#1
So basically, I have a stash of $200 that i saved separately. I am currently learning improvisation (writing MEANINGFUL solos/melodies on the spot), modulation, circle of fiths, blending scales and whatknot.

I could either significantly upgrade the electronics on my guitar, or buy books help me improve my improv skills. But im a little torn, my guitar sounds like crap, but what use is a fancy guitar if i cant express myself on it?

If I upgrade my guitar, here's what im going to do:

Guitar: Ibanez S520ex (nicely set up and intonation exact to the cent! )

Bridge Pickup: Dimarzio X2N (output 510mA, DC 15.7K)
Neck Pickup: Dimarzio Steve Morse Neck Special (output 250mA, DC 21K)

5 way switch:
1: Bridge pickup
2: Outer coils Parallel
3: Inner coils Series
4: Inner coils Parallel
5: Neck Pickup

Volume 500K Push/Pull switch
Tone 250K Push/Pull switch

Tone switch:
Down: tone,
Up: Black Ice overdrive

Volume switch:
Down: Tone/Overdrive signal ON,
Up: Tone/Overdrive signal OFF

And Although Black Ice and tone naturally work in opposite direction, I can make them work in the same direction. To explain, if the you spin the tone knob to 0 then Overdrive = 10. If Tone = 10, then overdrive = 0.

I have overcome this problem and I planned a diagram that makes them both work in the natural rotation. Of course, the push/pull switch makes you choose between overdrive and tone sperately. But you cant blend them together with this diagram.


Anyway, pretty cool huh? But like I said, what use is a sexy guitar if you lack invention?

Ive learned more from books than I ever had from teachers, with special thanks to the Troy Stetina Series. Plus if i buy books, i can save a good part of my stash for later.

Here are some books im currently looking at:

http://www.amazon.com/Jazz-Guitar-Technique-Andrew-Green/dp/097005761X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1232743899&sr=8-1

http://www.amazon.com/Jazz-Improvisation-Guitar-Melodic-Approach/dp/0634017721/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1232743939&sr=8-8

http://www.amazon.com/Shred-Guitar-Complete-Improviser-Contemporary/dp/1576236048/ref=sr_1_23?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1232744026&sr=8-23

Anyway, you get the picture. So what would you do? I have the experience to re-wire the guitar, but should i live with the crappy INF pickups for the time being and work on my skill instead?

And by the way, dont let the whole "Jazz" thing get you. Improv starts with Jazz, and then you apply it to other styles. Jazz encompasses more melodies than metal, blues...etc for example, it teaches you how to use augmented/diminished chords, melodic minor and lots of other hype you rarely see in straightforward blues and metal.

The guitar that i already own is the ibanez s520ex. its already there whether I make the swap or not. Plus the INF pickups are very bassy and lacking in tone. Most Ibanez pickups sound this way, I've came across a few.

My amp is a Roland, 110Watts. I dont think its the best amp ever when it comes to tone, i think its just "average." But my guitar sounds bassy on whichever amp i hook it to, I've also hooked it to marshall and line-6 amps the bass is just there and it sounds as if you have your tone almost halfway down no matter what you do
Last edited by deathmetalshred at Jan 23, 2009,
#2
You're on Ultimate-Guitar.com. O___o

I may be a little biased here, but if you're already competent enough to improv solos, and you are aware your guitar sounds bad, upgrade the guitar. Because, y'know, you're on A SITE FULL OF FREE ADVICE. :P
"Levelled up. Still no solos."
[img]http://sc2sig.com/s/eu/1405270-1.png[/img]
#3
Quote by deathmetalshred

Guitar: Ibanez S520ex (nicely set up and intonation exact to the cent! )

Bridge Pickup: Dimarzio X2N (output 510mA, DC 15.7K)
Neck Pickup: Dimarzio Steve Morse Neck Special (output 250mA, DC 21K)

are you saying that you have an s520ex and you're just going to do a pup swap, or is the s520 what you want to get?

(s520 is a great guitar btw, I have an s320 which is the lower end version and it's also amazing.)

Quote by deathmetalshred

And by the way, dont let the whole "Jazz" thing get you. Improv starts with Jazz, and then you apply it to other styles. Jazz encompasses more melodies than metal, blues...etc for example, it teaches you how to use augmented/diminished chords, melodic minor and lots of other hype you rarely see in straightforward blues and metal.

This here is exactly why I'm teaching myself jazz
if anybody disses you for this they're retarded.

Also, what's your amp?
Your amp provides most of your sound.
#4
Quote by Dark Raven X
You're on Ultimate-Guitar.com. O___o

I may be a little biased here, but if you're already competent enough to improv solos, and you are aware your guitar sounds bad, upgrade the guitar. Because, y'know, you're on A SITE FULL OF FREE ADVICE. :P



Dude, My solos sound like crap, im STILL learning improv. I can mess around with a scale but thats about it. I cant come up with a good catch phrase to start a solo. So even though i know the theory, im learning HOW to put it to use. Otherwise im fine.
#5
Good call on the Jazz learning first. Don't waste your time on the black ice though. Doesn't really do much, and it doesn't overdrive your signal, it simply clips it, reducing its voltage out put, which in turn means you drive your amp less. If you are really insistent on it you can make a "clone" of one using two diodes, shoctkey diodes or something like that, i forget.

Before you talk about upgrading your guitar, what are you using for an amp? A good guitar through a crappy amp, sounds the same as a crapy guitar though a good amp. But that crappy guitar sounds better though a good amp. Don't believe me, go to your local music store, pick out the most expensive gibson they have, and play it through a line 6. Then pick up the cheepest 2 humbucker guitar they have, and play it throuh the line 6.

If you dont have a tube amp, I would buy one of those first. If you already have one, then I would go with new pups and a book or two. NO black ice, and no fancy switching.

I tried all that fancy switching stuff before on a guitar that was HSH with a s sized hum in the s spot, 3 switches for split/off/hum, phazing, and series parralel. Personally I don't think it was worth it, and never used anything other then the standard sounds anyways. A 5 way on a HH guitar is as complex as it should get. Just my $0.02
#7
Quote by rlheart


This here is exactly why I'm teaching myself jazz
if anybody disses you for this they're retarded.

Also, what's your amp?
Your amp provides most of your sound.


I agree. Jazz is the best thing that happened to music, and i say this even though i picked up the guitar as shred metal being my main style (hence the choice of pickups).

The guitar that i already own is the ibanez s520ex. its already there whether I make the swap or not. Plus the INF pickups are very bassy and lacking in tone. Most Ibanez pickups sound this way, I've came across a few.

My amp is a Roland, 110Watts. I dont think its the best amp ever when it comes to tone, i think its just "average." But my guitar sounds bassy on whichever amp i hook it to, I've also hooked it to marshall and line-6 amps the bass is just there and it sounds as if you have your tone almost halfway down no matter what you do.
#8
An EQ pedal could work wonders for you. And a nice amp could too. I had a cheap RG with INF pickups which sounded great with a bright amp setting.

I don't know too much about books. I find the best way to get better at improvising is to listen to others and do it yourself. Try improvising over a song you already know (as in the feel). Anyway, I'm waffling about stuff I'm no expert on here so just read my first paragraph.
#9
thanks for that little note about the black Ice. Still though, it wont hurt to have it. plus the wiring is easier than you think, even with the push/pull things.
#10
Go to a library/learn everything online.

Do the modding, you're plan is... well planned.
#11
Don't get the X2N.

I have nothing to say about anything else, but the palm mutes on that pickup are awful and the tone is generally crap and muddy. It won't be much, if any better than the Ibanez stock pickups.

If your pickups are too bassy and you play shred, try the Evolution 2. I picked the 2 as it will balance better with the Morse neck model than the regular Evo. Harmonics are also slightly better but I don't know if you're fussed about that.

Just my 2 Cents.
#13
also improvisation can be easy. Start with a scale like blues or Lydian or whatever you know and play around
Oh Hey look at my signature
#14
If you do end up going with some books i'd just like to reccomend this Jamey Abersold play a-long book: http://www.amazon.com/Abersold-Jazz-Jamey-Aebersold/dp/B000UKX7IW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1232761742&sr=1-1

The Garrison Fewell melodic approach is decent but it doesn't cover scales much, mainly just triads and tension notes, I think the Abersold book would be more useful if you're just starting out.
#15
Quote by deathmetalshred
I agree. Jazz is the best thing that happened to music, and i say this even though i picked up the guitar as shred metal being my main style (hence the choice of pickups).


Don't get the X2N then.

Quote by deathmetalshred

Plus the INF pickups are very bassy and lacking in tone.

That's exactly why I'm doing a pickup swap on mine too.

Quote by deathmetalshred

My amp is a Roland, 110Watts. I dont think its the best amp ever when it comes to tone, i think its just "average." But my guitar sounds bassy on whichever amp i hook it to, I've also hooked it to marshall and line-6 amps the bass is just there and it sounds as if you have your tone almost halfway down no matter what you do.

This sounds like an EQing issue rather than your guitar.

I have pretty much the exact same guitar (S320 is the exact same thing but with an unbound neck for the most part), and while it can be really bassy (especially in the neck...my god...), I've run it through a fair share of amps-tube and SS, and it doesn't ever sound that bassy...
#16
Have you considered swapping your (500k?) pots for 1Meg pots for more treble? Might cure the 'bassiness' and even if it's too harsh you can roll the tone back to darken it to taste.

Might work as a cheap alternative to new pickups and let you get spending on more Jazz mags (which has a slightly different meaning where I'm from )
#17
You should upgrade your guitar get a decent set of pickups and new electronics.
You can find all the stuff you need online , eaven UG's lesson section is of great value.
#18
My opinion is, upgrade the guitar!
Use your free resources around you for studying up on your improv like: lessons on UG (are usually pretty decent) and the library (or another friend's library). On the other topic: I've heard nothing but bad things about the X2N. I was thinking about getting one but I've decided not to.
#19
Your guitar sounds like **** because you have an X2N in the bridge.

There is no reason to have an X2N in any guitar, ever. It always sounds bad.

Be smart and put a Super Distortion, or something in the bridge. Anything but an X2N
Quote by satchgear
I tried it out in store.

Great neck, nice n light, good tuning stability. Overall a good guitar. I didn't but it cause I generally only buy guitars over a grand now.
#20
here's what to do: get a good amp (IMO, rolands aren't all that great except for the Jazz Chorus). What model amp is it?
I'd say for pickups, you might like Duncan Full shreds. very clear just like the EVO, but they have Alnico V mags, which means there's more going on tonally.
Current Gear:
LTD MH-400 with Gotoh GE1996T (EMG 85/60)
PRS SE Custom 24 (Suhr SSH+/SSV)
Ibanez RG3120 Prestige (Dimarzio Titans)
Squier Vintage Modified 70s Jazz V
Audient iD22 interface
Peavey Revalver 4, UAD Friedman BE100/DS40
Adam S3A monitors
Quote by Anonden
You CAN play anything with anything....but some guitars sound right for some things, and not for others. Single coils sound retarded for metal, though those who are apeshit about harpsichord probably beg to differ.
#21
Quote by V.U.K
Your guitar sounds like **** because you have an X2N in the bridge.

There is no reason to have an X2N in any guitar, ever. It always sounds bad.

Be smart and put a Super Distortion, or something in the bridge. Anything but an X2N

He doesn't have the X2N in there yet, genius. He's just considering using it.