#1
So, I'm trying a bootleg eight-string setup, on one of my six strings The guitar will be tuned F Eb Ab Db F eb, and I'll be using .074 for the Low F.

Thing is, the guitar I'm trying this on is an LTD Jon Donais model, Mahogany neck and body. It's not articulate in normal tuning, and with reasonable strings (10-46 tuned to E). It has EMGs in it, and if this tuning pans out (Meaning I'm comfortable with it), I'll likely swap out for a set of passives, or ANYTHING I can to clean and tighten up the low string.

Because I know someone will likely ask, the guitar is running on 18 volts, and I'm playing through a Line 6 Flextone III.

As for pickups I'm thinking on, it's a toss up between a D-activator Neck model in the bridge position, or a Steve's Special. I'm leaning towards the D-activator because it's supposed to be brighter with more attack, but I know the Steve's Special is VERY articulate and clear.

I'm not looking to spend much more than $80 per pickup. Any ideas/recommendations?
我会关闭我的耳朵,和我的心; 我会变成一个石头
"I will close my ears and my heart and I will be a stone"
#2
i have both the d activator and the steve special, and let me tell you that the d activator in the bridge and the neck is by far the best thing for low tuning. the steve special scoops the mids too much, but is good for regular tunings. just get a pair of d activators, i got them in most of my guitars. they are better than my evolutions. and i never wanted to believe it lol...
#3
What do you think about running the neck D-Activator in the bridge position? I've heard it's similar sounding to an Aftermath, and I'm all up for that. Only thing is, I'm hearing that from seven string guys :/
我会关闭我的耳朵,和我的心; 我会变成一个石头
"I will close my ears and my heart and I will be a stone"
#4
in my experience active pickups handle really low tuning the best...

of those 2, i'd pick the d activator

but i recommend that you think about a duncan sh-6
1997 Ibanez RG550 w/ EMG 81 bridge - C standard
PEAVEY 6505
Mesa Rectifier slant 4x12
#5
The tuning change is done, and the .074 is holding up quite well

Now, there are EMGs in the guitar (Dual 81s), and, they're not BAD per se, but they're just not great either. The guitar is too dark because of the wood selection, and really, the heavy low string doesn't help. I figure going with a brighter pickup will offset some of that
我会关闭我的耳朵,和我的心; 我会变成一个石头
"I will close my ears and my heart and I will be a stone"
#6
If you want the lowest strings to be cleaner and tighter then you need to stick to actives. Passive pickups simply are not capable of having the wider and more complicated dynamic response that is needed for that sort of tuning with that sort of guitar (or any guitar, really). It's not an attack on passives, it's just in the nature of the two designs. Some things passives can do that actives can't and there are some things that actives can do that passives can't. Tuning to F on a standard-scale, set neck, mahogany guitar without getting muddy is one of those things that actives can do well and passives can do a half-arsed job of at best.

Don't think of active pickups as being limited to the EGM 81, 85, 60 and SD Blackouts.That's the big mistake that so many people make. There's a hundred other models to pick from and they all sound different.

Look at the EMG 60AX. I know I mention it every time, but that's because it really would solve virtually all problems people have with active pickups. It's really good in both bridge and neck positions and is simply better than all the other common active pickups in just about every way. It's got more character than the 81, it's clearer than the 85, it's less harsh than the 60 and it's got even more headroom and passive-like response than Blackouts. Everything the four common designs do, the 60AX does better.

You want a clearer and tighter sound for tuning right down to F on a standard and fairly warm guitar? Passives will get muddy unless they're made mistmatched and with small ceramic magnets, at which point they get very harsh and stop cancelling hum as efficiently. The EMG 81 will do the job but it's a very boring sound. The 85 and Blackouts will get muddy. The 60 will sound like an icepick to the brain. The 60A gives you the clarity of the 60 without the harsh treble spike; the X-version gives you more headroom than Blackouts or the 18v mod. You get a passive-like tone but with the dynamic response range required to handle that low tuning without getting muddy.
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#7
Quote by MrFlibble
If you want the lowest strings to be cleaner and tighter then you need to stick to actives...
The more I played it through the Flextone yesterday, the more I think you might be right. It was nice and tight, could have used a HAIR more clarity. I might try a 60 per your recommendation, I just never really thought of it as a bridge pickup, but that's because I'm a sheep XD

Makes sense that I'd like it as it's brighter than the 81, and I DO like a bright pickup. Is the articulation better than the 81?
我会关闭我的耳朵,和我的心; 我会变成一个石头
"I will close my ears and my heart and I will be a stone"
#8
The 60AX. Not the 60. Forget the 60, it's such a terrible pickup I've no idea why EMG bother with it themselves.

The 60A is the 60 with the ceramic magnet switched for an alnico one. It's the same sort of difference as the 85 is to the 81. The X-version gives you a modern preamp with much more headroom and lower impedance; more of a passive feel than Blackouts or 18v-mod EMGs give you.

As I said, it basically beats every other active pickup in every way. Compared to the 81 specifically, you get a clearer but also warmer tone. The sound is also less 'compressed', thanks to the new preamp (though you can get the 81X, which also has this preamp).

I recently sold a guitar which had an 81 and 85 set because I put together another that had 60AXs in both positions. I use a Line 6 HAD147—the same line of amps as your Flextone—and the guitar with the 60AXs was such an improvement I found no use for the 81/85 guitar at all. The 60AX guitar flicks between Drop C and Drop B, handles it all fine. Apparently the EMG 707 and 808 are both based off the 60A, too, if you're unsure about its ability to handle a low tuning.

There are times when I advise passives over actives, believe it or not! But with low tunings and that sort of amp, my first-hand experience is that actives are the only way to go, and of all the actives I've tried (which is, er, all of them currently in production), the 60AX seems to do the best job.
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.
#9
My Vetta really likes actives.

There are several great passive pickups out there that will sound good for what you're trying to do, however, your guitar already has EMGs.

I'd look into doing an 18V mod because the 81 is easily the most articulate of the EMG line. The others are a good bit darker.

How long is the scale length of your guitar? The difference between 25" and 27" isn't huge but it is significant.
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#10
Quote by MrFlibble
The 60AX. Not the 60. Forget the 60, it's such a terrible pickup I've no idea why EMG bother with it themselves...The 60A is the 60 with the ceramic magnet switched for an alnico one. It's the same sort of difference as the 85 is to the 81...
K, I hear you, but here is the thing, I prefer the 81 to the 85... see what I'm getting at?
Quote by MrFlibble
...Compared to the 81 specifically, you get a clearer but also warmer tone. The sound is also less 'compressed', thanks to the new preamp (though you can get the 81X, which also has this preamp).
I LIKE the brightness of the 81, versus the warmth of the 85 I think in this case, I MAY be better off with just a 60 (Or a 60X, if the X really is all that and a bag of chips)(Then again, I'm already at 18V, is it even worth it to go with an X model?)

Quote by MrFlibble
...Apparently the EMG 707 and 808 are both based off the 60A, too, if you're unsure about its ability to handle a low tuning.
Now THIS I have to at least question. EMG themselves have said that the 707 was based on the EMG 85. I'm not trying to be a jerk (Seriously, I do have better things to do than argue over the internet), but do you have anything to support that claim? I'm all ears, but I can only go by what I've been told, and that points me to the 85, versus a pickup that didn't even exist at the time the 707 was conceived.

Quote by MESAexplorer
...I'd look into doing an 18V mod because the 81 is easily the most articulate of the EMG line.
Already done. It's really not AS bad as I thought it would be at the onset of this thread. Still, I wouldn't mind a LITTLE more clarity out of the low string.

Quote by MESAexplorer
How long is the scale length of your guitar? The difference between 25" and 27" isn't huge but it is significant.
It's 25.5" If it was in the 27" range, I probably could have gotten away with a .070, and then it would be a different ball game altogether. The sound would likely be a bit brighter/clearer simply as a result of the longer scale >.<
我会关闭我的耳朵,和我的心; 我会变成一个石头
"I will close my ears and my heart and I will be a stone"
#12
Quote by terribleguitar
Lundgren M6? Oh it's out of your budget.
That was actually my first thought I just can't afford those pickups
我会关闭我的耳朵,和我的心; 我会变成一个石头
"I will close my ears and my heart and I will be a stone"