#1
Hey guys, I've decided I'm going to buy a new set of pickups for my Ibanez - some kind of discontinued ART type model with stock pickups. The stocks, while okay, don't do it for me now I've been playing the thing for two years. The bridge is rather harsh and biting and I find the neck too muddy, unfocussed and "flabby".

With a budget of £200, I'm liking the idea of a set of BKPs. The Nailbomb for the bridge seems nice, but I'm not sure about the neck. So could I please get a bit of advice on the BKPs for me, or even other makes of pickups altogether?

Bands include: Periphery, Dream Theater, Megadeth, Trivium, Joe Bonnamassa, Metallica, Machine Head, Children of Bodom, Lamb of God, Symphony X.

And again, budget is £200.

Thanks!
My stuff


Gibson Les Paul Studio
Ibanez ADC120
Tanglewood TGRF VS
Blackstar HT20
Roland Micro Cube
#2
I'm not very familiar with the high output BKPs but I think that a cold sweat neck would work well with the nailbomb bridge.

TBH you just go to ask on their forum. They're really helpful guys and they know shutloads about the pickups and most of them own half of the pickups available. They'll know exactly what's right for you.
#3
Quote by TheDuckMajor
I'm not very familiar with the high output BKPs but I think that a cold sweat neck would work well with the nailbomb bridge.

TBH you just go to ask on their forum. They're really helpful guys and they know shutloads about the pickups and most of them own half of the pickups available. They'll know exactly what's right for you.

Ah, I'll check that one out.

Thank you, I'll head over there now. Thanks for the help!
My stuff


Gibson Les Paul Studio
Ibanez ADC120
Tanglewood TGRF VS
Blackstar HT20
Roland Micro Cube
#4
What amp are you using?

IMO, BKP's are nice, but really not worth the cost unless everything else in your rig is also really nice. The difference between them and regular pickups like SD's and DiMarzios are not justified by the price difference, IMO.

If you're in Europe, then they may be, but in America, they just cost too much for what you get.

As an alternative to them, I suggest DiMarzio D-Activators.

If you really do want BKPs, go for Aftermaths.
Spin 'round carousel when your horse isn't screwed in.

My band:
Fractured Instinct
(For fans of Death/Groove/Prog Metal)

Ibanez RGA42E
Ibanez S420
LTD H-301
Ibanez RG520
Peavey Predator USA
Douglas Grendel 725
Line 6 Pod HD500X
#5
Don't get bogged down in one brand. Spending more does not necessarily get you a better tone. The best option for you is the one that gives you the shift in tone you want, regardless of whether that's an expensive bespoke wind or just a generic MIK pickup.

Anyhoo, there's no way anyone can give you relevant pickup advice until you tell us what sort of amp you have, what pedals (if any) you use and how you set up and use your gear. It'd also help greatly if you could give more info on what the guitar is, at least the basics like the type of bridge and construction.
Yes, I know everything. No, I can't play worth a damn.
A child is trafficked and sold for sex slavery every 30 seconds. Support Love146.
#6
Quote by Offworld92
What amp are you using?

IMO, BKP's are nice, but really not worth the cost unless everything else in your rig is also really nice. The difference between them and regular pickups like SD's and DiMarzios are not justified by the price difference, IMO.

If you're in Europe, then they may be, but in America, they just cost too much for what you get.

As an alternative to them, I suggest DiMarzio D-Activators.

If you really do want BKPs, go for Aftermaths.

Blackstar HT20.

That seems like a very fair point, maybe I would be better checking out other brands. I am in the UK, but I agree that I'll have to research others. Thank you.


Quote by MrFlibble
Don't get bogged down in one brand. Spending more does not necessarily get you a better tone. The best option for you is the one that gives you the shift in tone you want, regardless of whether that's an expensive bespoke wind or just a generic MIK pickup.

Anyhoo, there's no way anyone can give you relevant pickup advice until you tell us what sort of amp you have, what pedals (if any) you use and how you set up and use your gear. It'd also help greatly if you could give more info on what the guitar is, at least the basics like the type of bridge and construction.

Again, a very fair point. I am looking for a better tone from my pickups, and you're right in saying it's the tone that matters, not the price.

Well, I have a Blackstar HT20, with no pedals. Set up? Cleans are B7, M7.5, T7, distortion is usually B8, M8.5, T7.5.

Ah, the guitar. Well, as far as I'm aware it's basswood or mahogany body, set-in mahogany neck, 25.5" scale length. It's a singlecut, and it's a fixed bridge. Does that help at all?

And thank you for your help so far.
My stuff


Gibson Les Paul Studio
Ibanez ADC120
Tanglewood TGRF VS
Blackstar HT20
Roland Micro Cube
Last edited by lfcagger at Apr 6, 2012,
#7
Fairly straight forward then.

Going on the bands you listed in your first post, I suggest a Seymour Duncan Custom for the bridge position. You mentioned Bonamassa in amongst all that metal - the Custom is one of the few ''metal'' pickups that does have some use in cleaner styles. Importantly, it will keep guitars that contain a lot of mahogany sounding clear and balanced without just being a harsh mess. Replacing the ceramic magnet in it with an alnico 8 one would be a good move as this smooths it out just a little bit clean without impacting the distorted tone much, but I understand that not everyone likes modding pickups. The Custom 5 is significantly smoother-sounding than the plain Custom and could help even out that 25.5" scale, but it can get a touch muddy on the low strings if you use a heavy gauge.
If the cleans are more of a priority than that, try the new SD 59/Custom hybrid. It's just a touch more classic-sounding than the Custom, while still being able to handle the high-gain stuff fairly well; the DiMarzio EVO 2 also gives the same result (though it tends to be a touch more expensive). Conversely if high distortion is your priority for the bridge pickup, take a look at the DM D Activator-X and the SD Alternative 8. Both of them are fantastic high-power metal machines in fixed bridge, mahogany-bodied guitars, and neither is quite so utterly useless clean as most metal pickups. Again though, the SD Custom would be my first pick.

For the neck I'd suggest you take a look at the SD Pearly Gates and the DM Bluesbucker. Both of them are mainly blues-rock pickups, but they're both just hot enough and just clear enough that they can fit into metal. They're basically both PAF copies wound to have just a touch more ''bite'' and clarity. If you fancy something a bit more metal for the neck, try a SD Jazz or DM PAF Pro. Both are ridiculously articulate without being harsh.

I actually recently helped a friend piece together a carved top Telecaster/Les Paul hybrid that has a thick mahogany body, fixed bridge, 25.5" scale and a bolt-on mahogany neck with a rosewood fretboard. From the sound of it, your guitar's tone is probably in the same ballpark as that. She mostly plays alternative metal and the occasional bit of classic rock into a Blackstar Stage 100 and for that guitar we put in a SD Custom and a Gibson BurstBucker #2 with the A2 magnet swapped for an A4 one - the Pearly Gates I mentioned above would give a similar tone to the modded Gibson pickup, so a Custom and Pearly Gates combo would be my #1 pick for you.

And since I tend to mention him in every pickup thread, might as well drop this in here too:
http://www.at-the-creamery.co.uk/
Custom made pickups in the UK and a hair cheaper than Bare Knuckle
I've got his 'Dirty Shirt' humbucker and it is one of the best pickups I've ever had for running straight into a high-gain valve amp, while still having just enough warmth for smooth cleans. You could go for one of his totally custom blade humbuckers; wound to anywhere between 10-15k will give you a good output for metal while still being able to clean up easily, and an alnico 8 magnet is a great balance between the clarity of a ceramic pickup and the warmth of a typical alnico one.
The neck pickup is always the one that's hardest to pick out and also usually the one that's more limited, but by going for a totally custom pickup you can solve that problem easily. I suggest something wound around 8k and using an alnico 4 magnet. A4s have a really balanced tone, not as scooped as the A5 but significantly clearer than the A2.

edit: apologies, I didn't mean to write quite so much. Erm. Well, hope it's somewhat helpful at least.
Yes, I know everything. No, I can't play worth a damn.
A child is trafficked and sold for sex slavery every 30 seconds. Support Love146.
#8
there are a couple of cheaper handwinders who might not be any more than duncans- catswhisker, leosounds (germany, i think) and jess loureiro (spain i think).

Haven't tried them. but they might be worth considering. I know my swinesheads (now out of business, unfortunately) were really nice, so being expensive, as flibble says, doesn't necessarily guarantee "awesome".

then there are people like bulldog, the creamery, rockmonkey etc. who are probably a little cheaper than BKP. Haven't tried them either

that being said, bkps would be worth considering, too. in the states, i agree that they're probably too dear considering what else is available for less, but in the UK they're still worth considering. I also agree with contacting them or posting on their forum if you do decide to go for them- they know an awful lot more than i do about their pickups.
I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#9
Guys, as long as you have a decent amp (which TS does) the difference between BKPs and SD or DM is gonna be day and night. They just sound so, so much better.
There are other companies like BKP that are slightly cheaper and they're great but when it comes to High Output pickups BKP are just on another level. Other companies like the creamery make amazing PAF style pickups and are easily on par with BKP but once it gets to high output pickups BKP are right at the top.

Anyway, don't get SD or DM with that budget. You'll be so much happier with handwound pickups, I promise out of experience.

For a basswood/mahogany body I don't recommend the nailbomb cos it might be too dark with those woods.
I still recommend the cold sweat neck but an Aftermath bridge might be more in place.
#10
+1 for the AM bridge.
I dont really like the AM neck though tbh, I like my leads much warmer.
Also its night and day between my dimarzios and bkps through my crappy pod x3, let alone my blackstar. Fantastic pickup with great bite and very clear articulation, not overly hot, but harmonics fly effortlessly.
#11
MrFlibble, I had a really long reply typed out, but my computer crashed and I lost it. The main gist was that I looked a lot at your suggestions, and for me the SD Custom 5 and Jazz seemed like the best choice if I don't go for BKPs. Thank you very much for your help.

DuckMajor, I do think that you could be right. I have a nice budget, especially for a 14 year old kid, and I may as well get the best for my money. I am looking for more high output pickups overall, but with more dynamics and character, which explains why I'm going passive and not just getting a set of EMGs. I'll have a look at the Aftermath as well, thanks for the heads up on the Nailbomb with the woods!

StonedColdCrazy, yeah, if I go for BKPs it'll be a Cold Sweat in the neck anyway. Thank you for your input!

Thanks everyone for their help, I'll keep listening and make a decision very soon. Looking forward to the new pickups, whatever they are!
My stuff


Gibson Les Paul Studio
Ibanez ADC120
Tanglewood TGRF VS
Blackstar HT20
Roland Micro Cube