#1
Hello fellow axemen,

So I've put EMG's in my guitars, a cheap Flying-V with EMG 85X/60X (which sounds killer), and a 55/66 set in an Epiphone Les Paul (which also sounds killer!).

My problem however is that my favorite guitar (and more expensive guitar!), a neckthrough BC Rich Mockingbird Special with an EMG 81X/85X set don't really sound as badass as my other guitars. When I play it, I sort of wish it sounded like my cheap Flying-V and Epi Les Paul. Therefore, I'm guessing the 81X/85X simply don't compliment the body wood of the BC Rich Mockingbird, while the other pickups compliment my other guitars nicely.

I'm therefore considering swapping the pickups of my Mockingbird out with a different set, at first I was thinking the 57/66 because I keep wishing the Mockingbird would sound and feel a little bit more like the Epi Les Paul. However now with the new Retroactive pickups, I sort of wonder whether I should get those instead?

It's hard deciding based on YouTube videos, because they tend to use a OD pedal into a high gain amp and then further compress the audio when uploaded, so to me they all sound pretty similar and theres no way to know how they would react with the guitar wood and my playing.

So my question is, how do I know which set I want? The Fat 55 is apparently 'old skool' passive sounding, the super 77 is apparently like a hot rodded Fat 55 and the 57/66 also have a 'passive' feel to them.
#2
It probably isn't the wood that's making the difference you're hearing. Its more likely the construction of the guitar, the pots, the setup, the ergonomics of the instrument or a combination of all of the above. Some guitars are ergonomically designed in such a way that your picking hand naturally wants to fall to a different location along the strings length as you pick compared to other guitars. Which makes a huge difference to the tone. But I digress.

In what way does the BC Rich sound different to the other guitars?

Have you tried the 57/66 pickups in the BC Rich yet?
Roses are red
Violets are blue
Omae wa mou
Shindeiru



Quote by Axelfox
Reeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
#3
Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
It probably isn't the wood that's making the difference you're hearing. Its more likely the construction of the guitar, the pots, the setup, the ergonomics of the instrument or a combination of all of the above. Some guitars are ergonomically designed in such a way that your picking hand naturally wants to fall to a different location along the strings length as you pick compared to other guitars. Which makes a huge difference to the tone. But I digress.

In what way does the BC Rich sound different to the other guitars?

Have you tried the 57/66 pickups in the BC Rich yet?

Havent tried them yet, but my Epi Les Paul is a bit of a 'frankenstein' guitar, its better to leave those pickups in there for the time being because the pickup mounting rings are dodgy and I'm afraid if remove them they might not go back in properly.

However as for the sound, the best way I can describe it is both my Epi and cheap Flying-V sound 'Pantera-ish' or even Ola Englund-ish meaning with a high gain setting, chugging riffs sound like "CHUNK CHUNK CHUNK CHUNK"

The BC Rich however, sounds fatter and bigger, making the riffing sound 'softer'. So its less "CHUNK" and more "SHUNG SHUNG SHUNG".

To get it to sound close to my cheaper guitars, I kinda have to turn the tone knob on my OD pedal all the way up
#4
Have you considered that the exact position of your picking hand as you palm mute might not be exactly the same from one guitar to the next? Not to sound condescending, but all these things matter.

Have you messed about with the pickup height? That makes a really big difference but it's often completely overlooked.

Have you confirmed that this isn't a wiring issue?

Let's be pragmatic about this. It beats having to spend $250 on pickups when the problem could be resolved for free. I definitely still think swapping the pickups in the Epi for the BC Rich is worth doing and putting the pickups in the BC Rich in the Epi and testing that. Even if the rings are 'dodgy'. What do replacement mounting rings cost compared to $250 worth of pickups?
Roses are red
Violets are blue
Omae wa mou
Shindeiru



Quote by Axelfox
Reeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
#5
Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Have you considered that the exact position of your picking hand as you palm mute might not be exactly the same from one guitar to the next? Not to sound condescending, but all these things matter.

Have you messed about with the pickup height? That makes a really big difference but it's often completely overlooked.

Have you confirmed that this isn't a wiring issue?

All these things seem silly, but it beats having to spend $250 on pickups when the problem could be resolved for free. I definitely still think swapping the pickups in the Epi for the BC Rich is worth doing and putting the pickups in the BC Rich in the Epi and testing that. Even if the rings are 'dodgy'. What do replacement mounting rings cost compared to $250 worth of pickups?

Yes I've tried different parts of the strings for palm muting, the sound difference is pretty apparent with open chords as well.
I've messed with the pickup heights a few times, thing is since they're EMG's they're best kept close to the strings, all my EMG guitars are pretty much very close to the strings anyway.

Definitely not a wiring issue, as the pickups are all solderless and the notes ring full, solid and loudly with NO background hum at all. 

As for taking the pickups out of the Epi, the problem is I love the sound of that guitar and dont want to mess with it, it does give off a 'Slash' tone especially with leads on the neck pickup. The problem isn't really the mounting rings themselves, but the holes where the mounting screws go in are a bit worn and I'd rather not mess with it, as it might not go back in.

The Mockingbird had an 85X in the Bridge before, I thought it wasn't tight enough so I swapped it for an 81X and it only made a slight difference. That 'slight' difference sort of made me realise how much the guitar itself is responsible for its 'core' tone and the 81x and 85X are too similar to make any drastic changes in feel or tone.
#6
Quote by predz91
As for taking the pickups out of the Epi, the problem is I love the sound of that guitar and dont want to mess with it, it does give off a 'Slash' tone especially with leads on the neck pickup. The problem isn't really the mounting rings themselves, but the holes where the mounting screws go in are a bit worn and I'd rather not mess with it, as it might not go back in.

That's solved incredibly easily. Put a bit of glue on the end of a toothpick, put it into the holes for the screws and break it off. Let the glue set. Badda bing badda boom.
Roses are red
Violets are blue
Omae wa mou
Shindeiru



Quote by Axelfox
Reeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
#7
What kind of glue? However the question still remains though, if I were in the market for a new set of pickups, what would I have to look for and consider? The magnet? The levels of compression etc.? I mean if you read the descriptions of the pickups on their website, its still pretty much just sales jargon about how awesome they are with different adjectives.
#8
Yeah, that's the problem with buying pickups. There's not a whole lot you can do besides read about them as much as possible, listen to clips if they're available, and maybe try to get lucky at a guitar shop and try an instrument or two with those pickups already installed. 

After that, it's buy and hope. 
#9
Roc8995 Deffo, all I know is the classic EMG's dont do this guitar justice while they make my cheap ass guitar sound brootalz. All I know is it definitely has to be either one of the retroactives or the 57/66
#10
Quote by predz91
What kind of glue? 

The only purpose the glue serves is to stop the toothpicks falling out so you can use virtually anything.
However the question still remains though, if I were in the market for a new set of pickups, what would I have to look for and consider? The magnet? The levels of compression etc.? I mean if you read the descriptions of the pickups on their website, its still pretty much just sales jargon about how awesome they are with different adjectives.

You're pretty much described the nature of buying pickups sight unseen. There's absolutely no guarantee whatsoever that whatever you buy will even sound good in your guitar. There's always the possibility that new pickups will sound even worse. Which is why it's a good idea to do the cheap and simple things first.
Roses are red
Violets are blue
Omae wa mou
Shindeiru



Quote by Axelfox
Reeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
#11
T00DEEPBLUE Yeah but looking at the diagrams on the EMG website, swapping X-series for the 57/66 is not a simple plug and play. It does require a bit of rewriting, probably because their preamps are designed differently. Either way, the pups from the BC Rich need to go while the pups from the Epi need to stay :P. My brother might be visiting me and I'm thinking of asking him to buy EMG's for me since he lives in a country where they are cheaper than where I live
#12
What if I ask the question differently, has anyone tried the Retroactives and compared them to the 57/66?
#13
Quote by predz91
T00DEEPBLUE Yeah but looking at the diagrams on the EMG website, swapping X-series for the 57/66 is not a simple plug and play. It does require a bit of rewriting, probably because their preamps are designed differently. Either way, the pups from the BC Rich need to go while the pups from the Epi need to stay :P. My brother might be visiting me and I'm thinking of asking him to buy EMG's for me since he lives in a country where they are cheaper than where I live


Literally the only difference between the X series quick connect and a regular one like the 57/66 or whatever the heck is a single ground wire from the switch to the master tone pot so I don't see how it's any more complicated. Make sure you're looking at the right diagrams. Diagram 3 for the 57 and 6b for the X series. There's literally a single difference. Still plug and play.
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.
#15
Honestly you probably won't get many people that have used them around here considering they're relatively new pickups and I would say most people buying EMGs probably have no interest in an active 'retro' PAF style or a T-Top anyway. To me it seems really niche.


I mean, if you're that curious, get them and if you don't like it then sell them.
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.
#16
Oh and the retroactives are actually quite a bit cheaper than the 57/66 set. So... cheaper set AND more old skool passive tones? Thats gotta be somewhat appealing right? :P
#17
Quote by H4T3BR33D3R
Honestly you probably won't get many people that have used them around here considering they're relatively new pickups and I would say most people buying EMGs probably have no interest in an active 'retro' PAF style or a T-Top anyway. To me it seems really niche.  


I mean, if you're that curious, get them and if you don't like it then sell them.

I suppose. But I guess nobody here knows why I should get the Fat 55 set over the Super 77 or vice versa? Maybe the Fat 55 is less compressed, more PAF sounding.
#18
Quote by predz91
I suppose. But I guess nobody here knows why I should get the Fat 55 set over the Super 77 or vice versa? Maybe the Fat 55 is less compressed, more PAF sounding.


Nobody can tell you that without using both pickups. It's not like we can give you something accurate off a written spec sheet. I mean name wise, I could say that the 55s would be more PAF like and the 77s are probably closer to a T-Top. That doesn't mean they are though and I would have no clue considering I've never used them.


Quote by predz91
Oh and the retroactives are actually quite a bit cheaper than the 57/66 set. So... cheaper set AND more old skool passive tones? Thats gotta be somewhat appealing right? :P


If I want old school passive tones, I buy a passive pickup.


Also the 57/66 set is supposed to be like a vintage style pickup too so I doubt the retros will sound that much more 'vintage like' or whatever compared to them.
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.
Last edited by H4T3BR33D3R at Jul 27, 2017,
#19
Quote by H4T3BR33D3R
Nobody can tell you that without using both pickups. It's not like we can give you something accurate off a written spec sheet. I mean name wise, I could say that the 55s would be more PAF like and the 77s are probably closer to a T-Top. That doesn't mean they are though and I would have no clue considering I've never used them.


If I want old school passive tones, I buy a passive pickup.


Also the 57/66 set is supposed to be like a vintage style pickup too so I doubt the retros will sound that much more 'vintage like' or whatever compared to them.

Well I don't wanna go FULL passive, I still love that noiseless EMG
#20
Quote by predz91
Well I don't wanna go FULL passive, I still love that noiseless EMG


Do you have a reason aside from you just don't want to?


My passives are pretty noiseless. I mean they're potted humbuckers after all.
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.
#21
Yeah because my BC Rich is essentially my best playing guitar and its already got EMG's in them, so swapping them out for another set would be a piece of cake. Also EMG's are just cheaper where my brother lives and pretty much GAS too, they're new and look and sound cool. Even from compressed YT videos you can tell they've got way more character and dynamics than the standard EMG's

EDIT: Also because I record music for teh lulz right by my computer and passives would definitely pick up a lot of noise
#22
Well you've made up your mind already, so what are you waiting for? Obviously a pickup looking and being cool is really important.


EDIT: I literally never had a passive humbucker been noisy into an interface for recording. I'm curious. Where are you basing these things from?
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.
#23
Yeah but I havent made up my mind whether to get the Fat 55, the Super 77 or the 57/66 LOL, thats why I'm asking for help. I mean the 55 have alnico's and I do love that tone, but the 77 have ceramic which might just be the right bright attack I need?
#24

EDIT: I literally never had a passive humbucker been noisy into an interface for recording. I'm curious. Where are you basing these things from?

Well I've got my pedalboard here, with a power supply, a live amp, a Playstation and a bunch of lights because I can't see in the dark. I'm not talking about a lot of noise here, I just really enjoy that noiseless and clear EMG sound
#25
Quote by predz91
Yeah but I havent made up my mind whether to get the Fat 55, the Super 77 or the 57/66 LOL, thats why I'm asking for help. I mean the 55 have alnico's and I do love that tone, but the 77 have ceramic which might just be the right bright attack I need?


What's an alnico tone to you then? There are quite a few different alnico magnets and they all have different characteristics.


Also its good form to not think "well this has ceramics it HAS to be bright or this has an AII in it so it HAS to be warm" because magnets only play a small part overall. You still have the rest of the pickup that contributes to your tone like the amount of winds, what kind of wire they used for winding and just other things that will affect voicing.


So, you seem sold on the Retro sets so pick one you like best SOUND wise. Not what you think it will sound like.
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.
Last edited by H4T3BR33D3R at Jul 27, 2017,
#26
The alnico tone I like has a smoother top end, I've noticed that from comparing the EMG 85X in the bridge to the 81X, as well as the 57/66 set I have in the Epiphone
#27
Quote by H4T3BR33D3R
What's an alnico tone to you then?

Must resist mirror of WTLT.
Roses are red
Violets are blue
Omae wa mou
Shindeiru



Quote by Axelfox
Reeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
#28
Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Must resist mirror of WTLT.


Me too
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.
#30
The 57/66 is generally well loved by anyone who plays the set.

The RetroActive, as far as I'm aware, can only be found in some of the new Schecters. See if a local store has some of them in. Not as good as hearing them in YOUR guitar but it's something.
I'm just a kickin' and a gougin' in the mud and the blood and the beer.
#32
well the swap didn't go too well, when I swapped them I realised I forgot to change a few bits of wiring, thats why they sounded wrong. And when I realised theres more changing that needs to be done, I finally got the wiring correct and now I've messed up the toggle switch somehow (or it's just worn out over time). Because I've tested the wiring and it seems fine, both humbuckers work when tested, but using the toogle switch, when switching to the neck pickup theres no sound or signal coming through. 

In the bridge position, there is sound coming from the bridge pickup, in the middle there is sound coming from both, but in the neck position there is nothing. I'm guessing its the toggle switch.
#33
Check your wiring again and make sure you've done it right. 
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.
#34
Quote by H4T3BR33D3R
Check your wiring again and make sure you've done it right. 

Right, the wiring diagram on the EMG site do not match my components. That EMG buss thing, where you connect all the wires to, the black buss connector where it connects the output jack, bridge and neck volume are completely reversed. On the EMG site its from left to right, bridge, neck and output whereas on mine its output neck and bridge.

I don't know how that happened but thats pretty silly of EMG! I've been following the diagram closely, watching every cable, making sure the little arrow is facing the right way and not connected to the correct place but reversed. All this only to find out my buss never matched EMG's diagram in the first place! 
#35
Update:

After trying many times and being unsuccessful, I have noticed that I should probably swap the tone controls as well. The EMGX has active VLPF tone control but the EMG 57/66 do not, that could explain why no matter what I did something kept sounding 'wrong'
#36
It worked! The guitar sounds much more lively now, individual strings ring with more clarity with open chords, especially with high gain. It does have lower output and less compression, making tight gallops a bit harder to do, but the added dynamics allows you to make certain chugs punchier. It does sound slighty more 'passive' and allows more of your mistakes and playing to come through. So far I'm happy with it, I think I'm gonna put EMG Fat 55 set into the Epi Les Paul since it no longer has the 57/66 set anymore.