#1
Hi All, I'm planning on putting together a guitar and have two main questions, one regarding wood and the other regarding pickups. I'm using a Blackstar HT-5 and the guitar has to work with Muse, Mars Volta, Radiohead, People In Planes etc...

Wood: I have two choices here so it's either Alder or Ash. Tonally, I'm also interested as to which one anyone thinks will be most similar to mahogany as this seems to be a good choice (but is more expensive).

Pickups: I have decided to go for a humbucker bridge and single coil neck but I'm a bit lost as to which ones to get. The humbucker will be primarily for heavier stuff and I was thinking either:

Gibson 500T - £60
Seymour Duncan JB - £70
Bare Knuckle Nailbomb - £90 (The cheaper the better!)

For the single coil, I have no clue as to what I should get, maybe a single coil sized P90 or a split coil for single coil sized pickups (do these exist?). I know tone is subjective but can anyone give any advice or suggestions?

Cheers
Guitars & Gear:
Parker Nitefly M
Sumer Metal Driver
Ibanez RGD2120Z
AMT SS-11B
Two Notes Torpedo CAB
#2
Based on Warmoth's Tone-o-Meter,

Alder:

Ash:

Mahogany:


From the Ultimate Tonewood Thread:

Mahogany:
This wood has a fine grain, with a warm, full tone. This tonewood is very common due to its popularity in Les Pauls.
Ash:
North Hard Ash
This wood is very hard, heavy and dense. Its density makes for a bright tone and longer sustain.

Swamp Ash
This wood is much lighter then its counterpart. The grain is again open and creamy. The tone of the wood has a lot of balance and warmth to it.

Alder:
It has been said that the tone is mostly balance with equal amounts of low, mids, and highs.

As for pickups, from the Ultimate Pickup Buying Thread:

SH-4 JB (Jeff Beck Signature): One of the most popular pickups. It has relatively high output. It’s great for heavy blues to grunge to metal. Very trebly. Better cleans than most high out put pickups.
Pros: Good hard rock/thrash tones, good cleans.
Notes: Great choice for a guitar with one humbucker. (fat strats, G&L Rampage, and such) Has decent cleans and good Overdrive.

496R Hot Ceramic/500T Super Ceramic: Used mainly in explorers and Vs.
Pros: very hot.
Notes: Sounds good when distorted.

Nailbomb: Extremely versatile. The only thing it doesn't do extremely well is jazz.
pros: Great clarity, extremely versatile, great soloing tone
Notes: If you spend more time with high gain I'd suggest this

For the single coil, maybe look into Stacked Single Coils, or noiseless. The Stacked are like a single coil sized humbucker, and you could even then just split it or put it in parallel to get a more single-coil like tone.


Analysis:

You're not going to nail a mahogany tone with either Ash or Alder. IMO, I love the look of Swap Ash Grain, so that is what I would chose out of those two.

And for pickups, I'd say that the Nailbomb is more for distorted sounds, while you said more of an alternative/rock tone, so while I'm not very experienced at all with pickups, I'd say the JB.


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RBY CYOA
Last edited by MonkeyLink07 at Aug 2, 2010,
#3
I heard noiseless/stacked single coils don't sound as good as the real deal, are there some exceptions? I was also thinking DiMarzio might be worth a look for the humbucker, but I'm clueless when it comes to DiMarzios!

EDIT: It's going to be painted so I guess there's not much difference between the alder and ash?
Guitars & Gear:
Parker Nitefly M
Sumer Metal Driver
Ibanez RGD2120Z
AMT SS-11B
Two Notes Torpedo CAB
Last edited by Emperor's Child at Aug 2, 2010,
#4
personally I'd go for the nailbomb, but I'm more of a metal kinda guy. for you I'd say go for the JB.

from what I understand ash and alder are kinda on the opposite of the tonal spectrum from mahogany. you could try basswood I think it's supposed to be closer to mahogany. of course, I don't have much experience with different woods, just browse this forum a lot and do a lot of "window shopping" online
#6
Why paint it? If you get a nice peice of wood you can just stain it or tru-oil it or whatever and make this shizz look sexy. Anyways i agree with 4thhorsemen. Check out basswood. For more resources, check out the ultimate tonewood thread, the ultimate which pickups thread.
#7
Well, I actually prefer the look of a painted guitar (satin though) and basswood is a bit too fragile for my liking. I should mention that I'm not solely looking for a mahogany tone. I was just curious because Mars Volta is mahogany, Radiohead is ash or alder and Muse is a bit of all three. Guess I'll go for Alder if it's more evenly balanced.

Some stuff by Muse and The Mars Volta can get quite heavy which makes me wonder if the JB can cope?

What I already know:
Mars Volta = JB Jr and some other humbucker? - Omar's loaded with effects anyway
Muse = Nailbomb
Radiohead = Lace Sensor Dually Reds
People In Planes = 500T

Is there anything else similar that you guys think would work well with the HT-5. Still not much clue on the single coils
Guitars & Gear:
Parker Nitefly M
Sumer Metal Driver
Ibanez RGD2120Z
AMT SS-11B
Two Notes Torpedo CAB