Page 1 of 2
#1
I'm stuck here. I have a fender mustang 2 v.2 40w amp and a rondo agile al-2000 and a squier affinity strat. I want to buy expensive pickups for my agile les Paul copy. say, maybe gibson classic 57s or dimarzio pups (any recommendations?, $155 budget here) and I would like to know: would buying expensive pickups drastically change the tone of what I'm playing even though I have an inexpensive modeling, solid-state amp? do any of you have any experience with buying high quality pickups and using a practice amp and noticing a big difference in tone? Will it not even make much of a difference? Or will my amp not be good enough to do the pickups any justice?? Thanks in advance for any answerers willing to help
Last edited by w.coronado99 at Jun 24, 2016,
#2
Not much of a difference at all. Pickups are pretty much the last item in the tone chain and represent maybe 5% or less of your overall tone. If you have a very specific sound you are going for and you have used a similar guitar with XXX pickups through your amp and they captured that sound, buy some for yourself. Buying some blindly off the internet is certain to disappoint.

In my case, I needed a HB PU for the bridge position on my Strat but wanted to retain some of the Surf tone bite... "Duncan Cool Rails" was a win. I thought I could add some modern PUs to a Jap 335 knockoff and make it really sing... Fail. The stock PUs sounded better. $120 down the rathole. YMMV
"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
#3
Agreed with Cajundaddy. I'm still learning how to best utilize my amp, but the more I play around with it, the better idea I have of what I can do with it. Knowing what tools you have and how to use them to the fullest is better than a gear upgrade.
Guitar/Bass:
Schecter: Damien 6/Stilletto Extreme 5, Squier: Bullet HSS*, Washburn RX10*/WG-587, Agile Septor 727
*mods

Amps/FX
Peavey: Vypyr 30/Max 112 (200W), ISP: Decimator

Quote by dannyalcatraz
Understood- I waste money on amps*, too.

justinguitar.com is the answer
#4
the pickups in my AL2k are pretty tight. pickups don't necessarily have a big impact on your tone in the sense that people usually talk about it, they give you a varying responsiveness in different frequency ranges and a certain level of output for a given input.

basically they're responsibly for "picking up" the sound, not necessarily flavoring it, so if you can get the level of sound you want over a range of frequencies it's not the pickups.

if we've got the same pickups they are ceramic, which means they have a generally higher output, meaning you'll get more sound/your amp will get slightly more gain overall, and strong response for higher frequencies. also wax potted which means they should be fairly "noiseless" and pick up very little extra sound compared to something like a burstbucker or a single coil.

compared to the '57s they probably have around the same output and the ceramics will bring out the highs a little more.

any real change is timbre for electric instruments is going to come from the amp, spend your money here if you want a different sound.
#5
Not with that amp they aren't.
Current Gear:
LTD MH-400 with Gotoh GE1996T (EMG 85/60)
PRS SE Custom 24 (Suhr SSH+/SSV)
Ibanez RG3120 Prestige (Dimarzio Titans)
Squier Vintage Modified 70s Jazz V
Audient iD22 interface
Peavey Revalver 4, UAD Friedman BE100/DS40
Adam S3A monitors
Quote by Anonden
You CAN play anything with anything....but some guitars sound right for some things, and not for others. Single coils sound retarded for metal, though those who are apeshit about harpsichord probably beg to differ.
#6
Get your amp situation sorted for the kind of music you want to play first. THEN start thinking about pickups.

Because once you have the amp figured out, you'll be best able to determine what kind of pickup upgrade you need...if any. Because upgrading pickups CAN make a noticeable difference, but only of you know what you need/want first. Sometimes stock or inexpensive pickups are just fine.
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!
Last edited by dannyalcatraz at Jun 25, 2016,
#7
+1 on the amp thing.

I got given a kit guitar some years back, while I still had(ugh) an MG15. Through that, it sounded like ass(more so than any of my decent guitars, at the time an MIM strat and an Epi LP standard, because that amp is awful).

Had the opportunity to play it through a friend's Rockerverb 4x12, and while it did sound markedly different to his SG, it didn't make me want to set it on fire, and feed it through a woodchipper that was also on fire, and ejected the shredded remains into a blast furnace.
Quote by Diemon Dave
Don't go ninjerin nobody don't need ninjerin'
#8
And, just to be 100% clear, a "good amp" doesn't automatically mean "tube". There are excellent sounding solid state amps out there as well- usually, not modelers until you get into the high end ones.
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!
#9
Quote by dannyalcatraz
And, just to be 100% clear, a "good amp" doesn't automatically mean "tube". There are excellent sounding solid state amps out there as well- usually, not modelers until you get into the high end ones.
True.
But it also remains true that the MG is fucking awful.
Quote by Diemon Dave
Don't go ninjerin nobody don't need ninjerin'
#10
No argument there.
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!
#11
They can make a fairly big difference depending on what the original pickups were.I swapped my Sheraton's stock pups for some SD59's and it made a pretty big difference.It sounds much better now.Swapping say Fender MIM ceramics for some nice alnicos will make a big difference.If the guitar already has half decent pickups in it though then you may not notice much.
A better amp will make a huge difference though.
#12
^ yeah. or if you swap pickup types it'll make a pretty massive difference- from, say, fender-style singles to humbuckers. But again it's going to make the most difference if you already have a good amp. Of course, the irony is that until you have a good amp it won't make a massive difference*, but once you do, it can.

* probably more accurately, it can still make a fairly big difference, but not as big of a difference as changing to a better amp and therefore probably not the best use of your money.
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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 Jun 25, 2016,
#13
I feel the need to mention that pickups can make a significant difference, though as mentioned above, amp is far more important.

So, when you have the amp tones you want, but are looking for a different character to your tone, pickups can do that. They can help you get bell-like cleans, super crunchy and defined distorted tones, super harmonics, or more. I almost always swap out my stock pickups and I rarely have any regrets as long as I do some research first. Then again, I don't play cheap guitars nowadays..mine are all in the $1000-1500 range, and are meant to be kept permanently. Pickup swaps do not contribute well to increased resell value, so make sure you are doing it on a guitar you intend to keep.
We're just a battery for hire with the guitar fire
Ready and aimed at you
Pick up your balls and load up your cannon
For a twenty one gun salute
For those about to rock, FIRE!
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#14
Quote by oneblackened
Not with that amp they aren't.


no doubt ..... doesn't make any difference with the modelers
#15
Fumble fingers

With Bias FX it made a gigantic difference going from stock Ibanez to Evos, and so on
We're just a battery for hire with the guitar fire
Ready and aimed at you
Pick up your balls and load up your cannon
For a twenty one gun salute
For those about to rock, FIRE!
We salute you
#16
Quote by w.coronado99
I'm stuck here. I have a fender mustang 2 v.2 40w amp and a rondo agile al-2000 and a squier affinity strat. I want to buy expensive pickups for my agile les Paul copy. say, maybe gibson classic 57s or dimarzio pups (any recommendations?, $155 budget here) and I would like to know: would buying expensive pickups drastically change the tone of what I'm playing even though I have an inexpensive modeling, solid-state amp? do any of you have any experience with buying high quality pickups and using a practice amp and noticing a big difference in tone? Will it not even make much of a difference? Or will my amp not be good enough to do the pickups any justice?? Thanks in advance for any answerers willing to help

In my experience, simply put, no.
#18
What kind of music do you play?There are people in here that can suggest you an amp that will improve your tone and get you much closer to where you want to be.
Then if you want to tweak it slightly more to get you even closer then have a look at some different pickups.
#19
JustRooster the cheapest blues Jr I found was $360 used (sad face)
Last edited by w.coronado99 at Jun 26, 2016,
#20
look for a used Peavey Valveking they can be had for under $300 all day.
Last edited by monwobobbo at Jun 26, 2016,
#21
Quote by 21GunSalute
(a) I feel the need to mention that pickups can make a significant difference, though as mentioned above, amp is far more important.

(b) Then again, I don't play cheap guitars nowadays..mine are all in the $1000-1500 range, and are meant to be kept permanently. Pickup swaps do not contribute well to increased resell value, so make sure you are doing it on a guitar you intend to keep.


(a) Agreed. People act like they're only for fine-tuning your tone, and IMO and experience, that just isn't true- they can make a pretty massive difference. Especially if you have a good amp already. Pickups are the biggest single thing you can change on a guitar when it comes to tone, by some margin, and especially if you change to very different-sounding pickups, you'll notice a pretty big difference. Granted, if you change from one PAF-style pickup to another very slightly different PAF-style pickup, not so much.

(b) Good point. Or just keep the original pickups and then you can put them back in if you decide to sell.
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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 Jun 26, 2016,
#22
Quote by Dave_Mc
(a) Agreed. People act like they're only for fine-tuning your tone, and IMO and experience, that just isn't true- they can make a pretty massive difference. Especially if you have a good amp already. Pickups are the biggest single thing you can change on a guitar when it comes to tone, by some margin, and especially if you change to very different-sounding pickups, you'll notice a pretty big difference. Granted, if you change from one PAF-style pickup to another very slightly different PAF-style pickup, not so much.

(b) Good point. Or just keep the original pickups and then you can put them back in if you decide to sell.


Yes to all that. This kind of discussion makes me think of the committee of blind men trying to describe an elephant. - What you believe depends on where you start from. If you already have an half-decent amp, and play fairly clean, then pickups can make a huge difference, especially when different types are considered.
#23
Quote by w.coronado99
JustRooster the cheapest blues Jr I found was $360 used (sad face)


Amp first, then PUs if you still feel the need. Blues Jr, Laney Cub 12, Classic 30, Super Champ X2, Carvin Nomad, Tiny Terror will all transform your guitar tone. Wash cars, mow lawns, sweep floors, and then buy the tools that you need.
"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
Last edited by Cajundaddy at Jun 26, 2016,
#24
I'm not sure, but my Peavey sure sounds much better with the JB/Jazz combo I put in it
My God, it's full of stars!
#25
Look at blackheart.
Ibanez Rg 321mh
Squier Classic Vibe 1970s Precision Bass
Guitar Rig 5
Presonus Audiobox
Behringer Truth B2030A
#26
Quote by Tony Done
Yes to all that. This kind of discussion makes me think of the committee of blind men trying to describe an elephant. - What you believe depends on where you start from. If you already have an half-decent amp, and play fairly clean, then pickups can make a huge difference, especially when different types are considered.


Yeah. I don't even think you need the qualifier "and play fairly clean"- pickups make a massive difference if you're playing distorted as well. IMO anyway.
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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?
#27
Quote by Dave_Mc
(a) Agreed. People act like they're only for fine-tuning your tone, and IMO and experience, that just isn't true- they can make a pretty massive difference. Especially if you have a good amp already. Pickups are the biggest single thing you can change on a guitar when it comes to tone, by some margin, and especially if you change to very different-sounding pickups, you'll notice a pretty big difference. Granted, if you change from one PAF-style pickup to another very slightly different PAF-style pickup, not so much.

(b) Good point. Or just keep the original pickups and then you can put them back in if you decide to sell.


A) Depending on how different the new pickups are compared to the old, you *may* find a significant difference. In the context of "expense," however, you should never assume that a new $200 set of pickups is going to sound better than the ones the guitar came with simply because of the money spent and the ravings of an internet forum. They could easily sound worse. And I think that words like "massive" and "huge" have no place with pickups and the difference they make.

B) Putting the original pickups back in is not the same as selling a guitar with original pickups still in place. I've learned to ask that question ("Have the pickups ever been out of the guitar?") after receiving a guitar from a seller who lied. The original pickups had been snipped near the pickup ("it was easier that way; I didn't have to run the line through the little tunnel") and when they went back in the soldering job was awful and one of the pickups was shorted out. I eventually ripped everything out and started over again with factory new. Idiots abound.
#28
Quote by Tony Done
Yes to all that. This kind of discussion makes me think of the committee of blind men trying to describe an elephant. - What you believe depends on where you start from. If you already have an half-decent amp, and play fairly clean, then pickups can make a huge difference, especially when different types are considered.


You don't even need to play fairly clean. Adding more harmonic distortion doesn't automatically make crappy pickups not sound crappy.
Current Gear:
LTD MH-400 with Gotoh GE1996T (EMG 85/60)
PRS SE Custom 24 (Suhr SSH+/SSV)
Ibanez RG3120 Prestige (Dimarzio Titans)
Squier Vintage Modified 70s Jazz V
Audient iD22 interface
Peavey Revalver 4, UAD Friedman BE100/DS40
Adam S3A monitors
Quote by Anonden
You CAN play anything with anything....but some guitars sound right for some things, and not for others. Single coils sound retarded for metal, though those who are apeshit about harpsichord probably beg to differ.
#29
Quote by oneblackened
You don't even need to play fairly clean. Adding more harmonic distortion doesn't automatically make crappy pickups not sound crappy.


And dspellman.

Just to clarify, I don't equate expensive with better. My favourite pickups are some Peavey super-cheapo hot ceramic SCs, and some mid-priced GFS hum-sized P90s, also ceramic.

"Crappy"for me was a set of covered SD Jazz. Better without the covers, but I can't get to like vintage style humbuckers, or anything hotter.

You have to be able to specify what is wrong with the ones you have before you can begin fixing it.

I don't know much about distortion, I was just assuming it would simplify the pickup tone situation a bit - my Little Big Muff Pi certainly does!
Last edited by Tony Done at Jun 27, 2016,
#30
Quote by dspellman
Ai) Depending on how different the new pickups are compared to the old, you *may* find a significant difference. In the context of "expense," however, you should never assume that a new $200 set of pickups is going to sound better than the ones the guitar came with simply because of the money spent and the ravings of an internet forum. They could easily sound worse. Aii) And I think that words like "massive" and "huge" have no place with pickups and the difference they make.

B) Putting the original pickups back in is not the same as selling a guitar with original pickups still in place. I've learned to ask that question ("Have the pickups ever been out of the guitar?") after receiving a guitar from a seller who lied. The original pickups had been snipped near the pickup ("it was easier that way; I didn't have to run the line through the little tunnel") and when they went back in the soldering job was awful and one of the pickups was shorted out. I eventually ripped everything out and started over again with factory new. Idiots abound.


(Ai) Agreed.

(Aii) I disagree. I'm talking about between different kinds of pickups here- if you compare a strat with low output, vintage-style pickups to something with EMG81s, I'd say that qualifies as a pretty massive difference. If you listen to some of the posts on here you'd think pickups make barely any difference, and I just disagree with that.

(B) Yep. Also if you have a vintage Gibson if the solder has been touched that can devalue it, can't it? But I was assuming that probably didn't affect too many people here.
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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?
#31
Quote by Dave_Mc


(B) Yep. Also if you have a vintage Gibson if the solder has been touched that can devalue it, can't it? But I was assuming that probably didn't affect too many people here.


I leave the "vintage Gibson" stuff for the MLP folks. Those people will argue that a guitar doesn't exist until you put it in their hands and show them the receipt and COA and let them sniff the control cavity.
#32
I have a Peavey Vypyr which is also a modelling amp, I can go from my Ibanez with Dimarzios, to my Les Paul with Probuckers and my other Ibanez with shit stock pickups and the difference in tone is completely negligible.

Definitely not worth the £200 or so you would spend on a name brand pickup set.

They sound different, and the Dimarzios are definitely better than the stock Ibanez pickups, but a new amp would do a lot more justice.
My Gear:
Ibanez Jet King 2
Ibanez RGDIX7 MPB
Ibanez GRG 7221
OLP John Petrucci
Epiphone Les Paul Custom Pro
Squier Stratocaster (modified)
Harley Benton CLD-41S (Acoustic)

Peavey Vypyr 30.

Boss CH-1 Super Chorus
Boss DD-3 Digital Delay
Boss FRV-1 '63 Fender Reverb
#33
Quote by dspellman
I leave the "vintage Gibson" stuff for the MLP folks. Those people will argue that a guitar doesn't exist until you put it in their hands and show them the receipt and COA and let them sniff the control cavity.


hahahahaha
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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?
#34
I don't put that much weight into pickups being that big of a difference in terms of sound. Especially compared to the rest of your rig. They're more of a minor adjustment after you've sorted the rest out.


That being said, the nicest sounding guitar I've played had a set of pickups in it that costed more than some of my guitars.
Quote by zgr0826
My culture is worthless and absolutely inferior to the almighty Leaf.


Quote by JustRooster
I incurred the wrath of the Association of White Knights. Specifically the Parent's Basement branch of service.
#35
I think it makes a difference. I mean, I have different guitars, and I use the ones which have the pickups which suit the sounds I'm going for, and really struggle to play properly and sound right if I'm not using the right gear. for the type of music I'm playing I mean, you'll struggle to make a tele not sound like a tele nomatter what amp you use (or at least I will). I'd say that qualifies as a pretty big difference.
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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 Jun 28, 2016,
#36
I never said it didn't make a difference. I said it didn't make a big one. Sure a single coil won't sound like exactly a humbucker but I don't think anybody expects them to. Just adjusting a specific pickup can yield a difference too and personally I find that to be just as good most of the time. Most people don't do that and go right to swapping out stuff. You'll hear a difference between my Dimarzio SD and my burstbucker but do you think you'd have such an easy time telling the differences between my BB and my Dimarzio 36th or my modded Parsons St PAF styles? Cause I personally can't tell much


I can make a tele sound like not a tele just fine!
Quote by zgr0826
My culture is worthless and absolutely inferior to the almighty Leaf.


Quote by JustRooster
I incurred the wrath of the Association of White Knights. Specifically the Parent's Basement branch of service.
#37
It's all about personal opinion and what sound you want to get. I have an Agile AL2000 and I like the stock pups quite a bit especially the neck pickup.
Yes I am guitarded also, nice to meet you.
#38
Quote by Dave_Mc
I mean, you'll struggle to make a tele not sound like a tele nomatter what amp you use (or at least I will). I'd say that qualifies as a pretty big difference.
I can make an anything not sound like an anything


Seriously though, pickups definitely have a significant impact, particularly in terms of overall output, as well as the general character of the tone. My Tele won't push anything like a Les Paul would push it without a significant amount of mid (and overall level) boost. That said, while pickups aren't somewhere I'd generally cheap out, there's only so much a £200 copper coil around a magnet or 6 can do that a £20 one can't. They can be different, but there's only so great an extent to which one can be "better".
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#40
I don't know, I'm quite a fan of decent pickups. There's no helping a dull EQ at the beginning of the signal chain. I'd definitely credit them higher than the 5% and "final touch" that's been previously postulated here.

Of course in this situation the first port of call is the Fender Mustang, that has to go. But then I'd say it's well worth upgrading the electronics. Another unpopular opinion: the Squiers aren't bad playing guitars with a little bit of work. Quite comfortable.
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