"Norton, I Oughttta....." - Jemsite
Pickups & wiring Discussion about pickup types, replacements, recomendations, switching, wiring diagrams and sustainer systems for ANY guitar, JEMs included.

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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-12-2005, 06:17 PM Thread Starter
 
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"Norton, I Oughttta....."

I recently installed a Norton pickup in the bridge position of my RG3120 to replace The Tone Zone. Originally I had found TTZ near perfect in output and overall tone but it had a "chunk" characteristic that I'd like not to eliminate, but to reduce. I was kind of hoping the Norton would do that. What I'm finding with the Norton is that in the exact range that TTZ would "chunk" the Norton sort of "fizzes out". I guess what I am looking for is a tighter bottom end than the Norton offers while keeping the overall harmonic and tonal responses as well as the attack in the neighborhood of the Norton/TZ.

I've been considering exchanging the Norton for a Breed bridge model in hopes that it might essentially be a Tone Zone with less gain and similar output. Is this assumption correct? Is the extended midrange offered by the Breed going to be overkill in a mohagany bodied guitar? I've also been considering the Air Zone, but from reviews I have a feeling that it wouldn't quite be edgy enough for me. Dimarzio actually recommended the Drop Sonic, but I havenít had much luck with ceramic magnets. I'm sort of aiming for a Vinnie Moore/Paul Gilbert/early Petrucci vibe... (all very different I know) and not sure how to get there in mohagany. Any input is appreciated.

Overall, Iíd say the Norton is a pretty decent pickupÖ It sounds VERY Satchy, even has an early Vai vibe, but itís a touch too ratty to be dead on. I feel it leans toward being designed for lead work having a unique voice. Itís definitely not your run of the mill humbucker, itís a bit complex to be the end all. Itíd be great in another axe, but not my main one.


Mike

Last edited by TheToneZone; 05-12-2005 at 06:59 PM.
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-13-2005, 12:03 PM
 
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Re: "Norton, I Oughttta....."

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheToneZone
I recently installed a Norton pickup in the bridge position of my RG3120 to replace The Tone Zone. Originally I had found TTZ near perfect in output and overall tone but it had a "chunk" characteristic that I'd like not to eliminate, but to reduce. I was kind of hoping the Norton would do that. What I'm finding with the Norton is that in the exact range that TTZ would "chunk" the Norton sort of "fizzes out". I guess what I am looking for is a tighter bottom end than the Norton offers while keeping the overall harmonic and tonal responses as well as the attack in the neighborhood of the Norton/TZ.

I've been considering exchanging the Norton for a Breed bridge model in hopes that it might essentially be a Tone Zone with less gain and similar output. Is this assumption correct? Is the extended midrange offered by the Breed going to be overkill in a mohagany bodied guitar? I've also been considering the Air Zone, but from reviews I have a feeling that it wouldn't quite be edgy enough for me. Dimarzio actually recommended the Drop Sonic, but I havenít had much luck with ceramic magnets. I'm sort of aiming for a Vinnie Moore/Paul Gilbert/early Petrucci vibe... (all very different I know) and not sure how to get there in mohagany. Any input is appreciated.

Overall, Iíd say the Norton is a pretty decent pickupÖ It sounds VERY Satchy, even has an early Vai vibe, but itís a touch too ratty to be dead on. I feel it leans toward being designed for lead work having a unique voice. Itís definitely not your run of the mill humbucker, itís a bit complex to be the end all. Itíd be great in another axe, but not my main one.


Mike
This might be heresy to you, but I have been through similar issues. The answer?

Seymour Duncan JB.

Alnico, has a sweet growl, a nice top-end purr, is bright but not EVEN harsh, has that lovely vocal quality like the TZ, but without the mud. Plus, the JB seems the be the Holy Grail pup for mahogany guitars. It loves mahogany.

I have the JB paired up with an Air Norton, and the two seem to be fast friends. Might be worth a consideration.
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-13-2005, 12:31 PM
 
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Re: "Norton, I Oughttta....."

Check out a DiMarzio Fred...
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-13-2005, 02:19 PM
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Re: "Norton, I Oughttta....."

JBs are fantastic pickups.
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-13-2005, 09:45 PM
 
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Re: "Norton, I Oughttta....."

Breeds too.
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-14-2005, 11:31 AM
 
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Re: "Norton, I Oughttta....."

jbs are awesome, but the duncan custom is the jb on 11.


rich
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-14-2005, 07:58 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: "Norton, I Oughttta....."

Thanks for the input guys.

I wouldn't object to trying out a JB other than the fact that the direct mount setup on the 3120 is pretty specific to Dimarzio F spaced pickups, I'd have to do some mod there on the pickup.

I've pretty much read every review related to mohagany here and don't think I have seen anything about the Breed in it. Since I have the option to swap the Norton out with Dimarzio I think i might just go way of the Breed and give it a shot. In the Dimarzio line up it's about my last shot since I've gone everywhere over the years aside from a Fred, Steves Special, and Super Distortion. I do have the say the Norton was the closest I've had to what I'd call perfect (for me) in mohagany with the exception of it not being tight enough in the bottom end and a hair too bright when clean, the fizziness of the mids I could have lived with.

However Dark Wolf, I might take your advice and try something more mid scooped in the bridge position and get into that vibe.

After about 10 years of The Tone Zone in a few guitars, I am about done with it, although it makes for some serious les paul tone in a 3120 when it sets low.
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-15-2005, 10:55 PM
 
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Re: "Norton, I Oughttta....."

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheToneZone
Thanks for the input guys.

I wouldn't object to trying out a JB other than the fact that the direct mount setup on the 3120 is pretty specific to Dimarzio F spaced pickups, I'd have to do some mod there on the pickup.

I've pretty much read every review related to mohagany here and don't think I have seen anything about the Breed in it. Since I have the option to swap the Norton out with Dimarzio I think i might just go way of the Breed and give it a shot. In the Dimarzio line up it's about my last shot since I've gone everywhere over the years aside from a Fred, Steves Special, and Super Distortion. I do have the say the Norton was the closest I've had to what I'd call perfect (for me) in mohagany with the exception of it not being tight enough in the bottom end and a hair too bright when clean, the fizziness of the mids I could have lived with.

However Dark Wolf, I might take your advice and try something more mid scooped in the bridge position and get into that vibe.

After about 10 years of The Tone Zone in a few guitars, I am about done with it, although it makes for some serious les paul tone in a 3120 when it sets low.
Breed... which is all low mid/mid, into a mahogany guitar, which is ALREADY very low-mid/mid heavy wood, and a neck thru, which is even more mids? Yikes... I wouldn't try it, but to each his own.

Steve's Special, PAF Pro... or Duncan JB. My .02 centrinos.
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-16-2005, 07:27 PM
 
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Re: "Norton, I Oughttta....."

Jb's are sweet,,,I had one in the bridge position on an early 80's BC Rich Warlock. I've never found that sound again with any guitar. I would have to agree "JB's love Mahagany".

~A
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-20-2005, 08:13 PM
 
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Re: "Norton, I Oughttta....."

I like the JB's for mahogany, but as an old Duncan user from way back, I'd go with the Distortion which is a bit of a bad name for that pickup.. It's really hot, but not overly, and probably not quite as hot to me as the TZ is from dimarzio.. and it has this sweet as hell sound in a Mahogany guitars.. At least to me it's a little sweeter than even the JB.. I find the JB to be a great pup though, don't get me wrong..
Tim
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-24-2005, 04:30 AM
 
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Re: "Norton, I Oughttta....."

Quote:
Originally Posted by DotNetTim
I like the JB's for mahogany, but as an old Duncan user from way back, I'd go with the Distortion which is a bit of a bad name for that pickup.. It's really hot, but not overly, and probably not quite as hot to me as the TZ is from dimarzio.. and it has this sweet as hell sound in a Mahogany guitars.. At least to me it's a little sweeter than even the JB.. I find the JB to be a great pup though, don't get me wrong..
Tim
That's because the JB and the Duncan Distortion are basically the same pickup... only diferent magnets. Same coils/windings/etc, just the JB uses an Alnico 5 magnet, slightly smaller, and the DD uses a ceramic magnet, slightly larger. The ceramic adds a bit of brightness and spank to mahogany, but the Alnico will sound a bit smoother and glassier.

I have the best of both worlds on my RG2027... A JB with a smaller ceramic magnet. Like a JB mixed with a DD. Very nice sound for mahogany! Mix that with an Alinco 5 Air Norton in the neck and wow.
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-27-2005, 12:50 PM
 
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Re: "Norton, I Oughttta....."

You guys amaze me. I just went through the SD website to see if i find something to replace mey stock pups. I have to admit that most of the sondfiles they have there sound very much alike, and i hardly can hear a difference.
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-27-2005, 03:39 PM
 
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Re: "Norton, I Oughttta....."

Quote:
I have to admit that most of the sondfiles they have there sound very much alike, and i hardly can hear a difference.
I agree with you!
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-27-2005, 06:27 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: "Norton, I Oughttta....."

With the Duncan forum samples you really have to consider the source, compressed audio files on (probably) cheap PC speakers. To be honest, I don't hear a lot of difference in the samples either. For the most part though, when it comes down to recording something like a sound sample, IMO, pickups really don't make all that much difference. However, when you play wide open you can totally notice a difference, I can anyway. It's more about feel and dynamics when it gets to that point... I think when people talk about how a pickup sounds, especially on a forum like this one, they are more concerned with an overall "vibe" of the pickup, not just the EQ. What I always want to know about a pickup is how it can be described without any reference to an EQ curve. I would define vibe as, yes, a sonic characteristic, but also "how" the pickup plays. Example: Does it not only sound smooth and "buttery" but does it feel that way when you play it?

I donít know if any of that makes sense, in fact, it probably doesnítÖ Iíve just always tended to refer to a pickup typically ďbehavingĒ more so than ďsounding likeĒ. Iím not at all a tone snob, and Iím actually not that great of a player, but when youíre working at getting great sounds with just you, an axe, amp, and a couple of pedals, pickups can have a HUGE impact.

Anyway, as a follow up to my post, I should have a Breed early next week. If that doesnít fly, itís in with a Duncan JB, which will probably stay. Then itís on to find a suitable basswood/maple cap axe that I KNOW will put me in the tonal range Iím looking for.

Mike
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-27-2005, 06:29 PM
 
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Re: "Norton, I Oughttta....."

VERY nicely stated, Mike.

It does come down to "feel" with me.

Bob
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Tags
air norton , breed bridge , bridge position , duncan distortion , les paul , mahogany guitars , neck thru , paf pro , paul gilbert , rich warlock , seymour duncan , spaced pickup , super distortion , tone zone , vinnie moore

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