#1
I am having some problems out of the pickups in my Les Paul. I dont get as much response in the tone controls and they dont seem to clean up as well just by rolling off the volume. The pots look good and there's no noise when I turn them so I'm assuming that its the pickups themselves that dont have alot of responsiveness to them. So I am thinking about changing them after the first of the year to fix this, because I want to be able to have control over my tone with the controls on the guitar instead of just on the amp.

I've been looking around at some pickups and I need y'alls help deciding on which would be best. I am going to be playing more modern rock and stuff, maybe hard rock like Metallica esque heaviness, but nothing more really. So here we go...

EMG 81/60
Bareknuckle Nailbomb calibrated set
Seymour Duncan SH-2/SH-4
DiMarzio ToneZone/Breed


These are the 4 that I like the sounds of but I want to get y'alls opinions on it, so...
#2
EMG 81 are awesome. I use the 85 in my neck though. haven't tried the 60.
Nice clear tone, and the cleans aren't bad either. But they are of course active, and some people may find they sound "sterile". remember to take that into consideration as well.

Bare Knuckle are awesome. I have only heard the Warpig though. But it definitely slayed!

Personally, I'd go for Bare Knuckle, simply because of the reviews and the Warpig.
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#3
For EMG I like The 81/60s
But for Seymour Duncan I would go for JB(Bridge)/59(Neck)
But if you don't want JB/59s then I'd get the EMG 81/60 set
#4
Actives, whether EMG or SD, will give you a lot of gain but at the expense of the LP tones you expect. BKP Warpigs are great but again, not the best at retaining the classic tones. I'd suggest looking at Irongear Hot Slags which are still pretty high output but are better at the LP tones as well. Very similar to the BKP Abraxas but way less money.
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Last edited by Lurcher at Oct 23, 2009,
#5
Quote by Lurcher
Actives, whether EMG or SD, will give you a lot of gain but at the expense of the LP tones you expect. BKP Warpigs are great but again, not the best at retaining the classic tones. I'd suggest looking at Irongear Hot Slags which are still pretty high output but are better at the LP tones as well.

+1

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#6
I have heard of those Irongear pickups before and Im honestly not much of a fan. To me they actually sound slightly muddy. Everything I have heard from other people who have heard of them say similar things. I think Im going to skip on those.
#7
just got my Irongears this morning at 5:30 am when the post arrived yeah i nearly missed it
anyway i put them straight in my reaper which has a muddy sound anyway, and compared with my Mightymite humbuckers and my Emg 81/60 combo i get such i nicer sound from cleans
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#8
Well Im not saying they arent good or anything, its just that the little bit I have heard from people I know around here, they dont seem too enthused by them. And normally when I get two different responses to one question like that it usually makes me apprehensive about a purchase...
#9
You think an Iron Gear is muddy and yet you want to put a Tone Zone in your guitar?
#10
the tone zone is a muddy pickup in most warm toned woods.
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#11
+1 (i haven't tried irongears, though, but i imagine a tone zone would be pretty muddy in a les paul)

also, are you sure it's your pickups and not your electronics which are at fault? put in decent quality pots, caps, and treble bleeds on the volumes, and i imagine you'd notice a pretty big improvement.
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Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#12
Well I plan on upgrading the electronics too when I swap pickups. But from all that I can tell, the electronics, pots and what not, are functioning fine as there's no noise from them.

But I had a Tone Zone in an basswood body before and liked it thats why I just tossed it in on this one. I havent tried it on a Les Paul so I dont know how it would sound.
#14
i think the emg's r over priced(i personally feel that they have no personality either) the bottom three u cant rly go wrong with especially the bare knuckle's nailbombs, if u like the tonezone u should def check out the rockfield mafias
#15
I have the same guitar as you and I will be getting some IronGear Rollings Mills in a couple of days and I will tell you how they sound, if that's any help.
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#16
Quote by Jak Archer
I have the same guitar as you and I will be getting some IronGear Rollings Mills in a couple of days and I will tell you how they sound, if that's any help.

Yeah that would be awesome... I wont be upgrading pickups til probably after the first of the year so I have some time to decide so any help or info you could give me on how those sound in the Les Paul would be amazing...
#17
Quote by music_mike
Well I plan on upgrading the electronics too when I swap pickups. But from all that I can tell, the electronics, pots and what not, are functioning fine as there's no noise from them.

But I had a Tone Zone in an basswood body before and liked it thats why I just tossed it in on this one. I havent tried it on a Les Paul so I dont know how it would sound.


yeah, but better ones would probably sound better. That being said, stock epi pups aren't amazing, and swapping both the pickups and electronics would probably be the best plan.
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Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#18
Ok, so I looked at Bare Knuckles again and even Swineshead pickups. I like them but not enough to pay $300 for a set. And thats without shipping from the UK... So now Im back to square one on pickups. The Tone Zone is out since they dont sound good in darker tone woods. Im also betting that most high powered DiMarzios, like the Evos, dont sound good in it either. Im not really wanting a "classic" tone and I wont it to be more modern. I mainly play newer hard pop rock like Seether, Godsmack, the new Creed album, stuff like that. I usually play more rhythm then lead but I also play lead style fills and such. So I need to find some good pickups that are heavy, but not metal pickups, but that have clarity/definition/responsiveness.

Suggestions are still open and really appreciated, so let them fly again people... Thanks guys...
#19
I'm pretty srue you can buy BKP for $240 in the USA from Axe Palace.

Other options you can look at in the USA....

WCR Fillmores will do what you want, but they're $260, so will Wolfetone Marshallheads which are also $260.

Having a "classic" tone has to do with having a "classic" amp or at least an amp that is voiced as such and a set of pickups that have a "classic" sound. I've ALWAYS suggested low output pickups, to me they just sound better and with modern high gain amps today, you don't need to have something that really drives the front end of your amp. A hotter PAF style pickup with an A5 magnet sounds great with a les paul for all styles.

http://soundclick.com/share?songid=7575926

The player goes through all types of styles from classic hard rock to even modern "chugga chugga" kinds of sounds.

Here is a whole list of pickups (most of them are boutique pickups though) and clips all playing the same things so you can compare.

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/default.cfm?bandID=950856&content=music
Last edited by al112987 at Oct 23, 2009,
#21
al112987 is spot-on, i think. I'm in the UK so i haven't tried the boutique US-based pickup winders, but the ones al112987 mentioned, plus lollar, harmonic design, stevens design, throbak, bg, high order, skatterbrane, etc. etc. etc. would all be worth a look. I haven't tried them, though.
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Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#22
Quote by Dave_Mc
al112987 is spot-on, i think. I'm in the UK so i haven't tried the boutique US-based pickup winders, but the ones al112987 mentioned, plus lollar, harmonic design, stevens design, throbak, bg, high order, skatterbrane, etc. etc. etc. would all be worth a look. I haven't tried them, though.
I've tried a few of those, Lollars are pretty cool, Throbaks are sweet, but at $450 a set, I think I'll pass, imo they don't sound that much closer to PAFs than my Wolfetones. Certainly not enough to cost $150 more.
Quote by music_mike
IS that it? No more suggestions?
I think you got plenty of suggestions... I posted an entire soundclick page full of pickups that cover a huge range.
#23
I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#24
yo, andrew, you're a fan of the allman brothers, aren't you? could you check this thread, claude's asking what marshalls duane allman used.

https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1219929

I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#25
Ok so instead of creating Im just going to try bumping this thread. If it dont work, I'll just make a new one...

Anyway, I am still looking for pickups... I still play my Les Paul, and I still play modern rock. I have looked into all of the boutique pickups and I just cant justify paying another $500 on just my guitar. I mean I plan on swapping pickups/wiring/pots/jack/caps and for quality electronic components I figure I can probably spend around $100 on that stuff alone. Then most boutique pickups cost around $300 a set. So theres $400 plus shipping. I just cant justify that on a guitar that would only resell for that much.

So Im looking at Seymour Duncans and DiMarzios for pickups now... So which ones should I be looking at? I dont have a whole lot of experience with either brand, save for DiMarzio Tone Zone and Evo's.... So help me out.
#27
See I was thinking about those. Either Breeds or a Breed/Norton combo? But I have never played either so I dont know how they will sound in a mahogany body...
#28
As far as Dimarzios go Norton all the way for the bridge based on what you've said, then either a Breed or Humbucker from Hell in the neck depending on which way you want to go...fat and warm or bright and clear.

FYI the amp clips in my profile were recorded with a Breed-equipped mahogany guitar.
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Last edited by steven seagull at Oct 27, 2009,
#29
Ok, so now its set. I just got off the phone with a DiMarzio sales rep and I basically went over the same stuff with him that I went over in this thread. I did a bunch of video/audio clips of the pickups you recommended Steven and I am going to be going with a Norton Bridge/Humbucker From Hell Neck combo. The guy I talked to told me that from the sound of it he thought that would be really good for what I was looking for but then told me that if by some chance I wasnt pleased with the tone/over all sound quality that I could call him back and he would do everything he could to help me get my tone spot on the way I want it, including even changing pickups.

If their customer service is really that good and I dont face any problems in the event that Im not completely satisfied with the pickups, DiMarzio will have a new customer for life.

Thanks for that recommendation Steven...