Advice for a Duncan bridge pup for a mahogany Schecter

Discussion in 'Pickups, Electronics & General Tech' started by Rizzo, Jul 2, 2018.

  1. Rizzo

    Rizzo SS.org Regular

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    Referencing from this thread that was getting too dispersive: long story short, I have an all-mahogany (body, top, neck...quite a slab of dark wood!) plus ebony fingerboard Schecter C1. The guitar is very dense and with very little acoustic resonance, hence very dark.

    I once ordered a BKP Nailbomb alnico which I thought was the end-of-it-all pup for me after extensive research and contact with BKP. While I found it perfect in terms of definition and tightness (and for detuning as well), EQ-wise it's been always too dark and muffled for my taste, kinda like always playing with zero presence on any tone no matter how much mids/treble I stuffed in and no matter the pup height. Or like hearing my tone from the room next door, blah blah you got the usual metaphors. Checked the wiring and it's all good.

    A close friend of mine, who's been really a guitar geek over the years (had 50+ guitars from any brand, and swapped more pickups that I can count) recently got my same exact guitar. He also had a NB (both A and C versions) in the past, so he knows the pickup and he knows his stuff. I've been asking him advice for quite some time, and he now confirmed the specific guitar is so dark, it would need a very open pickup to come alive. Especially for my taste in tone. So the NB maybe has to go...

    Some considerations:
    1. At neck position, I have a Duncan Jazz which I love. Perfect, not intending to change it. Also I WANT TO KEEP THE CHOICE ON DUNCANS both for budget reasons and voicing match, no more boutique stuff, too much hit and miss and costly. So please don't advise any other brand.

    2. I intend to keep the guitar somehow metal oriented, after all it's a 24-fret superstrat (I also have my old strat which I modded HSS, so that can do other stuff), but not so much I'll be able to play nothing but metal on it. Basically, I like Tremonti's concept in approaching pickups: hot bridge, vintage neck. So I can have the bite but also with a bit of versatility.
    I also consider myself a "Tremonti" kind of guy, meaning I grew up as a metalhead but never played that much quote unquote "metal" rather than heavy rock, I'm more metal in playing style and approach than anything else. Got the idea? I don't want anything extreme.

    3. Detuning? Yes. I just have 2 guitars, I spend most of my time in standard E but this is the one I'd intend to detune if needed. The lowest I ever detuned by now is drop C.

    3. I grew up on a Duncan Hot Rails equipped strat, so I REALLY love open, bright and mid-heavy tones. Maybe the NB wasn't the right choice for the specific guitar.
    Reference metal tones: Iron Maiden, Death (latter), Alter Bridge/Tremonti. I like singing, mid-forward vocal leads, while retaining single-note fatness and chunky rhythms. Not djent-tight, just the right bass response amount to have some old school chugging fun. My picking hand will do the rest. Also, I do like my harmonics.

    4. I don't care that much for alnico VS ceramic as long as the pickup has the qualities I need. If I really have to tell, I'd be biased towards alnico though.

    So all of this being said and after massive research, I narrowed it down to the JB VS the Distortion. Both go well with the Jazz neck. Previously been considering the Custom too but at this point it's just too bass-heavy to fit the guitar. I know the JB and DD are basically the same pup with different magnets, but these are my thoughts on them by now:

    JB
    Pros: Seems like a great "360" kind of pup, incredible vocal qualities on leads, decently tight on bass (I guess as long as I use the right technique and strings, it will be fine for thrash-death stuff as well), decent cleans.
    Cons: the only thing that scares me is that infamous mid-honk across the whole register. It will sure work wonders for sitting in a mix, but will it haunt my dreams? That same thing however is what gives that awesome vocal tone on the highest strings so yeah. Also, maybe a little thin on single notes? Plus, will it hold on detuning?

    DD
    Pros: tight bass but still mid-heavy, no mid-honk (it seems?), sure holds on low tunings
    Cons: lots of compression, lost that sweet quality on leads, meh cleans, very metal-oriented in the narrow sense.

    Basically the pup should be as clear, articulate and defined as possible, balanced and-or open sounding (not scooped for sure!), nicely tight (the old school kind), aggressive but not too compressed, not extremely hot, decent cleans if possible (I can always resolve to the Jazz neck in the worst case scenario).

    By now it's an almost 1:1 tradeoff of lead VS rhythm qualities between the two candidates that overall favors the JB in the big picture. I saw lots of YT and audio demos, but amongst poor players and-or poor recordings...you get the picture, it's impossible to get an idea. So any first hand opinion and-or demo would help.
    The thing is, I don't have the means or the budget to try both. I'm also left-handed so I can't hunt for guitar shops or borrow guitars. I need to be clear-minded about the choice.

    I think I explained everything I had in mind, on to you now.
     
  2. lurè

    lurè Thy Art Is Mambo

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    SD Nazgul should work well on mahogany.
    Never tried a Nazgul on mahogany guitars, but a lot of my friends have thrown away bkp juggs and nailbomb for a nazgul/sentient set on their mahogany guitars, with huge improvements.
    It's also a tight and articulate pickup designed for downtuning, so it should do the trick.
     
  3. mnemonic

    mnemonic Custom User Title

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    It can be pretty hard to brighten up a too-dark guitar, I’ve found the easiest solution is to cut your losses and get a different guitar.

    I have an old Schecter 007 from I think the mid-2000’s and it was always really dull and dead sounding. I ran maybe 10 pickups though it before giving up and getting a different guitar. Total night-and-day. I did eventually strip the finish off the guitar and spray a thin coat of nitro on (I was gonna oil but it was too ugly), put the stock Duncan-designed pickups back in, and now it sounds excellent. However I did strip the finish on and off, over the course of like a year since that shit was so thick, so an a/b test was not possible. That guitar was supposedly mahogany, but it certainly wasn’t - maybe not the same as yours as it was extremely light and the wood is very soft.

    If you want to add brightness to a dark guitar and want to stick with Duncan, then maybe a Dimebucker? Not really the same thing (though similar) but I put a Bill Lawrence L500XL in a guitar recently and it is extremely punchy, bright, clear, and open. Pretty hi-fi though which gives the impression of a scooped midrange. For what it’s worth they tend to be cheaper than Duncan’s...
     
  4. JesperX

    JesperX SS.org Regular

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    Purely from a pickup perspective, the Duncan Omega sounds like it would be a good bet here. Bright, controlled bass, won’t fight other genres like a Nazgul might.

    From another angle- what about trying 1 Meg pots? It would also likely affect your neck pickup though, depending on the wiring scheme, so that’s something to consider.
     
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  5. Zoobiedood

    Zoobiedood SS.org Regular

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    If it is dark, I'd go with a pickup that sucks some of the mids out. You already like the Jazz, so I would consider a Custom 5 for the bridge. It is scooped, but still has tight, percussive lows, and works really well with dark guitars.
     
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  6. The906

    The906 Hella rad Contributor

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    Tight aggressive Rebel pickup. :lol:

    upload_2018-7-2_9-44-6.png
     
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  7. KnightBrolaire

    KnightBrolaire despair ahead

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    dimebucker or screamin demon are prob the brightest trebliest options duncan makes, and both can achieve old school tones if need be. They'd be good options for balancing out a super dark guitar.
    Personally I'd go omega, it's snarly, tight and has a nice mid forward voicing, plus it cleans up really well.
    An easy solution to a brighter sound is removing the pot or changing out the capacitor to a smaller value. I don't know if you've already tried that, but it's a cheaper option than buying a new pickup.
     
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  8. ToneLab

    ToneLab Bedroom Playa

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    I agree with Custom 5. I tried countless pups in my MIJ Jackson Dominion all mahogany guitar and this was the clear winner. Massive sound. Black Winter was my favorite neck on that one. Much preferred to Jazz for me. So warm and full yet dynamic as heck.
     
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  9. Rizzo

    Rizzo SS.org Regular

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    Epllogue: the most standard of all solved the problem...guess what?
    A JB. Had to try since it was stock on most Schecter lines and just a classic. Thought I couldn't go wrong and I didn't, loving it!

    Very mid-forward, as I like, very harmonic and responsive (80s style riffs just beg to be played), totally solved the muddiness of the guitar and it's perfectly voiced together with the Jazz. I played the guitar all day long haha. Satisfied, I'd say!
    More "rock" than "metal", so it's not the tighest pickup I ever played, surely a far cry from the Nailbomb. But nothing so dramatic some common sense in settings, the right amount of overdrive and a performing picking hand can't solve.

    So yeah, classics usually work and for a reason.
    Next pup I'll try will be the Distortion, if I'll ever have an excuse. I'm liking the JB, I used to loved ceramics...guess the math says why not.
    The DiMarzio Titan also intrigues me for super modern tones. Bucket listed.
     
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  10. dr_game0ver

    dr_game0ver SS.org Regular

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    How about Gibson PUs? like a good 500T.
     
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  11. dr_game0ver

    dr_game0ver SS.org Regular

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    How about Gibson PUs? like a good 500T.
     
  12. Wizard of Ozz

    Wizard of Ozz Arch-Mage of Metal

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    Distortion. I have used both the JB & Distortion a lot... in and out of the same guitars, always usually favor the Distortion. It's tighter, clearer, and more articulate. And Tremonti used to use the Distortion in in his Gibsons before going to PRS and designing his own pups.
     
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  13. Rizzo

    Rizzo SS.org Regular

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    As I said the quest is over, but I'll try the DD someday. :)

    As for Tremonti, it actually was the Gibson 500T he used to use. Which I was considering as well, but it was too over the top.
     
  14. Sdrizis89

    Sdrizis89 SS.org Regular

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    I have a SD Nazgul in a mahogany guitar. Sounds great. Very balanced and even across the EQ spectrum while in a mahogany body/neck thru guitar under high gain.
     
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  15. Frey

    Frey SS.org Regular

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    I first owned the Nazgul in my Swamp Ash KM7 and find it to be average sounding. I did however recently own the LTD M1007MS which is Mahogany and the Nazgul sounded AMAZING in it. I also think the Nazgul is much more tamable than it's reputation suggests if that's a concern. I'm really yearning to get another Mahogany guitar and throw the Nazgul in it I liked the sound so much. All this coming from a HUGE JB fan.
     
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  16. cardinal

    cardinal Strat 7 Guy

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    I was going to suggest the JB. Awesome in a guitar like that. Glad you dig it!
     
  17. NateFalcon

    NateFalcon Party’s over

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    Dimebucker and Distortion are killer in big mahogany guitars...
     
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