I've got an Epiphone SG Special and want to upgrade the stock humbucker pickups on it. I found this kit on ebay. Are these decent for the price? I want a high gain metal tone. I am comfortable with soldering wires together. I've never upgraded pickups before, will they fit into the mounting system on the guitar? Also, where will the battery go? Will it fit in the space behind the cover on the back of the guitar?
Last edited by asdf45df at Jun 14, 2010,
what amp are you using?
What's wrong with the tone you're getting at the moment?
How do you want it to change?
Actually called Mark!

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EMG's are hot enough, there is really no need to get pickups hotter than those. High distortion pickups usually aren't very good in my experience. Also what kind of amp are you using? Amp is more important than pickups, if you change your pickups and run you're guitar through a crappy amp, you will literally get no difference in tone really. Basically if you're using a cheap amp a pickup change is pointless.

the sg uses passive pickups, the ones you are looking at are Active pickups, which means you would need to change out you're pots along with the pickups if you switch to active.

You probably have 500k pots in there, you would have to change to 25k for active
and keep in mind that the actives probably aren't going to do to well with anything other than metal

There are so many different things that can/should be done before considering a pickup swap.
1.being get a good amp
2. play around with your guitar and amp settings
3.raise the height of your pickup, this will do a lot actually
4. check out some effects pedals before you yank your pickup out

but also keep in mind that the epiphone special is a very cheap guitar, with very cheap parts. Even with the pickup switch it's not going to make it much better.
Last edited by handbanana at Jun 14, 2010,
I'm using a Peavey Vypyr 30W amp. I want better pinch harmonics and a thicker tone. I'm not looking at these cause they're hotter than EMGs, I'm looking at them because they are similar to EMGs and are cheaper. That kit comes with pots so that's not a problem.
Take a look at effects first. I wanted a thicker tone and was consider upgrading my pickups which are already pretty hot. BUt then I went out and got an Ibanez TS9 and that cleared up any problem I had with warmness. Seriously made it sound 100 times better.
i agree with handbanana adjust the height of the pickup, and you could consider playing with a hybrid string, if you get a thicker bottom strings, there's more meat to catch the harmonic, i play with hybrid slinky's 9-46 i believe, and i play metalish stuff. allthough i don't exactly agree with the amp making most of the sound, you could try getting an electroharmonix linear power booster, it's cheaper than the pickups, but it kinda does the same thing that the actives will do, by boosting your signal. in my RGA i have a seymour duncan sh-6 in the bridge, and with the LPB-1 i get a way hotter sound. pinch harmonics are one of those things where pick position is crucial. if you want thicker, back off the high's on your amp, i know for a fact that all peavy's have a higher pitch sound to them... i have a peavy valve king 212 and thank god it has a texture switch cause i can drown out the highs. so my advice is, don't buy the pick ups, work on your picking technique, and or buy the lpb-1, it's 40 bucks, adjust the hieght of you're pups, and like handbanana said, adjust amp settings. after that if no results, then buy pups. i know the dragonfire's are cheap, but seymour duncan has a set you can buy with 4 pots, i don't know if you're sg has 4 or not.
get an overdrive pedal like ibanez tubescreamer and improve ur overall tone, while getting better pinch harmonics?
The pots the Dragonfire pickups come with won't fit the Epi SG, the shafts aren't quite long enough. So you would need to buy new pots. The battery most likely won't fit either, Epiphone control cavities are slightly smaller than USA-made equivalents and will most likely need extra routing to get a battery to fit comfortably; you may be able to squeeze a battery in if you use mini control pots, but even then it'll be a bit of a crush in there and you would have to be very careful.
Additionally, active pickups are not suitable for an amp like a Vyper. Active pickups are really meant for either valve amps where they can really hit the front end hard or for much higher-quality solid state amps (we're talking amps that cost a grand or more) where their precision can really be taken advantage of. With your amp, any passive pickups would be a better choice than active pickups. Active pickups are a specialised tool; if you have to ask about them, you don't need them.

I also think you have the wrong idea about what a pickup change will do for you. You mention "better pinch harmonics and a thicker tone", both of which are things that a pickup change won't help. Your tone is defined far more by your amp and then by your guitar's wood and construction, while pinch harmonics come almost purely from technique. If your technique is good enough you can get pinch harmonics ringing out on an acoustic and actually for the best response to subtle playing styles and tricks like harmonics, a very low output, classic style of pickup will be more responsive. As far as tone goes, a pickup change will have, at best, a marginal effect. With a really high quality amp and guitar yes, a pickup change can make a more noticable difference, but with gear like an Epi SG Special and a Peavey Vyper, it's really the amp that is doing almost all of the work in terms of what makes up your tone. You could run an Epiphone Flying V with overwound P-90 pickups through it and it would sound mostly the same as your SG does. Especially in terms of getting a "thicker tone", that's got virtually nothing to do with your pickups, just a little to do with your guitar (your SG Special is a naturally bright-toned guitar) and almost everything to do with your amp.

If you're unhappy with your tone, first you need to look at changing your amp and then you need to look at changing your guitar. It may be best to look at different combinations, for example you might find that playing a Les Paul or an Explorer through your amp may be enough of a change for you, or it may not - try lots of gear out to see which basic combination of guitar & amp works best for you. A pickup change can improve response to more subtle techniques, but only if your technique is good enough in the first place and even then, only if your amp and guitar are good enough. You can have the highest quality, bespoke, hand-made pickups money can buy but if the guitar's wood is of poor quality that will muffle your playing and if your amp is inappropriate for the type of music you're trying to play you'll just sound flat-out awful. So upgrading to a hgiher quality pickup (especially a lower-output one) might improve your guitar's response, but only by a tiny amount unless you get the rest of your rig sorted too.

For what it's worth, I don't think the Vyper is actually a bad amp, it's just not an amp that can really take advantage of the things higher quality pickups can offer and it's really not suitable for active pickups.
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Alright, thanks for the advice. I guess I'll just play around with the gear I've got now. Besides, the most significant way to change your tone is practice, right?
If your soldering skills are up to it, consider changing the caps from ceramic to Polyester or polysterene. This is a very inexpensive amd quick mod. but the chnage will be subtle, not very drastic.
Moving on.....