#1
This is tone related, not about actually changing pups. This was asked in another thread (not my own) but wasn't answered and I'm kinda curious about this.

If I wanted to change the pickups in my guitar from the Zakk Wylde EMG set to something else, would a switch to passives be worth it? Particularly the SD JB for bridge? I may get another guitar in the next 12 months or so, but it'll probably be a 7 string. Do they make JBs for 7 stringers? If they do, would it be more worth waiting and putting it in a new guitar (which would have crappier pickups to start off with) than to swap the active EMGs I have now?

I've read up a bit on passives vs. actives and seem to see a trend of people who say that passives have a smoother roll off on the guitar volume than actives (my pickups roll off isn't very subtle). I've also read that the EMGs in particular have a very thin weak sound on the lighter strings than many passives, I've noticed this with my pickups a bit, but would the switch to a JB or something similar fix the above 2 problems? My current guitar is an LTD MH400 mahogany body, neck all that stuff.

* * READ BELOW IF YOU'RE TOO LAZY TO READ ABOVE * *
In short I'm wondering what the tonal differences between actives and passives are, and if it would be worth it to swap now in my only guitar, or wait and swap in a seven string that has potentially junk pickups.

Sorry for the long post thanks for any help!
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#2
I don't think there is a 7 string JB.

If you change your pickups to passive, your gonna have to drill a hole to ground the strings.

Passives to most people give you better cleans and sound more natural. Also what amp are you playing through?

When you change out passives, you need to change the jack and pots too.
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#3
Quote by JoePerry4life
I don't think there is a 7 string JB.

If you change your pickups to passive, your gonna have to drill a hole to ground the strings.


Passives to most people give you better cleans and sound more natural. Also what amp are you playing through?

When you change out passives, you need to change the jack and pots too.

no you don't
Quote by Quinlan
This is tone related, not about actually changing pups. This was asked in another thread (not my own) but wasn't answered and I'm kinda curious about this.

If I wanted to change the pickups in my guitar from the Zakk Wylde EMG set to something else, would a switch to passives be worth it? Particularly the SD JB for bridge? I may get another guitar in the next 12 months or so, but it'll probably be a 7 string. Do they make JBs for 7 stringers? If they do, would it be more worth waiting and putting it in a new guitar (which would have crappier pickups to start off with) than to swap the active EMGs I have now?

I've read up a bit on passives vs. actives and seem to see a trend of people who say that passives have a smoother roll off on the guitar volume than actives (my pickups roll off isn't very subtle). I've also read that the EMGs in particular have a very thin weak sound on the lighter strings than many passives, I've noticed this with my pickups a bit, but would the switch to a JB or something similar fix the above 2 problems? My current guitar is an LTD MH400 mahogany body, neck all that stuff.

* * READ BELOW IF YOU'RE TOO LAZY TO READ ABOVE * *
In short I'm wondering what the tonal differences between actives and passives are, and if it would be worth it to swap now in my only guitar, or wait and swap in a seven string that has potentially junk pickups.

Sorry for the long post thanks for any help!

what exactly do you mean smoother roll off? as in it cleans up better when you roll off the volume? or that you get a more gradual volume change when you roll off the volume? how your sound cleans up with the guitar's volume knob is about 30% pickup, 70% amp related.

People throw around generalizations about passive pickups as if all passives sound the same or are inherently better.
Last edited by al112987 at Jul 17, 2009,
#4
IMO EMGs have a very distinct sound. (Which I hate) Just listen to a Zack Wilde recording. They sound sterile to me. Guitars with SD JBs are pretty easy to find. Try one out at a guitar store. I have a JB in one of my guitars and I love it.
#5
As far as smoother roll off I did mean how clean it gets and how loud, with these pickups there seems to be a volume jump at some point on my guitar volume pot. If it helps any I play through a Peavey Transtube 212.

Originally Posted by al112987
People throw around generalizations about passive pickups as if all passives sound the same or are inherently better.


But in this case would a change actually be better? As a reference I'm particularly fond of Adam Jones's tone (who I know uses a JB), the Queens of the Stone Age tone (Josh Homme or Troy Van Leuween?), Billy Howerdel's tone, and Jerry Cantrell and Munky's sounds. Hope that helps a bit.

If there's not a 7 pole JB, is there anything similar to it available in 7 string format?
Last edited by Quinlan at Jul 18, 2009,
#6
Quote by BobDetroit
IMO EMGs have a very distinct sound. (Which I hate TOO) Just listen to a Zack Wilde recording. They sound sterile to me. Guitars with SD JBs are pretty easy to find. Try one out at a guitar store. I have a JB in one of my guitars and I love it.


a man after my own heart! F***in' EMGs
#7
Quote by Quinlan
As far as smoother roll off I did mean how clean it gets and how loud, with these pickups there seems to be a volume jump at some point on my guitar volume pot. If it helps any I play through a Peavey Transtube 212.



But in this case would a change actually be better? As a reference I'm particularly fond of Adam Jones's tone (who I know uses a JB), the Queens of the Stone Age tone (Josh Homme or Troy Van Leuween?), Billy Howerdel's tone, and Jerry Cantrell and Munky's sounds. Hope that helps a bit.

If there's not a 7 pole JB, is there anything similar to it available in 7 string format?
So I take it you want to do something like this?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gRlC9wfjSDo

In terms of using your volume to clean up your tone? As for the volume jump, it could be a volume pot thing. If you were to switch to passives, you would need to change the pots anyway from EMG's pots, so I would just go ahead and get a high quality set of CTS pots if you make the switch.

But how your sound cleans up with the volume is really more of an amp thing, having lower output pickups will help as well but do not expect to get the same usable range of tones without the tube amp.
Last edited by al112987 at Jul 18, 2009,
#8
Quote by JoePerry4life
If you change your pickups to passive, your gonna have to drill a hole to ground the strings.

Passives to most people give you better cleans and sound more natural. Also what amp are you playing through?

Where the hell are you pulling this from?
Everyone is entitled to an opinion.

Feel free to express yours so I can make an informed judgement about how stupid you are.
#9
Quote by al112987
People throw around generalizations about passive pickups as if all passives sound the same or are inherently better.


+1

If you think that passives automatically means awesome cleans, try comparing an Ibanez Powersound to an EMG-60. The EMG 60 will have heavenly cleans compared to the crappy Powersound pups.

Different passive pickups are wound differently and have different characteristics.

There are also some passive pickups which can push an amp's front end harder than 9v EMGs can.

If you really want a general idea. Most passives (not all) will sound less compressed and more open than actives generally do. Beyond that, I think its really hard to generalise the sound of passives vs actives. Even then, that generalisation does not alway apply and does not always describe the differences between passives and actives very well, though it's one of the first things that tend to hit people.
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Last edited by ragingkitty at Jul 18, 2009,
#11
I actually watched a 3 segment video comparing the two sets (the one I have vs. the one I'm thinking of swapping to) and only heard a few minute differences. Unfortunately I have a feeling the fact that he used a Spider III for the comparison negates pretty much all reliable tone comparisons. I think that my local store carries a few guitars with the JB in the bridge, so I may be able to test those vs. one with the EMG set.

Originally Posted by ragingkitty
If you think that passives automatically means awesome cleans, try comparing an Ibanez Powersound to an EMG-60. The EMG 60 will have heavenly cleans compared to the crappy Powersound pups.


No, I realize alot of stock passives suck, I meant will the JBs get me what I want better than EMGs? I looked at them on the SD website and the JBs do come in the 7 stringer variety. (I think special ordered or something) So my earlier question stands:

Originally Posted by Quinlan
If they do, would it be more worth waiting and putting it in a new guitar (which would have crappier pickups to start off with) than to swap the active EMGs I have now?


Oh, and thanks for all the insight so far.
Last edited by Quinlan at Jul 18, 2009,
#12
Quote by Quinlan
I actually watched a 3 segment video comparing the two sets (the one I have vs. the one I'm thinking of swapping to) and only heard a few minute differences. Unfortunately I have a feeling the fact that he used a Spider III for the comparison negates pretty much all reliable tone comparisons. I think that my local store carries a few guitars with the JB in the bridge, so I may be able to test those vs. one with the EMG set.


No, I realize alot of stock passives suck, I meant will the JBs get me what I want better than EMGs? I looked at them on the SD website and the JBs do come in the 7 stringer variety. (I think special ordered or something) So my earlier question stands:


Oh, and thanks for all the insight so far.


Honestly, I think you're at a stage where you need to experiment with what guitars you have, what amps you're using them through and what you find lacking between the amp and the guitar and use the pups to fill that space.

I get the feeling you've done a bit of reading, but you're not sure how the pickup will interact with your tone. From what I understand, Mahogany is tends to be bass heavy and somewhat middy but the top end is slightly brittle. The JB could help add definition and enhance your treble, but that's just my conjecture.

Also, when I reread your original posting, you're asking for smoother roll-offs... have you considered changing your current pots? I'm not ENTIRELY certain what you mean by "smoother" roll off.

Also, the JB is known to be bright and trebly, which gives it the upfront character for soloing. I'm not certain if the JB may solve your problems, part of the sound character of pups is how the different frequencies interact with each other. The weak highs you are referring to might also be due to the lack of mids. Given your guitar wood, you may want to find a pup that has tight bass, stronger mids and highs which are slightly lower than the mids.
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#13
EMG's sound good. You're not being very specific. and people on this forum really generalize and stereotype a lot, and people like you buy into it. It's bandwagoning. Decide for yourself. I myself like actives and would rather use actives for cleans than hot passives like SD JB's. I had a JB and swapped out for actives because that pickup has very little low end. Sounds good for solos and leads but for heavy rhythms, it is really lacking. What's wrong with the EMG's. Be specific.
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#14
I've sampled EMGs and various passive pickups, and I'll say tha if you have a mahogany guitar then EMGs are a pretty poor choice of pickup. In my old SG they were very dark and bass-heavy, which did nothing but add mud in its mahogany body. For something bright and smaller like an basswood Ibanez RG, it could probably help tame the highs and add a bit of oomph into the instrument's tone. However, (and it is true EMG fans, whether you like it or not) you do lose some of the harmonics and undertones that come with a passive pickup. This is why EMGs are generally used for heavier styles and some jazz - blues and the lighter rock are usually heavily reliant on an expressive style, whereas metal and heavier tend to condense and engineer their tone more.
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#15
Quote by apak
EMG's sound good. You're not being very specific. and people on this forum really generalize and stereotype a lot, and people like you buy into it. It's bandwagoning. Decide for yourself. I myself like actives and would rather use actives for cleans than hot passives like SD JB's. I had a JB and swapped out for actives because that pickup has very little low end. Sounds good for solos and leads but for heavy rhythms, it is really lacking. What's wrong with the EMG's. Be specific.


I hate EMGs. They're sterile. The sound is flat. They're emotionless. They overwhelm the sound of your guitar. Yuucckk!
#16
Quote by BobDetroit
I hate EMGs. They're sterile. The sound is flat. They're emotionless. They overwhelm the sound of your guitar. Yuucckk!


+1

I strongly prefer the tone of a good passive pickup to EMGs. Plus, I don't want to sound like Zakk Wylde. His tone is horrible IMO.
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#17
Quote by mmolteratx
+1

I strongly prefer the tone of a good passive pickup to EMGs. Plus, I don't want to sound like Zakk Wylde. His tone is horrible IMO.


+1 for you too. his playing is off the charts, for sure, but his tone's not my cup of tea either.