#1
Why, hello there.

So, to put things basically, I fancy breathing some new life into my guitar with some snazzy new pickups. You know, standard indecisive guitar improvement stuff. To unbasicamify things I'm getting all picky (HA, pickups... picky) about things. The obvious solution seems to be to pester you lovely people with my measly problems.

So, let's get the basic stuff down. My guitar is a Washburn X40, of which Washburn seems to have conveniently lost most of their data on, including on their pickups. The reviews on this site are there but I'm pretty sure they mix up features of the X40 and the X40pro. E.G, this guitar does NOT have coil tap or a '59 in the neck or anything like that. What I'm 99% positive about the guitar is:

-Alder Body
-Bolt-on Maple Neck
-Rosewood Fretboard
-Neck Pickup = Stock Washburn Humbucker 621
-Middle Pickup = Stock Washburn Single Coil 612
-Bridge Pickup = Stock Washburn Humbucker 623
-5-Way Pickup Switch
-1 Volume Pot
-1 Tone Pot
-Washburn Patented Floyd Rose Locking Tremolo Bridge + Nut

I imagine that's all the neccessary specs. So, down to the pickups themself. Right now it's only really replacing the bridge and neck humbuckers I want, that middle single coil can stay where it is. I find at times the humbuckers just don't have the sort of drive I often hear from higher price band guitars (and believe me, I obsess over pretty high distortion that I like and I can get the eq pretty good sounding to my preference) so I'm wondering if I could remedy this with some nice higher output pickups. I'd list the general output from my pickups now but I don't have the tech and the info doesn't seem to exist online. I do have one last issue which I don't think lies in the pickups but more the wiring under them which is the volume and tone pots are very crackly when I adjust them and can be quite unresponsive between 100% dialed and 0% if you know what I mean. I'd imagine if I get new pickups wired properly that would kind of fix itself, please tell me if it won't. Otherwise I might see to it to fix that issue before the matters this thread attends to.

I fancy plugging in something with a nice high output so that the more leady stuff has that screaming kind of quality about it. I don't want to reduce the more chord based stuff to sludgy mush though, although could that be possible to avoid by rolling down the volume on these prospective high output pickups? Powerful ringing kind of chords would be cool. I like to play hard rock type stuff and delve into metal (bit of chugging every now and then) quite often. Clean is less of a priority but I'd still like to calm it down every now and then and get a smoothish let's say "Nirvana when they're clean" kind of clean. Don't need to worry about blues/jazz tones so much, I never really play them.

So, any ideas on what I'm looking for? Factoring in the alder body (which is meant to be quite light and upper mids/highs responsive from what I've heard) and such? Some of the general suggestions I can find looking around the web are dimarzio super distortion and duncan distortion/custom customs, that sort of deal. What do you guys think?

Keep in mind I live in the sometimes musically remote feeling Scotland, so I don't have easy access (or any at all) to small American music business products. I have access to bare knuckle pickups given that they're British but I'm only a mere human and those are really REALLY expensive.

(Side note) It'd be nice to have a coil tap in order to have access to the single coils for variety and whatnot. Problem is, my guitar is not coil tappable by default so work would have to be done on the body to add an extra switch/Pot and wire it correctly to the pickups right? I'd get this done professionally of course, don't trust myself messing around with the guitar but I'd like to know what you guys think about this as well if possible. If this makes things too complicated though just ignore everything past "(side note)".

Thank you so much if you've read all of this, you are an absolute legend. Long post, I know. Sorry. Any help appreciated.
#2
Well, I think making your HBs split table is a fine idea. While it is usually done with push/pull pots, I've also seen it done with mini-switches. That might be the way to go when retrofitting a HSH guitar.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

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Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#3
Thanks, glad to know that it's a realistic enough idea. Any opinion on the changing pickups side of things?
#4
Well, you've established you're in Scotland and you think Bareknuckles are pricey (they are, but they're usually worth it), but you haven't established a real budget.*

Lace should be available to you, one way or another, since they're a major brand. The Creamery is a UK custom winder in the same price range as BKPs- also damn good, but may not do anything hot enough for your tastes.

Rio Grande, RailHammers & Teslas are all worth looking for to see if you can get them for a reasonable price. Of those, I think the latter 2 are more likely to give you the performance you want at a price you can afford.


* and don't forget, you need to consider the expense of having the coil splits installed and the wiring at least examined if not fixed. Not that those factor into pickup costs, of course- they're just part of your overall budget for this project.
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!
#5
True, to think I've written all that and still forgot to really established a budget. Budget-wise I think it's easiest to say I'm a student. If I feel that I REALLY want bareknuckles I'll go for it but I'd probably prefer a somewhat cheaper alternative if I can still get some sweet performance. So let's say bareknuckles go a bit into the £200s for a bridge and a neck, I'd probably like to stay in the £100s-£150s preferred zone. That's not to say you guys can't convince me otherwise. This is factoring out the cost of getting the guitar checked and wired and such, feel free to disregard that stuff.

Btw I like this: http://www.teslapickups.com/?products=plasma-2

Can't find it to buy anywhere for the life of me, though. Anything similar that comes to you guys' minds?
Last edited by sasquatchjosh96 at Oct 25, 2015,
#7
Teslas you will have to buy online, possibly directly from them. I don't think I've ever seen them in a store.

I will say that I installed a set of Teslas- a VR Extreme HB in the bridge, and OPUS S-1 singlecoils in the middle & neck- in a custom HSS hardtail that is currently tuned CGDAEG, and not only do I love them, the luthier built a guitar around the same set for himself.

RailHammers are likewise going to be an online purchase. They typically go about $100 each on the sites I see selling them. If you're interested, look at the Chisel or Anvil. They don't make singlecoils yet, though. (I know you're just looking at HBs, but you might as well consider the singlecoil while you're at it, just in case you feel like changing it after you swap out the humbuckers.)

As I recall, Lace Deathbuckers and their various signature HBs fall into your price range, and they DO make singlecoils.
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!
#8
Quote by dspellman
I'm sorry, but "budget" and "snazzy" are mutually exclusive.

Lol, just some vibrant language dude. Compared to stock pickups a lot of things are snazzy. I did say feel free to mention things that aren't too "budget" to be "snazzy".
#9
Quote by dannyalcatraz
Teslas you will have to buy online, possibly directly from them. I don't think I've ever seen them in a store.

I will say that I installed a set of Teslas- a VR Extreme HB in the bridge, and OPUS S-1 singlecoils in the middle & neck- in a custom HSS hardtail that is currently tuned CGDAEG, and not only do I love them, the luthier built a guitar around the same set for himself.

RailHammers are likewise going to be an online purchase. They typically go about $100 each on the sites I see selling them. If you're interested, look at the Chisel or Anvil. They don't make singlecoils yet, though. (I know you're just looking at HBs, but you might as well consider the singlecoil while you're at it, just in case you feel like changing it after you swap out the humbuckers.)

As I recall, Lace Deathbuckers and their various signature HBs fall into your price range, and they DO make singlecoils.

Yeah, I can't see teslas like anywhere online which is a shame really. Railhammers I can find, I was thinking about the anvil.
#10
there is a bunch of cheaper handwinders in the uk (oilcity, catswhisker, mojo (northern ireland- there's a dearer mojo in england too ) and europe (jesse loureiro in spain), but i haven't tried them. might be worth considering if you'd like BKPs but think they're too dear.
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#11
Quote by Dave_Mc
there is a bunch of cheaper handwinders in the uk (oilcity, catswhisker, mojo (northern ireland- there's a dearer mojo in england too ) and europe (jesse loureiro in spain), but i haven't tried them. might be worth considering if you'd like BKPs but think they're too dear.

+1 to all that.
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!
#12
Well thanks for the help guys, I'm not sure if there's much more to say so this thread can probably die down now and I'll use it for reference. There's some helpful suggestions so it's all good. Feel free to suggest anything if you come by and really feel like it.
Last edited by sasquatchjosh96 at Oct 25, 2015,
#13
I like the idea of a Jazz in the neck, with something like a Custom in the bridge. The Jazz does clean and dirty equally well, and the Custom has enough tight bass to chug. The Custom Custom sounds great in alder, but the bass is really loose (and it is one of my favs), so it isn't a good choice for chuggy music. Both the Jazz & Caustom split well. For the middle, look to a Classic Stack Plus which will keep things hum cancelling, but give you a stratty sound combined with the split other pickups but no hum when used alone.
Dave @ Seymour Duncan