#1
It seems as though my stock pups in my AL-3000, which we all know are not meant to be that great, are holding my tone back more than just a little bit. The cleans aren't as articulate and defined as i think they should be, and at times my overdrive is muddy on the neck pup, and my 'brown' module pretty much does a hot rodded plexi sound, so it's not like i have too much gain going on. I'm pretty sure it's the pups causing this and not my EQ'ing.

Soooo....since I've got to upgrade my pups in time anyway, i might as well go ahead and find out what i'm gearing towards. Sound wise, i want to have great articulation throughout, with a nice warm sound when I give the clean a bit of grit and heavy attack. Not wanting ice-picky high end of the spectrum, i want a nice middle ground. Great balance of mids and highs, without compromising a tight bass. If it'll give more life to my overdriven sound, that would be great. I want a lot of character out of these pups. And they should compliment my LP which is all mahogany i believe, with ebony fretboard.

Brand wise: doesn't matter as long as I'm not going to have to upgrade them in just another year or something stupid like that.

Price: would love to stay around 150 or less if possible. This is why I'm willing to go with a good set of copies, as well as used.

Genres: from really clean passages (occasionally play worship on sundays) to heavy overdrive a la GNR and AC/DC, to heavier 80s style metal and modern heavy rock/metal.
My MAIN Gear
____________
"They call him the 'Sand Spider.' -Why? -Probably because it sounds scary"
*Agile AL3000 Les Paul w/ Alnico IIs
*Randall RM50
*Dunlop CFH
*fellow LEO feel free to give a shout out
#2
Sounds to me like you want PAF clones. WCR apparently makes good PAF clones, as does Wolfetone if I remember correctly.

Otherwise, there's the Duncan Pearly Gates/59 combo, or look into the DiMarzio PAF Pros.
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#3
I've heard mixed views about the Pearly Gates, some love em some not so much...those are same style that Billy Gibbons uses if I'm correct? I'm definitely not against SD, I loved the SDs I had before, but definitely open to lesser known brands. I think some PAFs might be a good look. I'll start looking some up.
My MAIN Gear
____________
"They call him the 'Sand Spider.' -Why? -Probably because it sounds scary"
*Agile AL3000 Les Paul w/ Alnico IIs
*Randall RM50
*Dunlop CFH
*fellow LEO feel free to give a shout out
#4
Well... Billy Gibbons has PAFs in the actual Pearly Gates les paul, but Seymour designed him a set of pickups based loosely on those PAFs.

There are a ton of good PAF copies out there, in your price range, the best are probably Guitarforce Lord of the Blues. I've not tried these myself though, but the guy who winds them is a well respected winder and the folks on various les paul forums love them. Plus, if you are a member of the MLP forum, you can pick up a set for (I think) $125, which for a set of handwound PAF clones is a steal.

Otherwise, Seymour Duncan makes the best PAF replica on the mass market with the Antiquity models, but those will put you over the $150 budget, as will boutique pickups like Wolfetones or WCRs which run about $150 each.
Last edited by al112987 at Dec 23, 2009,
#5
Quote by al112987
Well... Billy Gibbons has PAFs in the actual Pearly Gates les paul, but Seymour designed him a set of pickups based loosely on those PAFs.

There are a ton of good PAF copies out there, in your price range, the best are probably Guitarforce Lord of the Blues. I've not tried these myself though, but the guy who winds them is a well respected winder and the folks on various les paul forums love them. Plus, if you are a member of the MLP forum, you can pick up a set for (I think) $125, which for a set of handwound PAF clones is a steal.

Otherwise, Seymour Duncan makes the best PAF replica on the market with the Antiquity models, but those will put you over the $150 budget, as will Wolfetones or WCRs which run about $150 each.


Listen to him when it comes to PAF pickups.
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#6
^yea i just noticed that with the two he recommended...too pricey for me at this point...i think i'll take a look at those on the MLP forum
My MAIN Gear
____________
"They call him the 'Sand Spider.' -Why? -Probably because it sounds scary"
*Agile AL3000 Les Paul w/ Alnico IIs
*Randall RM50
*Dunlop CFH
*fellow LEO feel free to give a shout out
#7
DiMarzio 36th Anniversary
DiMarzio Humbucker from Hell
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#8
Quote by ragingkitty
DiMarzio 36th Anniversary
DiMarzio Humbucker from Hell


'humbucker from hell' sounds like high output, so i guess i should have specified that i want medium output pups, not low and not high. i'll look into DiMarzios as well. I emailed the guys at Guitarforce as well.
My MAIN Gear
____________
"They call him the 'Sand Spider.' -Why? -Probably because it sounds scary"
*Agile AL3000 Les Paul w/ Alnico IIs
*Randall RM50
*Dunlop CFH
*fellow LEO feel free to give a shout out
#9
HfH are not high output, no clue why they're called that, they're actually pretty low in output, almost like a low wind PAF but more modern in character. I had one in a guitar waayyyy back when I first started out.

Yeah, I'd look into GF, you h ave to be a MLP forum member but if you're not already, just make an account and post every now and then. They sound good in the clips that have been posted.

Finding the right set of pickups can be difficult, but when you do, you'll know.
#10
one step ahead, got the account, guess i'll post there a few times, for the sake of a good deal lol. almost feels like betrayal to UG. oh well, do what i gotta for a deal.

i also meant to ask, how PAFs handle modern tones? every once in a while i'll downtune in drop D and throw out more thrash sounding riffs and such, just some fun stuff, and experiment with some shred-ish soloing as well, just wondering if PAFs will handle the high gain relatively well or not. though my main focus IS in hard rock a la GnR and EndeverafteR.
My MAIN Gear
____________
"They call him the 'Sand Spider.' -Why? -Probably because it sounds scary"
*Agile AL3000 Les Paul w/ Alnico IIs
*Randall RM50
*Dunlop CFH
*fellow LEO feel free to give a shout out
Last edited by slash_rocks2005 at Dec 23, 2009,
#11
They handle modern tunes just fine.

The humbucker is really something that was done right the first time. And thus you see so many people out there now trying to replicate the PAFs. But a common misconception about lower output pickups is that they aren't versatile, but really they are, and they sound great for almost everything. My wolfetones are PAF copies, wound to about 8k (so they're pretty low winds) w/ alnico 5s and unpotted and they literally work for everything that has been thrown at them. I have never been as satisfied wtih my tone as I am these days.

I also post on the MLP forum occasionally, though I generally prefer the les paul forum, for more specialized interests, but I know how you feel about registering for other forums. It's just strange.
#12
Quote by slash_rocks2005
one step ahead, got the account, guess i'll post there a few times, for the sake of a good deal lol. almost feels like betrayal to UG. oh well, do what i gotta for a deal.


Don't worry... no one'll say you betrayed UG.


traitor
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#13
I'll add, if you do go with guitarforces, do let me know how they sound when they come in, at the moment I can't foresee wanting another set of pickups for a while, though that Lord of the Blues set has honestly got me thinking extra hard...
#14
Quote by al112987
I'll add, if you do go with guitarforces, do let me know how they sound when they come in, at the moment I can't foresee wanting another set of pickups for a while, though that Lord of the Blues set has honestly got me thinking extra hard...


yea they seem to have a nice selection, i was interested in the 'superstar' ones as well, seeing as they look tailored towards that 80s rock sound, but i suppose any of those 'buckers will do a wide array of tones. The 'Erupter' also looks pretty cool, but i dunno if that's high output either. though the 'lord of the blues' one looks just like what i want so i think i'll aim for a couple of those, maybe if i email them about it they'll be nice enough to make me a set in zebra...zebra pups in a les paul are just super sexy. and yea, i'd be sure to let you know how i feel about them, as well as sound clips of course.
My MAIN Gear
____________
"They call him the 'Sand Spider.' -Why? -Probably because it sounds scary"
*Agile AL3000 Les Paul w/ Alnico IIs
*Randall RM50
*Dunlop CFH
*fellow LEO feel free to give a shout out
#15
I looked at a few of them, I think for what you want the LOTB are probably best. You may like the Erupter set too, specs are basically for the PAF that EVH had Seymour Duncan rewind for him. They're pretty hot on the PAF end of things, but not really that high output overall.

Can't wait to hear clips.
#16
Have a look at some of the RockMonkey Pickups,

Bridge - Buttmonkey - http://www.rockmonkeyguitars.com/buttmonkey.htm
Neck (Alnico 2 pickup for Slash type leads) - Maybe the Vintage Original - http://www.rockmonkeyguitars.com/original_gorilla_fist.htm
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#17
^i think i'll stay away from the alnico II styled pups...i'm glad you noticed i'm a big fan of that sound, but i get the impression they're not the tightest sounding pups and that they're a bit spongey and loose, and if all i was playing was GNR and stuff in that style, then i'd be down for those, but i have a wide array of tones i like to cover and i think the PAF ones will do better for me personally...thanks for the brand recommendation though, i'll look through their stuff as well
My MAIN Gear
____________
"They call him the 'Sand Spider.' -Why? -Probably because it sounds scary"
*Agile AL3000 Les Paul w/ Alnico IIs
*Randall RM50
*Dunlop CFH
*fellow LEO feel free to give a shout out
#20
i'll take a look through bareknuckle's site as well, though i really want to stay close to that budget...anything is prolly better than what i have in my LP right now, but i think those Lord of the Blues ones will be great enough, we'll see in a (hopefully) short time though.

while i'm at it, anyone here ever coil split their LP humbuckers? i did this with the JB in my G-400 back when i had that thing, and it was noticeable and pretty sweet, though obviously a slight volume drop when activated, it still had a more spanky sound and closer to a strat sound. i figure it was a good idea for the SG since it's a trebly instrument compared to a traditional LP and so would take to coil splitting better, but now i'm wondering if i should go ahead and do it for my LP as well...i mean, versatility never hurts, but i don't know how much of a different sound i'll get through that plank of wood.
My MAIN Gear
____________
"They call him the 'Sand Spider.' -Why? -Probably because it sounds scary"
*Agile AL3000 Les Paul w/ Alnico IIs
*Randall RM50
*Dunlop CFH
*fellow LEO feel free to give a shout out
#21
Quote by Raijouta
Sounds to me like you want PAF clones.


agreed, or maybe even hot paf clones, considering he wants some more modern tones, too.

Not going to recommend any specific models as I'm not too well up on what's available in the US, but al112987 is normally spot-on with his recommendations.
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#22
I don't post here often, but since I have a Lord Of The Blues set, I thought I'd add my $.02.

These are remarkable pickups. Alnico-4 magnets are fast becoming my favorite choice for humbuckers (I just ordered a pair of A-4's to swap out in another set of PU's I own). These LOTB can go from clean & clear to beautifully voiced PAF crunch tone. They're balanced and articulate, but can deliver a really sweet mid honk as well when pushed. With the right amp combo (think JTM 45), they nail that elusive Duane tone. I got mine for $125.00/set and they'll never leave my LP. Kevin Taylor has got his winding formulas down and he's a pleasure to work with.

Since I do all my own mods (and some builds as well), I've become somewhat of a pickup junkie over the years. I've tried many of the "name brand" production pickups. In recent years, I've been trying some of the small custom winders who were new in the business, like Vintage Vibe and Highorder (to name just two) when they were first getting started and trying to carve out a niche for themselves (had one bad experience as well, but that's for another discussion). I'm quite certain that given the quality of the products that Kevin Taylor is turning out with his Guitarforce pickups that down the line he'll be charging a lot more for them than he is now...and justifiably so.

At the special offer price of $125.00 per set Kevin is offering to MLP members, they're beyond a steal. Get them now and smile later when they go up in price, I know I will...

BTW: I have no affiliation with Guitarforce pickups. I'm just one happy customer who took a chance on an unknown pickup winder trying to break into the market...and I'm glad I did.
#23
^thanks for posting some firsthand experience bro. anyway you could expand on the sound of these pups? what styles you play, how much gain you've played with these things, even clips. i'll be using these for a nice wide range of styles, but mostly hard rock/blues and 80s hard rock.
My MAIN Gear
____________
"They call him the 'Sand Spider.' -Why? -Probably because it sounds scary"
*Agile AL3000 Les Paul w/ Alnico IIs
*Randall RM50
*Dunlop CFH
*fellow LEO feel free to give a shout out
#24
I;d go with Irongear Rolling Mills. Maybe with the overwound option for the bridge. They'll give the warmth of PAFs with excursions into 80s sounds too,
And they are cheap
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#25
Not sure if I'd go with Iron Gears over Guitarforces, they're around the same price but Guitarforces are custom, handmade, boutique pickups and Iron Gears are overseas mass produced pickups, I'm not saying that there's anything wrong with mass produced pickups (hell, the original PAFs that all these boutique makers are trying to recreate were mass produced), but for the same price, it's really hard to justify imo.

Slashrocks, the thing that I can say about a good set of PAF style pickups is that they're bright, clear and complex sounding which is something that you can lose if you wind up a pickup too much. And they're generally bright, but it's not the kind of brightness that you get from a high output pickup that was wound to be bright, it's a much more natural, musical, singing kind of high end than the grinding, aggressive sort of high end that you get in something like a JB. But they're very versatile, I've yet to be find any style that a PAF copy couldn't really do. For hard rock and blues they're really hard to beat.
Last edited by al112987 at Jan 8, 2010,
#26
^advice noted, and yes, i do still plan on sticking with the LOTB set. and i haven't forgotten to make sure to record a couple clips when i finally pick them up and install them. come to think of it, it'd be the first clips i've recorded with my LP...daaaanggg....it's been like a year haha.
My MAIN Gear
____________
"They call him the 'Sand Spider.' -Why? -Probably because it sounds scary"
*Agile AL3000 Les Paul w/ Alnico IIs
*Randall RM50
*Dunlop CFH
*fellow LEO feel free to give a shout out
#27
Quote by slash_rocks2005
^thanks for posting some firsthand experience bro. anyway you could expand on the sound of these pups? what styles you play, how much gain you've played with these things, even clips. i'll be using these for a nice wide range of styles, but mostly hard rock/blues and 80s hard rock.


I play mostly blues and "classic rock" (I hate that term). These pickups are voiced to sound like a good old set of PAF's that were wound with A-4 magnets, as a fair number were. They do moderate distortion and crunch very well with an ability to get more of a midrangy sound when pushed (that pick sensitive "caw-caw" sound). They will do higher gain with pedals, but if that is your primary aim, I'd recommend the Rebel I or Rebel II set instead. For higher gain I prefer other set-ups with Alnico-5 magnets, but still in a moderate wind like under 10.0k-ohm resistance bridge - under about 8.3k-ohm resistance neck. A lot of the winds in the +10k-ohm range start sounding less articulate to me and sometimes too thick (although that isn't always the case). You have to go with what sounds best to your ear, as there's a lot of personal preference and taste that plays into the decision. And simple resistance figures only tell part of the story. Wind formulas of varying pickup makers will greatly affect the tonal outcome as well.

You may have already listened to these sound clips from the Guitarforce site, but they do give a very good idea of the unique tone of the LOTB and how they contrast with a set of Vintage 57's, both of which are considered PAF style humbuckers. Sorry, I don't have any sound files myself to offer. In listening to the first sound clip you can hear that Duane/Allman Brothers tone in the first half of the clip (LOTB), and more of a slight Gary Moore-ish tone in the second half (Vintage 57's).

http://www.guitarforcepickups.com/sound_clips
Last edited by Bloozcat at Jan 8, 2010,