Need help balancing pickups - Jemsite
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-20-2012, 04:37 PM Thread Starter
 
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Need help balancing pickups

Hello guys.
I could use some advice for my HSS RG, right now it has dimarzio evo2/fast track1/chopper combo.
Problem is, to balance with evo2, I have to set the chopper pretty high, almost level with the end of the fretboard, it sounds fine on its own, but I'd like to have that sparkling split tone on 4th position, I can only do that when the mid pickup is raised as well, but then it gets in the way of my picking hand.
I'm thinking maybe I should move chopper to the mid, and get something hotter like air norton s or bc1 for the neck. Does anyone here run into the same problem and have tried chopper in the middle pos.? Would it be too hot, not 'quacky' enough ?

Btw, The evo2 is perfect as it is, it's quite backed off from the string, I tried to set it lower I think it loses some tone.
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-20-2012, 04:45 PM
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Re: Need help balancing pickups

Just leave them alone and use a clean boost pedal in those positions.



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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-21-2012, 09:11 AM
 
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Re: Need help balancing pickups

This is my biggest problem with HSS setups, too, and finding a singlecoil that both sounds reasonably authentic on its own but also can keep up with a hot humbucker is a surprisingly hard tradeoff (I don't think a clean boost is an option because I don't want to have to tap-dance whenever I switch pickup postions).

Something as hot as an Evo is going to pose problems for anything you throw at it - you're already using about as hot singlecoils as Dimarzio makes, so there's not much else you can really try if you want it to still sound like a singlecoil. If you're willing to go with a humbucker sound, moving the Chopper to the middle and putting an AN s in the neck will definitely help, but again it will sound more like a neck humbucker than a neck singlecoil.

I've had pretty good luck with the Dimarzio Area pickups and an Andy Timmons bridge pickup - the Areas aren't exceptionally hot, but they ARE exceptionally low magnetic pull so they still sound great closer to the strings than conventional singlecoils, and while you lose a little chime clean you get a fuller, thicker distorted sound. But, no way in hell will they keep up with an Evo.
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-21-2012, 04:53 PM
 
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Re: Need help balancing pickups

Injector Neck might be the way to go. It's an exceptionally hot single coil pickup.
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-21-2012, 06:47 PM
 
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Re: Need help balancing pickups

Texas Special is the hotest single ever!
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-21-2012, 06:58 PM
 
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Re: Need help balancing pickups

i always felt that there SHOULD be some differential between them , it's kind of the point of having the different pickups..... it adds a level of dynamic variation possibility to the instrument..... subtlety and touch from the singles, and being able to up the ante and drive harder by selecting the humbucker. i don't really see the point of having them all at the same level necessarily, not in a guitar that is designed to have that variation ability.... hell, even in my HSH or simpleH-H guitars, i always have some difference.... not just in tonal colour, but in level.... it widens the expressive range, and , when i'm paying attention makes me think more about how best to use it.....
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-22-2012, 09:50 AM
 
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Re: Need help balancing pickups

Quote:
Originally Posted by sebastian View Post
Texas Special is the hotest single ever!
No, it's really not. It's a little hotter than a vintage singlecoil, but not much. And, by modern standards, it's very low output. The vintage pole stagger also causes problems and limits how close you can set them to the strings.

Max - for me, it's a huge issue. I play with comparatively low gain for, well, for someone who posts at Jemsite, and I'm mostly a legato guy. So if I have a guitar that cleans up radically when I switch to my neck pickup, it's going to cause problems. Singlecoils sound and even respond radically different from humbuckers, and that's the change I'm after. I don't want to have my gain structure change radically when I switch.
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-22-2012, 10:06 PM
 
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Re: Need help balancing pickups

my HSS guitar has evo on bridge and unknown dimarzio singles, since it was 89, i supposed there are VS-1 single made by dimarzio back in that day.
i set the neck single level to the fretboard, but the middle one is waaay down to the wood, so it won't bothering my picking.
bridge humbucker is just the way it should be, distance between the bridge humbucker and strings around 3-4mm.
Yes there is a difference on output level, but not so much.
i mean it won't bother me tho, pos 2 and 4 also doesn't make any weird sound.

my suggestion, maybe you should try true single coil bro.
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-23-2012, 03:58 AM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Need help balancing pickups

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlaskaBat View Post
Just leave them alone and use a clean boost pedal in those positions.
Hmm.. I think that would be unpractical.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LonePhantom View Post
Injector Neck might be the way to go. It's an exceptionally hot single coil pickup.
I doubt they would balance with evo2, I tried the fast track 1 in the neck with paf pro bridge (only 110mv difference) , and there's already big gain drop on the neck pos.
I really like the injectors in my friend's HW1 strat though, awesome for shredding and quite nice for blues too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Max the Mac View Post
i always felt that there SHOULD be some differential between them , it's kind of the point of having the different pickups..... it adds a level of dynamic variation possibility to the instrument..... subtlety and touch from the singles, and being able to up the ante and drive harder by selecting the humbucker. i don't really see the point of having them all at the same level necessarily, not in a guitar that is designed to have that variation ability.... hell, even in my HSH or simpleH-H guitars, i always have some difference.... not just in tonal colour, but in level.... it widens the expressive range, and , when i'm paying attention makes me think more about how best to use it.....
Hmm.. Yeah that was my idea too, when Installing fast track 1 on the neck, especially after watching some vinnie moore vids. But later I found the gain drop was very annoying when playing solo. It lacks that "face melting" factor lol.

Quote:
Originally Posted by psychoshredder View Post
my HSS guitar has evo on bridge and unknown dimarzio singles, since it was 89, i supposed there are VS-1 single made by dimarzio back in that day.
i set the neck single level to the fretboard, but the middle one is waaay down to the wood, so it won't bothering my picking.
bridge humbucker is just the way it should be, distance between the bridge humbucker and strings around 3-4mm.
Yes there is a difference on output level, but not so much.
i mean it won't bother me tho, pos 2 and 4 also doesn't make any weird sound.

my suggestion, maybe you should try true single coil bro.
Interesting suggestion bro! Maybe I should look the other direction and go for lower output middle, since they have more quack and twang than overwound single like fast track 1 and fs1

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drew View Post
This is my biggest problem with HSS setups, too, and finding a singlecoil that both sounds reasonably authentic on its own but also can keep up with a hot humbucker is a surprisingly hard tradeoff (I don't think a clean boost is an option because I don't want to have to tap-dance whenever I switch pickup postions).

Something as hot as an Evo is going to pose problems for anything you throw at it - you're already using about as hot singlecoils as Dimarzio makes, so there's not much else you can really try if you want it to still sound like a singlecoil. If you're willing to go with a humbucker sound, moving the Chopper to the middle and putting an AN s in the neck will definitely help, but again it will sound more like a neck humbucker than a neck singlecoil.

I've had pretty good luck with the Dimarzio Area pickups and an Andy Timmons bridge pickup - the Areas aren't exceptionally hot, but they ARE exceptionally low magnetic pull so they still sound great closer to the strings than conventional singlecoils, and while you lose a little chime clean you get a fuller, thicker distorted sound. But, no way in hell will they keep up with an Evo.
Yes! I totally agree with you bro, If I were an endorsee I would ask dimarzio to make me a really hot SC, like 300mv that sounds bright and glassy like a single coil, let's call it "chopper+" or "fast track 1.75"

Btw, I think I should also try lower output bridge pickup, like the norton, or mo joe, or maybe AT-1/cruiser combo since it's already proven.
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-23-2012, 05:12 AM
 
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Smile Re: Need help balancing pickups

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drew View Post
No, it's really not. It's a little hotter than a vintage singlecoil, but not much. And, by modern standards, it's very low output. The vintage pole stagger also causes problems and limits how close you can set them to the strings.
Strange, I have an FastTrack 1 and a VVHB2, and they are not as loud as the Texas Specials I have paired up with Dimarzio Humbuckers ilke the TZ and the EVO2.
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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-23-2012, 06:19 AM
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Re: Need help balancing pickups

I think you're asking too much of one guitar to be honest.

It's like saying I want a great steak and a delicious desert, but I want them on the same plate, and then I ALSO want them to taste great when I get a bit of each on my fork

I'll table another suggestion to try for a slightly lower output bridge pickup if you want to keep the neck and middle pickups as they are, or alternatively regocnise that the gutiar needs to have a dual personaility rather than a seemless transition from one pickup position to the next.

I prefer the FRED to the Mo'Joe, and being slighlty lower output might help your cause

Last edited by jono; 06-23-2012 at 06:35 AM.
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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-23-2012, 06:28 AM
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Re: Need help balancing pickups

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Originally Posted by bowie8889 View Post
Hmm.. I think that would be unpractical.
It's actually the most practical solution for the extremely nit-picky results you're looking for. Read Jono's reply--that makes the most sense of all.



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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-23-2012, 06:48 AM
 
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Re: Need help balancing pickups

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlaskaBat View Post
It's actually the most practical solution for the extremely nit-picky results you're looking for. Read Jono's reply--that makes the most sense of all.
The most practical solution would be an EMG PA2 (without the swich possibly) wired to boost the two singlecoils to the desired output level.
http://www.emgpickups.com/products/index/135/142/4
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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-23-2012, 07:01 AM
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Re: Need help balancing pickups

Quote:
Originally Posted by danix View Post
The most practical solution would be an EMG PA2 (without the swich possibly) wired to boost the two singlecoils to the desired output level.
http://www.emgpickups.com/products/index/135/142/4
While that suits the purpose--there is wiring needed and either an extra hole drilled in the body, or in place of the tone pot.

Don't see how that's more practical than simply plugging into a boost pedal.

Arctec also makes some nice little inboard preamps and boosters, but those also require rewiring and placement.



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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-26-2012, 11:04 AM
 
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Re: Need help balancing pickups

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlaskaBat View Post
It's actually the most practical solution for the extremely nit-picky results you're looking for. Read Jono's reply--that makes the most sense of all.
It's really not, and I wouldn't characterize what he's looking for as "extremely nit-picky" - it's just different from what YOU want in a guitar.

Jono's first suggestion, namely to recognize that to achieve what he's after the OP needs to look for pickups that are complementary to each other and give somewhat on bridge output, is IMO the way to go here - something that he's now considering.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bowie8889 View Post
...or maybe AT-1/cruiser combo since it's already proven.
A word of caution here - you'll likely have the same problem with a volume drop on the neck and middle. I tried this combo, and really dug each "half" of it in isolation, but the only way I could get the cruisers to balance with the AT1 was to set them fairly close to the strings, which IMO really over-accentuated the attack on the Cruisers. It got kind of "non-linear" for lack of a better way to put it - when you dig into a singlecoil, it gets increasingly bright and explosive sounding as you hit harder. I like pickups where that relationship is pretty linear, where a slight increase in pick attack will have a proportional change in sound. The cruisers don't do this close to the strings - it's linear to a point, and then it gets completely icepick-y and in your face. It reminded me a lot of an EMG humbucker's attack, I guess, set close enough to keep up with the AT1. It was odd how quiet they were - what finally made me decide I needed to switch was A/B'ing my Strat against a couple Mexi strats in a GC that actually had more output from their stock pickups (to be fair, Mexi strats seem to ship with reasonably hot singlecoils).

I've done a ton of pickup switching since then to try to rectify this, and the best compromise I've found so far is an Area 67 neck and 61 middle. The 58/61/67 are all pretty similar output, and a little hotter than the Cruisers, but also less sensitive to changes in distance from the strings by a long shot so you can run them much closer than either a Cruiser or a normal singlecoil (they replaced a Fender Custom 69 neck and Texas Special middle in my Strat) for added ouytput without hurting your tone or sustain. I haven't tried the 58 yet (though I want to - it's actually a hair hotter than the 67, too) but I've been very impressed with both the 61 and 67 for capturing quite a lot of that vintage single coil sound while holding up better under gain, adding a fair amount of output, and being dead quiet.

Of course, either aFast Track or a Chopper will probably be able to hang with a medium output 'bucker, so with something less hot than an Evo2 in the bridge it becomes a matter of taste.

Last edited by Drew; 06-26-2012 at 11:14 AM.
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