Norton has great harmonics in the neck position and I think you're sorted.

Oh, but what's your amp?
#11
So this is what you seem to be saying (correct me if I have any of it wrong)
you don't want anything too bright
You want strong harmonics from the bridge (and I'm guessing the neck too)
You want something thick and warm in the neck
You want cut and moderately high output from the bridge but you don't want that upper midrange spike that makes most high output bridge pickups sound too aggressive.

Now here are a few things we still need to know.

How do you want the volume to balance between the bridge and the neck?
Do you want the bridge to be gritty and complex or clear and defined?
Do you want to neck pickup to be smooth and compressed or clear and open?
What amp are you using?
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#12
Right, first of all amp. With this band, and guitar, I usually use a Roland Jazz Chorus. They take pedals well and sound lovely clean.

I'm not too fussy about the neck pickup having great harmonics, mainly the bridge pickup. I'd rather have the neck pickup do something else better than excel in an area that I'm going to use the bridge for anyway.

I'm not too sure about the nice and open or the smooth and compressed for the neck pickup. I don't want too much of a volume drop for the neck, but a little bit is acceptable seeing as the Bridge may have to be slightly higher anyway to get the harmonics really jumping out.

I just want the neck to sound pretty, with good definition for faster single note runs and clear sounding chords. It'll mostly be playing clean, jazzy stuff and my chords quite often have big intervals between each note.
Just an all round nice clean-playing pickup. Any quirky character-traits would be a bonus, but I just want it pretty and not muddy at all.

The bridge will be handling any of the harder sounds and a lot of harmonics and feedback. So it'll probably have to be higher output than the neck and it'd be nice if it cuts through the mix quite well, because the guitarist I play with can't switch his damn amp on without having it LOUD and making big noises.
He plays a lot of higher range stuff, so I guess my tone would be better if it was a little more mid-rangey...
I don't want it to be too UBER-METALZ, but I think gritty and complex with real good harmonics are good criteria for it. I think how you described it in your first paragraph is good Cord.


I hope I've given you a good description here. If you need me to be more precise I'll try and narrow it down a little.

I definately like the sound of the Dimarzio FRED in the bridge. If the harmonics are as interesting as they say they are, then it'll be perfect. Plus, its not too high gain, but Satch uses them and his tone can get kinda gain-y.
I'm not a satch fan, but it sounds good for me.

Not keen on the Air-norton, because I have it in another guitar. Even though I love the sound of it in my other guitar, I use that for much different music and I want this to be different. I'd like a wider pallette of sounds.
#13
After all that. I Think I have a pretty good idea about what you want in the bridge. In the neck I'm still not 100% sure so if you could have a listen to This sound clip and tell me what you think. There are 3 distinct parts to the clip so please listen to the whole thing...

In the bridge I think the Dimarzio FRED would be good but not a great choice. The FRED has the clear tone and harmonics that you are after but it's also got the upper midrange spike that you want to avoid.

A better bet would be a medium output pickups with an anico 3 magnet. I'd shoot for something around 14K. Alinco 3 will give you a very clear tone without the "unusual" tone spikes that make bridge pickups hard to listen to.
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#14
That sound clip was nice. Wasn't too blown away at first, but I liked it by the end.
What pickup was that? The tone at the ending was pretty much what I'm looking for.
Also, what guitar was it and what amp? So I kinda know how that has effected it.

Its definately not got that harsh twang that I want to avoid. It doesn't sound as "round" as I imagined, but I think thats good because it doesn't sound too murky, and still has a lot of the characteristics I'm looking for. A lot nicer than most neck pickups I hear.
I definately like it.

For the bridge pickup that sounds good. Maybe towards the higher end of medium output, because I still want them to have a little bite, but yeah - not too high output. They need to balance quite well with the neck.
Do you think maybe a pickup without the upper-midrange spike might not handle the harmonics in the same way the fred would?

So far I think the FRED is my choice unless you or anyone can suggest anything with similiar characteristics to it, but less shred-tastic I guess. Less of a honkey midrange spike. Its not that I don't like a midrange spike sometimes. I have a tonezone in my other guitar, but this guitar I don't want to be too similiar. Not as concentrated in the middle and a little more spread out I guess - but I still need to cut through to some extent.

Thanks for all the help by the way man. Appreciate it.
Last edited by inefficiency at Dec 15, 2008,
#15
I had the FRED mated with the PAF Pro, just like Satch used to a few years ago.

Man, the combo is amazing. The PAF Pro is just oh so sweet and versatile. Caress it and it will sing, squeeze it and it will scream. Back off the tone and it will have jazzy tone to it and wide open it will never sound harsh or muddy.

The output is very close to the FRED, so it has to be backed off the strings to get proper volume balance... which cleans up a bit and sweetens the tone.

There is something more to the FRED... overtones. It's very, very rich sounding in an odd way. The tone on this pickup is "love it or leave it". DiMarzio says it sounds like a wah stuck in the middle and it rightly do so... awesome for some funky rhythm tone.

I have not much experience with different pickups, but so far those two I've used them and you really get to realize how good is Satch at choosing his gear. That combo of pick ups can go from sweet and mellow to grinding and aggressive (the FRED can sound really aggressive when overdriven in a musical way).
Noob Grade Gear...
Ibanez GRX20 GFS Pups, Digitech RP3, Vox Satchurator, Behringer DD400 Delay, Danelectro Fish n Chips EQ, Behringer GMX110
Total lack of skills and not into broot4Lz anymore
#16
That sounds great. I considered a paf pro in the bridge, but decided it wasn't really what I wanted there. It might be great, but I just think of paul gilbert's tone every time I think of the paf pro.
Maybe it could work well in the neck.

The FRED sounds awesome. I've been listening to some sound clips too and I think it could work well for me. Its kinda got a little of that dimarzio "vowely" tone, but not too much.
Need to research its supposedly amazing harmonics a bit more.
#17
Quote by inefficiency
That sound clip was nice. Wasn't too blown away at first, but I liked it by the end.
What pickup was that? The tone at the ending was pretty much what I'm looking for.
Also, what guitar was it and what amp?



That was one of my blackback pickups through a tweed twin amp. It's going to sound too cold in your amp, I was just trying to get an idea about the sound you want.

For you and your amp I would recommend my smooth heritage with an alnico 3 magnet and a nickel cover. I'd pair it up with one of my warm heritage pickups (slightly under wound) with an alnico 3 magnet and a nickel cover.

The alnico 3 magnets are what I see as being the key to your sound. It has a clear, round, and defined without being harsh. It also gives you better harmonics and better sustain than alnico 5 would.

The FRED/ PAF Pro combo is a great combo but I don't think they are voiced right for you. I think they'll be too aggressive and sharp but I could be wrong. At the very least, I'd get a Duncan Pearly Gates in the neck (with no cover) rather than a PAF PRO. You can also mellow out the tone of the FRED slightly by getting a cover on it so you might want to keep that in mind if you do go for a FRED.
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#18
Right. I probably should have mentioned that whatever pups I choose, they are going to get covers put on them.
The guitar currently has covered pickups so that was the plan. However, I did consider that it might look good with zebra bobbins....

Do you have any sound clips I can hear for the smooth and warm heritage pups? They sound good, but obviously I've never heard of your company and I don't know what kind of reputation you guys have. I guess with dimarzio or SD I know whatv I'm getting, but I'll need to do a little more digging before I buy from someone else.
Although that sound clip was very tasty.
#19
^If you are putting covers on both pickups then get a Seth Lover neck rather than a pearly gates.

I don't have any soundclips of the pickups I'm recommending for you because they would be custom wound to fit what you need, they wouldn't be standard pickup so I can't get you a soundclip. What I can do is guarantee that you will be happy with it or you can send it back for a refund or rewind. I've made custom pickups for a few people around here so if you ask around you should be able to get a pretty good idea as to what kind of company I am. Still, I understand not wanting to buy something from somebody you have never heard of. Thats why I made recommendations of name brands too.

Cheers
Not taking any online orders.
#20
Quote by inefficiency
They sound good, but obviously I've never heard of your company and I don't know what kind of reputation you guys have. I guess with dimarzio or SD I know whatv I'm getting, but I'll need to do a little more digging before I buy from someone else.

Read some reviews on HarmonyCentral.com, sir.

I'll also vouch for Cord, though. Quality stuff - as you can see from his recommendations, the man knows his tones.
#21
Ah, i never thought to check harmony central.

Thats a great deal. Can't get much better than a rewind if you're not happy.
The fact that they'll be custom wound for my specs is awesome too.

Both of those facts are something that SD or Dimarzio could/would never provide me with.

I looked at your site and all the humbuckers are £55 if I'm not mistaken. Would there be any difference in price because these are custom wound and paired?

I'll have to wait til after xmas before I can really afford to be buying new pickups, but if you could give me a price for a pair with the specs I want, then I'll definately buy some sometime after xmas/new year.
#22
^all my pickups are customised to an extant so little adjustments are free. Things like covers do cost more simply because they cost me more. I'd rather not talk about cost on the board, so when you are ready just shoot me an email via my website or send me a PM.
Not taking any online orders.
#23
Cool. That sounds fair.
Ok, hopefully I'll give you an email after christmas and you'll send me some amazing pickups .