HSS axe neck pickup - Jemsite
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-04-2005, 04:23 PM Thread Starter
 
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HSS axe neck pickup

Hey there,
I need a little advice for my only HSS Radius. The neck Pickup (S1) sounds absolutely weak, lifeless and is practicably useless, so it's time to gather opinions.
Although I know that this is a great opportunity to get a 'real' singlecoil for diversity, I'm seriously considering mini-humbuckers, since all of my other guitars have 'real' humbuckers in the neck position and I use and like them a lot.
So, my prime target for now is to come as close to the warmth/sound/balls of a juicy neck humbucker tone as possible, and I really dig the dual blade design (well, the looks of it), but I'm open to almost anything as long as it's not as horrible as the S1.
Any experiences with those choppers/hot rails/cool rails/lil59s etc. ??
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-04-2005, 05:39 PM
 
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Re: HSS axe neck pickup

The Dimarzio "Pro Track" is almost like a single-coil Air Norton. It's pretty fat sounding, and has good output for a single-coil sized humbucker.

Duncans I have no clue on...
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-04-2005, 08:04 PM
 
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Re: HSS axe neck pickup

If you want to keep a single coil-esque sound without the hum then go for a Dimarzio Cruiser. But if you want a little more power and more of that warm humbucker sound, then definitely check out a Chopper or a Pro Track pickup. The Chopper is my personal favorite because it splits very well and I really just don't like the single coil sound all that much.
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-04-2005, 09:15 PM
 
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Re: HSS axe neck pickup

The dual blade single out of the Reb Beach model is my favourite. It has huge round tone you can practically walk through...

I also have a FastTrack2 in the neck of one of my Tele's. It's very hot. It's supposed to be a single sized Super Distortion. You'd need a hot bridge 'bucker to match. It makes a very good neck pup to solo on...
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-04-2005, 11:02 PM
 
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Re: HSS axe neck pickup

I've tried all different kinds of rails in the neck, always with coil splits. Some are winners and some are big losers. I think you have to determine whether you're going to split it or not. If you'll have a coil split on it, then you can afford to go hotter. You don't have to worry so much about the combination sounds, or the pickup's ability to clean up. The Pro Track and Chopper both sound like great choices. Some RBMs had the Ibanez SB2 (I have an extra one by the way) and I love it in the neck. I have one of those in the neck of an S540. If you go too hot like a Hot Rails, Fast Track 2, etc. its too blasty and garbled. Those little coils don't do well when they're totally overwound. I mean for a bridge pickup its fine, but not the neck. Also if you coil split one of the Dimarzios, be aware that many of those use mismatched coils. So one of the coils will be louder and stronger than the other.

One of my favorite guitar setups is a Fast Track 1 in the middle with humbuckers on the outside. Then I have a coil split switch that gives me one coil or the other. The Fast Track has a great variance between the two coils so it's really like 3 pickups in one. If you weren't going to split it, then I'd be more inclined to recommend you try the Cruiser bridge pickup in the neck. The Cruiser neck might be too much of what you have already.

As for Duncan, the Hot Rails, JB jr. and Lil Screamin Demon are out, even if you use the neck models. They're going to be too muddy and garbled. I've always found the Cool Rails to be dull and lifeless, and the Vintage Rails (a great pickup BTW) will sound too much like the S1. If you want a regular single coil, try the Duncan Quarter Pounder, but get the tapped one. That totally smokes as a "lets pretend it's a humbucker" pickup. Then if you tap it, it cuts down to more of a "texas special" type of pickup. You can back it off the strings a little for a more open sound and to reduce the output a little. Or you can quit asking questions and send that Radius to me where it belongs.......where they ALL belong!......mwoohoohoohaahaa.
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-05-2005, 08:01 AM Thread Starter
 
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Re: HSS axe neck pickup

Phew.. thanks everyone! So I'll look into the pro track, chopper and the quarter pounder. I never had huge problems with SC hum anyway, so the quarter pounder may indeed be an option.
That RBM pickup sounds interesting too, and if you lend it to me for the next few years, I'll gladly test it in basswood for you .
For now, I'm after a standard 5-way wiring (split humbuckers in positions 2 and 4) but I intend to install a seperate split switch in the near future. I have one guitar wired to give me a 5-way SSS strat config when the switch is active, and I like it a lot.

Frank: Since every man on earth needs a Radius (better: three), and I only got 2 and a JS, you better send me some of your ones!! Seriously, I'd love to see some pics of your collection.
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-05-2005, 11:55 AM
 
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Re: HSS axe neck pickup

frankfalbo I have a hotrail in my neck position of my strat and its absolutely fantastic. Not muddy or garbled(?) at all. Its fantastic. I would recommend it 100%.
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-05-2005, 12:18 PM
 
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Re: HSS axe neck pickup

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Gilroy
frankfalbo I have a hotrail in my neck position of my strat and its absolutely fantastic. Not muddy or garbled(?) at all. Its fantastic. I would recommend it 100%.
Yes mine is very smooth as well in the neck ,mid with a humbucker.You should consider these duncans.They are quality pickups
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-05-2005, 05:08 PM
 
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Re: HSS axe neck pickup

Hey that's great. I'm glad you're both happy. You're right, they are great pickups. My advice is for horstausmforst, in combination with what is likely another S1-style pickup in the middle, and based on his loose description of a "juicy neck pickup tone" so I still agree with myself. The good news is everyone's different.

I've tried HR's in the neck, like I said I've tried them all. They have lower resonant peaks compared to other widely used full sized neck humbuckers. It's not only a byproduct of overwinding the small coils, but also an attempt to dull down the sharper attack from the narrower aperture vs. a full sized humbucker.
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-05-2005, 07:22 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: HSS axe neck pickup

I once installed a hot rails in the bridge position of a friends roadstar, and the sheer output level cut above the fred in one of my guitars.. so I'm not too sure if one of those will work in the neck for me.

Frank, which full size humbucker do you prefer in the neck position? I'm a paf pro lover and should have written that down in my initial post. Sorry about that. And you're right, it's just another S1 in the middle.

Last edited by horstausmforst; 05-05-2005 at 07:30 PM.
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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-05-2005, 11:24 PM
 
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Re: HSS axe neck pickup

Well I've got roughly 14 guitars with neck humbuckers (depends on if you count the rails) and none are the same. But one of them is a PAF Pro! I lean toward PAF styles, and I'm ultra-picky about what should go in a 24 fret guitar vs. a 22 fret. I only have a couple higher output neck hums and they were chosen more for their split sounds. Most popular neck humbuckers are wound between 7k and 9k. All those neck position Duncan rails come in between the high 9's and 10.8k with pretty hot magnets (no "air" technology) Forget about the bridge versions, it's like they're on fire.

If you like the PAF Pro then either the Pro Track or Chopper will be great. I can't see either disappointing you. If you normally like the PAF Pro in 24 fret guitars, then get the Chopper. If you like the PAF Pro in 22 fretters, then get the Pro Track. The Chopper is a little glassier, like the way a PAF Pro sparkles when it's on a 24 fret guitar. When the PAF Pro is in a 22, it's nasally low end comes through more, and it's a lot smoother. The Pro Track will be more like that.
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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-06-2005, 06:40 PM
 
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Re: HSS axe neck pickup

Hey Frank -- as long as you're giving us your thoughts on singles (which I appreciate), how do the old IBZs fall out for you? I'm thinking of the C1, C2 and C3 beasts. If I recall the first two were stacked humbuckers and the C3 was a true single coil.
Bert
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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-06-2005, 09:35 PM
 
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Re: HSS axe neck pickup

Well, it's definitely a hijack, because none of those will work for horstausmforst. But that's okay because we're all Radius/Saber guys anyway! So we've all run into these pups.

The original IBZUSA's that had no "C" designation seemed like they had 2 versions. The oldest ones seemed to sound glassier, like a C1. They had black cloth wrap underneath. Then shortly thereafter they got a little duller sounding, like a C2 or HS2. Those have the standard milky-clear tape. But you know I never measured them to check for differences. Plus I couldn't tell if there were magnet strength differences anyway.

My favorite is the C1 because it's the "vintage strattiest" of them all, and has good highs. I feel like the C2 is just duller because they tried to get a little more output out of it. But still, they all sound great when run as single coils. (which is what the Jem single is) So I like to put a coil cut on them. The C3 is touted as a middle pickup with split humbuckers. I prefer it as a neck single. It's wound to around 7.6k or so. That's a little hotter than a Fender Texas Special, and personally I'd rather have a split C1/2 than a C3 in the middle. You can also wire the C1/2 to split in the 2 and 4 position but go back to hum cancelling in position 3 in case you want to solo on that position or whatever.

You can also wire a variable coil bleed to the bottom coil to retain some of the hum cancelling benefit, and some of the tonal improvement of running it as a single. Heck you could also set it where you want it, then measure the resistance and hardwire a resistor from the bottom coil to ground. As you can see, I like messing with them, but they're not my first choice. I just won't go around spending $40 each to replace them all. I've got about 10-12 of them in various positions so that would get costly, and they don't sell for much. It's easier to put coil cuts on them.
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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-07-2005, 10:03 AM
 
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Re: HSS axe neck pickup

Yeah, I guess it was a hijack -- although I didn't know that the C-series wouldn't work for horst. (Well, actually, I was just trying to distract you from all the fun you were having over in the "Indonesia" thread -- LOL).

Anyway, this is all really good information. This is one of those threads I'll print out and save. I've had mixed luck with picking singles for my HSS guitars, and I'm not sure I'm happy with any of the combos I have at the moment. So thanks!
Bert
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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-07-2005, 06:15 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: HSS axe neck pickup

Thanks to toshiro, lyonxero, pinto and especially frank for their insight! So, it'll be the pro track for me. And if I ever opt for a different sound, I'll know which thread to consult, lol. Lots of very good suggestions in here.
stratoskier: don't call it 'hijacking', just call it 'pushing the thread to perfection' and everyone's happy

thanks everyone!
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air norton , bridge pickup , bridge position , coil split , fret guitar , fret guitars , humbucker sound , neck humbucker , neck pickup , neck pickup tone , neck position , neck pup , paf pro , super distortion , vintage strat

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