#1
Hello everyone,

So I traded my Music Man Albert Lee for a Carvin CS6. I loved my MM, but it wasn't suitable for the genres I play. The Carvin on the other hand has much more sustain and has two humbuckers.



The problem is that these stock Carvin pickups are stellar when playing in E, but get really muddy when tuning down to C. Therefore, I need something with moderate output (the lower the better, actually), better clarity in low tunings, and NOT too much mids (my amp already has a lot of mids). I am looking for clarity, especially in the neck position, because I like to play clean.

By the way, I am using a Matamp Minimat (usually cranked with everything on max) with an old germanium fuzz to a 1x12 open-back cab loaded with a Celestion G12H30. I am planning to swap to to an Eminence Swamp Thang, if that matters.

I play stoner rock, doom, blues-rock and so on. I am looking for sound that's halfway between Sleep and ZZ Top.

I have been looking at SD Pearly Gates set and DiMarzio EJ Custom set. Please keep in mind that pickups you recommend must be available with gold covers.

Thanks in advance!
#2
Hey, congrats on the Carvin really cool guitar!
I would go for the Pearly Gates and 59, they sound killer.

Dont know about the gold covers though.
#3
Quote by desperatechris
Hey, congrats on the Carvin really cool guitar!
I would go for the Pearly Gates and 59, they sound killer.

Dont know about the gold covers though.

Thank you, I will make an NGD day thread when I make a video of it.
I am concerned about the 59. I heard people say it can be way too muddy.
#4
Quote by terribleguitar
Thank you, I will make an NGD day thread when I make a video of it.
I am concerned about the 59. I heard people say it can be way too muddy.

I had it in my old Les Paul in the neck and it had that beautiful Gary Moore sound.
I didnt think it sounded muddy.
#5
Quote by terribleguitar

The problem is that these stock Carvin pickups are stellar when playing in E, but get really muddy when tuning down to C.


You're not going to improve on those Carvins if you're tuning down to C, sorry. They're very good indeeed. That's a relatively short scale (25") to be working that low, though, and virtually anything you put in there will give you mud. Including the SDs you're talking about. IMHO, YMMV and all that.

Only two things will clean that up in the neck position -- a more focused pickup (such as a mini-humbucker or even a stacked humbucker) or a longer scale.

That's a hellaciously good guitar, so let's work on the pickups.

I've gone with a stacked humbucker, and a high-gain one at that. Before you fend this idea off... I'm using a DiMarzio Fast Track II. It's about an 18 kohm ceramic magnet-based very hot pickup, designed originally for the bridge of a superstrat. It's MUCH louder than the fairly hot (9.2Kohm, as measured) '57 that I have stuffed in the bridge position. Because it's taking in a much smaller area of moving string than a standard-width humbucker and because the coils are *stacked*, it doesn't have the phase issues that cause most standard side-by-side coil humbuckers problems in that position. And by the time you dial back the volume to the same level as on the bridge pickup, it cleans up surprisingly well, while still driving pedals very well.

I've got mine stuffed into a pickup ring with a single coil size Sustainer Driver (a story for another thread):



And after you have that all set up, you'll have to get one of these:

#6
Quote by desperatechris
I had it in my old Les Paul in the neck and it had that beautiful Gary Moore sound.
I didnt think it sounded muddy.


I'm guessing you weren't tuned down to C, either.
#7
Oh -- one more thing you might consider. Gary Brawer (San Francisco tech,

Gary Brawer Guitar Repair
15 Lafayette St, San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 621-3904)

has schematics for a passive sweepable mids cut on a push-pull that will interest you. He published them a couple of years ago in an April Guitar Player magazine, I believe. The amount of cut is fixed, but the frequency is variable (sweepable). He'll point you at those schematics if you like the idea, and he can tell you how to wire it for more or less cut overall.

There are also mids rolloffs (we erroneously call the treble rolloff pots that come with our guitars "tone" pots, but there are other options than what they provide, obviously) that target a specific mids frequency but allow you to vary the amount of rolloff. And finally, there are bass rolloffs that allow you to cut a specific bass frequency and vary the amount of cut. The old original '70's L6S had a mids rolloff in addition to a treble rolloff, and the new reissue L6S has a bass rolloff instead.

You might also consider switching your neck pickup (well, both, really) to parallel operation instead of serial. It's a wiring change and if you want to make it optional, you'll have to add it to a push-pull or dig a hole for a mini-switch. The '70's and '80's Ibanez Artist AR-300, 400 and 500 models had a pair of "Tri-Sound" switches that allowed you to select serial/parallel/single coil for each pickup.
Last edited by dspellman at May 23, 2013,
#8
dspellman, thank you very much for your detailed response. I think you are right. But how do bands like High on Fire, Sleep, Clutch and many others manage to maintain that clarity while using a lot of gain?
I have also been considering putting a Seymour Duncan Phat Cat (P94 type of pickup) in the neck. I like the sound of P90s and don't mind the noise unless its overbearing. What do you think about it?

By the way, that's a sick pickup selector ring!
Where did you get that?
#9
Quote by dspellman
You're not going to improve on those Carvins if you're tuning down to C, sorry. They're very good indeeed. That's a relatively short scale (25") to be working that low, though, and virtually anything you put in there will give you mud. Including the SDs you're talking about. IMHO, YMMV and all that.

Only two things will clean that up in the neck position -- a more focused pickup (such as a mini-humbucker or even a stacked humbucker) or a longer scale.

That's a hellaciously good guitar, so let's work on the pickups.

I've gone with a stacked humbucker, and a high-gain one at that. Before you fend this idea off... I'm using a DiMarzio Fast Track II. It's about an 18 kohm ceramic magnet-based very hot pickup, designed originally for the bridge of a superstrat. It's MUCH louder than the fairly hot (9.2Kohm, as measured) '57 that I have stuffed in the bridge position. Because it's taking in a much smaller area of moving string than a standard-width humbucker and because the coils are *stacked*, it doesn't have the phase issues that cause most standard side-by-side coil humbuckers problems in that position. And by the time you dial back the volume to the same level as on the bridge pickup, it cleans up surprisingly well, while still driving pedals very well.

I've got mine stuffed into a pickup ring with a single coil size Sustainer Driver (a story for another thread):



And after you have that all set up, you'll have to get one of these:



That looks pretty damn awesome! I would really love to how that works :P

In terms of a pickup for C tuning, I think Josh Homme uses the Seymour Duncan SH-1 or something similar
#10
Depending on your budget check this out: http://www.seymourduncan.com/products/custom-shop/humbuckers/

Have something wound to what you would like, plenty of options available. Some in gold, but not all.
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#11
Quote by terribleguitar
dspellman, thank you very much for your detailed response. I think you are right. But how do bands like High on Fire, Sleep, Clutch and many others manage to maintain that clarity while using a lot of gain?


For starters, they don't use as much gain as you think. Nowhere near.

I have also been considering putting a Seymour Duncan Phat Cat (P94 type of pickup) in the neck. I like the sound of P90s and don't mind the noise unless its overbearing. What do you think about it?


Not a bad idea at all. If you want a P90 that sounds like a vintage P90 but is noiseless, look at the Kinman Noiseless P90's. Probably the best on the market. There are also the Fralins, but they're a bit too "genteel" for my taste; they've got small balls <G>.

By the way, that's a sick pickup selector ring!
Where did you get that?


Jon Ness at Brainbanana did it for me; it's anodized aluminum and was expensive-ish.

But it'll probably be the one thing left for paleontologists to find. "Evidently a highly regarded member of his society, he was buried with what appears to be a primitive weapon or decorative sceptor of some kind with some kind of hieroglyphs on a small ring affixed to it..."

Jon makes, "Custom engraved anodized aluminum Pickguards, Truss Rod Covers, Backplates, Neckplates, or whatever your wicked little mind can dream up."

Jon plays strats, mostly, with a band called Coda (might still do).

jon at brainbanana dot com
Last edited by dspellman at May 23, 2013,
#12
Quote by Powersurge213
That looks pretty damn awesome! I would really love to how that works :P


I wish I could take credit for it -- I was working toward that very same solution, and just about the time that I came screeching into home with that as a goal, someone looked over my shoulder (figuratively speaking) and said, "Oh, you and Neal Schon. He's already got a guitar set up like that."

More than one, actually. Look up the specs for the Gibson Neal Schon Sig guitar (or just read the following:

Rock guitar icon Neal Schon, best known as Journey’s lead guitarist and famous in his own right, has put his personal touches on the new Neal Schon Signature Les Paul guitar from Gibson Custom. The new model features such personal Schon touches as a Floyd Rose tremolo unit, a dramatically sculpted neck/body joint for easier upper fret access, and a Fernandes Sustainer pickup for the screaming lead parts he is famous for.

The Neal Schon Signature Les Paul model has a carved mahogany top, mahogany back, multi-ply black/white binding on top, chrome-plated hardware and a Floyd Rose tremolo. The one-piece mahogany neck has a scarfed heel joint a “Schon custom” slim-taper neck profile. The 22-fret ebony fingerboard features pearl split-diamond inlays and single-ply white binding. The pickups are a DiMarzio Fast Track/Fernandes Sustainer in the neck position and a Gibson BurstBucker® Pro in the bridge position. In addition to the standard Les Paul electronics (individual pickup volume and tone controls, plus three-way selector switch), the Schon Signature features two mini-toggles – an on/off for the Sustainer and an octave effect – along with a push/pull pot for midrange cut.

Neal Schon and Les Paul performed at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show at the Gibson Guitar booth to standing-room-only audiences. The sounds of Les Paul combined with the music of the new Neal Schon Signature model made for a musical night to remember. Photos of the new Neal Schon Signature Les Paul model are available at www.gibson.com/press. The MSRP is $10,589.


Neal actually uses the Fast Track II and the hot '57 in his guitars, but Gibson tossed in their BurstBucker Pros because they don't MAKE a hot '57 (uh...don't ask). The neck scarf was the proto for the Gibson Axcess that followed (a bone of contention between Neal and Gibson). The information is also incorrect regarding the controls; there's a Master Volume, Master Tone (Treble Rolloff). The other two controls are a Sustainer Intensity knob and a passive sweepable mids cut on a push-pull. he's also got the controls moved so that the Master Volume is where he can reach it for pinky swells. Gibson claims a carved Mahogany top, but that would apply only to the solid color versions; Neal has several that are obviously figured maple topped.

You'll notice the MSRP -- street price was a bit over $6500 and the whole small run was literally gone in minutes. Gibson originally claimed only 35 pieces were done in a "pilot" run (before they and Neal had a falling out), later claimed that 60 were built and the number is probably closer to 90. Almost impossible to find anyone willing to part with one. I asked Gibson to do one for me with an AAAA top. They refused to build a Neal Schon Sig at any price (I waved considerable cash at them, too).

So I had Gary Brawer build some. Mine differ from his electronically in that two of them have an *active* sweepable mids *boost* (Neal had those in a few of this guitars) and a Buckethead-style kill switch. Two are built from neck-through solid body (no chambering or cheesing) guitars, one is built on an Axcess Custom (which has a thinner body, chambering and a set neck).
Last edited by dspellman at May 23, 2013,
#13
The above mentioned wiring mods/different value caps may solve your issue. For pup recommendations I would go with the 57/66 set (avail in gold and brushed gold now). Absolutely fantastic pups with killer headroom.

http://www.emgpickups.com/products/category/1/1
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#14
Try an invader or, my favorite in a les paul, a gibson dirty fingers. The invader might work better though.
#15
Sonically, you'd probably enjoy Railhammer pickups- especially their Chisels or Anvils- but they only come in chrome or black.
http://www.railhammer.com/index.html

You might like some of the Teslas.
http://www.teslapickups.com/
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Last edited by dannyalcatraz at May 23, 2013,
#16
The Suhr Aldrich is the most impressive sounding pickup I've heard in the last year or more. Recently got the Aldrich in the neck of my Schecter Custom Shop and my god does it have a good tone. Super harmonic, very rich yet clear. Definitely ordering another complete set for my Ibanez RG.
Major of 7 String Legion 7 > 6

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#17
Quote by MESAexplorer
The Suhr Aldrich is the most impressive sounding pickup I've heard in the last year or more. Recently got the Aldrich in the neck of my Schecter Custom Shop and my god does it have a good tone. Super harmonic, very rich yet clear. Definitely ordering another complete set for my Ibanez RG.


But are you spending a lot of time tuned down a major third?
#18
Low output pickups can do low tunings fairly well


I would say its your dependence on pushing the power amp section into over driving that is causing you to have a muddy tone when your tuning down.

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#19
Quote by dspellman
But are you spending a lot of time tuned down a major third?


I've had it tuned to C# standard for BTBAM and it handled it well.
Major of 7 String Legion 7 > 6

Carvin DC747
Ibanez RG2228
Schecter Avenger Custom Shop
and my baby....
Gibson Explorer Studio
#20
Definitely do try playing with your amp settings first. I play down to C sometimes with Gibson Burstbuckers and have no issues, but then, that's the sort of thing my amp and speakers are made for and that's how I run my rig.

If you are hell-bent on changing pickups, a Seymour Duncan Custom is what you want in the bridge and a Jazz in the neck, although you could run a Jazz in the bridge too if the idea of a ceramic magnet bridge pickup scares you.
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#21
The 498R and 500T (think those are the ones) in my Gibson Explorer did C-standard with EB 10-56 strings pretty well, not muddy but also not as clear as it could be; however overall very easily useable. Could be worth looking into, they are fairly cheap Gibson pickups too, some of their hottest output, I believe the 500T has the same output as a Dirty Fingers.
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