#1
Hello guys, I recently purchased an Ibanez GRG 7221. It's the 7 string RG in the Gio series and as to be expected, the pickups aren't the greatest.

I was thinking of upgrading to a set of Seymour Duncan Nazgul and Sentient or the Dimarzio Crunch Lab and Liquifire but then I got to thinking, is it really worth spending near the same cost as the whole guitar on pickups, especially considering my amp is a Peavey Vypry 30 watt? I am operating on the belief that modelling amps don't let as mych of a individual differences shine through the tone as a conventional one due to the modelling technology. Although I can hear a difference between this, my Epiphone Les Paul Custom and my heavily modified Squier Stratocaster.

Basically TLDR: wanting to upgrade my pickups in an Ibanez GRG 7221 (infinity R, ceramic, couldn't find info on resistance and other matetials) to either a Nazgul/Sentient or Crunch Lab/Liquifire is it worth it considering my amp?

Thoughts on the 2 sets of pick ups?
I know you are going to say get a valve amp, I would love one, but I am struggling to find something that has decent cleans and super high gain that is also small enough wattage to be able to get a good sound without obliterating everything in a 6 mile radius.

Thankyou for your time.
#2
No. Save up for a better amp first.
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#4
Upgrade the GUITAR! Do not upgrade the pickups in that. Gio's are NOT WORTH UPGRADING.
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#5
Quote by GraceByDeath
Upgrade the GUITAR! Do not upgrade the pickups in that. Gio's are NOT WORTH UPGRADING.


This. Save your cash for now and love the Gio for what it is.
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#6
It sounds like you might benefit from a modeller such as the POD HD, Two Notes Torpedo or (if you have the moneyz) an Axe FX.

As has been said, I wouldn't really consider changing the pickups in that guitar though.
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#7
Amp first, then upgrade guitar, then pickups on the new guitar if needed.

You can pick up nice used mid-range guitars for $500 or less most of the time (at least here in the United States) and they are better bang for your buck than a new one in the $500 range.

It all starts with a decent amp though, awesome pickups will still sound like poo an a low end amp!
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#8
Thanks for the input everyone, I guess the Gio isn't very much liked, howcome? Anyway I think it is ok as a first 7 string, the fretwork is nice, solid tuners (they actually feel better than the Grovers on my Les Paul) it stays in tune well.

I had a poke around inside and saw the electronics are complete crap. I am going to get some new pots and a switch and wire and replace the stock stuff then shield it with some foil, that should improve the tone and reduce noise for relatively cheap.

I will probobly change the nut to a graphite one aswell, also a cheap upgrade.

When I change strings I will take off the neck also and snooth out the no doubt rough neck pocket and possibly glue in some thin veneers to make it a nice snug fit if necessary.

The bridge seems ok thus far, but I will have a better look by taking it off when I change the strings (do these hardtails have blocks like a tremolo? This is my first non tune o matic/trem guitar)

All in all, I'm quite happy with it for the price, the only bad parts from what I can see are pickups and electronics. I will do an NGD thread on it once I have had it apart and taken a real good look at it.

So I guess valve amp it is, what do you all think of the Blackstar HT range?
#9
^ I haven't tried the gios, but it's a cheap, beginners' guitar- you can only expect so much for what it costs. If you can do those upgrades for cheap (nut, pots etc.) then it might be worth it. Even pickups, if you get them cheap enough (assuming you like the guitar) might be worth considering- I hear good things about entwistles and they're very cheap, but I'm not sure if they do 7 string pickups.

The Blackstar HT range isn't all-valve, if that matters. It has a fair bit of solid-state stuff going on in the signal path as well as valve stuff.
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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
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

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#10
What is your amp budget? Location? new or used? genre/artists?

To answer your questions the HT series is not highly regarded around these parts. Aside from their shady marketing tactics, I found the amps to be very underwhelming and meh. I liked mine for a while then it grew old really quick, nothing spectacular in my mind. Far better amps for the price.
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#13
Just saw the JCA deal, that is a great amp. Buy that TS!!
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#14
He said "valve amp" twice which makes me think he might be in the UK. Though that's not guaranteed, of course (if anything I probably say "tube" more than "valve" and I'm in the UK ).

Ah yeah according to his profile he's in England. So the deal of the day is a non-starter... however it does mean that Thomann is a possibility, and their Jet City prices are pretty good all the time. The JCA 50H and Harley Benton G212 Vintage (just over £400, though depending on your credit card you sometimes get charged a foreign transaction fee which is normally around 3%, plus you often don't get a great exchange rate either) is hard to beat for the money. You'd need a speaker cable too (around £10 for a decent one... the Cordial stuff on Thomann seems pretty decent and is reasonably-priced).
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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
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
Last edited by Dave_Mc at Oct 9, 2015,
#15
Better amp (probably tube) first. Until you get a decent amp, you have no idea how your PUs sound.
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis

Guthrie on tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmohdG9lLqY
#16
Thankyou all again for your advice.
I live in the UK, the genre of music I play is mostly modern and prog metal. (Dream Theater, Trivium, Periphery, In Flames).

I have decided to get a new amp, as my goal is to get a decent enough tone to start recording and something that is giggable and will be heard in a jamming and banf practice situation.

I guess I need something around 40 watts of power?
I would like a head and cabinet, as this gives me more options later down the road. As for paticular amp voicings, I orefer the american sound, like Mesa and Peavey. A usable clean channel is a must. Maybe I could get an amp with a good clean and get a decent diatortion pedal? To be honest I prefer the tone of a high gain amplifier.

Any suggedtions for amps?

With the guitar I have decided to get some CTS pots, decent wire and a new switch and output jack for now and shield it, hopefully that should make the tone decent enough till I get a nice amp.
#17
6505+ 112 is always an option. With some simple mods they can absolutely rip in the high gain department. Though the cleans are pretty crap. It's a similar story with the Jet City JCA amps.

A distortion pedal seems like a good option, but the result is never as good. Cheap distortion pedals are awful and the good ones are very, very expensive. And even they just aren't as good as a decent high gain tube amp.

I think having a great high gain sound is a lot more important than good cleans for the bands you're trying to sound like, so going with a 6505 or a Jet City is a good compromise.

Separate heads and cabinets on their own they don't offer any discernible advantages outside of them being slightly more portable when you're dealing with larger amounts of power and bigger cabinets. But almost all combo amps allow you to run them into external cabinets just as any head can.
With the guitar I have decided to get some CTS pots, decent wire and a new switch and output jack for now and shield it, hopefully that should make the tone decent enough till I get a nice amp.

None of those things are bad things to do, but they aren't going to make the guitar sound any better.
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Last edited by T00DEEPBLUE at Oct 11, 2015,
#18
Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
(a) 6505+ 112 is always an option. With some simple mods they can absolutely rip in the high gain department. Though the cleans are pretty crap. It's a similar story with the Jet City JCA amps.

(b) A distortion pedal seems like a good option, but the result is never as good. (c) Cheap distortion pedals are awful and the good ones are very, very expensive. And even they just aren't as good as a decent high gain tube amp.

(d) I think having a great high gain sound is a lot more important than good cleans for the bands you're trying to sound like, so going with a 6505 or a Jet City is a good compromise.

(e) Separate heads and cabinets on their own they don't offer any discernible advantages outside of them being slightly more portable when you're dealing with larger amounts of power and bigger cabinets. But almost all combo amps allow you to run them into external cabinets just as any head can.


(a) crap's probably a bit strong, but yeah agreed that their strength is the dirty channel

(b) Not necessarily (some people prefer the tone of pedals, and some types of tones are hard to get without pedals), but in this instance I agree. That type of tone is generally a high gain tube amp (maybe boosted up front with a tubescreamer or similar), and it generally sounds (and feels) best if that's what you use to get it.

(c) There are plenty of good cheap pedals, and a lot of the expensive pedals are clones of cheaper pedals (not always). But again, like with (b), I do agree in this instance- I've never tried a pedal I've liked as much as a high gain amp, for those type of tones.

(d) Agreed.

(e) I think the portability thing is pretty handy. And you can mix and match heads and cabs pretty easily (granted, you can swap speakers in a combo but it's a bit more awkward). Plus combos might rattle a bit more (though cabinets can rattle too).

But yeah as you said, there's probably not a massive difference, at least if you have a combo with the speakers you like and it's closed-backed.
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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
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#19
Thanks both of you, all of your advice has been duly noted.

I have found the 6505 mh 20w head, will this be loud enough through a 4x12 for gigs and jams?

My clean tone will involve chorus, flange, delay and reverb. (Think Pull Me Under by Dream Theater but with delay) Hopefully the rhythm channel sapped of gain should clean up with some kind of alnico neck pickup that isn't super hot?

I also saw the Laney Ironheart 60w head, same sort of thing with the clean tone, but maybe too loud for bedroom practice? I was thinking of maybe pairing it with the Orange Micro Dark Terror for practice then pull out the Ironheart for recording and jamming/gigs.

I will also be purchasing a 4x12, as I will need one at some point and I might aswell get it straight away than getting a 2x12 or 1x12 which will just end up getting replaced.
#20
If it was me, I would be using the attenuator switch on the Peavey for bedroom playing, but the 6505 would be my personal choice anyway. It's pretty much the standard for metal. Does the 20W version not have a clean channel? I thought it did.
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Two Notes Torpedo CAB
#21
It has a rhythm channel, from what I have heard it still likes to break up and distort a little quite easily.

I could be wrong though.

Maybe I will get the 60 watt 2x12 combo version then buy a 4x12 later down the line to run it into. All I know for now is that I am saving for a new amp lol.
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Harley Benton CLD-41S (Acoustic)

Peavey Vypyr 30.

Boss CH-1 Super Chorus
Boss DD-3 Digital Delay
Boss FRV-1 '63 Fender Reverb
#22
Quote by N1ghtmar3C1n3ma at #33632760
Thanks both of you, all of your advice has been duly noted.

I have found the 6505 mh 20w head, will this be loud enough through a 4x12 for gigs and jams?

Most likely, yes.

The power of the amp isn't really that instrumental to how loud an amp will be, contrary to popular belief. There are so many other factors that come into play that determine the loudness of an amp that has nothing to do with its wattage, such as the efficiency of the speakers.

Also, the rated wattage of an amp is pretty arbitrary as it's not very representative of its actual power. The power that an amp outputs is very dependent on the frequencies it's trying to reproduce. Lower frequencies require the speakers to move a lot more air, and thus they require a lot more power. The peak power that the amp may be truly reproducing momentarily is likely be far, far greater than its rated wattage because of this.

My point is when it comes to loudness, rated wattage doesn't mean all that much.

The true advantages that having lots of power has is the amp's peak power and it's headroom. When playing at high volumes, the speakers may be having hundreds of watts being pushed through them momentarily on the envelope of a large bass note. Amps of greater power can reproduce those frequencies more readily at higher volumes. Though, most guitar speakers (the ones everybody likes to use) do not reproduce those low frequencies very well. For example, a Celestion V30, a very popular speaker for metal players, doesn't reproduce below 100hz very well. To give you some context, the fundamental note of a low E on a guitar is 82hz. So while it might sound good on paper to have an amp with lots of power, people very rarely have ballsy enough speakers in their cabinets to make good use of that power at high volumes.

A more relevant advantage having lots of power has (relatively speaking) is headroom. In general terms, amps with more power can reproduce frequencies at higher volumes without waveform clipping than lower power amps. In layman's terms, you can drive the preamp harder and still preserve the cleanliness of your cleans.
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#23
Quote by N1ghtmar3C1n3ma


I will also be purchasing a 4x12, as I will need one at some point and I might aswell get it straight away than getting a 2x12 or 1x12 which will just end up getting replaced.


Might want to rethink this order. I ran a 4x12 for many years and noting that it was always overkill (and heavy) downsized to a 2x12, now a V30 1x12 is my preferred rig. Modern PA systems make the 4x12 nearly obsolete for most of us.

Mesa would be right up your alley for the music you listed but they are both rare and expensive in the UK. Laney, Orange, and Jet City have good stuff at working musician prices.
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis

Guthrie on tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmohdG9lLqY
#24
Quote by N1ghtmar3C1n3ma
Thankyou all again for your advice.
I live in the UK, the genre of music I play is mostly modern and prog metal. (Dream Theater, Trivium, Periphery, In Flames).

I have decided to get a new amp, as my goal is to get a decent enough tone to start recording and something that is giggable and will be heard in a jamming and banf practice situation.

I guess I need something around 40 watts of power?
I would like a head and cabinet, as this gives me more options later down the road. As for paticular amp voicings, I orefer the american sound, like Mesa and Peavey. A usable clean channel is a must. Maybe I could get an amp with a good clean and get a decent diatortion pedal? To be honest I prefer the tone of a high gain amplifier.

Any suggedtions for amps?

With the guitar I have decided to get some CTS pots, decent wire and a new switch and output jack for now and shield it, hopefully that should make the tone decent enough till I get a nice amp.


I recommend Laney IronHeart series for you. As you mentioned recording, I would suggest Laney IRT Studio as it has USB output and re-amp feature. This amp is 15W all tube... very nice clean sound and 2 distortion channels (Rhythm & Lead). The Lead channel is really HIGH GAIN in addition to pre-boost switch. Try checking out this amp.

I was about to put Dimarzios in my Ibanez RG but when I got this amp I postponed this pickup upgrade as I got real improvement in sound which I can live with for a while till I upgrade the whole guitar.
#25
Quote by Cajundaddy

Mesa would be right up your alley for the music you listed but they are both rare and expensive in the UK.


they're not really rare, they're just crazy expensive
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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
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#26
Quote by Dave_Mc
they're not really rare, they're just crazy expensive
Which is probably why nobody has them... making them rare

Regarding, the cabinet debate. I'm also in the school of thought of having a single speaker. It's cheaper, takes up less space, and you even get a better speaker to wood ratio. That said, I use a modeller through bookshelf monitors so feel free to ignore me.
Guitars & Gear:
Parker Nitefly M
Sumer Metal Driver
Ibanez RGD2120Z
AMT SS-11B
Two Notes Torpedo CAB
Last edited by Emperor's Child at Oct 12, 2015,
#27
Quote by N1ghtmar3C1n3ma
Hello guys, I recently purchased an Ibanez GRG 7221. It's the 7 string RG in the Gio series and as to be expected, the pickups aren't the greatest.

I was thinking of upgrading to a set of Seymour Duncan Nazgul and Sentient or the Dimarzio Crunch Lab and Liquifire but then I got to thinking, is it really worth spending near the same cost as the whole guitar on pickups, especially considering my amp is a Peavey Vypry 30 watt? I am operating on the belief that modelling amps don't let as mych of a individual differences shine through the tone as a conventional one due to the modelling technology.


Your "belief" is unfounded, though you may not hear as many individual differences on your current amp as you might on a different/better modeler. Conventional (presumably meaning "tube") amps can actually have such a slanted tone stack and some conventional speaker cabinets can have such a baked-in sound that they're worse about letting "individual difference shine through the tone."

Replacing your pickups given the surrounding gear you have now is probably an expensive idea with a minimal benefit. I'd suggest *definitely* upping your game on both amplifier and guitar fronts and THEN testing these pickups (maybe with a friend's guitar with them already installed) before you simply put your hand over your eyes and pick based on random Internet "wisdom."
#28
You can definitely hear a difference between different pickups (there was a clear difference between Epi Les Paul and Charvel So Cal through a Microcube that I had - so yeah, you can hear differences between pickups even through a cheap modeler), but why people usually say amp first is because even the best pickups won't sound good through a bad amp. But cheap pickups can sound decent through a good amp. Upgrading your amp just makes a way bigger difference than upgrading your pickups. Pickup upgrade is more about fine tweaking your tone.

I wouldn't upgrade the pickups, unless you know what you don't like about your tone and know what you are after.

So if you want to improve your tone, upgrade your amp first. It makes the biggest difference.
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Gear

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Last edited by MaggaraMarine at Oct 12, 2015,
#29
Quote by Emperor's Child
(a) Which is probably why nobody has them... making them rare

(b) and you even get a better speaker to wood ratio.


(a) maybe among owners I suppose, but most bigger cities normally have a mesa dealer I think. they're not really difficult to find new, at least. I think. That's what I meant. the problem with mesa isn't finding them for sale in a shop here, it's being willing to pay the price they're asking.

(b) does that matter?
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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
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#30
Quote by Dave_Mc
does that matter?
Maybe from a recording sense? Maybe not, but it's nice to know.
Guitars & Gear:
Parker Nitefly M
Sumer Metal Driver
Ibanez RGD2120Z
AMT SS-11B
Two Notes Torpedo CAB
Last edited by Emperor's Child at Oct 13, 2015,
#31
i don't do any recording but i know for just playing i'd generally prefer more speakers (within reason) than fewer.
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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
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?