I have an HSS mahogany strat body and a rosewood neck with which I was intending to use a set of EMG pickups (S/S/81), however after battling with the battery and a little more thought I have decided to sell the pickups and get something passive (and more flexible).

I have a Vox AD30VT amp and I play mostly rock/heavy rock with some Metallica (songs like Fade to Black)

I've been looking at Seymour Duncan pickups like the Pearly Gates, Custom Custom and JB - what do people think of these? Also, what single coils should I get to go with them, something like the SSL-5 or SSL-6?
Last edited by sblainey at Apr 15, 2008,
EMG's work there best when you run two batteries to make them 18V not 9V. You don't get the slightly compressed sound that you do with 9V systems. More voltage means more headroom means cleaner sounds.

One guitar tech i speak to loves the hot mexican single coil sets - apparently they are very versatile but if you play with lots of distortion you might want to be looking at the noiseless fender p/ups?
My opinion is that the JB sounds nice for leads, with lots of subtle harmonics, but sounds a bit thin for heavy rhythm playing. I have one in my 7-string (also made out of mahogany) and it just doesn't cut it.

The problem for you is that you have two singlecoils, which need to match the humbucker in output level. To me, hot humbuckers are optimal for the bridge, and "weak" singlecoils are nicest for the neck. So you need to decide which one you want the most.

I have a pretty hot DiMarzio Steve's Special in my Mahogany Warmoth, aswell as a DiMarzio Chopper (singlecoil) in the neck, and the Chopper is very high output for a singlecoil. As a result, it sounds pretty much like a humbucker. It's a bit sad, but you kind of have to comprimise with HSS guitars.
Thanks... I understand what you mean... the biggest problem does appear to be finding single-coils and a humbucker which will work together...

Although, I think we're getting closer, after listening to some samples I think I'm after a Seymour Duncan JB in the bridge and two SSL-4's for the neck and middle...

What do people think of that?