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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Am I getting old? I installed a Duncan Pearly Gates in the bridge of one of my Soloists this weekend and really love it.

For all you Axe-FX users out there, you really should consider trying low-output pickups with it. The sound quality and dynamics of the AFX really open up with the Pearly Gates, especially with some of the newer cab sims (like the V30 4x12) that Cliff has added to the thing. It's not like you need to worry about pushing the AFX to get more gain... :lol:

Just for shits & giggles, I also installed a milder Dimarzio setup in my white Soloist--PAF Pro in the bridge and Air Classic in the neck. The PAF Pro is interesting because it has about the same output as the Pearly Gate but adds a lot more 'chunk' and percussiveness. Too much, in fact. Dimarzios have way more attack and compression, which works very well with that Air Classic in the neck. Those qualities seem to help give more definition to the neck pickup, where Duncans, even the Jazz, can be a bit muffled and muddy for the neck. Plus, the Jazz in the neck has too much output for what I'm going for.

I can see why pure double-picking shredders love Dimarzios so much, since they emphasize every pick attack. Not so good for legato stuff, though. I may consider leaving the Air Classic in the neck and putting a Pearly Gates in the bridge of the white Soloist. I can always switch to a Duncan in the neck down the road. I know that Duncan/Dimarzio are reversed polarity from each other. Anyone know which wires in the Duncans get switched to reverse the polarity? Is it the black and green wires?

I'll probably swap the PAF Pro into my black '85 Soloist, since that "Dimarzio sound" does have its uses, and the '85 is a darker-sounding guitar that could a little of that punchiness.

I'm also going to have a shitload of Duncan Blackouts for sale soon, if anyone's interested. :lol:
 

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NSLALP
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You are old. :wub:

That's the wonderful thing about the Axe-Fx, it really does respond to things like pickups as a real piece of musical gear should. I have a BKP Rebel Yell in my Les Paul (basically a JB) and I've been wondering about putting something really lightweight in there, maybe an AlNiCo II-based sound.

How would you say the sound changed? How do high-gain sounds come off, vs. using a set of Blackouts?

As you said, there's no shortage of gain. Fuck, you can run three Tube Screamers before the amp sim if you really have to. :lol:
 

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Where?!
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Interesting stuff...

Funny thing is, I was actually considering the Jazz 7 as a potential neck pickup to go with the Blaze Custom in my M207, and after watching this video...


...I ended up feeling like the PAF7 would almost be better for what I'm going for as I get the feeling the Jazz would be almost too smooth in that guitar. If I had more money I'd get both and do a proper A-B test.

Wierdly though, I actually really like my Steve's Special and X2N for legato playing...:lol: I don't know if it's a psychological thing, but I find that subtly compressed sound Dimarzios have feels really good with my technique. Could be I just haven't met my perfect lower-output PU yet...

Remember those Daniel Gildenlow signatures, where half came with a JB/Jazz combo, and the others came with a D-sonic and Air Norton?
 

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Interesting. I'd definitely try the PAF Pro in the neck, as well - Chris has one in his green RG, and after setting the thing up and plugging it into my Roadster, we were both so impressed by the damned thing that we had to google it to see just what he'd put in the guitar. :lol: I ended up grabbing a PAF7 for my UV, I was so impressed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
How would you say the sound changed? How do high-gain sounds come off, vs. using a set of Blackouts?
The Blackouts make everything sound very fat, but also very much the same. Not enough definition. They will drive any tube amp nicely and have much a more pleasing sonic character than EMGs.

The high-gain sounds have much more clarity and "personality" with the Pearly Gates, especially on the low end. That's not just in comparison to the Blackouts, but also to the Suhr Aldrich that the Pearly Gates replaced in that particular Soloist. I was instantly getting very nice definition on one of my favorite uber-gain Axe-FX patches, which uses the Marshall Brown amp sim, a TS-808 drive sim, and the older 30W 4x12 cab sim. Even the Suhr pickup gets very fuzzy and mushed-out on that particular patch, but the Pearly Gates made it musical. Plus, the Pearly Gates will do pinch and 'regular' harmonics like nobody's business--not surprising, given the Billy Gibbons connection.

Funny thing is, I was actually considering the Jazz 7 as a potential neck pickup to go with the Blaze Custom in my M207, and after watching this video...

...I ended up feeling like the PAF7 would almost be better for what I'm going for as I get the feeling the Jazz would be almost too smooth in that guitar. If I had more money I'd get both and do a proper A-B test.
You have to be careful, since the 7-string versions all seem to be way different. It's almost like Duncan and Dimarzio shouldn't use the existing names for them. I've never like the Dimarzio PAF-7; it always seems very brittle and tinny. I believe it might be ceramic, which makes me wonder why they bother calling it a PAF. Dimarzio doesn't even make an Alnico 7-string pickup, or at least they didn't used to. The PAF Pro is way different than the regular PAF anyway, and I don't believe Dimarzio makes a 7-string version of the Pro.

Dimarzios in the neck generally seem to work better for shred. I was having a lot of fun Saturday night with the Air Classic in my Soloist. That's the lowest output of Dimarzio's "Air" series, and it really sings more than the PAF Pro does in the bridge. Still with that Dimarzio crunch and "sizzle," but also more underlying tonality. Not as lush as Duncans, though.

Interesting. I'd definitely try the PAF Pro in the neck, as well - Chris has one in his green RG, and after setting the thing up and plugging it into my Roadster, we were both so impressed by the damned thing that we had to google it to see just what he'd put in the guitar. :lol: I ended up grabbing a PAF7 for my UV, I was so impressed.
The PAF Pro in the neck is too much output for what I'm going for. Remember, I'm plugging this into the Axe-FX, so I need basically zero additional push from the guitar. The Axe-FX has an input gain control, so I can compensate for the guitar's output level. I've now found that backing off the AFX input level for hot pickups reveals them to have less favorable sonic characteristics.

BTW, this all started when I installed a set of Heritage HRWs into my Heritage Les Paul. They are very "hi-fi" pickups with medium output. They were originally designed mostly for clean sounds in Heritage's hollow and semi-hollow guitars, but they make an interesting addition to a Les Paul. It took awhile to get used to them, but now I'm really appreciating the lack of mud in my sound. You hear every nuance, even with lots of fuzz in the amp path.

You are old.

How is the Les Paul working out for you?
So are you. :wub:

I've got the LP in the shop getting the frets leveled. I can't wait to get it back, since it's one of the special ones. For those not in the know, I traded Matt for the Noodles Signature Model Les Paul. It's one of Gibson's lesser-known signature models. :lol:
 

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the thing is, with the axefx, you basically have a built in "boost" from the front input. The input knob allows you to send as much or as little guitar through it as you need. So even with actives you should be able to bring that level down significantly for a roughly the same type of effect.
 

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Bro of Bros, Bro.
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Duncan Pearly Gates is an awesome pickup.

Eventhough I have a lot of guitars with EMG's, I still tend to like lower output passives. I love the PAF types. I actually don't care for super high output pickups like X2N's, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
the thing is, with the axefx, you basically have a built in "boost" from the front input. The input knob allows you to send as much or as little guitar through it as you need. So even with actives you should be able to bring that level down significantly for a roughly the same type of effect.
I've found that it's not the same, though. Higher-output pickups have different sonic characteristics, even with the Axe-FX's input gain turned down. That's the blessing/curse of the Axe-FX, that it actually does matter what you plug into it, unlike, say, a PODxt.

This is just for me and my fusion stylings, though. If I was looking for lots of chug, I'd choose the Aldrich over the Pearly Gates. Tonally, they're not that far apart, but the Aldrich just gives more chug and less clarity even with the AFX input level adjusted to compensate.
 

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I've got the LP in the shop getting the frets leveled. I can't wait to get it back, since it's one of the special ones. For those not in the know, I traded Matt for the Noodles Signature Model Les Paul. It's one of Gibson's lesser-known signature models. :lol:
What, short scale, white, with a Kahler? :lol:

My experience with lower output pickups was always that these seemed more "even" than higher output ones - every high output humbucker I've played has been very focused in a particular frequency range, so they really nail the front end of an amp but in a very specific frequency band. Lower output pickups seem to be more balanced though, and broad. It's always seemed a bit more full-frequency to me.

To be fair, my experience hasn't been exceptionally broad. :lol:
 

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It must be old fart putting pickups in a Soloist weekend, since I dropped some Wolfetones in my Pro. :lol:

You need to check out the Timbre Wolf, since it turned out to be awesome for legato. The midrange is really smooth and musical, so notes sort of melt into one another when you play fast. There is awesome "sing" up top, too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
What, short scale, white, with a Kahler? :lol:


Seriously, it's just a stock '94 LP Standard red burst that Dave purchased new after trying out every LP in the store. It's one of the very special ones that Gibson occasionally produces accidentally. It's also now been passed around the Va. gang like a cheap hooker. :lol:
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
It must be old fart putting pickups in a Soloist weekend, since I dropped some Wolfetones in my Pro. :lol:

You need to check out the Timbre Wolf, since it turned out to be awesome for legato. The midrange is really smooth and musical, so notes sort of melt into one another when you play fast. There is awesome "sing" up top, too.
I'll be curious to check out the Wolfetones in that Pro, since it's such a great-sounding guitar to begin with.

I may go the boutique route down the road, once I've figured out more what I'm looking for. I may not need anything more special than a potted PAF clone.

BTW, it's hard to believe you could have let that LP Standard go. That is an awesome guitar. I plan to use it as the low-gain counterpart for my Heritage.

I can also see why you like the Heritage, since their neck shapes are almost identical.
 

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Not just every LP in the store, but every LP in nearly every music store in the northern Virginia area when I got out of Basic Training in '95. The thing smokes, but sadly I do not get along with LP necks anymore. My wrist hurts after playing one too long. There are a lot of gigs on that guitar. :(
 

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I too prefer lower output. I can't stand anything that is hotter than a JB/Jazz combo. The only problem I've found (and this exists in high output pickups as well) is that I can't find the eq curves in the pickups I want. For example, I'm looking for a medium/low output pickup for my 7 string that is also very bright. Doesn't really exist (maybe a custom 5 would work). A lot of the vintage style, low output pickups are also somewhat scooped and low end heavy, which I don't like.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I too prefer lower output. I can't stand anything that is hotter than a JB/Jazz combo. The only problem I've found (and this exists in high output pickups as well) is that I can't find the eq curves in the pickups I want. For example, I'm looking for a medium/low output pickup for my 7 string that is also very bright. Doesn't really exist (maybe a custom 5 would work). A lot of the vintage style, low output pickups are also somewhat scooped and low end heavy, which I don't like.
A Custom 5 would probably work for what you want, but I'll bet someone like Wolfe could custom wind something better for you.
 

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My biggest complain with the Custom 5 is the dull response. There is no sizzle up top. At all.
 
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