#1
Hello, I need some help.

I have this Greg Bennett (Samick) guitar which I love aesthetically and feel very comfortable to play, and would like to know how to improve it and if those possible improvements would worth the investment as it isn't a high-end instrument.



The web page for this model (http://gregbennettguitars.com/guitars/electric/torino-series/tr30/) reads the following features:

Double cutaway sculpted body
3 piece Mahogany set neck
Rosewood fingerboard (12” radius)
Nut width 1 5/8”
Dual wave inlay
22 fret, 24” scale
Chrome hardware
Grover™ A102-C, 14:1 ratio tuners
Stop tailpiece with adjustable bridge
Dual Duncan Designed humbucker pickups (HB-103N, HB 103B)
2 volume, 2 tone controls
3-way selector switch

I already have a bone nut to change it for the plastic one it has.

I has two Duncan Designed pickups which I feel sound quite good for the price, but I was wondering which pickups could improve the sound without spending a big amount. I was thinking of two options:

1.- "Convert" it into a Gibson SG type guitar and put some pickups with an AC/DC alike sound. They dont need to be the same that a Gibson carries but something which sounded similar and better of course than the Duncan Designed. I like this thick sound (AC/DC, HEaven and Hell by Black Sabbath, etc...)

2.- Put one of the pickups above mentioned in point 1, and then put another different pickup in the style of a stratocaster o telecaster to have a brighter sound and even strumming clean without any distorsion or crunch effect. I thought this would make it more versatile.

I will stop here for now. I have no experience on guitar tuning so any advice will be welcome.
#2
All depends on what amp you are playing through before you start throwing money at pickups.
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#3
Quote by bobafettacheese
All depends on what amp you are playing through before you start throwing money at pickups.


At the moment I am using a Blackstar ID Core 10 Stereo which is enough because I am practising basically at home (never can go beyond half volume with distortion).
I have an old 80w one which I used to play through some years ago, but it is not working properly now.

But I dont understand why you need to know the amp. I mean, given any amp the change from the Duncan Designed to good PAF should be noted, no?
Also, as I said I am not looking for the exact AC/DC sound; just to get something in that range and of course better than the Designed I have now.

thanks for answering!
#4
Nope. Your amp will define your tone more than any other single piece of gear. Think of the amp as the ice cream in the sundae.

As for modding your guitar, if it is reasonably well put together, feels good in your hands and you like it, mod it to your heart's content!
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#5
Changed out Duncan Designed pickups in my Jackson to real Duncans(can't remember which ones, the CUSTOM CUSTOM maybe) but the difference was exceptional. This is for a guitar that my father plays mostly and he only plays through an IDcore20 with a multi effects pedal, he says that there is a big difference between the old pickups and new.

Do your research on what pickups you think you want and change those DD pickups out.
#6
Changing out the DD pickups to real Duncans will be a big improvement. A Jazz/Custom set or Whole Lotta Humbucker set would get you where you want to go (slightly hotter than vintage).
Dave @ Seymour Duncan
#7
With my tastes in music, I would swap the pickups for vintage weight four-wire uncovered humbuckers and add series/single/parallel switching for vesatility. If you just go for series/single or series/parallel, you can do it with a couple of push-pull pots, one for each pickup. I used a 4pdt on-on-on switch that switches both pickups at the same time to series, single or parallel.
#8
if you want to get a good sound with little money, look at the GFS Fat Pat. They run $30 new and they sound really good
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#9
start off with a new amp.
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#10
Thanks for the inputs everyone.

But first I want to change the pickups because I would need at least twice o three times the budget if I went for the amp.

Robbgnarly, before I read your post I was doing some "research" on which pick-ups I could buy and I came up with this video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6UdR5dXe2CM) where some guy is testing three different picks (GFS Fat Pat, Gibson 57 Classic, Seymour Duncan 59) without saying which guitar has which pick-up until the end of the video. If you guys have the time I recommend you to choose your favourite one before blowing the lid off. (you probably already saw this video...)

I loved the sound of the GFS Fat Pat. I think something like this would be a perfect fit for a 300-400euros guitar like mine.

My hesitation is about how to combine the pick-ups.

Do you think the idea of putting one GFS Fat Pat together with a Telecaster type pickup can work?
My idea is being able to play for example some AC/DC with one pickup and then without changing guitar some CCR Proud Mary for example (something with clean open chords without any distortion or crunch) just switching picks.

I dont know if this combination has some added issues or if playing with both pickups combined at the same time would sound just bad...

Tony Done. As I said this would be my first upgrade on any guitar I have had. I would have to look for some schemes on internet. I maybe can start with just changing the pick-ups and your option would be a further upgrade in the future.
#11
if you're in europe there might be other options which are easier/cheaper to get hold of than GFS- I haven't tried them but entwistles and irongear get a good rep for the price (I think).
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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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#12
Quote by Dave_Mc
if you're in europe there might be other options which are easier/cheaper to get hold of than GFS- I haven't tried them but entwistles and irongear get a good rep for the price (I think).


I would have to check some of them. One guy is selling me one for 25 euros (one GFS Fat Pat). Looks like the same price of a new one in USA, but they are probably more expensive in Europe. Also, it seems it isnt so easy to find them here, at least you dont see lof of offers when googling.
Last edited by frangs at Feb 8, 2016,
#13
yeah i think they're only available from GFS in the USA so that's why they're less common in europe. if you find one second-hand locally though that should sidestep most of those problems (just the usual caveats about being careful when buying second-hand apply).
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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?
#14
Quote by frangs
But first I want to change the pickups because I would need at least twice o three times the budget if I went for the amp.


Sorry fella but I agree with the others. It sounds like, if you go for pick ups now, you are delaying your amp purchase and that is where the big gains are (pardon the pun).
With a new amp you may well realise that you don't even need new pups and you've saved yourself some money.

That said, it's your decision and if that money is burning a hole in your pocket you can ignore some of the advice you came on here for
#15
Quote by SpiderM
Sorry fella but I agree with the others. It sounds like, if you go for pick ups now, you are delaying your amp purchase and that is where the big gains are (pardon the pun).
With a new amp you may well realise that you don't even need new pups and you've saved yourself some money.

That said, it's your decision and if that money is burning a hole in your pocket you can ignore some of the advice you came on here for


No, it's ok. If you all with some experience think that, then it must be so.

It happens that I just started to play with a guy on drums now (just today!), and I realized that with this 10W the drums eat me alive. The place is really small, a tiny room (9-11 m2) in his garage conditioned for making noise without the neighbours noticing it.

It thought that setting the volume to the maximum and with the "SUPER CRUNCH" effect on, it would be enough.

But I am thinking that I will need at least 20W. Any good amp for something like this? As I said I like to play classic rock (mostly with some crunch or distortion effect).
#17
Quote by frangs
No, it's ok. If you all with some experience think that, then it must be so.

It happens that I just started to play with a guy on drums now (just today!), and I realized that with this 10W the drums eat me alive. The place is really small, a tiny room (9-11 m2) in his garage conditioned for making noise without the neighbours noticing it.

It thought that setting the volume to the maximum and with the "SUPER CRUNCH" effect on, it would be enough.

But I am thinking that I will need at least 20W. Any good amp for something like this? As I said I like to play classic rock (mostly with some crunch or distortion effect).

even a 20watt SS amp will not be enough. look for something 50watts and up if you go SS and a 12" speaker. Peavey Vypyr is worth a look
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Morley Bad Horsie 2
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#18
I finally bought a Blackstar ID60 TVP.
Thanks for all the advices about buying first a new good amp (at least for me Blackstar is good!). Best advice ever.
It's amazing how good you can sound with a decent amp and only some Duncan Designed pickups.

I guess now I am allowed to change the pickups .

I checked some GFS FAT PAT youtube comparisons and I must say they sound amazing compared to other supposed better pickups (Gibson or Seymour Duncan). Actually I listened to them without knowing which one was sounding at that moment and my choice was the GFS's (at least for crunch or distortion, not so much for clean strumming). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6UdR5dXe2CM

I was thinking of buying a pair of GFS's for my SG Greg Bennett and some Filter-tron style pickups for a ES335 style Samick (maybe also at GFS, they dont need to be Gretsch).

I love the AC/DC crunchy sound but at the same time I would like being able to play some "clean" tunes (like Proud Mary or Down on the corner, by the CCR), just changing from neck to bridge pickup or viceversa.

Is there any combination of pickups which would fit for this?

Thanks in advance guys.
#19
I'm going to go against the grain here, amps for sure are the key to getting the tone you are after, but I have always upgraded my pickups in virtually all of the guitars I have owned evey since I was 15, I am 47, and several of those pickups were upgraded when I was young and playing through less than steller amplification.

The pickups will make a difference, it will not be huge life altering difference that you may be seeking, but depending on what set you buy it should be noticeable.

Some of the Duncan Designed pups sound pretty good so a switch to real Duncans with a lessor amp may not offer much of a difference.

If you can afford new pickups but are nowhere near being able to upgrade to the amp you want, then go for it. If you do then make sure to keep the old pickups and if you decide to sell the guitar later put them back in, because them upgraded pups will typically not increase the selling price, yank them out to put in your new guitar.

Ideally upgrading the amp would indeed be your best bet.
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Last edited by Evilnine at Apr 28, 2016,
#20
Quote by Evilnine
I'm going to go against the grain here, amps for sure are the key to getting the tone you are after, but I have always upgraded my pickups in virtually all of the guitars I have owned evey since I was 15, I am 47, and several of those pickups were upgraded when I was young and playing through less than steller amplification.

The pickups will make a difference, it will not be huge life altering difference that you may be seeking, but depending on what set you buy it should be noticeable.


I don't think you are going against the grain. I think we all agree that pickups will make some difference but the amp will have more of an affect.....which is also what you said
#22
Quote by Evilnine
I'm going to go against the grain here, amps for sure are the key to getting the tone you are after, but I have always upgraded my pickups in virtually all of the guitars I have owned evey since I was 15, I am 47, and several of those pickups were upgraded when I was young and playing through less than steller amplification.


I've rarely swapped pickups in my guitars. Less than 10% have ever needed changing. For the most part, I was interested in a guitar for its own sound personality, not as a platform for mods.

I'm not sure that I would call most of the pickup swaps "upgrades" at all.

I pulled a pair of SD Invaders from my Flying V (they sounded atrocious) and replaced them with Tom Andersons. It was a personal preference, and it was a major change sonically.

Interestingly enough, one of the guitars in which I swapped pickups had a pair of Duncan Design single-coil size humbuckers that looked like Hot Rails in the neck and middle positions. They sounded nasty and had just two wires, so I replaced them with real Hot Rails (four wire) so that I could run them in a single coil mode as well. BIG difference in that case. I actually left the standard-size bridge humbucker alone. I have no idea what that pickup is, but it's a properly raucous rock pickup and I like it. So it stays.
#23
If you want to find out what your *current* guitar is capable of, find someone with a really good modeling rig and have them put it through its paces using your current guitar and pickups. It's the equivalent of having a room full of amps and pedals to try and, at the very least, it might give you an idea what direction you want to go for a more single-minded amp. And it will definitely give you an idea how much difference an amp can make as opposed to a pickup swap.
#24
Quote by frangs
WHat about a system like this where you can connect a micro for voice also?

I was thinking that I would need somthing for vocals also. Is there a kind of compact amp+mixer+loudspeaker with a reasonable quality?



There ARE boxes that will handle this, but that LD Roadjack 10 ain't it. It's a 25-watt RMS system with limited capabilities and a 10" speaker.
At $299, it's a battery-centric unit designed for quiet busking (the typical guy with a miked acoustic guitar, singing at an outdoor shopping mall with his guitar case open), not for anything with a drummer.

You haven't stated where you're located (important because some things aren't available everywhere). But here's a $272 (plus shipping, of course) PA-style speaker with a 400W (RMS) built-in amplifier, a 12" LF driver and 1" tweeter that weighs about 35 lbs. http://www.carvinaudio.com/products/pm12a-molded-2-way-12-inch-powered-loudspeaker-monitor



It actually has a 3-channel mini-mixer with some EQ functions in the back:



But honestly, I'd highly recommend using some kind of Multi-FX floor pedal or rack mount that can function as a preamp between your guitar and the speaker. This speaker itself can be put on a small amp stand OR it can go on a speaker stand pole (the adapter for it is already there) for use as a PA speaker. OR it can go on the floor as a monitor wedge.