This will be a bit of a mixed-question thread, since I have a couple of pickup questions that I need some answers to. I'll just list them all. All help is very appreciated!
1. If what I've heard is correct, EMG's have different dimensions than other pickups. So if I want to replace a pair of EMG humbuckers with lets say seymour duncans or dimarzios, can I do that without wreaking havoc on the guitar with my lathe? (btw is lathe the correct word for the tool that's supposed to be called a lathe according to my dictionary?)
2. Some rerouting are required for a swap from actives to passives (and vice versa), or at least so I've heard. Can someone please specify it a bit more? Exactly what is a rerouting, why is it necessary and can I do it myself (consider me completely rookie when it comes to guitar service above the change string and intonate level).
3. I have been interested in an 8 string the last couple of months, and I tried an RGA8 some time ago. It definitely felt like something I would enjoy playing However, I would like to change the pickups. I have no proper idea what kind of pickups I want, but I'm thinking maybe blackouts or emg808's. So...
3a. What would you recommend pickup-wise for an RGA8? I play metal (I am truly unique I know ), and in particular melodic death metal/symphonic black metal/metalcore/death metal-ish music. Dark Tranquillity, MyGrain and Dimmu Borgir are constant favourites.
3b. What kind of pickups can be fitted to an RGA8 without resorting to the lathe again?
4. Seymour Duncan pickups have constantly been a source of a great deal of confusion for me. :S I just cannot find a way to know what model is which :S So if anyone could illuminate me how SD pickups are labelled I would greatly appreciate it!
For example, these pickups are? What model?
SH-4, SH-1, TB-4, JB-4, SH 59, etc. Their homepage is impossibly maze-like too, so no help there :S
5. I have tried what I think is a TB-4, or SH-4, and I really liked it! However I would love to fit it to a 7 string. I do not know if it exists as a 7 string version, but then I came to think of this:
Does this guitar have a SH-4 as a 7 string version? And what is the other pickup?
Sorry for the wall of text
1. This only applies to 7 and 8-string pickups, since EMG uses their bass pickup housing for these pickups. So, if you are switching away from EMG, your only choices are Duncan Blackouts or custom (be it getting someone to wind you something in that housing, or modifying existing pickups to fit).
2. Not rerouting so much as rewiring/replacing, since all pickups require rerouting. Active pickups use potentiometers with drastically different values (typically 25K, as opposed to 500K), so you have to replace them. You can keep the switches and the jack (active jacks are stereo, but you can just leave the unneeded side unwired).
4./5. You have to look up the model code by pickup. However, I can tell you that a SH-4 is a JB. A TB-4 is a Trembucker, or F-spaced, version of the JB. All regular Duncan passive humbuckers are SH, and F-spaced are TB. Avoid the Trembuckers, since F-spacing on modern pickups is no longer relevant, and the Trembuckers sound worse than their regular counterparts. The JB is one of the models Duncan offers in 7-string variants.