Originally Posted by gauchosilvertone
Before this trade business started, I was planning to put a Tone Zone in the bridge (muddy talk be damned) and a Norton (yes, Norton) in the neck, per RGTFanatic's suggestion. After being accustomed to a Gibson SG for 8 years, the mahogany 520 came closer to giving me the "beef" I've come to expect in my electrics. My 550 just sounds very wimpy by comparison (even unplugged I noticed immediately that it's much quieter and, of course, weak in the bass and low mids). So I was looking for pickups to take the wimpiness out of the 550. As stated in other posts I really don't care if it's not the most articulate in the lower registers. I'm no shredder so I don't need to hear 30 pick attacks per second.
Alaskabat you've got me thinking. Maybe I should try the DiMarzios to make sure I'm giving the 550 an honest try. I've used the stock pickups and then a Humbucker from Hell in the neck (horrible for my tastes) and True Velvet in the middle (very blah... too high output to give good single coil sounds, too low to get a searing tone... the best of no worlds).
If I go with souping up the 550, it'll be Tone Zone bridge, Chopper middle, and Norton neck. MAYBE an Air Norton S middle.
You can get close with p/ups, very close, to the tone(s) you're looking for, but it all starts with the wood and strings.
Basswood is more mid-range to me, I think that's why with the P.A.F. Pros it worked so well, the PAF Pro has a fairly flat, transparent sound and with the basswood, they worked really well with effects. I think that's part of why basswood became so popular back in the "Bradshaw Box" days... plus: the 'hair guys' liked that it was light.
I've tried more p/ups than I could count in my RG550CM (LOVE that guitar
)and settled on an Evo Neck, HS1 (in single coil mode) and an Evo Bridge.
The neck is medium output (and good for single coil use) and very articulate, even through a good amount of overdrive.
The HS1 using just the top coil is a really good sounding single coil pickup. Very "Fender" like, and pretty well balanced with the buckers.
The bridge is hot, but tight, not too muddy but has enough low end to satisfy my needs, at least.
I originally put the same combo in my RG1550, but: years ago I thought about buying new magnets for the pups that came with my 520, just to see how they sounded with different magnets (I'm talking about the V8/7s) I was using PAF Pros in it and they were working good.
Well, I sold the 520 and bought the 1550, so that never happened, but then I read about SWAPPING the bridge magnet with the neck, and vise-verse... so I gave it a try, and to my surprise (and my wallets chagrin) I LOVE the way the Vs sound like this. Even more than the PAF Pros and the Evos.
The neck pup is nice and smooth now with overdrive, and not weak and thin clean like it was, and the bridge is just great. A little more 'umph' while not crazy loud, and really smooth with nice sustain.
They are really round pickups now.
I don't know if this will give similar results with the original V1/2 pups in the 550 (I don't even know what happened to mine), but I know you can find V7/8s on the e-vile-bay pretty cheap, if you'd like to give this magnet mod a try before you spend a few hundred on Dimarzios and/or Duncans.
Just a thought...