Is choosing pickups just a "best guess" crapshoot? - Jemsite
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-08-2012, 01:09 AM Thread Starter
 
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Is choosing pickups just a "best guess" crapshoot?

I've only used the stock pickups in my guitars.

It's never something I even considered upgrading before, but I'm not sure how I would even choose.

If I am interested in a guitar, I can go to the store and try it out. Same thing with an amp. But you can't really go try out pickups (unless you happen to know of a guitar that has those pickups stock and has the same body material as your guitar, etc.).

So are we left with reviews for guidance then? Everyone has a different opinion:

This pickup is amazing!

This pickup sucks!

Seems like a lot of work to install a new pickup only to not like it and have to undo it and return it. I guess you should make sure wherever you buy the pickup from allows returns, huh.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-08-2012, 03:03 AM
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Re: Is choosing pickups just a "best guess" crapshoot?

Both DiMarzio and Seymour Duncan have pickup selector tools on their websites. You enter in your specifics, and they recommend pickups for you--best way to do it, if you don't have access to guitars with those pickups.



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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-08-2012, 03:51 AM
 
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Re: Is choosing pickups just a "best guess" crapshoot?

You don't return pickups, you buy them and put them in a shelf if you don't like them. Then trade them for something else later on.

I would say you are right, pickups are not as easy to test as guitars, effects or amplifiers. You can listen to YouTube clips all day long and never really hear how a pickup will sound in your setup. There are many other things playing a part of the final result, many of which are unknown in many compressed YouTube clips. That said, most pickups got, like AB is referring to, a specific sound "in mind".

I only change pickups if I don't like the ones in a guitar, others change to their favorites no matter how the current pickups sound. I'm sure there's some mojo in the pickups as well.

Although reading is good, there is nothing that beats first hand experience. Buy used pickups to find something you like without spending too much. Often many for sale. Use suggestion pages as guidance so you don't end up with all metal pickups for your jazzbox.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-08-2012, 04:26 AM
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Re: Is choosing pickups just a "best guess" crapshoot?

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Euphor View Post
You don't return pickups, you buy them and put them in a shelf if you don't like them. Then trade them for something else later on.

I would say you are right, pickups are not as easy to test as guitars, effects or amplifiers. You can listen to YouTube clips all day long and never really hear how a pickup will sound in your setup. There are many other things playing a part of the final result, many of which are unknown in many compressed YouTube clips. That said, most pickups got, like AB is referring to, a specific sound "in mind".

I only change pickups if I don't like the ones in a guitar, others change to their favorites no matter how the current pickups sound. I'm sure there's some mojo in the pickups as well.

Although reading is good, there is nothing that beats first hand experience. Buy used pickups to find something you like without spending too much. Often many for sale. Use suggestion pages as guidance so you don't end up with all metal pickups for your jazzbox.


This is a very good point!
A pickup may not sound good in one guitar, yank it out and save it for a different guitar.
A smoking hot pickup just has certain mojo in some guitars, but not others.
The Tone Zone is a prime example. Great in a basswood body, but muddier than hell in a mahogany body.
Plus, going thru pickups is very fun.



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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-08-2012, 04:29 AM
 
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Re: Is choosing pickups just a "best guess" crapshoot?

From my experience, the descriptions on Dimarzio's site are usually dead on. That's how I've always decided what to get next, and I've always been happy with the pickup.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-08-2012, 05:13 AM
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Re: Is choosing pickups just a "best guess" crapshoot?

Quote:
Originally Posted by xXLinkageXx View Post
From my experience, the descriptions on Dimarzio's site are usually dead on. That's how I've always decided what to get next, and I've always been happy with the pickup.
Yes! The pickup selector tool at DiMarzio is my favorite. While I usually know which DiMarzio I'm going to dump into a certain guitar, their selector really helps with pickups I've never considered.
Another great thing about the DiMarzio site, is that when you go to one of the pickup pages--it's easy to compare models and match up output and frequencies. They've got all of the info right there.



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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-08-2012, 01:03 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Is choosing pickups just a "best guess" crapshoot?

I wish there were descriptions of stock Ibanez pickups for comparison.

I think the ones that came in my RT650 sound just fine (I think they are V7/V. What am I missing?
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