#1
Because I'm thinking about a pickup swap in my Jackson DK2M. (Heck, I'm almost considering yanking the EMGs out of my explorer too). I've decided the JB/Jazz combo isn't cutting it for me anymore. The JB is lacking the output and warmth I want in the bridge pickup (sounds pretty bright in an alder body), and I find the Jazz has an excellent clean tone, but doesn't handle high gain so well.

I was thinking about possibly taking them out (and selling them), and trying out a Tone Zone/Air Norton combo. I've even heard of an X2N/Tone Zone combo, but I want a bit more versatility than that in this guitar.

At one point, I was considering some other Duncans, but from what I've read into, the Distortion is a bright bridge pickup, and everyone seems to think the Invader is terrible.

Is this a good pickup combo for mostly metal/metalcore (CoB, In Flames, DT, Shadows Fall, old Avenged Sevenfold, and pretty much any 80's stuff), as well mid-gain stuff? (as long as you have a high-gain amp?). Yeah, I'm basically looking for a good metal tone without sacrificing a passable clean tone in the bridge pickup.

Thanks for all help!
- Gibson Flying V 120 #1 (White)
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#2
i'm actually thinking of doing that exact combo in the next 7 string i'm buying

Tone zone bridge, air norton neck.

i was going to get a breed bridge, but the last i checked it wasn't available in 7 string config.

i play lots of 'extreme' metal kinda stuff and wanted a more sludgy organic sound. i'm using a seymour duncan JB in the bridge of my current 7 string. and its not too bad.. but i feel like i could have a bit more.. i 'm not sure.. response might be the word.
Grammar and spelling omitted as an exercise for the reader.
#3
i think a good combo for you might be the Duncan Custom 5 for the bridge and '59 for the neck.

i seriously think you can't go wrong with the '59 and the custom 5 has a thick sound like the tone zone
#4
I wouldn't bother with bridge position cleans; it's hard to find them in a high gain pickup unless you're prepared to stretch to Bare Knuckle money, in which case you should consider a Nailbomb or, if you don't mind a little less output, a Holy Diver (although I suspect this will still drive your amp harder than the JB).
DiMarzio wise, the Tone Zone probably is the best choice if you want a versatile pickup with a focus on high gain application. If you like a neck pickup with a good clean tone and a good hgih gain tone, I suggest the Breed or, if you want something tighter and brighter with a little more clarity, the PAF Pro. A good midpoint between the two is the PAF Joe, although it has less output than both.

What amp are you playing through?
#5
Quote by FlightofIcarus
I've even heard of an X2N/Tone Zone combo, but I want a bit more versatility than that in this guitar.

I've seen a video on youtube of a ToneZone in the neck. It gets a really good earlier Vai tone. Think For The Love Of God. I could find it if you want.
#6
Rock Pig: Right now, I'm just using a Windsor, but when I get it back (this Friday hopefully), I'm planning to sell it, because as much as I like it, I need an amp that can do more. After that, I'm looking into a used 6505 or "cheaper" Mesa head of some type (Single Recto or F-series). Kinda want to try a Bogner Alchemist too, but I hear they're not good for metal. Regardless, it'll be an amp with loads of gain on tap.

Even through high gain amps though, I find the JB/Jazz combo lacking in what I want the guitar to sound like. And I'm sure I could score enough cash from selling this pickup set to cover most of the damage from a new set.

I'm pretty convinced that the Tone Zone is what I want for the bridge, but as far as the neck pickup goes, I want something warm and fat sounding (good for a shreddy lead or cleans) without being muddy. Muddiness is primarily what drove me away from high output passives and towards actives in the first place (Based on the Gibson 500T/496R stock pickups in an Explorer), but now I find myself going back, because now I hear what people mean when they say actives steal the true tone of the instrument.

I've tried a PAF Pro in the neck of my Gibson explorer a little while back. I did like it, but it was just a tad too bright for what I was looking for in a neck pickup.

Maybe a Tone Zone/Breed would be better than a TZ/AN then? How much hotter is a TZ than a JB anyway?
- Gibson Flying V 120 #1 (White)
- Gibson Flying V 120 #2 (Cherry)
- Gibson SG Standard ('61 style)
- Jackson DK2M

- ENGL Fireball 60
- Avatar 4x12

- Many pedals, plus other stuff
Last edited by FlightofIcarus at Feb 3, 2009,
#7
The Tone Zone is in no way a metal pickup and it's pretty crap at low gain too, it's a shred machine and it doesn't do subtle at all. If you want something brash, busy and in your face for flash lead playing then it's amazing, if you want something versatile that's equally adept at rhythm and lead work then it's not all that great.

Eiither go for the Norton or the Breed in the bridge, keep with the Breed in the neck though, that's pretty much spot on for you.
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Last edited by steven seagull at Feb 3, 2009,
#8
^Yep, Seagull's right. As usual.

Get the Breeds or the Bare Knuckles; the Nailbombs will be big and brash, the War Pigs bigger and brasher, and the Holy Divers will have less output, but they're wonderfully fat and articulate; like a Breed but IMO better. All three pickups also have great clean tones, too.
#9
I really like the TZ in my Ibanez, it does excel at leads, but rhythms are still good. IMO, it has pretty awesome cleans when split, but I'm not a fan of neck pickup's cleans either.
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#10
Thanks guys

Bareknuckles are definitely more than I have to spend on a set of pickups at this time, and more than I'd care to spend on this guitar (A set of BK's is more than half of the DK2M's cost, lol). That Nailbomb description does sound tasty though.

As far as DiMarzio's go though, it sounds like the breed neck would be just right for a neck pickup. But from what Steven Seagull is saying, the TZ is kinda crappy for rhythm but great for leads? I guess passable bridge cleans are nice, but the high gain stuff is the main priority (Think some of those artists I listed, even though I think they all use EMG or Duncan). Based on some of the specs I've looked at on the DiMarzio web site, I'm a little uncertain about the Norton or Breed bridge. I know there's not a huge output difference, but are they hot enough for what I want? (So far I'm kinda leaning towards a TZ) What would be the way to go if I decided to sacrifice bridge cleans? What about the Super Distortion?

Also, since I'm already throwing tons of questions out there, throw any other suggestions my way too.
- Gibson Flying V 120 #1 (White)
- Gibson Flying V 120 #2 (Cherry)
- Gibson SG Standard ('61 style)
- Jackson DK2M

- ENGL Fireball 60
- Avatar 4x12

- Many pedals, plus other stuff
Last edited by FlightofIcarus at Feb 4, 2009,
#11
The Tonezone is nothing special. The Breed however is another story. I'd go with (actually, I went with) the Breed in the bridge.
#12
Quote by FlightofIcarus
Thanks guys

Bareknuckles are definitely more than I have to spend on a set of pickups at this time, and more than I'd care to spend on this guitar (A set of BK's is more than half of the DK2M's cost, lol). That Nailbomb description does sound tasty though.

As far as DiMarzio's go though, it sounds like the breed neck would be just right for a neck pickup. But from what Steven Seagull is saying, the TZ is kinda crappy for rhythm but great for leads? I guess passable bridge cleans are nice, but the high gain stuff is the main priority (Think some of those artists I listed, even though I think they all use EMG or Duncan). Based on some of the specs I've looked at on the DiMarzio web site, I'm a little uncertain about the Norton or Breed bridge. I know there's not a huge output difference, but are they hot enough for what I want? (So far I'm kinda leaning towards a TZ) What would be the way to go if I decided to sacrifice bridge cleans? What about the Super Distortion?

Also, since I'm already throwing tons of questions out there, throw any other suggestions my way too.


I wouldn't worry about the bareknuckles being so expensive and going in a comparatively cheap guitar. Remember, you can always take the pickups outta the jackson and put them in something else if you upgrade, just make sure enough of the hook up lead is left over when you install em.
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#13
Quote by halikus
I wouldn't worry about the bareknuckles being so expensive and going in a comparatively cheap guitar. Remember, you can always take the pickups outta the jackson and put them in something else if you upgrade, just make sure enough of the hook up lead is left over when you install em.
True. However, I just don't really have the budget for bareknuckles either way I'm afraid :/. Too much GAS/Other gear prospects going on at this time as well, so the best I'm probably gonna be able to do is a set of moderately priced pups.

All I know is that the current pickups aren't cutting it for me, and that I need more output, and a bit more warmth.
- Gibson Flying V 120 #1 (White)
- Gibson Flying V 120 #2 (Cherry)
- Gibson SG Standard ('61 style)
- Jackson DK2M

- ENGL Fireball 60
- Avatar 4x12

- Many pedals, plus other stuff
#14
I'm using a combination of PAF Joe in the neck and a Steve's Special in the bridge. I haven't tried any other Dimarzio combinations in this guitar, but I know I like the sound.

I'll be trying new pickups sometime soon though...I didn't even realize my guitar was supposed to be f-spaced until a while after I bought and installed them.
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#15
So, I've pretty much made up my mind on this matter, but I did have one more quick question.

I noticed with my stock JB/Jazz pickups in the Jackson, that the JB is the trembucker version (F-spaced, and that would make sense of course), but that the Jazz appears to be a normal spaced humbucker. Would this have anything to do with the tone issues I've having with the Jazz pickup? And if I upgrade, should I buy both F-spaced versions of pickups? or just an F-spaced one for the bridge?
- Gibson Flying V 120 #1 (White)
- Gibson Flying V 120 #2 (Cherry)
- Gibson SG Standard ('61 style)
- Jackson DK2M

- ENGL Fireball 60
- Avatar 4x12

- Many pedals, plus other stuff
#16
IMHO the JB and Tone Zone are basically the same thing. No big difference
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#17
Quote by FlightofIcarus
So, I've pretty much made up my mind on this matter, but I did have one more quick question.

I noticed with my stock JB/Jazz pickups in the Jackson, that the JB is the trembucker version (F-spaced, and that would make sense of course), but that the Jazz appears to be a normal spaced humbucker. Would this have anything to do with the tone issues I've having with the Jazz pickup? And if I upgrade, should I buy both F-spaced versions of pickups? or just an F-spaced one for the bridge?

Measure the E to E string spacing over the poles, if it's 48mm then it's standard spacing, 51.5mm it's F spaced.
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#18
This is just my input, but i have found nearly every single DM pup to be lifeless and lacking any soul at all.
I know the shredders like em, to a certain extent, proves my point more.

Someone said the JB and ToneZone are pretty much the same thing!? What - im not deaf - the JB far excels the TZ overall in its range.

I dont mind the PAF neck, but i had the JEM7VWH - the most soul-less piece of plywood i did ever lay my hands on - much down to the pups.

I see the JEM at god knows how much money - the pups are beyond me of what tosh they are (yes, i know! its a sig guitar).

An expensive piece of wood - only the most custom, hand crafted pups should go into them really - no skimping there. BK are great - im sure there are 10s of others more.

Even Burstbuckers in Gibsons Standards are better than ANY Ibanez, S.S, Dimarzio included pup - they are an easy canvas to work on anyway. My 2c.
People give B.B a hard time - they should really vent spleen on the 498T etc.

Where im i going with this? Urrr....i would go with low or lower output pups and have a good hi-gain amp - the sound will be tighter, smoother and easier to work with.
#19
Quote by JLT73
IMHO the JB and Tone Zone are basically the same thing. No big difference

Tone Zone is a lot drier imo, it also has smoother trebles and is not as mid heavy. Output wise I find them similar though. I think they both work better with 250k pots though, especially in brighter woods like alder.
#20
i have the TZ in the bridge position on my DKMG and i like it a lot. although the only thing i have to compare it to was the EMG-HZ that it replaced. WAAAYYY better than that one, but i don't know how to describe it.
gets good rhythm and solo tones... i guess
i have it set to split too, which sounds nice on clean settings
#21
I have a Tone Zone bridge and Evolution neck, and I LOVE them to no end.

I really want them in all my guitars.

the Tone Zone is GREAT for distored sounds, and the pinch harmonics I can get out of it are amazing.

the cleans are a BIT sharp, but it can work for some songs. I usually put my selector in the middle for clean passages though, it seems a bit more....natural that way for me.

I haven't got it fr a coil tapped sound, but I hear it can.

And I do believe the Tone Zone is F-spaced.... I uhnno though.

@davedoom: I respect your opinion on the pickups but I still fail to see how you think DMs are lifeless and/or souless...even through my Frontman I can hear a big difference in them from my last pickup. And also, it's not that shredders dont have soul, it's just that they play fast. Listen to For The Love Of God or If I Could Fly and tell me that it isn't somewhat soulful.

sorry if that sounded arsehole-ish, I really didn't mean for it to.
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