#1
Let me just start this off by saying that I know that new pickups do change the sound of the guitar drastically haha - but the new pickups I recently bought and had installed at Best Buy make the guitar sound very hollow, overly clear, quieter, and MUCH MUCH less distorted. Like, zero distortion.

I have a Gibson SG plugged into a Vox Night Train. Before the new pickups were installed, I couldn't have the gain up all the way or else it would be very loud (in a good way - I just live in an apartment and have to keep it down) and it would be enough for any hard rock or even some metal. Turning the gain down a little, everything would still have that great distortion.

But my friend said I should get new pick-ups if I was getting bored with the sound, and I had the money, and I had the stock pick-ups, so I figured I should go and get some better ones. I had them put in a Duncan Distortion and Jazz Model Humbucker - apparently really good for rock. I know nothing about pickups.

Anyways, now I get zero distortion, its about half the volume of all the other guitars I plugged into the Night Train (so its not the amp) and when playing through the clean channel, its embarrassingly hollow and lame. Is this like...normal? Should I take it somewhere else to get a second opinion? They said it was normal at the place I got it done at. It just doesn't feel like any guitar sound I've heard.

So should I just call it a day and put an overdrive pedal in front of it? Or just take that same money and get the stock ones put back in. Any feedback (lol) would be appreciated.
#2
Sounds like they are simply low output pups. That can be either from the way it's wound (number of turns mainly) or the strength of the magnets. An overdrive pedal will solve your immediate problem if you are happy with it's sound otherwise but it sounds like you aren't happy at all. It is far better to start with a good sound right out of the pickups and then start dressing it up than have a crap pup sound and try to compensate with pedals.
A Duncan Distortion or even a JB in the bridge and a Jazz in the neck is a good choice. What sound are you actually after and what amp do you have?


Edit: Oh you have a Night Train. That deserves to have a good set of pups in front of it.
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Last edited by Cathbard at Jun 6, 2010,
#3
hmmm that sounds like a problem with the installation. I'd bring it back to where you got it done and tell them the problem, sounds like a wire incorrectly soldered or disconnected somewhere. They should open it up, take a look and fix it for free if it was them that screwed up.

EDIT: Sorry, I see now that you did ask them about it. Any chance you could post some sound clips just so we can hear ourselves?

EDIT 2: Are you having the same problem with one or both of the pickups? Try raising them closer to the strings. The Duncan Distortion is a pretty high output pickup. My guess would be a wire has come loose from a volume pot.
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Last edited by GNR4EVER at Jun 6, 2010,
#4
the jazz isn't a really low output pickup. to me it sounds like you need to raise the height of the pickups so that they are closer to the strings. your turn the screws on the top and bottom of the pickup to raise and lower them. play around and see where you like them set. remember having them set too high will kill the sustain.
#6
it sounds to me like it could be one of two things; 1. You had EXTREMELY high output pups in there in the first place. 2. They weren't installed correctly.
from my personal experience, a Duncan DISTORTION usually won't subtract from your distortion. I really think it might not have been installed quite right, I had the same problem when I accidentally wired the output incorrectly.
#7
actually the Jazz is a low output pickup.


At least it definitely sounds like it. TBH I hated the Jazz, the JB I had in the bridge was better at everything.
#8
Oh I misread that. It's the SD's that he got from Best Buy, not a possible solution.
In that case yeah, installation error for sure. Those pups are 4 wire iirc - he probably got them out of phase.
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#11
If you can solder it's probably time you learned how to wire up pickups - it's not hard. The diagrams are on the net.
If you want a job done properly, do it yourself.

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Last edited by Cathbard at Jun 6, 2010,
#13
Quote by Cathbard
If you can solder it's probably time you learned how to wire up pickups - it's not hard. The diagrams are on the net.
If you want a job done properly, do it yourself.

Quite agreed. The first thing I ever soldered was new pickups into my guitar. It's very easy to learn and do yourself.
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#14
Thank you guys so much. The pickups have been raised as high as they will (reasonably) go. Do you know if the stock pickups on the Gibson SG are very high output? Because the guitar sounded very loud, in a good way, and now, like I said, it is a shell of its former self. I guess I should just take it to another music store and have them look at it. I doubt the Jazz would be THAT low output, especially with the distortion one as well.

I like to play things from Tom Petty to Weezer (for that you need especially heavy guitars) to the White Stripes. The guitar just lacks any punch with the Night Train now, which is very depressing. Before it was perfect.
#16
/hangs head in shame.
I thought it could be better! Maybe they weren't perfect - I just thought that I could somehow make them even better because they were stock, and maybe change would be good? Haha maybe I was wrong.
#21
Quote by forsaknazrael
Did Best Buy keep the stock pickups? They should have returned those to you...That's theft in my book....Those are still expensive, since they're likely Gibson 490s...


This. Bringing it to Best Buy was the absolute worst thing you could have done. Who knows who they have doing pup swaps, probably just some Geek Squad reject. I say go back to Best Buy and raise hell until you get it fixed.
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#23
i think the pickup was either wired out of phase with each coil, or coil split...
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#25
lol here's the synopsis:

guy working on the pickup: heyy there's so many wires in this thing. o_o hmm, lets just use red and black wires like battery clips. cutting all the other wires short. who cares about the shielding wire.

-uses red and black wire only, not using green, white, or the bare wire-

cool the output is kinda low but it makes sound.
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#26
Quote by ECistheBest
lol here's the synopsis:

guy working on the pickup: heyy there's so many wires in this thing. o_o hmm, lets just use red and black wires like battery clips. cutting all the other wires short. who cares about the shielding wire.

-uses red and black wire only, not using green, white, or the bare wire-

cool the output is kinda low but it makes sound.


That was the attitude of the local guy who did my old MIM Strat back before I knew how to solder. I got it back and was like WTF?!?! And now I do my own because that job was so ****ed up there's no way I'd pay someone to do it again. The middle RW/RP pup was in the bridge position, the bridge in the neck position and the neck in the middle position, the volume control was disconnected, the tone controls were both wired to the middle pickup and he didn't even bother to clip the leads of the pups. And all the wires were burnt from poor soldering technique. Shit like that don't fly.
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#27
Open up the control cavity and take a pic - might give us some clues as to what they've done wrong.
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#28
Quote by steven seagull
Open up the control cavity and take a pic - might give us some clues as to what they've done wrong.

+1
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#29
I had someone come into the shop where I work at today and he had the same problem as you did with best buy.

In fact they wired SD's as Dimarzio's so check the wires color.
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