What to do, what to do...?
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Thread: What to do, what to do...?

  1. #1


    Join Date: Oct 2008
    Location: Tokyo
    ME: Ibanez RGIXL7-ABL
    MB: Ibanez SR505
    Rig: Fractal Audio AX8

    iTrader: 0

    What to do, what to do...?

    So, after selling all my guitars, basses, and other musical gear earlier this year, I bought my RGIXL7 and my AX8. I had hoped to spent more time on music and less time on work, and I have had more time, but not nearly as much as I'd liked.

    The main issue is that my RGIXL7 has a grounding issue. Unless my skin is touching the strings or metal, there is audible noise. In addition to not having tons and tons of time to spend on music, I have zero interest in buying a soldering iron, so that's not really an option as far as I'm concerned. (And even if I did have tons of time, I still wouldn't get a soldering iron). But even separate from the noise, I have been unable to get a satisfactory distorted tone from my AX8. Now, I do not believe this is a problem with the AX8. I owned an Axe-FX Ultra for 4-5 years and used it as the main part of my rig for recording, practice, and live performances, and I was 100% satisfied with my clean and distorted tones. With my AX8, which is basically the pedalboard version of an Axe-FX II, I am 100% satisfied with all the clean tones I've made, but I cannot be satisfied with the distorted tones. And I've also downloaded tons of tones that I saw online sounding great but that sound unsatisfactory here.

    I think that the main cause is probably the stock pickups, which are DiMarzio Fusion Edge 7. They do sound great clean, though.

    I've had close to 20 guitars now, most of them with passive pickups, but 4 of them with active pickups. For distorted tones, my favorite pickups were actives. Specifically, my favorites were probably my Seymour Duncan Blackouts, though I really liked the EMGs I had too. For passives, I've always really liked PAFs.

    My previous band that I was in for a little over 6 years was progressive death metal/technical death metal. And I do tend to really like focused, high gain, cutting, biting distorted tones.

    I'm kind of torn over whether to go with something super expensive like Bare Knuckle (which sounds great, but might be overkill, especially since I'm not in a band yet) or something much more reasonable like EMG or Blackouts. Any advice?

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  3. #2


    Join Date: Apr 2015
    Location: Sweden
    ME: Solar A1.6ET
    Rig: Kemper

    iTrader: 0

    Wait... First you say you sold all your guitars...

    And now you "only" have 20?




    But to topic:

    If you don't like the tones in your AX8 you will probably not solve the problem by changing pickups.

    Finding your perfect tones is a time consuming thing, be it traditional tube amps with cabs or lined digital thingys.

    I spent several YEARS with my Kemper, and it's not until lately I've discovered how to find decent tones I really like. And I'm probably gonna find better suited for me later, but I have grown tired of "tone chasing" so I dont spend too much time on it. But every now and then, maybe 2-3 times per year, I get excited and try a lot of profiles and my ears adjust better every time to know what works and not.


    I hope you find something you like and can get ROCKING OUT!

  4. #3


    Join Date: Oct 2008
    Location: Tokyo
    ME: Ibanez RGIXL7-ABL
    MB: Ibanez SR505
    Rig: Fractal Audio AX8

    iTrader: 0

    Quote Originally Posted by Rocka_Rollas View Post
    Wait... First you say you sold all your guitars...

    And now you "only" have 20?
    I have 1 now (2 if I include my bass as a "guitar"). I've had 20 total so far. If I had 20 guitars now, this thread would not exist because I'd just play a guitar that already had pickups in it that I liked. But I only have 1 guitar right now, and I feel the pickups in it are most likely the source of the problem.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rocka_Rollas View Post
    If you don't like the tones in your AX8 you will probably not solve the problem by changing pickups.

    Finding your perfect tones is a time consuming thing, be it traditional tube amps with cabs or lined digital thingys.

    I spent several YEARS with my Kemper, and it's not until lately I've discovered how to find decent tones I really like. And I'm probably gonna find better suited for me later, but I have grown tired of "tone chasing" so I dont spend too much time on it. But every now and then, maybe 2-3 times per year, I get excited and try a lot of profiles and my ears adjust better every time to know what works and not.


    I hope you find something you like and can get ROCKING OUT!
    Well, I agree that finding a 100% satisfying tone is something that takes years, and arguably you'll always be changing the tone. And even when I was playing guitar every day, playing with my band at least once a week, and playing about one or two shows a month, I still wasn't "completely" satisfied. But back then I was able to get tones that I felt at least "mostly" satisfied with.

    Axe-FXs are notoriously difficult to dial in tones when you first start out compared to a lot of other modelers (though Kempers also have that issue, and it mainly comes down to just how complicated they are with so many changeable parameters), but have a lot more potential. But that's why I made the point that I used to use an Axe-FX Ultra for 4-5 years and spent a ridiculous amount of time with it and I had tones I was very satisfied with and could easily create a satisfactory distorted tone on the fly back then too. Now, I have tons of clean tones I'm very satisfied with (arguably so many great sounding clean tones that I don't know which ones to go with because they all sound great) on my AX8, but no distorted tones that I'm "mostly" satisfied with. None of the distorted tones I've made sound horrible or bad. I just find none of them at all remotely satisfying.

    Thus, I do think it's probably my pickups to blame.

    I'll also add that I'm very satisfied with the bass tones I've made on the AX8 for my bass. I have an Ampeg one I made that I think sounds absolutely amazing. So it's not me just being dissatisfied in general either.

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  6. #4


    Join Date: Oct 2008
    Location: Glasgow - Scotland
    ME: Suhr M5
    MB: Squire Jazz
    Rig: Mesa Mk V + Axe FX II

    iTrader: 3 (100%)

    Its fusion edges in my 2027xl and I dont have any issues, maybe not the pickups causing your grounding issue.

  7. #5


    Join Date: Sep 2008
    Location: London ONT
    ME: PRS
    MB: VM Jazz
    Rig: JCM800

    iTrader: 1 (100%)

    1. Fix that grounding issue

    2. Buy the pickups that will make you play guitar more.
    ________________________________________
    Needs Sleep

  8. #6


    Join Date: Oct 2008
    Location: Tokyo
    ME: Ibanez RGIXL7-ABL
    MB: Ibanez SR505
    Rig: Fractal Audio AX8

    iTrader: 0

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick View Post
    Its fusion edges in my 2027xl and I dont have any issues, maybe not the pickups causing your grounding issue.
    Oh, I'm not saying that the grounding is unique to the pickups (I imagine it's probably more something to do with the wiring), though this is maybe only the second or third guitar I've ever owned that's had grounding issues. I find the pickups on distortion to be kind of muddy. You don't find the pickups muddy too? Originally I thought about just taking the guitar to a shop and having them fix the grounding issue, but when I stopped to think about it, I've never been satisfied with any distorted tone I've been able to get with these pickups, so fixing the grounding issue would get rid of noise and humming, but it wouldn't make me satisfied with the distorted tones (I have to specify that, because I love how the pickups sound clean).

  9. #7


    Join Date: Sep 2011
    Location: The Swamp
    ME: Wolfgang
    MA: Grandpas guitarz
    MB: lol
    Rig: EVH

    iTrader: 0

    Have you tried other power outlets? It gould be a bad ground at the power source.
    Vag Jackson, Man Of Action

  10. #8


    Join Date: Oct 2008
    Location: Glasgow - Scotland
    ME: Suhr M5
    MB: Squire Jazz
    Rig: Mesa Mk V + Axe FX II

    iTrader: 3 (100%)

    Quote Originally Posted by Naren View Post
    Oh, I'm not saying that the grounding is unique to the pickups (I imagine it's probably more something to do with the wiring), though this is maybe only the second or third guitar I've ever owned that's had grounding issues. I find the pickups on distortion to be kind of muddy. You don't find the pickups muddy too? Originally I thought about just taking the guitar to a shop and having them fix the grounding issue, but when I stopped to think about it, I've never been satisfied with any distorted tone I've been able to get with these pickups, so fixing the grounding issue would get rid of noise and humming, but it wouldn't make me satisfied with the distorted tones (I have to specify that, because I love how the pickups sound clean).
    Nah not really and I'm also using an axe fx2

    I find them to be a bit darker than some other pickups I own but not muddy in the slightest


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