#1
Oh hello again, UG, it's been a while. Moved again, changed jobs again; we'll catch up properly over coffee some other time.

Finished putting together a Richie Sambora/Prince/Birthday Massacre-inspired Jazzmaster, which has absolutely nothing in common with an actual Jazzmaster.

The body is a basic Warmoth one a friend bought ages ago and never got around to using. Swapped her a pedal for it, got a Musikraft neck, re-cut the body and pickguard for a middle pickup, grabbed some generic pickups using various bits from my ever-growing spare parts box, bought a few cans of spray nitro paint and there you go, a complete guitar.

A spray can-painted satin metallic finish doesn't photograph so well, and I couldn't be bothered to do a full gloss finish for a spare parts guitar, but I upped the saturation in my camera a little so you get the idea. Excuse the messy bed.





24.75" scale, swamp ash/maple/rosewood, neck's a little under an inch thick, 12" radius with big 6100 frets and glow-in-the-dark side dots.

The humbucker pickups are just the shells of stock Epiphone pickups. All I did was simply replace the screw poles with hex poles from a broken DiMarzio PAF Pro. The result is a modern, matched coil winding but with unbalanced power as the magnetic field is weaker on one side than the other. A/Bing with a set of SD Full Shred pickups in another guitar, there is no audible difference. Measuring, both the hacked-up 'stock' pickups and the Full Shreds come out as a little over 14k for the bridge and a little under 8k for the neck, both with 43 AWG wire and normal, full power A5 magnets. So it makes perfect sense that they would sound the same once the stock pickups had the coils unbalanced just slightly. In a blind test, you can't tell the difference.

So yeah, **** buying aftermarket pickups, get some basic ones and play around with different pole pieces and magnets. Got a basic Epiphone or ESP LTD guitar and you want the pickups to stop being a muddy mess? Switch the poles and behold.

Middle pickup is a standard Tonerider Rebel 90 (Chinese Phat Cat clone), just with the poles replaced with black ones to make it match the other pickups visually. Interestingly, it turns out Tonerider make their pickups to match phase with Fender pickups; they are out of phase with Epi/Gibson/virtually every other humbucker. Be aware of this if you plan to put one in an Epiphone, Gibson or other guitar without changing the other pickup, too. Luckily, I had planned to put a phase switch in this guitar and skipped it due to laziness, and ended up witht he out of phase tone anyway, so I'm happy. Most people would be annoyed, though, I'm sure, and since it's a P-90 it's not like it's easy to switch the phase, either. So heads up.

Tuners are Axesrus basic, high-ratio, staggered tuners. They're working really well. Once I've got the spare cash laying around I'll be replacing them with a Tronical system (the thing Gibson has licensed as their 'Min-Etune' unit), but for now the Axesrus tuners are doing fine. Really sturdy and the 2-4 stagger works perfectly. If you need a very cheap and very good upgrade over regular tuners, hit them up.

Also, bagged an essentially-new JVM205 for £350 under the new price; apparently someone bought it and decided they simply didn't like the sound but didn't return it until just after the 30 day return period, so it had to be marked down as second-hand rather than as a return. There isn't a single mark on it, I didn't even figure it was 'second hand' until I looked at the price.
Since it's totally clean and stock, there's not much to say about it so I cba making another thread in the gear board for it; it's a great halfway point between a JCM900 or 2000 tone and a 5150 III or Single Rectifier kind of tone. I'm mostly chuffed 'cause it's what Tonight Alive used on their first EPs and album, and I love them an unhealthy amount.




So that's a thing which happened.
Yes, I know everything. No, I can't play worth a damn.
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#2
Uh oh.

Welcome back.

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
#3
Mwahahaha, you thought you were free.
Yes, I know everything. No, I can't play worth a damn.
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#4
Good to see you back dude!
Bass Gear:

Mensinger: Speesy
Fender Precision 1989 (CIJ Rosewood)
Fender Steve Harris (CIJ)
Lakland J Sonic 5
Epiphone Explorer
Maruszczyk (custom) Jake

Ashdown CTM 100
#5
Great job on the guitar, it looks awesome. Also, nice deal on that JVM. Why can't i find deals like that?

HNGD, HNAD!
Squier "VMC" Stratocaster
PRS SE Singlecut
tc electronic polytune
CMAT MODS Signa Drive
Blakemore Effects Deus Ex Machina
DIY gaussmarkov Dr. Boogey
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Mooer ShimVerb
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#6
I don't usually like Jazzmasters...but that is quite sexy. HNGD!
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

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Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#7
Looks stunning man, HNG&AD!
Main Rig:

Epiphone MKH Les Paul Custom 7 - Ronda
Ibanez RG8 "Scarlet" - AKA The Rambanez
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Come join us...

Purchase list: Jim Root Tele, Jim Root Jazzmaster, MTM20
#8
Well done on the guitar, very spiffy. Always neat to see a well done parts-guitar.

I can't say I'm a big fan of the JVM, but I did like the 205 better than the 410, and it is a neat amp nonetheless.

HNGD!
I'm just a kickin' and a gougin' in the mud and the blood and the beer.
#9
HNGD - I always remember your 'partscaster' NGD threads

I have some tonerider Rebel 90s in my "b-bender" SG. Pretty good pickups, although I suspect I'd like them better with 250k pots as they are a little bright and scratchy for my tastes unless i turn the tone knob down a lot. I replaced the stock pickups because I wanted single coils.

I'm really interested by the idea of replacing magnets and polepieces. Definitely worth a try - I mean, pickups are essentially just magnets and wire really - with the amount of tonal variety you can get from different pickups, it makes sense that you can alter the tone quite a lot by just changing one of the two main components. I have a pair of stock gretsch humbuckers from a 5120 which might be really interesting to try this with - they have adjustable polepieces on both coils.

Also congrats on the JVM - Personally I don't like the way the channel switching works but I think that tonally they are very underrated amps - I was able to get one of my favourite overdriven rhythm tones out of the "orange" mode on the crunch channel with the middle and bass boosted and the treble backed off a little.
I like analogue Solid State amps that make no effort to be "tube-like", and I'm proud of it...

...A little too proud, to be honest.
#10
Nice! Cool looking partscaster you got there, even if it is in the wrong scale length
OBEY THE MIGHTY SHITKICKER
#11
Quote by MrFlibble
So yeah, **** buying aftermarket pickups, get some basic ones and play around with different pole pieces and magnets.

I'd rather not.
Hi, I'm Peter
#12
Quote by Blompcube
I mean, pickups are essentially just magnets and wire really
This has become my argument for quite a while now. I used to buy boutique pickups for every new guitar, but yeah... there isn't any magic pixie dust which makes a brand or custom winder's pickups sound different to the same magnet/wire/wind combination from anywhere else. If you get 42 AWG wire, wind both coils uniformly to 6k (for sake of argument) and put a standard A5 magnet under there, you'll get the same sound regardless of whether the pickup was put together by an overpriced British guy, a slightly overpriced American or a drastically under-paid Chinese kid in a sweatshop. (note: I don't endorse sweatshop child labour. I'm just saying it won't make the pickup sound any different.)

I think the main problem with stock pickups is they are designed to be a generic middle ground, doing enough to suit all styles without being ideal for any particular person's playing style or taste. That, and you're often hearing them in guitars with cheap wood, thick finishes and cheap pots which could be as much as 20% off their intended value.

I don't doubt that somewhere out there there are pickups which are simply useless, microphonic, muddy messes. But the standard Epiphone pickups, at least, certainly can be salvaged with just a small tweak and some better wood.


I was able to get one of my favourite overdriven rhythm tones out of the "orange" mode on the crunch channel with the middle and bass boosted and the treble backed off a little.
That's how I've got my EQ set. The clean/crunch channel mostly stays on the orange mode with the bass up a lot, mids up a little and treble back a lot; the OD channel stays on orange with the bass and mids equally far up and the treble a couple of notches behind.
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#13
^^ I think I agree with you there.

Pickups are not that different, and some are generic middle ground.

But there are bad pickups. You found epiphone pickups to be "usable".

I must disagree there I think. I have read ur posts and know ur knowledgable as well as a long time player..

..so you must certainly have played a cheap epiphone through a stack (at high volumes) no? Those sound horrible

They feedback more then decent pickups, the sound is unfocused and falls away in the mix, and the sound is harsh/fuzzy/gritty lacking a certain "frequency polish".

I do like a lot of guitar's with stock pups, but they are in guitars that are in the 500ish + range more then not.

Anyways tastes differ, but that feedback and lost in the mix is a dealbreaker in whatever situation you put it in I think.

Btw I really like that guitar in the OP. When I started out playing, I always dreamt of such a guitar with black with fade purple in it.

The "Re-incarnation of Plato" Award 2009
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Last edited by xxdarrenxx at Mar 21, 2014,
#14
I don't have MrFlibble's experience, but I have had some pickups go bad on me, have found ones that were lackluster, and have had certain ones in my collection long enough that I can distinguish them blindfolded through a cheap system because they were so muddy. I didn't hear that when I got them...

OTOH, I've heard a bunch of A/B tests where I couldn't tell the compared pickups apart at any better than @60% accuracy.

So I do think there are audible differences...but usually not as great as some would have you think.

So, for the most part, I consider pickups to be a tweakers option, not something that must be done to all guitars. To date, I've only done it once, but it is always something I'm open to considering. I was considering doing it for that set I mentioned above, but right now, I'm more likely to actually get rid of the guitar in which they sit.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#15
happy new guitar day and good to see you around here again! love that finish too.


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#16
Good to see you around again Flibble. I love the finish on that guitar, and that's a sweet deal on the JVM. I'm rather jealous right now!
#19
wow that looks badass really like the whole colour scheme etc. of that
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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
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#20
Quote by cheesefries
Any sound clips A/Bing with a set of SD Full Shred pickups?


Hoping to. I still, after all this time, do not have a way of recording at home without the signal at some point running through a dodgy analogue-digital conversion, and I'm a bit loathe to get into a studio for the sake of some test clips. But I'm making better home recording a priority.
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#21
thats a general statement and it doesnt seem like you did that much comparison. some stock pickups are actually really solid. some are garbage. but its also all subjective.

but fact is, pickups in a guitar are one of the largest factors on tone. end of discussion. the other major factor is probably the design as a whole (meaning scale length, type of pups, bridge, wiring, etc). not just 1 individual peice or type of wood.

but in general, the electronics in a guitar make a huge difference, more so than any little bit the wood makes.

it sounds to me like you just got a hold of some good, stock asian pickups and the aftermarkets you replaced em with were in the same tonal spectrum or something, and they sounded similar.

for the record, all dimarzios, duncans etc are probably just a few notches up from stock epiphone pups. its not like they are custom wound in the USA in some guys basement made to order.

the biggest factor is finding a model pickup that gives you the output, tonal qualitites, and response you need. doesnt matter if they are 5 dollars or 500 bucks.
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#22
To the first half of that: you've rather missed the point. Using stock pickups as a shell for modifications to achieve the same thing as buying more expensive pickups is the point. Not the status of stock pickups as they are in the guitar they come in.

Tot he second half: that's what I said previously, so agreed. Although pickups "custom wound in the USA in some guys basement made to order" aren't any better either, is my point. And I should know, because I have more of those kinds of pickups, from many different winders, than any other.
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#24
You can pick them up on eBay for any country. If you don't want to use eBay, most countries have various guitar parts shops which sell pickup parts. DiMarzio will sell you a set of pole pieces, as some of their pickups uses pole pieces which are unique to them, though they're a bit expensive and slow if you live outside of North America. Seymour Duncan can supply replacement pole pieces to shops, but I don't believe they sell to the general public.
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