#1
Hey UG,

I wanna change the stock pickups in my Epiphone G400.

Let's clear a few things up right away.

1) I've decided I wanna upgrade the guitar, not sell it and get a better one.
2) Lets not talk about amps here. I realize the majority of your sound comes from the amp but it all starts in the guitar, I wanna have the guitar sound a certain way before worrying about amps. (Furthermore when I play at gigs I play through whatever amp the house has to offer 90% of the time.)

What music?
I play Nu-metal/rapcore. The sounds I use are bassicaly:

Oct down shifted heavy fuzz guitar (drop-d and standard tuning)
Clean "jangly", bare bones, clean clean tone.
Mid gain setting with some reverb for creepy horror movie lines.

Bridge pickup:

I was thinking of getting an EMG 81 since I can get one used really cheap and I heard that since they're really high output they "negate" the sound of the guitar and make even cheap guitars sound pretty good which is fine on the one hand because my epiphone could be considered a cheap mid-range guitar.
Here's where the philosophical debate comes in. I really love lo-fi, crappy, fat sounding fuzzed out guitars a few of my all time favorite players are Jack White, East Bay Ray and Beck.... Here's the problem.... EMG's are often described as "STERILE" sounding... Now my inner skater punk indie kid cringes at the very sound of that word. Batteries in a guitar! Surely Jack White or Beck wouldn't be caught dead with ****ing batteries in their guitars? Right?! But on the other hand I also love Wes Borland and Tom Morello and I know for sure Tom uses EMG's in one of his guitars and he sounds AMAZING! I think Wes also used active pickups in the early days.

Since this is the pickup I use 90% of the time I want it to be really CLEAR even with lots of fuzz and playing full on major barre chords. Be really FAT and HEAVY and have great harmonics. Worst thing it could do is sound very thin and trebly.

Neck pickup

I always hated how neck pickups sound almost the same as the bridge pickup just a little more mellow. I've always wanted a noticeably different sound from my neck pickup and for this very reason I've tried de-waxing the stock humbucker and stabing one of the coils with a screwdriver so when I have a lot of gain going on with a simple pickup switch I can get a really nice clangy, woody, jangly clean sound.

So contrast is what I'm looking for here.

I was thinking of putting like a P90 in the neck position? That should be different enough from the EMG.
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#3
Guitarbaddie does raise a good point - what is your amp at the moment? new pickups won't do diddlysquat to your sound if the amp is anything but great.

Anyway, checkout the pickup sticky and learn as much as you can about each brand.

One thing I will say though is that you can't mix active EMGs with passive P90s. JSYK.
call me ziggy.
#4
At the place we rent for band practice there's a Peavy Valveking. So I play through that most of the time.

Why can't you mix active and passive pickups?
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#5
I don't think you can do that. Noise and grounding issues I'm thinking.

On topic (I think) - imo Actives are over-rated. There is more natural tone to be had in Passives.


Personally, I would just created a thread entitled 'Can mix Actives w/Passives?'
#6
I think the reason you can't mix actives and passives is because its an impedance thing. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impedance_%28electrical%29 IIRC actives are high impedance and passives are low impedance, regardless of if you have a hot pickups or not. You normally don't mix them because it requires extra circuitry which ruins your tone. It can be done but it will honestly sound shittier than the stock pickups.

I really have no experience to offer with active pickups but if you want a P90 in the neck and old-school sounds out of your bridge then I suggest a hot PAF style pickup. Gibson 57 Plus; Seymour Duncan JB, Custom, or Distortion; Dimarzio PAF Pro, or Super Distortion are probably good places to start. Bare Knuckle Pickups and GFS probably have some good offerings as well but I'm not as familiar with their products.

But yeah, you should probably save up and invest in a stable amp before changing pickups as the tone of the guitar is gonna change depending on the amp.
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#7
Get your own amp of good quality. Pickups won't mean shit for your sound if you don't have a dependable amp that you use for every show. Trust me, I came on here asking about new pickups years ago and got this same answer. I just shrugged it off and said to myself how they were just idiots on the internet that had no clue, because clearly all of the sound originates in the guitar, so it's the most important.

WRONG!

$300 later, I found out that a Marshall MG30DFX still sounds like shit, even with Seymour Duncans.

I know it's not what you want to hear, but just listen and get a new amp.

Since you probably WON'T listen, I'll at least do my best to give you some pickup advice.

Don't get active pickups, and don't buy passive EMG's, as they suck ass. I would suggest the Seymour Duncan JB or '59 in the bridge and then maybe go with your idea of a P90 in the neck. here are some links:

Seymour Duncan JB
Seymour Duncan '59
Seymour Duncan P90

You shouldn't have any unwanted noise or problems combining these, and they're all solid pickups that can be used for multiple genres. The '59 is Mark Morton's pickup of choice, and he's from Lamb of God, which is a quite heavy band, but they're also amazing blues, jazz, and country pickups. The JB is about the same, but with higher output.

Avoid actives because of the sterile nature they have and the high output. They're really meant for metal and heavy rock. The cleans generally suck, and you probably won't be getting clean cleans out of them. They're also a hassle because of the battery, although it's not THAT big of a problem.

There are other great pickup companies out there, too. You might check out Dimarzio and Bare Knuckle, as I've heard nothing but good things about both. My knowledge is mostly limited to the Seymour Duncan category, though I know a good bit about EMG too.
#9
you want a high output ceramic pickup for your bridge pup, for your neck you would need a humbucker sized P90 if you went that route. If you want jangle for the neck, you want a Filtertron.

None of this will matter much until you have an amp that you are going to be always be using, at least for practices and gigs. Since it seems your dirty tone is mostly pedal based, I'd get a Fender. If you really need a half stack look for a bandmaster reverb head and cab
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#11
You can mix Actives and Passives, just look at the Glenn Tipton guitars esp the Gibson custom. I have no idea how its done though.

If you have a good amp, the answer is Bareknuckles, WCR, Lollar, etc.

If you don't, then new amp.

Last edited by Sputnik1 at Nov 22, 2011,
#12
wtf is rap core?

people need to stop shoving "core" at the end of genre's to generalize it
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#14
Quote by Sputnik1
You can mix Actives and Passives, just look at the Glenn Tipton guitars esp the Gibson custom. I have no idea how its done though.


I guess you can...I checked out EMG's FAQ section, and sure enough, here is their response:


Can I mix EMG’s with passive pickups?

It is possible to mix EMG’s with passive pickups. There are three possible wiring
confi gurations; one is better than the other two.

Use the high impedance (250K-500K) volume and tone controls. The problem is that
the high impedance controls act more like a switch to the EMG’s. The passive pickups,
however, will work fi ne. If you have a guitar with two pickups and two volume pots, with a three-way switch, there is another alternative. Use the 25K pots for the EMG, and the 250K pots for the passive pickup. This way you can use one or the other with no adverse affects, but with the switch in the middle position the passive pickup will have reduced gain and response.

Use the low-impedance (25K) volume and tone controls provided with the EMG’s. The
problem here is that the passive pickups will suffer a reduction in gain and loss of highfrequency response.

This is the best alternative. Install an EMG-PA-2 on the passive pickups. There are
two benefi ts to doing this. With the trimpot on the PA-2, you can adjust the gain of the passive pickups to match the EMG’s. The PA-2 acts as an impedance matching device so you can use the low-impedance EMG controls (25K) without affecting the tone of the passive pickups. You will also be able to use other EMG accessory circuits such as the SPC, RPC, EXB, EXG, etc. For this application, we recommend ordering the PA-2 without the switch for easy installation on the inside of a guitar.
Last edited by Blktiger0 at Nov 22, 2011,
#15
muledit: ^ ninja'd
Quote by Sputnik1
You can mix Actives and Passives, just look at the Glenn Tipton guitars esp the Gibson custom. I have no idea how its done though.

Yes you can. It's just not very practical.
From EMG:
Can I mix EMG’s with passive pickups?
It is possible to mix EMG’s with passive pickups. There are three possible wiring
confi gurations; one is better than the other two.
Use the high impedance (250K-500K) volume and tone controls. The problem is that
the high impedance controls act more like a switch to the EMG’s. The passive pickups,
however, will work fine. If you have a guitar with two pickups and two volume pots, with
a three-way switch, there is another alternative. Use the 25K pots for the EMG, and the
250K pots for the passive pickup. This way you can use one or the other with no adverse
affects, but with the switch in the middle position the passive pickup will have reduced gain and response.
Use the low-impedance (25K) volume and tone controls provided with the EMG’s. The
problem here is that the passive pickups will suffer a reduction in gain and loss of high-
frequency response.
This is the best alternative. Install an EMG-PA-2 on the passive pickups. There are
two benefits to doing this. With the trimpot on the PA-2, you can adjust the gain of the
passive pickups to match the EMG’s. The PA-2 acts as an impedance matching device
so you can use the low-impedance EMG controls (25K) without affecting the tone of the
passive pickups. You will also be able to use other EMG accessory circuits such as the
SPC, RPC, EXB, EXG, etc. For this application, we recommend ordering the PA-2 without
the switch for easy installation on the inside of a guitar.

I have no experience with the EMG-PA-2 though.
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