hey there guys, just pondering about improving my tone to get the nice metalcore/metal/shred tone in the bag. My current rig is as follows:
-Digitech Rp-500
- Ibanez rgr421exfm (Reverse headstock, stock V7, V8 shitty pickups).
- Randall Rg 75.
(Very far from "Something special")
I think the first place to start is my pickups, im thinking of refitting them with a set of emgs (81/60). for my "dirty" setting i use the amp overdrive and boost with the digitech pedalboards 808 distortion, for cleans i use the pedalboard preset + clean channel. In clean everything is alright, but distortion wise it missing a lot, for solos/riffing it always sounds too muddy, crowded and plain ****in horrible.

If anyone can point me in the direction of where to start at, it would be greatly appreciated.

I guess this will be meat for the trolls =S. Hopefully i can get some useful information.
If youre gonna go EMGs go 81/85s
are the current pickups active? if theyre not its going to require major re-routing...
If you're happy to go away from EMG's maybe try out some seymour duncan blackouts or if youre after passive try an SH8 invader in the neck and an SH13 Dimebucker in the bridge
I personally wouldnt use digitech effects, they sound very digital and boring. But instead of using the presets, im pretty sure you can make your own, read through the manual and see how to make your own, this way you can get the tone you want... for metalcore I suggest boosting the mids, maybe do about 6 on the bass 8 on the mids and 5 on treble... once again its up to you...
Dont chuck in a massive gain channel, this is part of the muddiness, roll back your gain a bit to keep the clarity of the notes...
But if you have the money to upgrade maybe try a single stompbox instead of the multifx...
unless you've got a real good multifx system, theyre generally pretty bad.
I just realised you said you use the digitech as a boost... DONT DO THAT, distortion on ovdrdrive doesnt sound good unless youve got a compressor, a noise gate and a stand alone EQ
hope this helps...
new amp. EMG's into solid state amp won't help that much. a tube amp like a Peavey ValveKing won't set you back that much and will help. as mentioned a stand alone overdrive or distortion pedal will also help.
I would say new amp as well. If you are looking to go cheap Bugera combos are really good for metalcore (6262 preferably) Also, wouldnt use the digitech for a boost. Well, i prolly wouldnt use it at all cuz I dont like multi effect pedals lol.
new pickups are going to be worthless through a solid state. to save money down the line save up and get a decent amp before upgrading everything else
As others have said (and as I'm going to boringly reiterate), new pickups won't really do anything for you and active pickups in particular will be awful with that amp.

Put your money into a new amp first. Once you've got the core of your rig sorted - that is, the amp and then the guitar - that is when you can start tweaking your tone with pickup changes, pedals, etc. Otherwise you're going to be wasting your money. You could get the best rake-mount processors money can buy and spend hundreds on hand-wound pickups and it won't do anything for you if your amp isn't up to scratch. As far as things to change to sort out your tone go, amp > guitar (core) > processors > pedals > guitar (parts).
Yes, I know everything. No, I can't play worth a damn.
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