#1
Hey everyone, hope you're all having a good night.

My band has been in the writing process for a few months now and it's come to the time where we have to seriously start thinking about our tone. I'm using an LTD MH-350NT with the standard EMG Active pickups and it's simply not working, I need to switch to passives.

We're playing post-metal so I can't really describe our sound that well but think of bands like Pelican, ISIS, Omega Massif and Russian Circles. I guess we want to sound big but crisp and defined at the same time, as right now my pickups sound quite messy and just generally dull, has that typical EMG Active sound that I can't seem to fix by changing my amp settings. Should also mention that our songs consist of both all out overdriven and fuzzy parts as well as cleaner softer parts.

Tuned to B Standard, using a Blackstar HT Stage 100 Amp with a Blackstar Series 1 2x12 Cab (Vintage 30s). Currently using a bass big muff pedal for the fuzz and a digitech bad monkey for some slight overdrive (can't hurt to give too much information right?).

So with all that in mind, could anyone please recommend some nice passive double coil pickups (bridge and neck)? It'd also be really handy to know about any pot/wiring changes I might need to make. Thanks in advance!! I appreciate all responses.
Last edited by Splinter733 at Oct 10, 2015,
#2
To go from active to passive, you'll also need to change the pots in your guitar to 500K resistance, and adjust the wiring going to your jack so it isn't stereo.

I'm pretty sure both Pelican and Russian Circles use stock Gibson pickups. Mike Sullivan did a rig rundown and he mentioned using a Dirty Fingers and a 57 Classic iirc. Those may be out of your price range depending on budget though. I'd recommend looking into those pickups' magnet types and DC resistance and finding something similar.
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#3
Thanks! Oh yes I should probably also mention budget. Hoping to keep it all under $200 (Australian) if I can. If it gets any higher than that I'll just save up for a whole new guitar.
#4
I can't recommend a neck pickup as I don't use them much and tend to leave them stock. I would recommend a Duncan Distortion in the bridge though. Very hot. Defined and tight in the lows, barking hot in the mids, nice bite in the highs.
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#5
I had a look at the Duncan Distortion but it's output seems to be a bit too high for my liking, especially considering my amp already has pretty high gain. Thanks anyway though
#6
Update: I think I might get the SH-4 JB Pickup for the bridge, has really good reviews and seems pretty versatile. Anyone know what might go nicely with this in the neck position?
#7
I have a 6505 and my Distortion works fine with it. The JB is very heavy on the mids and not as tight on the lows. SH-2 Jazz tends to be the common pair with a JB. Another interesting option would be a Screamin Demon and 59 combo.

I have both the JB and Distortion, I like them both.
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#8
Id be willing to bet that you will have the same issue even after you swap your pickups. Could you please describe exactly how you are running your chain? Are you doing the muff and the bad monkey into the clean channel of your amp? You should share your settings that youre using. Emgs ARE clear and crisp. Ive been switching to passives on a few guitars; ive noticed my cleans sound a good amount better with the passives, but in a metal context my distortion was a lot better sounding with the emgs. They just seem to have more chunk and aggression to them, and they are tight and clear as day for rhythm and lead
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#9
If you're getting Seymour Duncan JB in the bridge, I guess best option for neck is jazz (JB and jazz set). at the regular forum I visit, we have a member who makes custom wound pickups and he is very good at getting the sound you want to replicate. Ken has good reputation for quality and service. . Rosepickups.com is his website, you'd be surprised how nice they are.
Last edited by psp742 at Oct 10, 2015,
#10
I don't tune down anywhere near that low but I dunno about a JB for B standard. It's not super-tight when tuned to E!

I'd have thought EMGs would be tighter, but
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#11
Quote by Dave_Mc
I don't tune down anywhere near that low but I dunno about a JB for B standard. It's not super-tight when tuned to E!

I'd have thought EMGs would be tighter, but


Can you explain how youre running your setup and what your settings are
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#12
If you get a JB in the bridge, the Jazz is the neck pickup you want. They blend well together and they are available together as the Hot Rodded Humbucker set. You won't have a dull sound anymore.
Dave @ Seymour Duncan
#13
I wouldn't be looking at the JB in all honesty - too much honk and flub for metal if you ask me. I would be looking at some of the more medium-hot options such as the Dimarzio Titan if I were you. They're a reasonably versatile set of pickups although I'll admit that I have no idea how they would sound through a fuzz pedal.
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#14
Dude. Extend your budget a little and get yourself some bareknuckles. I had emg's, and upgraded to bareknuckles and I couldn't believe how much difference it made. They are everything a metal guitarist could want (IMO). Despite being so expensive, I found it one of the best upgrades I could manage. They have the power of an emg, with a better bass response, clearer mids and sharper treble and the greatest thing of all is that they maintain their dynamic range it will be a new experience for you coming from an EMG haha.
#15
Another option is the Sentient/Nazgul combination which was made for progressive metal in drop tunings. You would need to switch to 500k pots, add a mono jack and a ground wire.
Dave @ Seymour Duncan
#16
I really don't think your pickup change will fix this.

If you want more definition, go with the Dimarzio Blues Saraceno Trembucker in bridge and PAF in neck but I think your issue might be more related to the amp as to the pickups. Not that they're that good but these EMGs are usually neutral and OK with pretty much any setup. I'll change to passive if I want rock or blues sounds.
#17
Judging by your post it sounds to me like you may simply have the EMG's set up wrong. Adjust their height until they are as close to the strings as is physically possible without buzzing. Try that before spending money because that could be all that's wrong with 'em.
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