The penny's dropped. Lower output pickups are better, even for high gain. - Page 2
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Thread: The penny's dropped. Lower output pickups are better, even for high gain.

  1. #9

    Join Date: Feb 2010
    Location: Laramie, Wyoming
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    Quote Originally Posted by Randy View Post
    In my experience, say there's 12 general sounds you get out of a guitar, 2 of them are better with a high output pickup, 5 or 6 of them are better with a low/moderate output pickup and the rest are pretty much even. My desert island pickup would be somewhere between a PAF 36th or '59 for exactly that reason, but that's because of the sorta stuff I'm into. If you live off of like, Killswitch Engage or something, I'd imagine you can rock an 18k ceramic mag pickup for the rest of your life with no regrets.
    Killswitch Engage is actually the band that largely popularized the 85 in the bridge, while I personally don't like the sound or the band, they are definitely associated with mainstream metal sounds moving to Alnico bridge pickups.

    I'm not sure how groundbreaking of a discovery "lower output pickups hit with a boost/preamp sound better than higher output ones is", EMG and active pickups in general might have beat you to that one by several decades. It actually amazes me to see the number of guys who think running low output passives with a clean boost or a TS (which are definitely not "passive" and powered by a battery or an equivalent adapter) is fundamentally different than EMGs. You've got the passive bits going into a powered boost for tone shaping. It's the same thing.

    Not speaking of anyone in this thread specifically of course, but more in generalities. It's always a laugh when I see some guy on boutique forums being like "I've discovered my natural tone by taking pickups that are wound to be low output and then hitting them with a preamp of some sort before they hit the front of an amp".

    It's like, "Congratulations tone genius, you've just discovered the reason active pickups were invented".

    Of course we all know that if the preamp/boost bit powered by a 9 volt is outside of the guitar in a pedal it's natural and organic, if it's inside the guitar that's an aberration.

    As far as high output vs. low output. Depends on the guitar. Mainly the scale length and the construction, as well as the tuning of the guitar. The kind of pickups I like in 24.75" and 25.5" are not the same.

    Single coils sound great in the bridge, I like the EMG dual modes for that reason. The S and SA are both great sounding pickups.

    I also like amps with adjustable input impedance, like old school Riveras. Not just a high gain in and a low gain in, an actual pot with a range of values for adjusting input impedance. Of course, two options, a high gain input and a low gain input is standard, but I like amps with a tweakable section. Don't know why that never caught on.

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  3. #10

    Join Date: Sep 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mattayus View Post
    When I get some time towards the end of this month I'm going to try some of the more medium-to-high output stuff. Namely the Custom. Just the bog-standard Custom. I've tried the Custom 5 in other guitars and really dug it but the Custom sounds better to me on paper, and I think it will suit my Charvel more. That guitar is pretty much all mids. And with my use of 16k+ mid-heavy high output humbuckers, it's just mids on mids and it results in that fat wall of sound that gets kinda spongy, even with relatively low gain settings.
    It'll probably give you some faith that you're on the right track here that even a low gain guy like me really likes that pickup - in ash it actually does surprisingly good job for soaring lead tones, but the low end of that thing is crisp and clear, with a very immediate impact on the bass strings. For a midrange-y guitar, that sounds ideal - it's bright enough to cut but well shy of shrill with sort of a burnished "treble" more than "presence" in the high end, but with a really fast low end response. You'll probably do absolutely crushing things with it.

    And singlecoils for distorted riffing are basically all attack - I'm the last guy you would trust on this stuff for obvious reasons, not being that metal and all, but doubling humbucker rhythm tracks with singlecoils can sound absolutely huge.
    "They can kill you, but the legalities of eating you are a bit dicier." - David Foster Wallace

  4. #11

    Join Date: Sep 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tibernius View Post
    When I got my Jerry Horton signature Tempest it had already had the original pickups replaced with SD Alnico 2 Pros (the Slash set is a modified set of A2Pros). I was expecting to rip them straight out and put a JB/Jazz set or something higher gain in but they're still there, however many years later...I'd say if you're going for AIC/Mastodon levels of distortion they're pretty much perfect. IIRC the Slash signatures are slightly higher output than the A2Pros.

    The A2P set is the most underrated humbucker set Duncan makes. Absolutely killer pickups, especially in the neck. Tons of range, since they can do jazz, pop, country, rock, and blues. The Slash set really is just those with a little more sizzle. My double neck has the A2P set in the twelve neck, and the Slash set in the six.

    So live for today,
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  6. #12

    Join Date: Oct 2008
    Location: Glasgow - Scotland
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    I've not read the thread so I'm just responding to the title. I had a set of bk black dogs in an rg1527 and thoroughly enjoyed them. I did think they sounded great for some high gain tones however it really depends what you are after. They are never going to getvyhe ultra metallic meshuggah (meshuggsh as an example only) style tones but they did excellent at olds school dm tones and other more organic sounding stuff.

  7. #13

    Join Date: Sep 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greg McCoy View Post
    Killswitch Engage is actually the band that largely popularized the 85 in the bridge, while I personally don't like the sound or the band, they are definitely associated with mainstream metal sounds moving to Alnico bridge pickups.
    I always thought they were using the 81, hmm.

    Anyway, point still stands really. EMGs aren't super overwound, they use the preamp to get boost without increasing the magnetic pull (like you talk about in your post) but still, the idea of having a certain amount of compression in the pickup part of the chain. Hitting the front of the amp or even hitting the front of the OD hard and basically low pass filtering through the rest of the gain stage is a uniquely "modern high gain metal" kinda sound.

    The other of the "two scenarios" I was talking about was actually the 80s metal sound. I mean, I usually think of something more like a PAF Pro when I think of 80s but gainy pickups into a modded Marshall was definitely a staple, especially if you were playing a lot of leads or melodies on the bridge pickup. I think that's one of the reason why you hear a lot of 80s cleans with the volume knob rolled back (along with the fact they were usually one channel amps or two 'modes' at the most). Another example of hitting the front of the amp hard, compressing and high/low pass filtering through the rest of the signal chain.

    A JB or a TZ, even if they're Alnico, are still 15k to 18k plus, I just mentioned ceramic mags because those seem to crunch up and compress earlier, so they seem to pump gain out per DCR faster than Alnico.
    Argbadh - RHLC©

  8. #14

    Join Date: Feb 2010
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    Quote Originally Posted by Randy View Post
    I always thought they were using the 81, hmm.
    Are you kidding me Randy? Have you been in a coma for the past ten years? The two most important pickup developments in metal over the past decade were;

    -BKP's mainstream emergence. Which paved the way for a bunch of stupid shit.

    -Killswitch/Andy Sneap sound influencing everyone to switch to 85s (18v usually) in the bridge. Which in turn led to a sort of sea change where a lot of metal players, even those who didn't use actives, were suddenly considering alnico bridge pickups to be better. (although people who may or may not be totally full of shit will deny it, they obviously knew about their preference for alnico over ceramic the second they left the womb, as well as the entire history of Seymour Duncan)

    Those two things were the precursor to every stupid trend we see in pickups today. SD re-branding their $80 pickups with a different name and selling them as $120 pickups, Fishman suddenly realizing they know how to make metal pickups even though they have never fucking made pickups for metal before, etc. etc. etc.

    Go look at Fishman's metal roster, it's seriously all the guys who popularized using an 85 in the bridge in metal. The ones who had Sneap or Adam D working on their records. The artist relations guy for them is the dude from Unearth, a band with a ton of records engineered by the Killswitch dude.

    Alnico bridges for "metal" pickups were not popular until the "switch to 85s for the bridge for best metalcore tone" movement began. In spite of the fact that I'm sure some people will say, "THAT'S NOT TRUE, I'VE BEEN USING AN ALNICO BRIDGE FOR METAL SINCE 1962".

  9. #15

    Join Date: Feb 2010
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    FWIW, "Alnico" is also a good example of using branding to make something popular. Maybe 5% of the people touting Alnico's praises know that it's a contraction for Aluminum (Al) - Nickel (Ni) - Cobalt (Co).

    95% of them think that that their Alnico magnets are made from Alnico mined by Alnico miners in Alnico mines, which are known for being tonally the best kind of mines of course.

    It's a clever marketing term, and companies have known that for fucking ever. No one wants to be like, "Come check out my Aluminum alloy pickups dude". They want the mysterious Alnico.

    It's an excellent example of how companies cleverly use branding to make their customers feel important. Alnico isn't even a word. It's a contraction of three periodic abbreviations.

    But people want to believe in the magic. The Alnico mines of Africa, were Alnico is mined directly from Alnico veins by child soldiers which we don't think about because our guitar tone is too important, like diamonds. No one wants Aluminum-Cobalt pickups, they want Alnico damn it.

  10. #16

    Join Date: Feb 2010
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    Alnico exists because savvy companies like Jensen knew damn well you can't sell professional equipment for audio with the catchphrase, "The same magnets as on your fridge, but now for sound!".

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