Middle Pickup Suggestion for RG550 - Jemsite
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-30-2018, 03:25 PM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Minneapolis, MN
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Question Middle Pickup Suggestion for RG550

Hey guys, I was wondering if anyone had any good recommendations for a middle pickup for a basswood RG550? I am running a Dimarzio ToneZone in the bridge and Evolution in the neck, since I often seek out Vai and Gilbert tones.

I've done extensive research and am torn between three different options for the middle position: True Velvet, Blue Velvet bridge, or Area 67. Unfortunately, I can't seem to find many good samples of the Blue Velvet or Area 67 on an HSH RG. I am really after something that brings out beautiful clean tones, crisp and strat-like. Something that goes well mixed with the ToneZone or Evo would be great too, but there aren't many samples out there using my setup.

Let me know what you guys think and any other options you might suggest! I don't know if it's a good idea to go with the hum-cancelling Area 67 between two humbuckers.
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-01-2018, 10:18 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Middle Pickup Suggestion for RG550

Forgot to mention, my RG550 has the maple neck and maple fretboard. I am after great cleans and punchy blues when driven. Any input is much appreciated
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-02-2018, 10:39 AM
 
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Re: Middle Pickup Suggestion for RG550

I like the True Velvet, but not so much alone as for split coil sounds. Obviously it isn't hum-cancelling so I have to think that it's intended mainly for split sounds. Don't know how well it works split with a Tone Zone. I've familiar mainly using it with an EVO 2.

Also consider a Cruiser in the middle position if you want something hum canceling. It has more power than an Area 67 and might pair better with your humbuckers. Plus since it's 4-conductor you can wire it to split with the humbuckers, although I think you'll want a different switch for that.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-02-2018, 10:47 PM
 
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Re: Middle Pickup Suggestion for RG550

Quote:
Originally Posted by Takin' a Ride View Post
Also consider a Cruiser in the middle position if you want something hum canceling. It has more power than an Area 67 and might pair better with your humbuckers. Plus since it's 4-conductor you can wire it to split with the humbuckers, although I think you'll want a different switch for that.
Honestly, the Area 67 sounded and felt hotter than a Cruiser, to me. The Dimarzio specs don't really back this up so I don't know what to make of that, and it's possible the guy who installed it screwed it up (this is before I really got the hang of soldering pickups) and wired it parallel or something... But the Cruiser Bridge pickups felt REALLY underpowered, to me.

Sounded awesome, unfortunately, but just couldn't keep up with a bridge humbucker, whereas the Areas could. And I know this is Timmons' preferred setup, and this was WITH an AT1 in the bridge, but I have to think he just wanted his singlecoils to be cleaner than his bridge humbucker, whereas I wanted the perceived output to balance well, so...

Anyway, if I wanted a Dimarzio to balance tonally with a neck and bridge humbucker, I'd try this:

Virtual VintageŽ Heavy Blues 2 | DiMarzio

On its own, it was a little dark as a neck and middle singlecoil... But, next to a neck and bridge humbucker, it'd probably sound pretty balanced.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-03-2018, 02:10 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Middle Pickup Suggestion for RG550

I'm looking for something with nice punchy cleans on its own, not sure if the Blues 2 will be capable of those cut-through single coil tones you hear with Gilbert and Malmsteen.

Based on all this, I'm thinking Area 67 might be my best best? Any input on its hum-cancelling properties used in conjunction with my Evo neck and ToneZone bridge pups?


Thanks!!
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-03-2018, 04:42 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Middle Pickup Suggestion for RG550

Just heard back from Dimarzio and they recommended the True Velvet, since the Area 67 would present wiring complications that would require me to use a different switch.

Does anyone else have any input on what might be good with a Tone Zone / Evo combo?
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-03-2018, 04:42 PM
 
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Re: Middle Pickup Suggestion for RG550

Quote:
Originally Posted by PassCom View Post
I'm looking for something with nice punchy cleans on its own, not sure if the Blues 2 will be capable of those cut-through single coil tones you hear with Gilbert and Malmsteen.

Based on all this, I'm thinking Area 67 might be my best best? Any input on its hum-cancelling properties used in conjunction with my Evo neck and ToneZone bridge pups?


Thanks!!
To my ears, it sounds like a punchier singlecoil:


Also, if you use Spotify or some other service like that (or iTunes and feel like buying a random album today ), I'd have to go back and check my notes to be positive, but I'm 99% sure that on my album Zero Mantra, I still had a Heavy Blues 2 pair in the neck and middle position of my Strat when I recorded the lead for "Alien Love Child," which is a VERY conventionally Strat-y sound, IMO.

I've never tried wiring any of the hum-cancelling dimarzio singlecoils up as a H-S-H, but Dimarzio does provide wiring diagrams:

Wiring Diagrams | DiMarzio
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-03-2018, 06:13 PM
 
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Re: Middle Pickup Suggestion for RG550

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drew View Post
Honestly, the Area 67 sounded and felt hotter than a Cruiser, to me. The Dimarzio specs don't really back this up so I don't know what to make of that, and it's possible the guy who installed it screwed it up (this is before I really got the hang of soldering pickups) and wired it parallel or something... But the Cruiser Bridge pickups felt REALLY underpowered, to me.

Sounded awesome, unfortunately, but just couldn't keep up with a bridge humbucker, whereas the Areas could. And I know this is Timmons' preferred setup, and this was WITH an AT1 in the bridge, but I have to think he just wanted his singlecoils to be cleaner than his bridge humbucker, whereas I wanted the perceived output to balance well, so...
So this is some parts guitar made from a 560 body that was done like a "Guitar Ecstacy" graphic.



I used the Cruiser Neck (DP186) in the middle and neck positions. These are I believe a little more treble-biased than the Cruiser Bridge (DP187). I have to tell you that the middle position is LOUD on this guitar, but that may be because of the bridge pickup. It's a PAF Pro from my '99 FP Jem. These pickups sound really great clean as well and fix what I consider an issue of getting a Strat sound with any sort of output.

The Heavy Blues 2 does sound good in your demo, but it does seem fairly warm compared to a typical Strat pickup.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-13-2018, 01:08 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Middle Pickup Suggestion for RG550

Hey Drew, I've been watching a lot of your demo videos but now still find myself torn between these three options for my setup: Area 67, Area 61, or Heavy Blues 2. For some reason I'm leaning towards the Area 67, since that is what Paul Gilbert combines his Tone Zone with on some of his PGM models.

Do you think there's any chance you could do a demo video of these three pickups in direct comparison? I'm hoping maybe you have some guitars equipped with them lying around already. I feel like directly comparing these options would really help me decide which is the tone I want for myself.

If you can help out with the video, that would be awesome! Thanks Drew
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-13-2018, 01:27 PM
 
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Re: Middle Pickup Suggestion for RG550

Quote:
Originally Posted by PassCom View Post
Hey Drew, I've been watching a lot of your demo videos but now still find myself torn between these three options for my setup: Area 67, Area 61, or Heavy Blues 2. For some reason I'm leaning towards the Area 67, since that is what Paul Gilbert combines his Tone Zone with on some of his PGM models.

Do you think there's any chance you could do a demo video of these three pickups in direct comparison? I'm hoping maybe you have some guitars equipped with them lying around already. I feel like directly comparing these options would really help me decide which is the tone I want for myself.

If you can help out with the video, that would be awesome! Thanks Drew
So, I still have a pickguard tucked away somewhere with an Area 67 neck and 61 middle (and an AT1) in the bridge... But, I no longer have a Heavy Blues 2, and that pickguard would look properly HIDEOUS on my sienna burst Strat with a rosewood board, rather than the inca silver with a maple neck I grabbed it for (it's a Warmoth replacement guard in silver pearl).

I don't think I've done a comparison of the 61 and the 67, so maybe at some point I can do one of those, however.
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-13-2018, 02:01 PM Thread Starter
 
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Thumbs up Re: Middle Pickup Suggestion for RG550

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drew View Post
So, I still have a pickguard tucked away somewhere with an Area 67 neck and 61 middle (and an AT1) in the bridge... But, I no longer have a Heavy Blues 2, and that pickguard would look properly HIDEOUS on my sienna burst Strat with a rosewood board, rather than the inca silver with a maple neck I grabbed it for (it's a Warmoth replacement guard in silver pearl).

I don't think I've done a comparison of the 61 and the 67, so maybe at some point I can do one of those, however.
Awesome, thanks Drew!! Mind if you just reply to this thread if you ever get around to doing the pickup comparison video for the 61 and 67 in the middle positions? If the sounds are as I expect them to be, I think I will be going with the 67.
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-15-2018, 04:20 AM
 
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Re: Middle Pickup Suggestion for RG550

I have the DP408 (Virtual VintageŽ 54 Pro) in the middle with EVOs on each side, it is really a great middle middle pickup. take a look on this one, it might suit you!
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