Making this thread just to see where everyone stands and get some opinions I guess.
The eternal war, the PAF humbuckers versus the high output chugger, al la EMGs, Blackouts, SD Distortions and Dim Supers.
One the one hand, PAFs can do just about any damn sound or genre, and they have better roll off. I tend to find them more open sounding, and the sound is more about the feel of what you're playing than the actual tone.
"Metal" pickups, on the other hand, are completely the opposite. They tend to be very focused in the mids, and the output they produce is almost universally double that of a traditional PAF. They certainly kick, but they also tend to have a very set character as far as their tone goes. Not that that is bad, they are just very, specialized, I guess. It seems to me that with PAFs, feel is far more important, whereas with the high output pickups, your playing and setting come into play a bit more.
I've gotten great tones out of both. I have a Gibson 498T in my LP, and I can play anything through it. My Jackson has my much lamented J50BC in it, and it gets really thick sounding, but it's still pretty traditional sounding. I've also gotten great tones out of a standard SG with a 490T pickups, which is vintage output with ALnico II magnets. I also have the EMG setup in my LTD, and I love duncan distortions, which are super, super metal sounding. ANd my experiences with the X2n were very positive as well.
As far as pickups actually go, I like to have a variety, but if I was playing live and had to pick betwen two guitars I've never played based on tone, and one had a PAF style and the other a 'high-output' style pickup, I'd go with the PAF to be safe.
Where do you guys stand on these? And the topic brings up another area, the middle ground pickups like my 498T, the JB, and the Duncan Custom, which is a high output PAF. What are you're preferences, and why do you prefer? I'd love to here opinions from across the gamut of styles.
Same as you, pretty much. Very high output pickups tend to be very focused in one part of the tonal spectrum, while lower output pickups tend to be more balanced. Unless I'm after something very particular, I'll take the even, balanced tone every time.