Jem 7V pup change opinions? - Jemsite
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-30-2011, 04:36 PM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: California
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Jem 7V pup change opinions?

Hey guys... looking for a little input before I pull the trigger on a Jem overhaul.

Spec details first:
Guitar: Jem 7v (Alder body, Edge Lo-Pro trem, rosewood fingerboard)
Current Pups: Original EVOs (H-S-H)
Amp: Original 5150 full stack
Style: 70's-90's hard/prog rock (heros: Vai, Petrucci, Randy Rhodes, Van Halen, Lifeson, Zappa, Satch, Johnson, Beck, etc - yeah I know thats kinda all over the place )


Complaint: For the record, I do love this guitar... feel-wise its my favorite axe to play. I would like to tweak its tone just a smidge though... I actually really like the EVO bridge pup, and even put one in another Iby of mine (which it sounds PERFECT in). But I feel my Jem is just a bit thin/trebly sounding. I know that is kinda Vai's tone, and I don't wanna stray too far from it (obviously I don't expect this to sound like a Les Paul, nor do I want it to), I just wanna warm & fatten things up a bit. Also, I personally found the EVO (15 in neck position a little hot as well as a little trebly sounding.

Goal: A warmer, smoother, more "buttery" tone, particularly in the neck position. I have a Duncan Pearly Gates in another Iby (paired with an original EVO in bridge pos) and it sounds AWESOME. But that is a bubinga body RG and a totally different animal...

Research: I am currently leaning toward swapping the bridge from an EVO to an EVO2. Specs & reviews agree this is a slightly warmer pup with just slightly less output, making it a little more versatile. However, I still want a thick, heavy "crunchy" palm-muted rhythm sound on heavy distortion & full vol... will the EVO2's lower output compromise this a lot?

I am probably gonna drop the center pos single coil comletely as I VERY rarely use it and prefer using a 5-pos switch utilizing coil splitting between 2 humbuckers.

My hardest decision is neck pos. I am ordering custom colors so would like to stay with the same manufacturer for cosmetic as well as tonal consistency, so I am trying to avoid the SD's & stick with DiMarzios. After all, I do really like the EVO bridge pup. But since I'm not crazy about the EVO neck pup, what to replace it with? My research into DiMarzio (including talking to a tech on the phone) has led me to the following possibilities to achieve a tone like I described previously: Air Norton, LiquiFire, Air Zone, or Breed. All choices would cut the treble some so based on EQ alone <should> be warmer. Some are a little hotter than the EVO and some are slightly lower output. Again, I am shoothing for a warm, smooth, articulate sound. I want it clean, warm & bright for chord work on a clean amp (Yes, I know the 5150 doesn't have the best clean tone but I also have other low-gain apmlification gear I use in the studio for clean work), but tight & articulate for solos, sweeping arpegios, etc. Based on description alone it seems the LiquiFire would be a good choice but I've read in here they don't actually sound great in Alder Jems? The tech thought the Air Norton would be comparable to the SD Peraly Gates but a little warmer... anyone in here have experience with one in the neck pos of an alder body Jem? The Breed is another Vai pup, and looks like it should be a little warmer, but as a Vai pup I'm concerned it may still be a little too trebly. Anyone have 1st hand comparison experience with a Breed vs. an EVO neck pup? The Air Zone is described as more of a jazz pup and based on description seems like it could be an excellent choice, but I haven't been able to find much on it review-wise. Any experience with it in here?

Ultimately if I put in a pup & decide I don't like it, I'll just replace it & try to Ebay the one I didn't like. But I'd obviously rather get it right the 1st time...

I'm open minded and really appreciate your input - good or bad. Thanks everyone!
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-30-2011, 05:14 PM
 
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Re: Jem 7V pup change opinions?

The Tone Zone sounds awesome in alder. Nice and thick and chunky and heavy. The Tone Zone is so much better in alder than basswood.
LonePhantom is offline  
post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-30-2011, 09:27 PM
 
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Re: Jem 7V pup change opinions?

try a paf jo on the neck on paper there mid power but sound really full and have strong harmonics i have one stock in my js1200 and its has more of a buttery tone than a evo neck on the same amp and settings
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-30-2011, 11:13 PM
 
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Re: Jem 7V pup change opinions?

Quote:
Originally Posted by kfssdude View Post
But I feel my Jem is just a bit thin/trebly sounding.

Goal: A warmer, smoother, more "buttery" tone, particularly in the neck position.

I am currently leaning toward swapping the bridge from an EVO to an EVO2.

Air Norton, LiquiFire, Air Zone, or Breed. All choices would cut the treble some so based on EQ alone <should> be warmer.

Anyone have 1st hand comparison experience with a Breed vs. an EVO neck pup?
Yes, the original Evolution has a lot treble combined with high resistance, making the overall tone thin. "Confined" sounds even better.

My favourite bridge pickup is the Evo 2, I simply love it, and it confines a lot less than the DP159. It has more mids too.

In the neck, the Breed pickup is VERY fat and vintage sounding. Imagine the opposite of modern but still very powerful and fat. It's full and wide. After 3 years using Breeds only, I decided to try an Evolution in the neck and loved it too.

So if you just want a tweaked version of your Evolution in the bridge, get an Evo 2. For the neck, I honestly think the Breed or Air Zone could slow you down. If you would like to keep the same amount of output, get a PAF Pro or Liquifire.

edit:

The Liquifire sounded dark when I installed it for the first time. The Breed was not as dark but I believe an Air Zone in the neck would be.

Now the same Liquifire is in the neck of an RG920 Premium and it sounds normal to me. It's my 2nd favourite neck pickup.

Last edited by Typhon; 12-30-2011 at 11:23 PM. Reason: It's 2 a.m., my typing sucks at this time.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-02-2012, 02:29 PM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: California
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Re: Jem 7V pup change opinions?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Typhon View Post
Yes, the original Evolution has a lot treble combined with high resistance, making the overall tone thin. "Confined" sounds even better.

My favourite bridge pickup is the Evo 2, I simply love it, and it confines a lot less than the DP159. It has more mids too.

In the neck, the Breed pickup is VERY fat and vintage sounding. Imagine the opposite of modern but still very powerful and fat. It's full and wide. After 3 years using Breeds only, I decided to try an Evolution in the neck and loved it too.

So if you just want a tweaked version of your Evolution in the bridge, get an Evo 2. For the neck, I honestly think the Breed or Air Zone could slow you down. If you would like to keep the same amount of output, get a PAF Pro or Liquifire.

edit:

The Liquifire sounded dark when I installed it for the first time. The Breed was not as dark but I believe an Air Zone in the neck would be.

Now the same Liquifire is in the neck of an RG920 Premium and it sounds normal to me. It's my 2nd favourite neck pickup.
Thanks for the input! I went ahead and ordered an EVO2 for the bridge and a LiquiFire for the neck. I know the LiquiFire has gotten mixed reviews in here but I'm going to give it a shot. I do like a very warm tone in the neck so I'm hoping it hits the mark. Tone chasing can be such an ephemeral thing...

The EVO2 was an easy choice because I do like the EVO sound, I just wanted a subtle tweak to the bridge sound.

I'm just building a whole new pickguard with these new pups so I can quickly and easily swap back to stock. This will allow me to do fairly simple direct comparison tests as well as avoid de-valuing my Jem. Since I'm doing it this way, I'm also doing some custom colors just for fun... I will post pics and give detailed reviews of the pups soon!
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-02-2012, 09:36 PM
 
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Re: Jem 7V pup change opinions?

Great choice, man! I find the Liquifire the best compromise between the Air Norton and Breed. One is too fat and vintage (and I like a fat neck tone), the other lacks output and attack IMO. It will become your favourite neck pickup.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-23-2012, 10:09 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Jem 7V pup change opinions?

Ok, she is FINALLY done! Liquifire neck, EVO single coil middle, EVO2 bridge... She sounds AMAZING! I also upgraded to a high quality brass tone block and spring claw, along with silent springs. The transformation is really quite stunning. Besides looking incredible, she sounds so much fuller and more robust, without losing that signature Jem sound. A bit warmer, more sustain, and way more resonance. I couldn't be happier! Here she is before and after... before was stock config (white pickguard/pups)...

Last edited by kfssdude; 07-14-2012 at 08:16 PM.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-23-2012, 10:17 PM
 
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Re: Jem 7V pup change opinions?

Quote:
Originally Posted by kfssdude View Post
Ok, she is FINALLY done! Liquifire neck, EVO single coil middle, EVO2 bridge... She sounds AMAZING! I also upgraded to a high quality brass tone block and spring claw, along with silent springs. The transformation is really quite stunning. Besides looking incredible, she sounds so much fuller and more robust, without losing that signature Jem sound. A bit warmer, more sustain, and way more resonance. I couldn't be happier! Here she is before and after... before was stock config (white pickguard/pups)...
That's an interesting coincidence. My brass block has just been dispatched a few hours ago. I can't wait to install it!

Your black/blue pickups look gorgeous!
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-23-2012, 10:47 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Jem 7V pup change opinions?

Quote:
Originally Posted by tearsx View Post
That's an interesting coincidence. My brass block has just been dispatched a few hours ago. I can't wait to install it!

Your black/blue pickups look gorgeous!
Dude those blocks make a big diff! I've got them on all my axes now... have a Ti, Cu, & Brass on various setups. WARNING: you will lose some up trem action (on a Jem at least) because the blocks are significantly thicker than stock blocks. So on my Jems, at least, I left one of them stock so it is my "trem tricks" Jem... dive bombs and trills are still fine even with the new blocks though, and the tonal improvement is enough to warrant keeping them on most of my guitars (all but 1, actually).

You know, when I decided I wanted to change out pups I figured why not play with the color a little bit? I took inspiration from other Jem models - the GMC and BFP models specifically. I think this looks much more "Jem-ish", and definitely has a very cool vibe! I like it, anyway.

For any purists - I kept every single original part so that I can return this to bone stock form if I ever want to.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-24-2012, 08:48 PM
 
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Re: Jem 7V pup change opinions?

One of my RG's has a Gotoh tremolo and the standard brass block already sounds much better than the old one. That's the kind of mod that everyone should try one day.
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-25-2012, 02:09 AM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Jem 7V pup change opinions?

Ok I just have to say, after a few days of playing my modded Jem I am SO impressed by the LiquiFire neck pup! I really like the others too, and i def like the EVO2 better than the original EVO. But what really blew me away was that LiquiFire... It is everything I imagined & hoped for! It has a fat, warm tone, but not the slightest bit of muddiness. This pup has plenty of balls, but remains clear and articulate. Sweeping arpeggios and speed picking runs never sounded so buttery smooth, clear and articulated! My bassist was literally staring at me, mouth open, and said simply "holy ****". Indeed. In case that wasn't enough, the clean tone was gorgeous! Full, warm but still sparkling and chimey, very smooth and fluid sounding. Chord work sounded truly exceptional.

I am totally sold, and ordering LiquiFires for all my Jems at least, and will prob try them on some of my other axes as well. It really is a wonderful pup that, I felt at least, brought a much more balanced sound to my Alder Jem. Highly recommend!
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-25-2012, 11:57 AM
 
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Re: Jem 7V pup change opinions?

It sounds a lot more like the Breed than the Air Norton.
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