Thanks for looking. Yes, it's another post about pickups. In my defence, I've done quite a lot of research, and have seriously narrowed the search down. I'm definitely getting Dimazzio pickups, which simplifys this a bit. I'm leaving the single coil in there and changing the bridge and neck pickups.

OK, so I play a range of styles, and want my new bridge and neck pickups for my RG1570 to sound quite different. From metal on the bridge to jazz on the neck pickup.

So, I was drawn to the X2N for the bridge pickup, but several posts suggest that as far as pickups aimed at hard rock/metal go, it's better to get a more balanced one and use your amp to dirty it up, than to get one like the X2N, the highest output, highest gain pickup that Dimazzio offer. So my first choice for the bridge would be the evolution 2. Yes, there's less information about it than the evo 1, but I'm thinking that having a lower output than the evo 1, it might be a better balanced match for my neck pickup when I want to switch mid song. It important that my bridge pickup has roughly even bass/middle/treble, as I'd rather adjust this through my amp for this pickup, as for the neck however, lower treble is preferable. Both the X2N and the Evos have this balance.

As for the neck, all the research is screaming air norton, which I know would match an evo, but perhaps would match an evo 2 even better due to the lower output. I've heard breeds played through the RG1570 as well, which also sound great, but so do the airs, and they seem to be more popular. their 6.5/7/5 bass/middle/treble values sound just right.

The evo 1 and 2 and X2N pickups didn't come up on my search on the Dimazzio site for bridge pickups for a locking trem, high gain, metal, basswood guitar. Can anyone please confirm that any of these would be fine with this guitar and its floating bridge and tremolo arm?

OK, so, the leading choice right now is evo 2 bridge and air norton neck, surely this would sound absolutely fantastic? Especially compared to the mid-range pickups the guitar comes with. I do play very high metal though so I'm a bit torn about the X2N. Any advice?

Air Norton neck and Tone Zone bridge is a common combo, comes in many prestige series ibanezs.

Twin dimarzio d-activators are popular too.

What amp you using?
I have a Tone Zone in the bridge and a PAF Pro in the neck. They are pretty much equal when it comes to how loud they are which is what you want. The Tone Zone is great for everything, cleans are great and it is great for shred and metal rhythm. The PAF Pro is more for cleans, but it still has that classic smooth neck pickup sound. That's my recommendation. For versatility I don't think you could get a better combination. The EVO is made for one thing, and that's Steve Vai.
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X2N are possibly the worst sounding pickups I've ever heard. Even Dimarzio say that they're fairly terrible pickups. Moral of the story is that the vast majority of gain should come from your amp. Along that line of thought, I find that it's better to go for a lower output pickup just because it'll clean up better and take a little longer before it really starts to mud out.

Both the Evos are good choices, with one big downfall. They're very bright, and any mistakes you make are very VERY audible. So, if you're not a good player, go nowhere near them.

Breeds are excellent pickups and they're what I put in my RG1570. The only thing that stops me from recommending them is that they wouldn't be my first choice for high gain metal. Still, a Breed in the neck pickup would get you some really nice lead tones.

Still, avoid the X2N. Please. They're just vapid.
I have an Air Norton in the neck & Steve's Special in the bridge of my RG550. Great combination.
Thanks for the responses.

OK, yes, I heard some such criticism of the X2N, I guess I'm just drawn to any opportunity to make the guitar tone as heavy as possible when required.

I use a Randall V2 head. I'll look into the tone zones further, they've still got a place on my list, although I didn't mention it. I've heard some criticism there along with the praise, such as that the bass is too heavy and the treble not being high enough. If Dimazio's numbers are anything to go by, this seems like a major issue. Bass 8.5, middle 8.5, treble 5, being a metal player. But, I love what I've heard with them so far.

I'm taking any advice with a heavy pinch of salt in that most people have only tried a handful of Dimazzio pickups and nearly everyone will have a different guitar/amp setup which they may or may not be optimising for their pickups.

I'm a fairly good player, but the threat of mistakes being more obvious when playing live is an issue. Anyway, the air norton at least is a final call.
Last edited by Dancan at May 24, 2010,
The Tone zone's are clearly really warm pickups, but the air norton in the neck position should take care of that. As I say, I want a decent range, and the harmonics offered by the evo 2 are tempting. Perhaps it would be too bright...not an easy decision to make!
I have a Breed in the neck and a Super Distortion in the bridge of my RG, very nice combo.

Super Distortion cleans up really well but obviously can also do high gain metal. Complex chords really punch through with the SD, you can hear each note very clearly, its an awesome pickup, never gets muddy with a good amp

Clear, punchy as **** all and it cleans up half decently. It's middy, but that's not a bad thing. It's fairly compressed though, so if you don't want that don't get it.
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Quote by Anonden
You CAN play anything with anything....but some guitars sound right for some things, and not for others. Single coils sound retarded for metal, though those who are apeshit about harpsichord probably beg to differ.
I wouldn't describe the tone zone as warm. It screams with high gain. Keep in mind though. The EQ of a pickup doesn't really make much difference. You can always add more or less of something to compensate.
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ISP Decimator
Sure, I'm just being picky. As far as the super distortion and D-sonic go, there is just a little too much choice out there. They might be fantastic, but I've honed in on the tone zone, breed, or evos for a bridge pickup, I'm sure one of these will suit my needs and I don't want to overcomplicate it.

The tone zone is recommended for basswood guitars, looks like it has great range, my only concern with this is the treble. The evo would be more trebly, and perhaps sound more set apart from the air norton I plan to pair with it, but then it shows up mistakes very clearly...But then this improves performance over time...this is complicated enough as it is!

Thanks guys.
i'm a huge fan of the super distortion. makes a great bridge pickup. for something a little hotter you might like the super 3. the super 2 would make a great a good neck pickup, and the virtual solo would make a good middle pickup. it's a hum canceling singlecoil and should be good for low gain or cleans.
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I think either a TZ, D-Sonic or Super 3 would work great in the bridge. For neck either Air Norton or PAF Pro. Also the Norton is a very underated bridge pickup that is pretty awesome. There is also always the new Liquifire/Crunchlab combo. I have heard great things about them, but do not have first hand experience as of yet.
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