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Sir Groove-A-Lot
Charvel So Cal & San Dimas
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Discussion Starter #1
So, the pickup merry-go-round in my Charvel clearly isn't over. I've settled on the bridge pickup at least (Aldrich). I'm absolutely in love with that again, maybe moreso than the first time I tried it!

But the neck pickup...

I've had a Duncan Hot Rails in there for a while but it's a bit bland. It's just.... hot. And raily. No but seriously it's just all hot with no character really. It pretty much just sounds like a full blown humbucker. But not a particularly amazing one.

So, the neck pickup I had in here the last time I had the Aldrich was a Dimarzio Chopper. So I just grabbed another one to put in as I remember really liking that combo.

Well, I don't. I don't know if I just didn't try this combo through a proper rig or whatever, but man, the chopper is waaay too bassy.

I get that it's ostensibly a bridge pickup, but even Dimarzios website says it's a good neck pickup with a hot humbucker on the bridge. But the low end leaps out way too strongly when you switch pickups, it just sounds odd, especially with gain. The top end bite of it is great though, and has way more character and tone than the Hot Rails.

(Also, before anybody suggests it, Yes, I've played with pickup height)

In fact after some cursory reading I'm getting the feeling that Dimarzio rails are all together better at retaining a single coil quality, which I really dig. I don't generally like warm/round neck pickup tones.

Does anybody have any experience with any others in the Dimarzio line, when used in the neck position with a hot humbucker in the bridge?

Not amazingly fussed about power differentials. Unless it's the other way round like the chopper :lol: (I.e. the neck out-powers the bridge)

Fast Track 1?
 

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Is Actually Recording
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32,765 Posts
Fast Track 1 isn't bad, it's a little more humbucker-y than something like a Virtual Vintage/Area or a Cruiser (which sounds fuckin' great, super glassy, but man are they weak, weaker than most modern conventional singlecoils) but still some singlecoil character.

If you're looking for a brighter singlecoil-sized humbucker in the neck, and reasonably hot, then the Fast Track 1 is a decent option. Other than that, I liked the Heavy Blues 2 but it's a bit on the dark side so it probably wouldn't work for you, and an Area 61 is very singlecoil-y and bright and glassy, but probably a little too weak for you.
 

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Sir Groove-A-Lot
Charvel So Cal & San Dimas
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Discussion Starter #4
Hmm yeah I'm torn between the FT1 and the Cruiser. I'm wondering if the Cruiser is too low output and single coil-y... at which point I may as well go for an actual single coil rather than a rail.

FT1 sounds promising. I'll start there I think.
 

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I am Groot
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The JB Jr may be my favorite single coil sized neck humbucker.
 

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Sir Groove-A-Lot
Charvel So Cal & San Dimas
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6,916 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
The JB Jr may be my favorite single coil sized neck humbucker.
Wow Really? Not what I expected to hear.

This is an unfathomably shallow reason against It, but I really hate the way Duncan's mini buckers look :lol:
 

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I've got a cruiser sitting in a box. It'd been paired with an AT1. Great pickup but I wanted a little more so I've replaced it with a satch track in parallel.
 

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Is Actually Recording
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Cruiser is the pickup of choice for Andy timmons. A little lower output than the chopper
Honestly, I've always wondered if there was something wrong with my guitar when I tried a set of these - they sounded phenominal, but were quieter than the singlecoils in an off-the-wall Mexi Strat by an audible degree unless you set them really close to the strings, at which point the attack got extremely bright in non-musical ways. This was before I started doing my own pickup wiring and the guy who wired them up for me didn't usually work on guitars and there was a LOT of tequila consumed that night, so with the benefit of hindsight it's entirely possible they were split or parallel or something... So I've been a little temped to just order another one to see what happens. On Dimarzio's site, the bridge (Timmon's pickup of choice in the neck and middle) has an output of 143, right in line with the Area 61 and stronger than the Area 67, so who knows. Those have awfully low magnetic pull though so they sounded fine set close to the strings, while the Cruiser didn't, even though it also should have lower magnetic pull.

Hell, for $80 each, I should probably just do it to put my mind at ease.
 

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I am Groot
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Wow Really? Not what I expected to hear.

This is an unfathomably shallow reason against It, but I really hate the way Duncan's mini buckers look :lol:
It's like a Jazz but with sizzle. Creamy smooth and tons of bite at the same time. It actually doesn't sound like the full size pickup.
 

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Honestly, I've always wondered if there was something wrong with my guitar when I tried a set of these - they sounded phenominal, but were quieter than the singlecoils in an off-the-wall Mexi Strat by an audible degree unless you set them really close to the strings, at which point the attack got extremely bright in non-musical ways.....

....so with the benefit of hindsight it's entirely possible they were split or parallel or something... So I've been a little temped to just order another one to see what happens.
I've tried them twice in two different guitars, great tone, but *huge* volume drop from the AT1 in one and the ChopperT in another. I still don't know how Timmons uses them with a bridge humbucker! Great sounding pickups, but whisper quiet.
 

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Sir Groove-A-Lot
Charvel So Cal & San Dimas
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Discussion Starter #12
FT2. Trust me. Badass neck pickup.
I think that's going in the wrong direction for me, personally. If the description and the EQ score on Dimarzio's website is to be trusted, it'll have more low end and even less glassiness than the Chopper, which I'm finding has too much of a strong low mid/bass to be a decent neck pickup.
 

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Timmons used Cruiser Bridge on the Neck Position. The older Sig Ibanez Models were like this, the new AZ seems its not.
 

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Sir Groove-A-Lot
Charvel So Cal & San Dimas
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Discussion Starter #14
Playing about with it some more this morning, and I think I may have over criticised the Chopper's EQ. I think coming off the back of the hyper-compressed Hot Rails is what threw me. The Chopper is very open, really quite unique, it's like they've combined a PAF with a true single coil.

The "bassy" nature I was hearing comes from it just having a strong note fundamental, it's not really bassy in a muddy sense, it's just got quite a firm/hard attack to it, like a single coil, but with the girth of a PAF.

I'll stick with it for now and if a FT-1 pops up dirt cheap I'll grab it anyway just to compare, but for now I'm quite digging the Chopper's characteristics.

It's only when you then flip back to the bridge pickup that it sometimes sounds a bit anaemic after being on the Chopper, which it isn't. But then any pickup in the neck position is going to sound thicker by nature. This is all with crunch and high gain btw... On cleans it's the other way around, the Chopper sounds noticeably chimier and quieter than the bridge bucker. :lol:

Again, I think this is all because I've had a super flat-sounding Hot Rails in there for so long, where it didn't really sound all that much like you were on a neck pickup. Man that thing is compressed... Great for if you want those sorts of fluid shreddy runs a la Petrucci, but I like a bit of character and dynamics in a neck pup!
 

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I've tried them twice in two different guitars, great tone, but *huge* volume drop from the AT1 in one and the ChopperT in another. I still don't know how Timmons uses them with a bridge humbucker! Great sounding pickups, but whisper quiet.
And you're sure yours was wired up correctly, too? I was bummed, because they sounded awesome, but they were just so quiet. I think Timmons likes his singlecoil sound to clean up a little when he switches positions, whereas I want the same perceived gain from the singlecoils to the humbucker, so for me it doesn't really work. Which is a pity, because they really do sound great.
 

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Sir Groove-A-Lot
Charvel So Cal & San Dimas
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Discussion Starter #16
whereas I want the same perceived gain from the singlecoils to the humbucker, so for me it doesn't really work.
:agreed: That's the money shot right there, getting that combo. There are very few single coils that can do it, so I've sort of given up on trying to achieve it. The Chopper certainly does it, but still with that single coil rasp in the high end, so I'm prepared to settle on it as that's pretty much what I'm after.

The Hot Rails did it in spades, as I said, totally kept up with a bridge humbucker in terms of saturation, but to the point where it pretty much just sounds like a hot neck humbucker, at which point you ask yourself why do I even have an H-S set-up...

I'm interested to try something like the BKP Sinner, which claims to be a true single coil, but has such ridiculous high output.

When I first started running an H-S set up, the first thing I tried was a Duncan Quarter Pounder. I really hated it. A true single trying to have high output loses practically all single coil chime and rasp, due to being such a hot wind. It's such a delicate balance.

EDIT: Well, as usual, big brother is watching/listening, and I was just recommended a video on the Dimarzio Injectors.

Intrigue rising... Anybody got any opinion, on the neck model especially?
 

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Sir Groove-A-Lot
Charvel So Cal & San Dimas
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Discussion Starter #17
:idea: I can wire a capacitor in series to the hot from the neck pup. I always forget about this mod.
 

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:agreed: That's the money shot right there, getting that combo. There are very few single coils that can do it, so I've sort of given up on trying to achieve it. The Chopper certainly does it, but still with that single coil rasp in the high end, so I'm prepared to settle on it as that's pretty much what I'm after.

The Hot Rails did it in spades, as I said, totally kept up with a bridge humbucker in terms of saturation, but to the point where it pretty much just sounds like a hot neck humbucker, at which point you ask yourself why do I even have an H-S set-up...

I'm interested to try something like the BKP Sinner, which claims to be a true single coil, but has such ridiculous high output.

When I first started running an H-S set up, the first thing I tried was a Duncan Quarter Pounder. I really hated it. A true single trying to have high output loses practically all single coil chime and rasp, due to being such a hot wind. It's such a delicate balance.

EDIT: Well, as usual, big brother is watching/listening, and I was just recommended a video on the Dimarzio Injectors.

Intrigue rising... Anybody got any opinion, on the neck model especially?
Never tried an Injector, but the Areas are pretty good.

You know, for what you're looking for... Maybe a Heavy Blues 2 WOULDN'T be so bad. It's darker than most singlecoils and I didn't really love how it played/sounded while jamming out, but it recorded BEAUTIFULLY and is one of the hotter "conventional style" noiseless singlecoils Dimarzio makes.

IIRC I still had it in the neck and middle when I cut the leads for ALC on my album, and while I found it a little dark in the room, IMO they sounded great in the mix:

https://drewpetersonguitar.bandcamp.com/track/alien-love-child

Volume rolled back a hair for the start of this, then wide open when I get into the solo section, 2:07 or so.

Less chimey than some in between, but it still does the Fender/Jimi thing.


Output of 170 on Dimarzio's chart, so only modestly less than a Fast Track 1 and a bit hotter than an Injector.
 

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I use a fast track along side an X2N bridge and don't have any beefs with level issues when switching between them. Fast track is a great pickup.

The air norton is my fav in a neck single slot, it's a humbucker though.
 

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Sir Groove-A-Lot
Charvel So Cal & San Dimas
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Discussion Starter #20
I'm over it. I think I just needed an adjustment period. Happy with the Chopper as it is!



IT IS COMPLETE.
 
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