#1
So i have had an LTD KH 202 for the past 4years now. I haven't modded anything on it since then. The other day, i started thinking that maybe i want to get some new pickups for my guitar since that would change the sound of my guitar the most.

I play a lot of progressive rock (Porcupine Tree) and Metal (Opeth) and LOVE to solo in the style of Paul Gilbert, Petrucci, Satriani and Vai and Andy Timmons.

Now, at the moment my guitar has the stock EMG's on it. I forget which ones.

Keeping those artists in mind, im not entirely sure of which ones i should replace them with?

Any help would be appreciated.
#2
Really depends what your amp is and in what direction you want to change your sound (e.g. less bass than the current pickups give, more, less mids, more, etc).
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#3
Dimarzio for the solo sound definitely. Petrucci (god), Satch and Vai all UAE Dimarzios, I'm not sure about Gilbert and Timmons though.

I would reccomend a Liquifire/Crunch Lab. Petrucci's Sig pickups.
#4
If you want a versatile guitar for clean and heavy sounds (e.g. Opeth or PT), then I would go for a Duncan Jazz in the neck and either a Full Shred or Distortion in the Bridge. I think Akerfeldt uses a Full Shred but they're both worth a look at. You could probably get a decent Satch/Petrucci style solo tone with that setup too. That said, pups are more about sonic characterisics, so other than getting pups that balance well it's a bit difficult to say.
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#5
What amp are you playing through? Different pickups have different relationships with different amps.
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#6
I actually dont play through an amp (Im a student living in Singapore and my room is as big as a matchbox)

I have a POD HD Bean/Desktop that i make tones with..I guess what im hoping to go for is a bit of a twangy yet smooth sound like Andy Timmons clean stuff but to be able to 'drive' my guitar enough to get a solo sound that resembles Vai's 'Die To Live', Satriani's 'Flying in a Blue Dream' kind of thing.

For the cleans a strat-y kind of sound and the od stuff like Opeth/Vai etc. Of course, like i said i will be using the POD HD desktop, so im sure i can tweak a lot more.

Thanks for all the suggestions though! Keep em coming
#7
I'm sure anything you get would be an improvement slightly, however I'm not sure that you're going to get your money's-worth of a difference in a pickup swap that's going into a digital modeler.

I'd hate to be the guy to say it, but maybe you should save up for an amp?
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#8
I'd drop those active EMG pickups and put on Paul Reed Smith pickups, an HFS Treble and a Vintage Bass.
Both Mikael Åkerfeldt and Steven Wilson have that pickup combination on a few of their PRS guitars.
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#9
If you're playing through a POD then forget about pickups. Pickup swaps don't change your tone anywhere near enough to get around modelling software.

I use Line 6's modelling stuff myself, have done for many years. Frankly, with the current EMGs, you've got the best possible set up as far as PODs go. Active pickups have a wide, flat EQ with far greater dynamic response than any passive pickup can have. This means that modelling units, like PODs, get to work their magic to the fullest; you get far more out of them with active pickups than you can with passives. If you can't get the sort of tone you want out of a POD then either you're not using the POD software fully or you're chasing after a valve sound which software can't match and no pickup will compensate for.

Take another look at how you're using your software and POD unit. There are very finely-detailed EQ options in thre, far more than you get with any pickup, pedal or amp. By putting a virtual EQ in front of your amp model, you can change your guitar's sound to anything. I've got Line 6 patches that will make a Les Paul imitate a Strat, get a heavy thrash metal tone out of a normal Telecaster and progressive shred sounds out of a Firebird. It basically doesn't matter at all what pickups you have or what your guitar is, when you're using a POD system; anything can be warped to sound like anything else, if you explore all the options that are in there.

If that doesn't get you to where you want to be then I'd suggest the thing you're after is the sound of valves, which you will never get with a POD, no matter what your guitar or pickups are. Again, pickups are for tweaking response, they do not dictate tone. If the tone of a valve amp is what you want then you need to save your money and pick up a valve amp; you can get low-power valve combos pretty cheaply.

If you're absolutely hell-bent on changing pickups, the DiMarzio Evo 2 for the bridge and Seymour Duncan Full Shred for the neck is what I'd go for, for those styles and that guitar. I cna't stress enough though how little of a change you'll notice and how much better actives may be for you as long as you're using the POD.


Quote by N1ghtmar3C1n3ma
Dimarzio for the solo sound definitely. Petrucci (god), Satch and Vai all UAE Dimarzios, I'm not sure about Gilbert and Timmons though.

I would reccomend a Liquifire/Crunch Lab. Petrucci's Sig pickups.
This is pretty much the worst form of advice anybody can ever give.
Brand name does not mean anything. A humbucker with two coils wound to 6k each with 43 AWG wire and a single A5 magnet is always going to sound the same, no matter whether it was DiMarzio that wound it, Seymour Duncan, or some random factory in Korea. You don't buy aftermarket parts because of the brand name and who uses that brand, you buy aftermarket parts because they are made for the specific purpose you want.
The second part is just horrible blind guessing. Pickups do not sound the same in all guitars and through all amps. Pickups dictate the response and dynamic range you get, not the tone. Just because [X] person uses [Y] pickups does not mean that [Y] pickups are going to be of any use for person [Z], even if person [Z] wants the same sound as person [X].

Think about what you're suggesting and why you're suggesting it.
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#10
MrFlibble, thanks for that reply

You're right in the sense that changing my pickups but still playing through an amp modeler would not be drastic. In fact, it would barely change anything. I get that. Thing is, i am honestly very bored of the same sound that i have had for so long and considering i have grown as a musician and and my guitar playing has evolved over the years, i just want something new sonically speaking.

I do plan to buy an amp but at the moment, it will not make sense because i will be shifting countries soon. I plan to upgrade my whole rig in the next couple of years. New guitar/Axe-Fx II, you know the goodies?

Maybe im just being impulsive and your message makes me want to just sit back and save up on the money.

Cheers buddy

Really helpful