Heart (520) vs. Head (550) - Page 2 - Jemsite
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post #16 of 30 (permalink) Old 04-23-2012, 06:54 PM
 
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Re: Heart (520) vs. Head (550)

That feeling you get, when your playing a guitar that fits your hands, like it was designed for them, and that feeling it gives your soul when you make it scream the way an Ibanez was intended, its the bond between guitar and player that gives you the ability to stretch your self, and do what another fiddle might not inspire you to do, thus (the Zen),
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post #17 of 30 (permalink) Old 04-23-2012, 07:42 PM
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Re: Heart (520) vs. Head (550)

If it's only the sound you don't like--change the pickups. If you don't like the feel of it--trade it back.
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post #18 of 30 (permalink) Old 04-23-2012, 08:10 PM
 
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Re: Heart (520) vs. Head (550)

Neither guitar is better than the other. So if you love the RG520, get it back! Your love makes it better.
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post #19 of 30 (permalink) Old 04-24-2012, 04:46 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Heart (520) vs. Head (550)

Quote:
Originally Posted by bomberdude View Post
That feeling you get, when your playing a guitar that fits your hands, like it was designed for them, and that feeling it gives your soul when you make it scream the way an Ibanez was intended, its the bond between guitar and player that gives you the ability to stretch your self, and do what another fiddle might not inspire you to do, thus (the Zen),
I eventually realized what you meant, but you put it into words way more awesome than I did in my mind.

That's it. I've been looking for "the" guitar for a long time (haven't we all), and after starting as a "Gibson" guy, the last thing I would've expected would be to bond with a pointy wang bar guitar... but there you have it.

RE: Alaskabat and the tone issue, it's the tone and the feel I miss on that particular guitar. As a side note, in your experience would just changing pickups would bridge the tone gap between the basswood, maple fretboard 550 and the mahogany, rosewood fretboard 520?
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post #20 of 30 (permalink) Old 04-24-2012, 04:55 PM
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Re: Heart (520) vs. Head (550)

Quote:
Originally Posted by gauchosilvertone View Post
I eventually realized what you meant, but you put it into words way more awesome than I did in my mind.

That's it. I've been looking for "the" guitar for a long time (haven't we all), and after starting as a "Gibson" guy, the last thing I would've expected would be to bond with a pointy wang bar guitar... but there you have it.

RE: Alaskabat and the tone issue, it's the tone and the feel I miss on that particular guitar. As a side note, in your experience would just changing pickups would bridge the tone gap between the basswood, maple fretboard 550 and the mahogany, rosewood fretboard 520?
With the right pickups---YES!
There's a reason I have so many of the RG550s, 560s, 570s, and 700 series. I love them all. I just put different Dimarzio combos in each one for different sounds.
The neck in that 520 is a tad wider than the old 550s and 570s, but not much.
I'd recommend a Tone Zone in the 550 to darken in up a bit--closer to the natural lows of the mahogany 520.
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post #21 of 30 (permalink) Old 04-24-2012, 06:31 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Heart (520) vs. Head (550)

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.
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post #22 of 30 (permalink) Old 04-24-2012, 08:52 PM
 
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Re: Heart (520) vs. Head (550)

Quote:
Originally Posted by gauchosilvertone View Post
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...
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post #23 of 30 (permalink) Old 04-24-2012, 09:00 PM
 
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Re: Heart (520) vs. Head (550)

Oh, forgot to add:

I just re-wired my RG550 so it gives the same pickup combinations as the 1990 RG520.

Single coil is now just a 'prop', out of the circuit.

Pos. 1, bridge humbucker in series.
Pos. 2, neck coil on bridge pup, and neck coil on neck pup.
Pos. 3, both humbuckers (like middle position on a Les Paul)
Pos. 4, neck side single coil on the neck pickup
Pos 5, neck humbucker in series.

I just did it for that fun of it. I've always liked the sound of a single coil in the neck position and this was the only way I could get it without resorting to a push/pull pot, or another switch. I had to use a Stewmac Superswitch since you can't get these combinations with a standard 5, and I just happened to have two laying around collecting dust.

Maybe one day I will get a push/pull pot so I can have the best of both... but I have my other two guitars to go to anyway.
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post #24 of 30 (permalink) Old 04-24-2012, 09:54 PM
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Re: Heart (520) vs. Head (550)

I think you'll like the TZ in the 550.
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post #25 of 30 (permalink) Old 04-24-2012, 09:55 PM
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Re: Heart (520) vs. Head (550)

You could also go with a Super Distortion bridge and PAF Pro in the neck--that's a beefy combo!
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post #26 of 30 (permalink) Old 04-25-2012, 02:46 AM
 
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Re: Heart (520) vs. Head (550)

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlaskaBat View Post
You could also go with a Super Distortion bridge and PAF Pro in the neck--that's a beefy combo!
That was the first combo I tried in my 550 not long after I bought it, and it was good.
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post #27 of 30 (permalink) Old 05-07-2012, 06:15 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Heart (520) vs. Head (550)

OK- I've tried the Tone Zone in the bridge and Norton in the neck. VAST improvement. However this has convinced me that the fundamental tone of the instrument is not ever going to give me the right "canvas" for the tonal picture I want to paint. Excuse the flowery language but you get my point.

Even while playing the instrument, it feels good to my left hand, very buttery... but it never feels right overall. Hard to explain but you all know what I mean... I feel like a wizard with another wizard's wand. So I aim to get mine back...

But there's a monkeywrench- I was prepared to drive and do the trade tomorrow, and suddenly the 5 way switch is acting up! The sound cuts in and out on the bridge and neck (one of the other- when one is acting up, the ohter seems to work fine). I've checked my connections and grounding and the soldering all looks good- granted I'm a novice at this stuff.

I've got to reinstall the original V1/V2 and see what happens. Hopefully things sort themselves out. If not I'll have to get the 550 repaired, possibly replacing the 5 way, before I trade back. Insult to injury... oh well.

If anyone has suggestions as to what may be wrong, do tell.
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post #28 of 30 (permalink) Old 05-07-2012, 07:32 PM
 
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Re: Heart (520) vs. Head (550)

Just use some contact cleaner on it.
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post #29 of 30 (permalink) Old 05-07-2012, 08:34 PM
 
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Re: Heart (520) vs. Head (550)

Can you post a picture of the switch? Sometimes it's easy to overlook the obvious.

When I was in college for electronics one of the labs I had to do simply would not work.

It was making me insane.

I walked away from it and when I walked back I walked up to the front of the table where I was working and saw that one, just one, jumper was just one connection over on the breadboard.

Popped it over where it should have been and everything worked just fine.
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post #30 of 30 (permalink) Old 05-08-2012, 01:08 PM
 
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Re: Heart (520) vs. Head (550)

Just throwing it out there that I threw a Breed bridge pickup in my maple 550 and it sounds friggin awesome. I had previously gone through the stock v2, a set of EMGs, and a Duncan JB. The Breed was just what I was looking for, very fat and sweet sounding. Tames down the treble bite just the right amount for me. Will eventually replace the V1 neck and S1 middle because they just sound bad compared to the bridge now.
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