#1
Hi there.

I bought a 6-string baritone ESP LTD EC 401B a few moths ago and I am satisfied with the thing. But I like experimenting. And I would like to try some high output passive pickups for that axe, instead of the active EMGs (81&60) that are stock in there. Could you give me some recommendations, what pickups would sound good in there? It´s a magahony body, set maple neck, mostly I tune it to drop A and the string gauge I use is 12-68. And I play high-gain stuff around 80% of the time, plus maybe 10% clean and 10% crunch. And I would like to achieve a similar tight sound as the EMGs produce, but maybe a bit more organic. I already have passive Duncans in my Strat and in my Dean and I reall love em. So maybe now I would like to try some Di Marzios.... but what model could do the job I need them do to?

Thank you all in advance for your tips.
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#2
I haven't tried either myself, but two examples that come to my mind:
- Seymour Duncan Nazgul - it seems to be enormously popular for heavy stuff since it came out, Keith Merrow uses those (and pretty much all he does is low tunings) and sounds awesome.
- DiMarzio Illuminators - John Petrucci signatures, he also uses those for his 7-string stuff and his tone is pretty much my personal definition of an awesome progressive metal tone. Big, massive and clear-sounding.
#3
As far as I know, and maybe someone more knowledgeable will come and help out, but you may have to completely re-do the wiring. The pots for actives and passives will be different. They have different ohm values, so along with new pickups you'll need new pots, and re-solder everything.

What do you mean when you say you want a more organic tone? Have you re-EQ'd your amp between playing the Strat, Dean, and LTD? I would start there first myself.
Caution:
This post may contain my opinion and/or inaccurate information.

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#4
I'd look at:

Lace Alumitone Deathbuckers
RailHammer Chisel and/or Anvil
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#5
Quote by AWACS
As far as I know, and maybe someone more knowledgeable will come and help out, but you may have to completely re-do the wiring. The pots for actives and passives will be different. They have different ohm values, so along with new pickups you'll need new pots, and re-solder everything.

What do you mean when you say you want a more organic tone? Have you re-EQ'd your amp between playing the Strat, Dean, and LTD? I would start there first myself.


By "more organic" I mean the difference, that I already hear between the active EMGs in some of my guitars and passive SDs in the other ones. The EMGs are very tight, focused, which is cool, but they sound a bit more "cold" or "artificial" or "anorganic" to me.... And yes, I do a lot of EQ tweaking.... The settings of the 4-band EQ on my Engl preamp never stay the same for different guitars, plus there is a presence and deep control on my Marshall power amp plus I have a MXR EQ pedal in my loop for even more tweaking.... And I understand the need for changing the pots and rewiring too....
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#6
Quote by dannyalcatraz
I'd look at:

Lace Alumitone Deathbuckers
RailHammer Chisel and/or Anvil


Thank you sir, I believe those could be killer pickups. But unfortunately the market here, where I live (Slovakia, Europe), is small, exotic brands are very hard to get, shipping from overseas is very expensive, so I have to stick to "more common global brands" like SD or DiM, which are much easier to get for me....
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#8
Quote by dannyalcatraz
Lace isn't exactly small, but I can understand if you can't find them easily. But they ARE sold in Europe- try here:

http://www.lacemusic.eu
www.lacemusic.com/international.php



Really.... I took a look at those pages, but somehow the product-inquiry feature does not work. But maybe you know: would those Deathbuckers fit in the openings of the stock active EMGs, without the need to modify the guitar body? And would they sound good both at neck and bridge position?
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#9
Deathbuckers- like all Alumitones- are made to be drop-in replacements for standard passive HB & singlecoil pickups. They should fit as well as any other passive replacement you'll find.

As for their sound, that's subjective. I like them. So do many UGers I know. But several dislike them.
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!
#10
Let me make a few less drastic suggestions that you could try yourself for little cost/little time before doing something drastic like totally replacing the pickups and wiring.

If you like the emg sound but just want it to be slightly more organic, you could try using the 18volt mod on the emgs first. You might find that it does the trick for you and opens your sound up like a lot of people claim. It is supposed to add headroom and reduce compression. Second, you could try swapping the 81 into the neck and 60 into the bridge. The 60 seems to have more of a mid punch or a warmth thing going on, and sounds different than the thin bite of the 81. 81 seems to work well in the neck, since the neck is naturally fatter and bassier. Lastly, You could also try the emg 57/66 combo, which is supposed to be more open and vintagey sounding. Wouldnt be cheap, but is easier to install vs swapping for passives.

Ive noticed that i FAR prefer passives for clean sounds, but when it comes to high gain my emgs seem to outperform my passives; therefore, personally I would try making some smaller changes to retain my emgs before getting rid of them.
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Last edited by Watterboy at Nov 25, 2014,
#11
Quote by Watterboy
Let me make a few less drastic suggestions that you could try yourself for little cost/little time before doing something drastic like totally replacing the pickups and wiring.

If you like the emg sound but just want it to be slightly more organic, you could try using the 18volt mod on the emgs first. You might find that it does the trick for you and opens your sound up like a lot of people claim. It is supposed to add headroom and reduce compression. Second, you could try swapping the 81 into the neck and 60 into the bridge. The 60 seems to have more of a mid punch or a warmth thing going on, and sounds different than the thin bite of the 81. 81 seems to work well in the neck, since the neck is naturally fatter and bassier. Lastly, You could also try the emg 57/66 combo, which is supposed to be more open and vintagey sounding. Wouldnt be cheap, but is easier to install vs swapping for passives.

Ive noticed that i FAR prefer passives for clean sounds, but when it comes to high gain my emgs seem to outperform my passives; therefore, personally I would try making some smaller changes to retain my emgs before getting rid of them.



That sounds very reasonable, sir.... But maybe I would just slightly change your proposed order: I would start with just swapping the bridge & neck PUs, cos that don´t cost me nothing. And if that does not perform the trick, then I would move on to the next step - 18 Volt mod.... What do you think?
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#12
Quote by dannyalcatraz
Deathbuckers- like all Alumitones- are made to be drop-in replacements for standard passive HB & singlecoil pickups. They should fit as well as any other passive replacement you'll find.

As for their sound, that's subjective. I like them. So do many UGers I know. But several dislike them.



....yep, and I guess the design thing could be subjective either, cos they really are far from conventional looking. I personally dig their visual style, that´s one small positive point. But tone wins in the end. Maybe I should try to find as much videos and reviews as I can, before making a decision....
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#13
Quote by Airfish
That sounds very reasonable, sir.... But maybe I would just slightly change your proposed order: I would start with just swapping the bridge & neck PUs, cos that don´t cost me nothing. And if that does not perform the trick, then I would move on to the next step - 18 Volt mod.... What do you think?


You could do that. You could try the 18v with the 60 in bridge first too, and then switch them back if you dont like it. Gives you a few alternatives. I wouldnt expect these alterations to be night and day, although some people swear by them. They are nice cuz theyre cheap and quick mods for different sounds
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#14
Quote by Airfish
And I would like to achieve a similar tight sound as the EMGs produce, but maybe a bit more organic.


Sounds like you should just check out Seymour Duncan Blackouts (AHB-1). Or even more Organic, EMG X (81X & 60X or 60AX? Maybe 85X in bridge?).
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#15
Shoot.... those Deathbuckers are damm expensive here in Europe.... I haven´noticed that before.... now I´m afraid I would have to forget the idea of getting them. For a price of one piece I could have a pair of Di Marzios or a pair of Duncans.... well, almost.... anyway they are well over my budget (max. 100 Euro per piece) - and all passive DiMarzios and Duncans are within that budget. So if Watterboy´s swap trick and/or the 18V mod does not bring me THE result, I would have to chose from those two brands....
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#16
Quote by Offworld92
Sounds like you should just check out Seymour Duncan Blackouts (AHB-1). Or even more Organic, EMG X (81X & 60X or 60AX? Maybe 85X in bridge?).


Not a bad idea.... I already have EMG X in my BC RICH - basswood body KKV - and they are OK, I mean better than the EMGs in the mahogany baritone LTD.... but so far the coolest tone in my ears (tell me I´m deaf, no offence taken) is the Duncan Dimebucker in my basswood-body Dean. If only I could get that tone from my LTD baritone, I couldn´t be happier. That Dean with those PUs sounds just awsome: full, defined, tight, warm.... and balanced - all the 6 strings! The baritone LTD is a bit dead on the thickest string, which I detune from stock B to drop A.... and it´s dead even with an enormous 68 gauge! Maybe that is not the issue of pickups... and if not, what then? Should I start a new different thread on that one too?
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Last edited by Airfish at Nov 25, 2014,
#17
^ Could possibly be the nut not cut enough for the large gauge?

I would not call the Dimebucker any of those things. Maybe you wired it wrong.

Check out the SD Custom 5 (SH-14). That's what I'm thinking given those four descriptors. Would go nice with a '59 in the neck. But that's me.

Keep in mind that your amp will need to do all the heavy lifting here. As it should (again, just me).
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
#18
Quote by Offworld92
^ Could possibly be the nut not cut enough for the large gauge?

I would not call the Dimebucker any of those things. Maybe you wired it wrong.

Check out the SD Custom 5 (SH-14). That's what I'm thinking given those four descriptors. Would go nice with a '59 in the neck. But that's me.

Keep in mind that your amp will need to do all the heavy lifting here. As it should (again, just me).


No, it´s not the nut, it has been cut to fit the fat gauge.... and it looses sustain faster than the other 5 strings also on the frets, which has nothing more to do with the nut, unless I´m wrong....

I understand your amusement: I haven´t heard a lot of good stuff about the Dimebucker, but it really works well in that basswood body.... and the wiring is correct, it was done by my luthier, not by me....

And, believe it or not, I have the SH14 - in the neck of the Dean and it works perfect in combination with the Dimebucker in the bridge. And in combination with my amp and cabs, which are sort of specific, custom-made....
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#19
Maybe the gauge is too heavy for the tuning.

Isn't a 68 on a baritone really redundant? The baritone is already increasing your tension, and I would use something between 60-64 on a normal scale for a low A. IMO the point of the baritone scale is to let you use lighter strings in your tuning, but I always see people setting them up with even heavier strings. I really don't get it.

Since you have the SH-14, you could just try it out in the LTD.

Also, maybe an SD JB, or a Gibson 500T.
Spin 'round carousel when your horse isn't screwed in.

My band:
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(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
#20
Quote by Offworld92
Maybe the gauge is too heavy for the tuning.

Isn't a 68 on a baritone really redundant? The baritone is already increasing your tension, and I would use something between 60-64 on a normal scale for a low A. IMO the point of the baritone scale is to let you use lighter strings in your tuning, but I always see people setting them up with even heavier strings. I really don't get it.

Since you have the SH-14, you could just try it out in the LTD.

Also, maybe an SD JB, or a Gibson 500T.


Well that´s what I thougt could be the problem: gauge being too heavy. So I tried lighter gauges and different brands (56 and 60, Ernie Ball and DR DDT) and it got even worse - the sustain died out even faster.... :/ So I put the Elixir Baritone 68 gauge back and the problem got relatively smaller, but it still is very clearly audible - no big deal for palm muted chugging, but sounds bad for sustained powerchords - the root note of the fat string loses sustain much earlier than the 5th of the thinner one....
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Last edited by Airfish at Nov 25, 2014,
#21
Depending on your budget, give bareknuckle pickups a email and see what they suggest. They are expensive, but very nice pickups.
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#22
Quote by Robbgnarly
Depending on your budget, give bareknuckle pickups a email and see what they suggest. They are expensive, but very nice pickups.


And do they sell pickups in Europe? If they only sell them in the US, I´m afraid they would be well above my budget, if I had to pay extra for the expensive overseas shipping....
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#23
BKP is based in the UK I believe, but I doubt they're in your budget. They definitely have appeal but I also think they are overpriced - especially in the US.
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
#24
Quote by Offworld92
BKP is based in the UK I believe, but I doubt they're in your budget. They definitely have appeal but I also think they are overpriced - especially in the US.


Yea, theyre cool. But ive heard sound clips of nail bombs or maybe war pigs vs emgs and i preferred the emg tone better for high gain. Passives usually sound a lot better for clean to me though and im a 50/50 user.
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#25
BKPs are probably too pricey. I do like their Rebel Yells, Stockholms, and Mississippi Queen pickups...but not for this project, though.
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!
#26
I would like a Nailbomb set to give a good go, but it would have to be the right price. I wouldn't bother with anything over $150 for a set.
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
#27
OK guys, thank you for all your pickup tips. However, I´m going to start a new thread on that dead low string issue. C. U. there....
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