#1
Hi everyone!
I'm looking to upgrade the pickups on my Ibanez S520EX since the stock ones aren't cutting it for me (Infinities).
I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions for good pickups to replace them with since i don't know whether to go with some Active EMG's (60 and 81 seems a good combo) or some passive Seymour Duncans (such as the JB/Jazz set).
I'm looking for a Melodic Death Metal tone since i'm mainly learning some early In Flames material (i'm aware that i would need a killer amp like the Peavey 5150 to completely achieve their tone but thats not an option right now!).
Obviously i'm open to any suggestions on pickups (not just the two mentioned above); they just seem to be a popular choice for a metal style tone.

If it helps the decision i'm currently using a Korg AX3000G with a Peavey RAGE 15watt solid-state amp (second-hand one made in USA) - i'm putting some moeny to one side to get a decent tube amp but the Peavey will have to do for now.
Gear:
>ESP LTD FX-400SM
>LAG Jet JM100 with Swineshead Venom (bridge) and Warthog (neck) pickups
>EHX Bigg Muff Pi
>BOSS MT-2 Metal Zone
>Epiphone Valve Standard (Class A 15Watt)
#2
Check out some of the DiMarzio high-output ones for the bridge. Super Distortion or if your chops are really up and you never **** up, maybe Evos. For the neck, a mid output DiMarzio should work, maybe a Fred or PAF Pro.
#3
Thanks i'll have a look on the DiMarzio site and see what they have to offer.
I'm not just wanting a Death Metal tone though since i also play a bit of Megadeth and Coheed and Cambria so something that would cover all of those would be ideal.
Are the DiMarzios you mention able to produce such tones or just a heavy distortion?
Gear:
>ESP LTD FX-400SM
>LAG Jet JM100 with Swineshead Venom (bridge) and Warthog (neck) pickups
>EHX Bigg Muff Pi
>BOSS MT-2 Metal Zone
>Epiphone Valve Standard (Class A 15Watt)
#4
The Evos are extremely high output, they're Steve Vais signature models and they will higlight every mistake you make. The super Distortions will handle all the tones you listed as a bridge pup, as for the neck, if you want a bit more versatility, I'd still look at the PAF Pro, and maybe the PAF Classic.
#5
Cheers i'll give them a look.
Know any good retailers of these pickups for the UK?
Only if i can get an idea of cost then i can ask the local guitar shop if they can match the price and order them in for me.

Oh BTW would i need to buy the "F-spaced" pickup since my guitar has a locking tremelo?
Gear:
>ESP LTD FX-400SM
>LAG Jet JM100 with Swineshead Venom (bridge) and Warthog (neck) pickups
>EHX Bigg Muff Pi
>BOSS MT-2 Metal Zone
>Epiphone Valve Standard (Class A 15Watt)
Last edited by Mirkin_321 at Jul 17, 2006,
#6
Sorry man, I don;t know any UK retailers. In Aussie DOllars you're looking at about $200 for the SD, and $160 or the PAF Pro
#7
Ok thanks - i should have read your location lol
Looks like the Super Distortion is about £70 here.
Gear:
>ESP LTD FX-400SM
>LAG Jet JM100 with Swineshead Venom (bridge) and Warthog (neck) pickups
>EHX Bigg Muff Pi
>BOSS MT-2 Metal Zone
>Epiphone Valve Standard (Class A 15Watt)
#8
I would invest more in a new amp, if your still using that Peavey Rage...
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#9
yeh save the money for a tube amp. if your not gigging a fender blues junior should do fine but if you do you may wanna look at 40 watt tube amps and higher.
#10
Thanks for the advice on the amps but as i said in the original post, i am currently saving for an amp (probably go for a Vox AC30 unless it's not good for metal).
But for now i need to get some new pickups and i'm having a hard time choosing between DiMarzios, Duncans and EMG's since all the threads i look at seem to recommend different ones (ie. some ppl say the EMG's are "stale" in comparison to passives but others like them etc.).
I think i may go with the Dimarzios with a Super Distortion in the Bridge and a PAF Pro in the neck as suggested by Weybl but i'm still not sure!
Any suggestions?

Edit: I've had a look around online and found this amp: http://www.guitarampkeyboard.com/options.php?id=68827
Is it any good for the price (i'm not gigging or anything and my room is small).
Also, on the pickup side, "Swineshead" (http://www.swinesheadpickups.co.uk/) pickups look affordable and i was considering getting a Venom Bridge with a Warthog in the neck. Is this a good combo?
Finally, would i need to buy "trem" versions of both pickups or is it only the bridge pup that needs to be trem spacing?
Cheers
Gear:
>ESP LTD FX-400SM
>LAG Jet JM100 with Swineshead Venom (bridge) and Warthog (neck) pickups
>EHX Bigg Muff Pi
>BOSS MT-2 Metal Zone
>Epiphone Valve Standard (Class A 15Watt)
Last edited by Mirkin_321 at Jul 17, 2006,
#11
Swineshead are good pickups, I dont know too much about them though... Their main "distortion" pickup is the Xbucker, so maybe an Xbucker bridge and Venom neck? Unless you dont want a purely metal combo, which in that case, a Venom-Warthog would be good.

I'd imagine there are trem versions for both the neck and bridge.

The Vox AC30 isnt known for its metal capabilities, but if you plug an overdrive pedal into it, it would probably be able to get somewhere...
Dyer's Eve is awesome, and has an abnormally large penis, which doesn't act as any hinderance to his everyday life despite its freakishly large size.
For unrivaled obedience, user King_ofKumbucha is awarded this spot of honor.
#13
^i think he meant the actual ac 30, not a valvetronix model
but yea the ac30 can get you classic rock sounds at most by itself. you would basically have to have an overdrive/distortion pedal and a decent eq.
since youre in the uk, take a look at bare knuckle pickups. theyre expensive as hell though, and you might be better off getting a nicer amp first. just throwig that out there.
#15
swineys are excellent. Better than any duncans or dimarzios I've tried (which is not all of them, to be fair, but I've tried a fair whack of them now). Venom bridge, warthog neck should be pretty good. Maybe a runaway in the neck if you want better cleans. And the warthog is a good bridge pickup if you want to be able to play rock convincingly too.

I also wouldn't buy the ac30 for metal...

you also may want to look into bareknuckles, if you were willing to fork out for duncans/dimarzios/emg's: www.bareknucklepickups.co.uk At a guess, look into the miracle man, nailbomb, holy diver, warpig (maybe too heavy), cold sweat. But ask on the forums over there!
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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?
#16
Cheers for all the advice everyone!
I mailed Swineshead asking about their humbuckers and they seem to think the Venom in the Bridge with Trem spacing and the Warthog in the neck (standard spacing for neck apparently - same on all guitars) is a good choice for metal as well as rock etc.
Since it will take me a good while to save up for a decent amp (and since i'm not that good at guitar anyway!) i have ordered an Epiphone Valve Standard 15W combo for £245.
Seems good value and it has three preamp tubes and two outputs tubes (Class A) so according to most reviews it can produce really nice vintage ones but if i plug my Korg in i'll be able to achieve some good Metal and Rock distortions
One thing i am curious about is when it comes to fitting the pickups i would like to do it myself since its better that way but i have never done it before. The main question i have is whether or not i can just use the existing wires in the guitar and solder then insulate them to the wires for the pickups or whether i need to pull out all of the old pickups wires and then attach the new ones one-by-one?
Doing the job should be easy (i have an AS in electronics and the schematics look easy to follow) but i was just wondering whether it is worth wiring is fresh or not?
Cheers

(Just noticed that Barenuckle are based here in Devon :O - They look awesome too but i'll have to think about it since the cost may not be justifiable unless they are lightyears ahead of the Swineheads soundwise)
Gear:
>ESP LTD FX-400SM
>LAG Jet JM100 with Swineshead Venom (bridge) and Warthog (neck) pickups
>EHX Bigg Muff Pi
>BOSS MT-2 Metal Zone
>Epiphone Valve Standard (Class A 15Watt)
Last edited by Mirkin_321 at Jul 18, 2006,
#17
^ i haven't tried any BK's, they're meant to be better than SH, but SH are still pretty good. If budget is a concern (and it is), then you'd be better with SH, in my opinion- you'd get more return on putting your money towards a better amp...

just out of interest (maybe too late if you've already ordered) have you checked out the laney vc15- it might be worth a look... (i think it's the same price as the epi on gak).

oh, and for the pickups- you have to remove the old pickup wires, but you can leave the wires going to the volume and tone pots in place.
I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
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?
#18
Cool thanks for the info!
I'll probably go for the Swineheads but i may go with some BK's if i have the money (i'll wait until payday for the pickups ).
I have checked out that Laney and it looks pretty good (similar price too), but is it any better than the epihone (i can still cancel the epiphone since they will be getting in stock today so despatch tomorrow)?
Gear:
>ESP LTD FX-400SM
>LAG Jet JM100 with Swineshead Venom (bridge) and Warthog (neck) pickups
>EHX Bigg Muff Pi
>BOSS MT-2 Metal Zone
>Epiphone Valve Standard (Class A 15Watt)
#19
Well, EMG's won't really fit the battery unless its a real tight fit. i had a look in my S470DX ( i would have gone 520 but i wanted a maple top :P )

I'd recommend DiMarzio, I'm slapping a DSonic and a Air Norton in mine
#20
I've gone cold on the idea of EMG's anyhow - i hear they all sound "sterile" anyway and i like the way both SH and BK give you plenty of options for colours and covers etc.
I considered a S470DX but i didn't like the single coil (would get in the way for me)!
It'll be a while before i fit any pickups so if yours end up being really good please let me know (a recording would be great!).
Cheers
Gear:
>ESP LTD FX-400SM
>LAG Jet JM100 with Swineshead Venom (bridge) and Warthog (neck) pickups
>EHX Bigg Muff Pi
>BOSS MT-2 Metal Zone
>Epiphone Valve Standard (Class A 15Watt)