#1
Hello to all ultimate guitarists.

I have been recently thinking about buying a new guitar, because I want a change. I was thinking if I should buy more expensive guitar that feels great and I kind of like it, or if I should buy cheaper guitar that feels amazing and I love it.

I was thinking about IBANEZ CMM2 Black Flat or SCHECTER Omen 6, both come with passive pickups. Both feel great, but their sound is just missing something. So I would like active pickups, so I would like to change it.

Should I do it? Wouldn't change from passive pickups to active pickups mean to cut to guitar body? Because that is exactly what I don't want.

Thank you for all your responses.
#2
Odds are good that you'd need to route the body to make space for a battery.

Perhaps there is a passive pickup that will work- you're looking to play metal?
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!
#3
Quote by hukahuka1
cheaper guitar

feels amazing
Pick one.

The main problem with cheap guitars IMO is the fact that they have awful setups. I would not worry about pickups until the guitar you do choose is properly set up. Many cheap guitars are purely unplayable until they are setup but when they are setup, you have a solid workhorse. The "something missing" could just be that fact- not that the pickups are passive or plainly bad.

Furthermore, I am not a big fan of active pickups. They may too easily overdrive the input of your amp and they are difficult to "clean up" the sound when rolling back the volume knob of the guitar. I think they can be put to good use but I do not think switching from passive to active pups is your end-all solution. And as dannyalcatraz said, likely you will be required to route out a spot for the battery for the active pups.

Another very important factor here is the amp- what amp do you have/are you using to test the guitars with?
Last edited by Will Lane at Dec 26, 2016,
#4
Difference between good guitars and budget guitars are material and sound. Good vs cheap. If you don't plan to keep a guitar long then get a budget job.
Parker PDF30
Vox VT40+
#5
hukahuka1
What's the rest of your gear? The pickups should ALWAYS be the last thing to upgrade in your gear. The difference they make in your sound is minimal, and when you're playing through a cheap amplifier, it's even unnoticable. Oftentimes beginner and intermediate guitarists will want to change their pickups, because they get the impression everyone does so and will in consequence often rather imagine that they do hear a difference, just to justify their purchase.

That being said, you'd be surprised how much a proper set up (neck, string height, intonation, tuning) and even clean and new strings can improve your sound. Still, your sound ist by a large part shaped by your amplifier. Make sure you got a good one. Your guitar should primarily feel right in your hands.
Ibanez S570DXQM-BBB
DiMarzio Evolution HSH
Ibanez RG927WBBZ-TGF
DiMarzio Evolution 7 & DiMarzio LiquiFire 7
Peavey Valve King 112, Peavey Vypyr 15
Harley Benton NG-100, Ibanez Weeping Demon

Quote by metalmingee
In fact, wanting different tunings is one of the best reasons to convince others that you need more guitars.
#6
My priorities would be a neck that I like the feel of and good fret work.

Pickups can easily be changed and from my perspective is some of the easiest work (compared to a fret level and crown).

If the battery will fit or not depends on how your guitar is routed and if there is enough room. In some guitars you can fit 2 9v batteries and there's still space left over. Others won't fit 1.

Can you fit a 9v battery reasonably well in your cavity? If so you should be fine.
Guitars:
Ibanez RG1570 Prestige
Jackson Kelly KE3 - MIJ (Distortion/Jazz)
Jackson DKMGT Dinky (EMG 81/85)
ESP E-II Eclipse Custom (JB/'59)
ESP LTD EC-1001FR (EMG 81/60)
Fender MIM Strat

Amps:
Mesa/Boogie Dual Rectifier Roadster 212
Laney IronHeart IRT-Studio
Peavey Vypyr 30
Peavey ReValver Amp Sims
TOOOO many T.C. Electronic Pedals. . .
#7
I've been using budget guitars for years and some really have pathetic pups. I replaced them with SD and DiMarzio and always a major improvement but not as good as a good guitar. There's more to the guitar than the pups.

I found that out when I was able to get custom made guitars. Big world of difference that I never looked back until now with my Parker PDF30. I quit playing years ago and I got this guitar and the Vox amp to noodle on. It's not bad but never as good as what I had.

You can get a decent budget guitar but it has to be hand picked. Play as many as you can and don't look at the color. Take the one that spoke to you.
Parker PDF30
Vox VT40+
#8
OldRocker

My favourite guitar cost Oz$65 at the hock shop. I bought it for the neck and body, and didn't even bother plugging it in before buying. However, the pickups turned out to be very good indeed. - "More" isn't the same as "better", IMO. You have to trust your ears and not rely on wikiwisdom, but as you say, you have to be discriminating.

Hukahuka1, I'm all in favour of upgrading cheap, at least in solidbody electrics, but the conversion to active will likely mean some body work, as noted.
#9
Oh wow, so much responses. Thank you all.
Quote by dannyalcatraz
Odds are good that you'd need to route the body to make space for a battery.

Perhaps there is a passive pickup that will work- you're looking to play metal?


Yes, dannyalcatraz, I am playing metal, from Metallica to Amon Amarth.

Quote by Will Lane

Another very important factor here is the amp- what amp do you have/are you using to test the guitars with?

Quote by Dragonfyre137

What's the rest of your gear?


I have ENGL Gigmaster 15 Head with ENGL 1x12 PRO Straight E112VB cabinet. Good enough for smaller gigs IMO
#10
hukahuka1

In that case, might I suggest Lace Alumitone Deathbuckers. To me, they're among the most EMG-like passive pickups out there.

Here's a guy comparing Deathbuckers to EMGs.


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
Quote by hukahuka1
I was thinking if I should buy more expensive guitar that feels great and I kind of like it, or if I should buy cheaper guitar that feels amazing and I love it.


1. You can usually make nearly any guitar (assuming you like the neck profile) feel great in terms of playability.
2. Buying a guitar with plans to change the pickups (especially to actives) never made much sense to me -- you're essentially paying for pickups twice.
#12
I do it all the time. I rarely even plug the guitar in before I buy it. I assume that I will be swapping pups so what's the point?
Gilchrist custom
Yamaha SBG500
Telecasters
Randall RM100 & RM20
Marshall JTM45 clone
Marshall JCM900 4102 (modded)
Marshall 18W clone
Fender 5F1 Champ clone
Atomic Amplifire
Marshall 1960A
Boss GT-100


Cathbard Amplification
My band
#13
Sorry Danny, EMG sounds much better. I have a set of D'Activators that's supposed to sound like the EMGs but no dice. No passives will sound as good as actives.
Parker PDF30
Vox VT40+
#14
OldRocker

Personally, I prefer the Lace pickups, but everyone's tastes differ. That's why there are so many companies making pickups in general.
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!
#15
hukahuka1

It really is all up to you . If a cheaper guitar feels nice in your hands , then go for it . I will say though that I got a schecter omen 6 and I swapped the pickups for dimarzios, bought some used Grover tuners and set it up myself to have lower action + intonated it ( there's tutorials on YouTube ) and it plays and sounds almost as good as my avenger $800 (at least that's what it retails at ) .

If I do the math though I paid $300 for the guitar new plus $95 for 2 used dimarzios and $40 for the tuners . Total around $435 . But I'll also mention I did these upgrades over the years and not all at once .

If I were to buy a guitar now and had to choose between a cheap guitar to upgrade and a new expensive one . I wouldn't go with either . I would rather buy an excellent used guitar , I feel that's the best way to get the most for your money , used guitars at guitar center , pawn shops , Craigslist . Just try it out first to know what you're getting
#16
It's not uncommon for me to spend as much as the guitar on pups.
Gilchrist custom
Yamaha SBG500
Telecasters
Randall RM100 & RM20
Marshall JTM45 clone
Marshall JCM900 4102 (modded)
Marshall 18W clone
Fender 5F1 Champ clone
Atomic Amplifire
Marshall 1960A
Boss GT-100


Cathbard Amplification
My band
#17
Cathbard

My 2003 Dean Special Select EVO will likely come close to that. For an inexpensive Dean, it is shockingly well made. The pickups are the only thing about it I'd change.
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!
#18
I agree that the cheapness is more evident in workmanship and overall feel than tone. Cheap guitars just suck to play. By the time you buy the pickups and pay for new routing, new wiring... you're probably looking at $300+ on top of whatever the guitar costs. Unless you're gonna drop some EMGs into a Squire it's unlikely you're saving much money, and in fact you're probably spending more.

I wouldn't buy a cheap guitar just to gut it. If you want a custom project, get a guitar that's already decent and really benefits from the upgrades. Nothing wrong with getting one used, either.
Last edited by cdgraves at Dec 27, 2016,
#19
Some cheap guitars play very well. I bought an LTD EC100 for $150 used. Spent $150 on a used set of Railhammers and the thing rocks.
Gilchrist custom
Yamaha SBG500
Telecasters
Randall RM100 & RM20
Marshall JTM45 clone
Marshall JCM900 4102 (modded)
Marshall 18W clone
Fender 5F1 Champ clone
Atomic Amplifire
Marshall 1960A
Boss GT-100


Cathbard Amplification
My band
#20
Yup.

My EVO? I doubt I'd buy another one...at least, not one of the newer ones. But there is nothing wrong with the ergonomics of mine. It holds tune like a vuse. The pickups are what keeps it from getting more use.

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!
#21
look into a used jackson soloist with emgs, super affordable. or a ltd 400 series with emgs, both super cheap great options.
Ibanez Rg 321mh
Squier Classic Vibe 1970s Precision Bass
Guitar Rig 5
Presonus Audiobox
Behringer Truth B2030A