#1
Hey guys,

I've been doing some research and have been having some trouble coming to a certain decision about my guitar. I'm not that pleased with my tone, and I can point to my amp as a troublemaker (it's a randall rg50tc, alone it sounds quite muddy and fairly flat, opens up fairly nicely with an external eq).


If you want to skip the amp babble and eq settings and whatnot, go to the next bold text.

I'm thinking that even though a new amp would work well, I really don't have the money for that even if I sell the randall. I'm a rather-broke uni student, so saving for things gets a bit tricky.

I also don't have the space for an external closed-back cab in order to make it a bit punchier. I've attempted to use an overdrive to tighten the amp up and make it punchier as well, but all I get is a muddier mess, even fiddling with gain and volume.

Current settings:
Gain = 3.5
Bass = 5
Mids = 5.5
Treble = 7

Issues: bass is flubby, mids seem to be somewhat heavy, but manageable at around 5. Treble isn't pronounced all that much on this amp either. I've heard the amp through a mesa cab (2x12) loaded with V30's and it didn't appear to do much at all for a tone upgrade; almost neglibible.

Case in point: I think the amp has a very limited tone stack, in that the range is quite limited, and the amp is suited for downtuned music, especially metal, and is a fairly dark combo.

Using the external eq, I can get a clearer, more biting tone by adding high mids. However, it sometimes becomes a bit piercing, so I've been fiddling with the treble and it's just not giving me the sound I want.


Amp preamble ends here


Ruling out a new closed-back cab due to space limitations or even a new amp entirely due to money, I've decided that I should upgrade the pickups in my guitar (LTD MH100QM, blocked floyd so it's dive-only).

I've found the stock pickups to be somewhat bland, missing harmonics, possible sustain and general "oomph".

I've been partial to DiMarzios, and have done the research through the pickup selector, but I'm not quite enlightened by the results.
Since my guitar's made of agathis, I decided to do a pickup selection with both alder and basswood and find a mix.

Best pickups according to the selector and appearances in the selector were:
Basswood:
D-Activator/Evo
Alder:
D-Activator X/Evo (notable mention of Evo, Evo 2 or Tone Zone in bridge)


I've been considering the Tone Zone in the bridge for a while, but have begun to rule it out due to the dark nature of my amp. I've heard it in the neck of an rg570 and it really killed. I was also considering the Evo 2, but I'm not quite sure if it'll do what I want, rhythm-wise. I've been considering using an EMG 85 in the bridge, but I'm not sold yet (still open).

I mainly play rhythm guitar, dabble in solos. I mainly play Paul Gilbert (hence the Tone Zone), mess around horribly with some DragonForce (I like the solo tone, which led me to consider the Evo series), and I routinely listen to Amon Amarth (they use EMG's). Blind Guardian's nice, but their guitarwork is usually buried under multilayered vocals.


I'm not sure if I'm missing something at this point. If I am, let me know.
Advice is much appreciated, as the wait time for ordering the pickup will be about 2-3 weeks, payment up front (duh), and I don't feel like ordering online due to cross-border restrictions sometimes (yay Canada).


tl;dr: I'm a university student, playing rhythm guitar, dabbling in solos. Looking for a passive pickup, looked heavily at DiMarzio's, but will be open to other passives, as well as actives.


ps. sorry for the huge post, but I thought it'd help. Thanks again!
Amps
Randall RG50TC, Roland Cube 15x

Guitar
LTD MH-100QM, Washburn X12

Effects and Etc.
Ibanez Weeping Demon, Boss FV-500H, Ibanez TS7, Ibanez PH7, dbx 31-band EQ, ISP Decimator
#2
Did I provide too much information?
I'm considering ordering soon, if I can get some input and/or make a decision, so I would appreciate some help.

I wish I didn't have to bump it...sorry.
Amps
Randall RG50TC, Roland Cube 15x

Guitar
LTD MH-100QM, Washburn X12

Effects and Etc.
Ibanez Weeping Demon, Boss FV-500H, Ibanez TS7, Ibanez PH7, dbx 31-band EQ, ISP Decimator
#3
I'm quite lost with that wall of text. Kudos for the effort... but can you answer the following in brief...

1. What aspect of your current pickup are you not pleased with?
2. What do you want your new pickups to do/ sound like?
Quote by Blompcube
it's so cool to hate Gibson, even the federal Department of Justice hates them.

( )( )
( . .) This is Bunny. Copy and paste Bunny into your
C('')('') signature to help him gain world domination.
#4
I figured the wall of text would be a bit scary. My bad; I'll try to pare it down either now or in the future.

Basically, my stock pickups feel bland and a bit lifeless. They're not too bad, but it appears to lack some punch and nice overtones.

I'm looking for something with a crispier punch (or crunch?), richer tones (possibly harmonic overtones, etc) and maybe some brightness for some mild leadwork (using tone knob to tame it for some rhythm).

My amp's fairly dark as well, which is what led to a lot of the confusion for me. I don't know if a tone zone would end up muddying up my already dark and muddy amp, and I'm not sure if I've got the chops for an evo either (2 of my favourite sounds come from those pickups).
Amps
Randall RG50TC, Roland Cube 15x

Guitar
LTD MH-100QM, Washburn X12

Effects and Etc.
Ibanez Weeping Demon, Boss FV-500H, Ibanez TS7, Ibanez PH7, dbx 31-band EQ, ISP Decimator
#5
The Evo and D-Activator are very different...obviously, seeing as the D-Activator is an Active Pup.

The Evo is very good for leads, but as far as I know (based on my limited experiences with one) it lacks a bit in the rhythm department.

Maybe check out John Petrucci's new Pickups?
Quote by rmr024
Well, in California, people carry around devices that control the minds of bears. So expect to see people walking their bears.

Also, don't be surprised if some robot hookers try to solicit sex to you on the streets.
#6
Quote by SLonergan
The Evo and D-Activator are very different...obviously, seeing as the D-Activator is an Active Pup.

The Evo is very good for leads, but as far as I know (based on my limited experiences with one) it lacks a bit in the rhythm department.

Maybe check out John Petrucci's new Pickups?


D-Activator... active? Dude you need to brush up on your literature.

IMO JP's new pups are not for him at all.

Neck: DiMarzio MOJO
Bridge: DiMarzio Super 2

Is budget a concern for you? If it is not, I have the perfect pickup combination for you.
Quote by Blompcube
it's so cool to hate Gibson, even the federal Department of Justice hates them.

( )( )
( . .) This is Bunny. Copy and paste Bunny into your
C('')('') signature to help him gain world domination.
Last edited by ragingkitty at Jan 6, 2010,
#7
I do have a budget (about $150 CDN) as I'm going for a single pickup right now.

For fun, let's say I didn't have the budget. I'd like to hear this combo!
Amps
Randall RG50TC, Roland Cube 15x

Guitar
LTD MH-100QM, Washburn X12

Effects and Etc.
Ibanez Weeping Demon, Boss FV-500H, Ibanez TS7, Ibanez PH7, dbx 31-band EQ, ISP Decimator
#8
Quote by ragingkitty
D-Activator... active? Dude you need to brush up on your literature.

IMO JP's new pups are not for him at all.

Neck: DiMarzio MOJO
Bridge: DiMarzio Super 2

Is budget a concern for you? If it is not, I have the perfect pickup combination for you.


Haha, my bad. I read "Typically Associated with Active Pickups." Didn't realize they were a passive pickup in response to it.

I recommended the JP pickups, because of the pickups that were recommended to him on the selector. They are similar to the Evos for leads IMO. Better Rhythm too.

Once again, my opinion.
Quote by rmr024
Well, in California, people carry around devices that control the minds of bears. So expect to see people walking their bears.

Also, don't be surprised if some robot hookers try to solicit sex to you on the streets.
#10
Neck: Bare Knuckles Nailbomb
Bridge: Bare Knuckles Miracle Man

Great harmonics and harmonic overtones from the Nailbomb, while the Miracle Man is the most stand-out-ish pickup available, great for leads and shred. The Nailbomb will handle everything from chugga chugga to shimmering cleans, while the Miracle Man is bright, but not overly bright, great pup for screaming sounds with great crunch.
Quote by Blompcube
it's so cool to hate Gibson, even the federal Department of Justice hates them.

( )( )
( . .) This is Bunny. Copy and paste Bunny into your
C('')('') signature to help him gain world domination.
#11
Quote by enselmis
And here comes the suggestion for BK's from ragingkitty.

Which I support.


Damn, I'm getting a little too predictable, aren't I?

Quote by SLonergan
Haha, my bad. I read "Typically Associated with Active Pickups." Didn't realize they were a passive pickup in response to it.

I recommended the JP pickups, because of the pickups that were recommended to him on the selector. They are similar to the Evos for leads IMO. Better Rhythm too.

Once again, my opinion.


fair enough.

Yeah, well personally... I don't think it sounds anything like active, I can hear what that "active" sound is... they basically voiced it such that it sounds compressed and with a rawer sounder.

I can understand where you are coming from, but I just find that JP's pickups fill a very specific sound niche, and I just personally don't think the TS' needs fall in that niche, is all.
Quote by Blompcube
it's so cool to hate Gibson, even the federal Department of Justice hates them.

( )( )
( . .) This is Bunny. Copy and paste Bunny into your
C('')('') signature to help him gain world domination.
#12
Eh, I suppose you're right. I just thought they would be a nice alternative to the Evos.

If he can afford those Bare Knux Pups though...he's in business.
Quote by rmr024
Well, in California, people carry around devices that control the minds of bears. So expect to see people walking their bears.

Also, don't be surprised if some robot hookers try to solicit sex to you on the streets.
#13
Interesting combinations.

Kinda sucks about the price, but I've heard nothing but good things from Bare Knuckles. If I had more cash, I'd definitely be looking into it.

I'm liking the Super 2, as well. I heard the sound clips and I was pretty blown away by Liquid Courage. I also like the spec sheet and tech info that I read. Of course, that can't compare to how the pickup sounds through your own rig, but it's looking quite promising.

I'm going to have to find a few more sound samples (rhythm mostly) to see if that's what I'm looking for.

Still, thanks for the help so far!
Amps
Randall RG50TC, Roland Cube 15x

Guitar
LTD MH-100QM, Washburn X12

Effects and Etc.
Ibanez Weeping Demon, Boss FV-500H, Ibanez TS7, Ibanez PH7, dbx 31-band EQ, ISP Decimator
#14
Quick question:

I'm having trouble locating and acquiring the Super 2, so would there be an alternate bridge pickup that would still fit my budget if I can't get the Super 2?
Amps
Randall RG50TC, Roland Cube 15x

Guitar
LTD MH-100QM, Washburn X12

Effects and Etc.
Ibanez Weeping Demon, Boss FV-500H, Ibanez TS7, Ibanez PH7, dbx 31-band EQ, ISP Decimator
#15
I am glad i found this thread, i have the exact same problem.

I have an esp ax-50 (agathis) , a zoom g2.1u for effects and the amp keeps changing from an obscrure stranger jazz to a laney lx-35 r.

I am not satisfied with the tone of my guitar at all

The lows are not well defined and the highs are smooth, the harmonic response is weak and so is the output, despite low action they barely pickup tapping an legato.
Also they lack sustain.

I like my guitar a lot, when i play the sound resonates through the body, hence the wood may be cheap but its not faulty imo.

So i have 2 question

1: Will changing improve my tone drastically or a cheap guitar is doomed with bad tone ?

2: Will high output pickups means better tonal range and more responsive guitar ?

I dont like the sound of emg's hence i was thinking

evo2/evo neck
or
dactivators

*I prefer the sound of the evo but heard they dont sound good in mahagony which according to some ug threads sounds close to agathis which is my guitar