Need help with Pickups.

JustinRhoads1980

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Hey SS.org I have a question that has been asked time again and again and has probably gotten redundant to all of you. Pickups suggestions.

My Jackson USA soloist has the stock JB/59' pickups and although they are very versatile, I feel they don't do metal all that well. I want something that is just a bit, fuck I don't know how to explain it but different. Something that is better for palm mutes and sounds great (Completely subjective) and is clear and cuts through and isn't too muddy. I mainly use my neck pickup for cleans and some leads so if that helps at all.

Here are some of the bands I primarily play.

Slayer (SOO MUCH SLAYER), Iron Maiden, Megadeth, Venom, Pantera, Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Ozzy Osbourne (Randy Rhoads and Jake E. Lee Era only), and Dream Theatre. I ocassionally also play some GNR and Pink Floyd so I would like something that does decent with those two aswell.

I know that between those bands that there is a wide array of different tones and I am very aware of that which is one of the main culprits why I am having a tough decision on making a move.

So my criteria is not very picky. I'll take active and passive suggestions. Dimarzio and Seymour Duncan. Whatever brand AS LONG as it isn't some boutique builder and such. I heard on another forum to try BKP aftermaths, but I heard on this forum that they tend to lack in some areas and such.

I know there is no real definite answer you guys can give me and I know that they are only suggestions, so what would you guys suggest me and why? Also if you have sound clips and personal experience (Good and Bad) with pickups please let me know as I would really appreciate all the info I can get.

*****MY GUITAR IS AN ALDER BODY WITH A MAPLE NECK THROUGH EQUIPPED WITH A FLOYD ROSE*****
 
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KnightBrolaire

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Cheap option: entwistle nemesis or hdn
Dimarzio: dsonic
Duncan: custom or custom 5
Any of those will easily cover those kinds of tones.
 

KnightBrolaire

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And they will work well with a guitar that has a maple neck through with an alder body with a floyd rose?
the hdn and dsonic may be too bit bright for that guitar. custom or the nemesis would probably work better.
I know you said no bare knuckles, but the holy diver would work really well for that stuff and it takes well to brighter guitars.
 

Edika

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I'm surprised you can't do metal with that set. I have them in two guitars one of which is a Jackson USA soloist and they slay. I do use a Maxon OD808 in front of my amp and get clarity and power at the same time.
I mean this set should be able to do all the bands you mentioned.

But if you're not feeling the pickups then it's another subject. EMG 81/85 or 81/60 would do the trick. If you want better cleans and a bit more passive sounding active you can try the EMG 57/66 set. Really powerful but not as compressed as the 81/85 set. I do also like the Dimarzio Tonezone/Airnorton combo. Tighter than the SD JB/59 and meaty in sound.
 

Alex79

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I think the classic EMGs are too one dimensional.
I think you'd be happier with something more versatile such as a BKP Nailbomb (my all-time fav!), or a Black Winter.
 

JustinRhoads1980

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I'm surprised you can't do metal with that set. I have them in two guitars one of which is a Jackson USA soloist and they slay. I do use a Maxon OD808 in front of my amp and get clarity and power at the same time.
I mean this set should be able to do all the bands you mentioned.

But if you're not feeling the pickups then it's another subject. EMG 81/85 or 81/60 would do the trick. If you want better cleans and a bit more passive sounding active you can try the EMG 57/66 set. Really powerful but not as compressed as the 81/85 set. I do also like the Dimarzio Tonezone/Airnorton combo. Tighter than the SD JB/59 and meaty in sound.


I think the JB and 59' sound DECENT for metal, but I don't think they are the best at it and I feel that there are better pickups for it. I definitely don't like the 59' I prefer the SD Sentient over the 59'. I just want something better than the JB. I do like its leads though, they are very fucking good!

I have the 57/66 in my schecter and they sound good aswell and might go that route. I am thinking of trying a DD/ Sentient or Jazz in my jackson and if that doesn't work I will swap the DD to a Nazgul. If I don't like it after that I plan on trying the 81/85 and screwing around between the two.

Any other PU suggestions that you have?
 

KnightBrolaire

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Black winters might be a bit obnoxious in a brighter guitar like yours. Same with the nazgul. The nazgul works best imo when you throw it in a darker sounding guitar as it takes a bit of the icepicky shrillness away. Plus neither of those are really well suited for more old school metal (they can do it, but they excel at more modern death metal or such).
 

JustinRhoads1980

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Black winters might be a bit obnoxious in a brighter guitar like yours. Same with the nazgul. The nazgul works best imo when you throw it in a darker sounding guitar as it takes a bit of the icepicky shrillness away. Plus neither of those are really well suited for more old school metal (they can do it, but they excel at more modern death metal or such).


So Duncan distortion and maybe some EMG 81/85s of those don't work?

I also heard the BW have a twangieness to them
 

KnightBrolaire

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So Duncan distortion and maybe some EMG 81/85s of those don't work?

I also heard the BW have a twangieness to them
yeah the BW has bit of spank to it, but not in an annoying way generally *depends on the amp/settings*
Distortion should work well for most of those tones. the alternative 8 would probably work well too :shrug:
 

HeHasTheJazzHands

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So Duncan distortion and maybe some EMG 81/85s of those don't work?

I also heard the BW have a twangieness to them

The Distortions do, too. They're thick, but they have a bitey top end.

Another possible pickup is the Suhr Aldrich. It's a tight, aggressive pickup, but has that '80s vibe going on.

And the '59 is a killer pickup. I'd keep it. Otherwise try out the Jazz as an alternative. Or I've heard good things about the Distortion neck pickup.
 

JustinRhoads1980

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The Distortions do, too. They're thick, but they have a bitey top end.

Another possible pickup is the Suhr Aldrich. It's a tight, aggressive pickup, but has that '80s vibe going on.

And the '59 is a killer pickup. I'd keep it. Otherwise try out the Jazz as an alternative. Or I've heard good things about the Distortion neck pickup.


What are the good and bad characteristics of the DD neck?

If the DD has the bitey top end, will it do slayer and such well? Will it sound good for solos?
 

Darkscience

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My favorite passive pickups are the Drop N' Gain from Lace. I have them in an ESP Eclipse, unfortunately I know this is very different from your guitar. But you said you wanted something different, and just like you, I wanted something different so went with these and they are INSANELY awesome, distorted/clean bridge/neck it does not matter. Maybe a different model of Lace would work for you?

Unfortunately there is only like 1 review of these on YouTube worth even listening too.

PS The EMG 57/66 I dropped in my new to me Horizon sound amazing, but they suck at anything but metal imo. I have not had them long though so I am still trying to figure out how to get them to sound more like a passive, (I thought that was the whole intent with these?). But in metal mode they KILL Hardcore, I want to try them in a down tuning but I have them in Floyd guitar with a perfect set-up that took me a good two or three days to get just right, and I do not want to go through that again for another good 3 months minimum. Highly recommend for Brutal Music.
 
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JustinRhoads1980

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My favorite passive pickups are the Drop N' Gain from Lace. I have them in an ESP Eclipse, unfortunately I know this is very different from your guitar. But you said you wanted something different, and just like you, I wanted something different so went with these and they are INSANELY awesome, distorted/clean bridge/neck it does not matter. Maybe a different model of Lace would work for you?

Unfortunately there is only like 1 review of these on YouTube worth even listening too.


Hm I will give Lace a look into, not familiar with the brand at all so I gotta do some research.

I feel the same way about reviews on YT. I find like 1 that is something that fits my criteria like No 7 string guitars or 6 strings downtuned to like a, like how am I supposed to tell how heavy that sounds when you have 13 gauge strings on their that probably compensate for a thin sounding pickup
 

Darkscience

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I feel like staying up late today. I am going to set up my guitar, (strings are a bit old), maybe tweak the neck, and I am going to see if I can't record something with the Drop N' Gains. I have been playing for about 3 years maybe 20 to 30 min a day, keep that in mind please...LMAO. So my playing will be whatevs but hopefully you like the tone because I think its nice. Be back in a couple hours. This will be my first recording also BTW...keep that in mind to please LOL.
 

Lasik124

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+1 For Suhr Pups. Have yet to try a better pup for all genres then my Suhr with SSH+. Haven't tried the Aldridge but have heard good things.
 

JustinRhoads1980

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I feel like staying up late today. I am going to set up my guitar, (strings are a bit old), maybe tweak the neck, and I am going to see if I can't record something with the Drop N' Gains. I have been playing for about 3 years maybe 20 to 30 min a day, keep that in mind please...LMAO. So my playing will be whatevs but hopefully you like the tone because I think its nice. Be back in a couple hours. This will be my first recording also BTW...keep that in mind to please LOL.


Don't worry man, as long as the content is good im fine. I have been playing for three years now aswell
 

Edika

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I think the JB and 59' sound DECENT for metal, but I don't think they are the best at it and I feel that there are better pickups for it. I definitely don't like the 59' I prefer the SD Sentient over the 59'. I just want something better than the JB. I do like its leads though, they are very fucking good!

I have the 57/66 in my schecter and they sound good aswell and might go that route. I am thinking of trying a DD/ Sentient or Jazz in my jackson and if that doesn't work I will swap the DD to a Nazgul. If I don't like it after that I plan on trying the 81/85 and screwing around between the two.

Any other PU suggestions that you have?

Hey man I hope I didn't seem like a dick in my previous post as when I re-read my post it seemed a bit dickish.

I had the D-Activators in one of my Soloists which are nice pickups for maybe up to D standard. In E they sounded good but they do have too much output. The increased low mid frequencies gave it nice cleans and they do sound big but going down to C they turned like mush. I had to decrease the height a lot to get a relatively clear sound and while for slower stuff they sounded great, any fast riffing and the sound would choke. I have replaced them with a pair of Mojotone Tomahawk's that a member was selling in the UK for a good price and they are awesome. They are tight, clear and percussive without being over the top. I mean the bridge pup is super loud but still manages to stay quite clear under gain. They are however on the pricier side but since they are US made they might be a better deal for you the EU.

I tried the Seymour Duncan Dimebucker in a quite bright guitar and liked it a lot. Instant Pantera sound and the cleans where nice with added bass frequencies but I'm not sure it would hold up well under low tunings. In E flat it was great.

The Seymour Duncan Alternative 8 seems like a nice pickup but I had strange results with it. Super tight, dynamic nad responsive. Really powerful but I couldn't get any bass out of it. It wasn't shrill however and it cut through amazingly when playing with other people but it was strange. It sounded really powerful but I felt it needed a bit more bass frequencies to be present. Seems ideal for lower tunings though as it's one tight pickup.

I still haven't tried some of the obvious options like a Distortion or a Custom and I'd like to give those a try too.
 
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