#1
Greetings All,

I have an Ibanez RG3EX (one of those GC exclusive ones) with a fixed bridge and I'm playing through this dandy new fender hot rod deville (2x12 60watt tube). I love the amp, but the guitar doesn't sound that great through it and I was thinking I'd give new pickups a try. The pickups currently installed are the factory "designed by emg" passive pickups.

What I really want is a new warmoth stratocaster with the EMG dave gilmour pickguard (emg SA pickups, I believe). However, I don't have the money to drop on a new guitar right now, so pickups for the RG seem to be my best bet. I use this guitar to play worship music for the church on Sundays, but I also rock out on the weekdays with the same guitar. So my ideal range of tones would be john mayer type clean sounds, SRV bluesy tones, hendrix tones (starting to see why I want a strat?), all the way up to some pretty decent distortion. I don't do much distortion on rhythm, but I'd love pickups that would give me clear and super-compressed overdriven/distorted lead tones.

I guess when it comes down to it, I care more about clarity and overall tone in my pickups as opposed to sheer output and potential distortion. At the same time though, I don't want to limit myself too badly by getting pickups that are muddy on distorted lead work.

Here's a few of my favorite bands to give you an idea of what I listen to:
Jimi Hendrix Experience
Led Zeppelin
Pink Floyd
John Mayer
SRV
etc.

so think of classic rock but maybe a bit of a more modern edge when it comes to distortion... *shrug*

I'm very interactive with my volume/tone knobs and pickup selector switch, so pickups that dynamically respond to such changes would be great.

I dunno guys, pickups are way beyond my current knowledge base and I need your help to make a decision on this.

Thanks,
Alexander

P.S.

I also don't care about passive or active, nor am I partial to any one brand.
Last edited by ayounus at Apr 3, 2008,
#3
http://www.musiciansfriend.com/product/Ibanez-RG3EXQM1-Quilted-Maple-Top-Electric-Guitar?sku=519784 is the guitar. Dual humbuckers.

I thought I was decently thorough with my op, but I shall try again in different words

My pickups now just sound cheap and muddy. They don't cut through the mix, they aren't dynamic as far as volume changes, picking technique, or pretty much anything. They're pretty high output naturally, and don't clean up very well either.

What I want is a pair of humbuckers that cleans up nicely when the volume is rolled off without it affecting the clarity of the sound (EQ wise) by making it muddy. However, I want these humbuckers to be able to deliver decently distorted lead tones (coheed and cambria's "welcome home"?).

I don't really know how to get much clearer than that this late at night... maybe I'm being as unclear as my pickups are?

Hope that helps out a bit more,
Alexander
#4
Well, the HRD's distortion isn't that fantastic, TBH. I would describe it as fairly muddy.

So your pickups may not be the problem here. Not that the designed by EMG pickups are good....It's that we have to look at the whole picture, and pickups are a small part of the equation.

New pickups also don't really help "cut through the mix", IMO. There may be other reason you have problems. Your guitar should have no problem cutting through the mix, since it's basswood. Very rich in mids. So...How is your EQ set up? Proper EQ is essential to cutting through the mix.

Coheed and Cambria's guitarist use high gain amps, ranging from mesa Triple Recs to Bogner Uberschall's. To expect lead tone like theirs from a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe is almost laughable, you know?
#5
I'm fairly certain its the guitar because when I plug my friends voodoo strat in it sounds fantastic. Clean, clear, crisp, dynamic... everything I'm looking for.

As far as the amp's distortion, yes - you're right. I didn't buy the HRD for the distortion though, and I have a tube screamer to tighten up that aspect. I'm more concerned with the muddiness of the cleaner channels and the fact that I can't get a dynamic feel out of the ibanez.

And the lead tone was just something I threw out there because I didn't want to get stuck with pickups that aren't capable of putting out their part of a tone chain like that of C&C's guitarists, like through a different rig or whatnot. The person who says you can have too many amps must be a drummer, right?

I'm currently looking into a SD jazz in the neck with the JB in the bridge. We'll see how that plays out overnight, though...

Thanks for taking the time to reply to this
Alexander
Last edited by ayounus at Apr 3, 2008,
#6
bias the tubes? might be a tad to cool and need to run them higher, fender does bias the tubes a a tad to low for 6L6GCs. Hes right, theres a lot more going on then the the guitar, but u did say ur friends guitar sounds way better, i have a tweed HRDex, and its pretty muddy with out it EQ'd probably. i dont have and experience with that guitar, but my ibanez's sound amazing through it, SZ720fm is awesome 4 my tone
Gear

Ibanez sz720fm
Orange Tiny Terror with custom handmade 2x12 (Jensen Electric Lightning's)
Vox V87a Wah-pedal
#7
Quote by ayounus
I'm fairly certain its the guitar because when I plug my friends voodoo strat in it sounds fantastic. Clean, clear, crisp, dynamic... everything I'm looking for.

As far as the amp's distortion, yes - you're right. I didn't buy the HRD for the distortion though, and I have a tube screamer to tighten up that aspect. I'm more concerned with the muddiness of the cleaner channels and the fact that I can't get a dynamic feel out of the ibanez.

And the lead tone was just something I threw out there because I didn't want to get stuck with pickups that aren't capable of putting out their part of a tone chain like that of C&C's guitarists, like through a different rig or whatnot. The person who says you can have too many amps must be a drummer, right?

I'm currently looking into a SD jazz in the neck with the JB in the bridge. We'll see how that plays out overnight, though...

Thanks for taking the time to reply to this
Alexander


Meh to the JB/Jazz combo. Highly overrated. Which country are you in, BTW?

As far as that Strat, maybe you like the tone of single coils? That would be why they're more crisp and have more top end.
I mean, looking at your favorite bands, the majority of them use Strats.

Quote by ayounus
The person who says you can have too many amps must be a drummer, right?

Amen.
#8
Quote by Ampto
bias the tubes? might be a tad to cool and need to run them higher, fender does bias the tubes a a tad to low for 6L6GCs. Hes right, theres a lot more going on then the the guitar, but u did say ur friends guitar sounds way better, i have a tweed HRDex, and its pretty muddy with out it EQ'd probably. i dont have and experience with that guitar, but my ibanez's sound amazing through it, SZ720fm is awesome 4 my tone

Your guitar sounds awesome through it, my friend's guitar sounds awesome through it, and mine doesnt. Makes me fairly positive its the ibanez by process of elimination. I'll look into biasing the tubes though when I do the other mods I have planned for the HRD.
Quote by forsaknazrael
Meh to the JB/Jazz combo. Highly overrated. Which country are you in, BTW?

As far as that Strat, maybe you like the tone of single coils? That would be why they're more crisp and have more top end.
I mean, looking at your favorite bands, the majority of them use Strats.

I'm in the USA. Why is the jb/jazz combo so highly overrated? what other pickup choices then would you suggest instead of pointing to my amp? I'm not trying to sound like a jerk at all but I just merely wanted some pickup suggestions to help out my ibanez's clean sounds. As far as the strat/single coils comment goes...
Quote by ayounus
So my ideal range of tones would be john mayer type clean sounds, SRV bluesy tones, hendrix tones (starting to see why I want a strat?)

Quote by ayounus
What I really want is a new warmoth stratocaster with the EMG dave gilmour pickguard (emg SA pickups, I believe). However, I don't have the money to drop on a new guitar right now, so pickups for the RG seem to be my best bet.
#9
The JB/Jazz combo is the standard set for better than average mass-produced guitars, it's like the first thing they do when they want to make a guitar seem more exciting...there's better choices out there. If you really want to get something closer to a strat clean sound from the neck then the Dimarzio Humbucker From Hell might be what you;re looking for. For the bridge I'd probabl;y match that with a Norton in your situation.
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#10
Quote by ayounus
I'm in the USA. Why is the jb/jazz combo so highly overrated? what other pickup choices then would you suggest instead of pointing to my amp? I'm not trying to sound like a jerk at all but I just merely wanted some pickup suggestions to help out my ibanez's clean sounds. As far as the strat/single coils comment goes...

Sorry if it seems I was pushing the amp as the issue, it's just that the amp is just the majority of your tone, so if you felt like you weren't getting the tones you want, it's easier and cheaper to look at your EQ (Which you didn't let us in on...) and the possibility that you might be trying to get tones out of it and your guitar that aren't possible. Pickup changes aren't always the best choice, and more of a difference can be made by looking at alternative issues.

In any case, I second steven seagull's suggestion, the Humbucker From Hell + Norton. The HFH is bright enough that you might be able to do that Strat thing okay. I would also install series/parallel switch, if you want to clean up the tone by dropping the output a little, and it'll also brighten up the tone some.

The JB Jazz would just be a bad idea because it's not as versatile as they make it seem. There's just better hocie out there. And the Jazz, IMO, is a fairly warm neck pickup, doesn't sound like a Strat at all. Not enough top end to it.
#11
I second the suggestion of a Humbucker from Hell in the neck. I would however try a JB in the bridge. I tried a HRD 4x10 with my Jackson (has a JB in the bridge) and it seemed to really cut through due the pronounced mids and presence of the JB. Alternatively, if you bought a DiMarzio Norton and didn't like it, you could exchange it with DiMarzio, but only for another DiMarzio. A DiMarzio and a Duncan could also be a wiring headache to avoid phase issues, especially if you coil tap them.