the ongoing pickup discussion continues.. - 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 9 (permalink) Old 08-14-2008, 06:02 AM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
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the ongoing pickup discussion continues..

Hey guys! I have my eyes set on a 'Jackson DK2M Pro Series Dinky' (check link at the bottom) and I really want to make some improvements on it once I get it. Okay, so the guitar comes with Seymour Duncan pickups (TB4 and SH2N). I was thinking of replacing them with DiMarzio pups. I play for a progressive metal band and I want to have that crazy, heavy rhythm and a good lead-ish pickup that also has a beautiful/smooth clean. I’m pretty convinced that the X2N is the right bridge pup that can give me that heavy sound. But, I’m having a hard time finding a good PASSIVE neck pup that can complement the X2N and give me that clean sound. Basically, I want a versatile pickup combo that has very little downside and that produces a good overall sound (I don’t want a one-trick pony).

I was browsing on the DiMarzio site and I found Tone Guides for every single pickup that they had to offer. Should I try to equalize the two pickups? Like, get a bridge pup that has high gain and a neck pup with high treble? Anyway, I hope to hear from you guys soon and I would like to thank you in advance for any advice you can give me.

Here’s the link to the guitar: http://www.activemusician.com/item--...Guitar+-+Black (alder body)

Besides changing the pickups, I might put in an Original Floyd Rose Tremolo to add the icing to the cake. Oh, and I play on a tube amp (if that changes anything). 

PS. I plan on dropping every string one whole step.

Last edited by _LeviathaN_; 08-14-2008 at 10:17 AM.
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-14-2008, 01:25 PM
 
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Re: the ongoing pickup discussion continues..

Quote:
Originally Posted by _LeviathaN_ View Post
Hey guys! I have my eyes set on a 'Jackson DK2M Pro Series Dinky' (check link at the bottom) and I really want to make some improvements on it once I get it. Okay, so the guitar comes with Seymour Duncan pickups (TB4 and SH2N). I was thinking of replacing them with DiMarzio pups. I play for a progressive metal band and I want to have that crazy, heavy rhythm and a good lead-ish pickup that also has a beautiful/smooth clean. I’m pretty convinced that the X2N is the right bridge pup that can give me that heavy sound. But, I’m having a hard time finding a good PASSIVE neck pup that can complement the X2N and give me that clean sound. Basically, I want a versatile pickup combo that has very little downside and that produces a good overall sound (I don’t want a one-trick pony).

I was browsing on the DiMarzio site and I found Tone Guides for every single pickup that they had to offer. Should I try to equalize the two pickups? Like, get a bridge pup that has high gain and a neck pup with high treble? Anyway, I hope to hear from you guys soon and I would like to thank you in advance for any advice you can give me.

Here’s the link to the guitar: http://www.activemusician.com/item--...Guitar+-+Black (alder body)

Besides changing the pickups, I might put in an Original Floyd Rose Tremolo to add the icing to the cake. Oh, and I play on a tube amp (if that changes anything). 

PS. I plan on dropping every string one whole step.
Here are some things to consider. These are all based upon what I know and the opinions I've formed based upon that.:

Default output levels

Your neck pickup needs to be lower output than your bridge, since the neck position has higher output by default. Yet, the bridge can't have an output too much at variance with the neck pickup's output or else you end up with a significant volume drop when you switch to the neck positions. Likewise, if you think you're "balancing" by getting the same output neck pickup as the bridge, you'll probably end up with a jump in volume when you switch to the neck pickup.

Tone profile

Another mistake people often make is to think "Hmmm, the neck pickup is a bass position, so I'll get a bassy pickup". Wrong. If you do that, since the neck position is a "bass" position, you'll muddy it up by getting a fat bassy pickup. For clarity and more articulated attack go with something that leans on the treble a little bit.

What I usually do is get a bridge position pickup that has a good fat tone with decent mid's and bass and I get a neck position pickup that brightens up a little bit. An example of this is the Tone Zone in the bridge and the PAF Pro in the neck. Yet, there are about a zillion different possibilities.

The importance of your guitar's wood and what amp you're using

The biggest problem in my opinion is people not realizing how much you should be relying on wood selection and amp for your sound as opposed to pickups. That goes without mentioning that much of the sound is also in your fingers. You've got an alder body and a maple neck on that thing so it's already going to be a little bright. Hence, you can get away with some more bassy/mid'ish pickups as opposed to if you had a mahogany bodied guitar.

You mention that you play on a tube amp. Which amp?

My recommendation

I would strongly recommend against the X2N because it is a very dirty and muddy sounding pickup that doesn't mix well with any other pickup. The Duncans that come with the guitar are probably going to be better than anything you could replace them with. They knew what they were doing when they designed it with those pickups.

If you want to go Dimarzio, a set of Breeds would go fantastic in that guitar and give you the exact sound you're looking for. The reason why I recommend both the Breed bridge and neck is because of the Alder and Maple composition of that guitar. The bass and mids of those pickups will balance out nicely in that guitar, IMHO.

Best of luck.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-14-2008, 04:25 PM
 
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Re: the ongoing pickup discussion continues..

I found the X2N to be FAR from muddy, it was quite the opposite to my ear- very biting. And loud. Although I do agree, the X2N does not seem to be what you want.

If you want a smooth lead tone from your bridge, look at the Super 3, Breed bridge, D Sonic, or D Activator X bridge for that slot. Tone Zone might also be your bag of chips.

For the neck, look at the D Activator (regular) neck, or the D Activator X neck if you want a slightly darker sound. The PAF Pro is always a great choice for the neck slot as well.

And regarding output, it's okay as long as you have equal or lesser output in the neck than you do the bridge. You can also always adjust volumes by adjusting pickup height.

But I suggest the Super 3 in the bridge and a D Activator Neck in the neck. DP152 and DP219, respectively.
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-14-2008, 06:39 PM
 
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Re: the ongoing pickup discussion continues..

The X2N can still be biting and muddy at the same time. I found mine muddy as well, as in there wasn't much note definition at all.
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-14-2008, 09:50 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: the ongoing pickup discussion continues..

Thank you for the feedback! I'm going to buy a Carvin Tube Amp by the end of the week ( https://www.carvinguitars.com/produc...?product=V3412 ).

So you don’t think the X2N is a good bridge pickup for an alder body/maple neck guitar? Michael Romeo of Symphony X uses X2N in his bridge and Tone Zone in the neck (yea..it’s a weird combo but I guess it works for him). Here’s the link: http://www.kyowashokai.co.jp/caparis...inger-mjr.html .
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-15-2008, 03:04 AM
 
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Re: the ongoing pickup discussion continues..

Quote:
Originally Posted by _LeviathaN_ View Post
Thank you for the feedback! I'm going to buy a Carvin Tube Amp by the end of the week ( https://www.carvinguitars.com/produc...?product=V3412 ).

So you donít think the X2N is a good bridge pickup for an alder body/maple neck guitar? Michael Romeo of Symphony X uses X2N in his bridge and Tone Zone in the neck (yea..itís a weird combo but I guess it works for him). Hereís the link: http://www.kyowashokai.co.jp/caparis...inger-mjr.html .
I own a Caparison and those guitars are Mahogany with a fat maple neck ("fat" relative to the normal skinny shredder necks). Quite different from your Alder/Maple combo Also, you have to look at what gear he's using.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-15-2008, 03:12 AM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
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Re: the ongoing pickup discussion continues..

You said Breeds are good pups for the heavy sound I'm looking for, right? I'm thinkin if I put Breeds in the bridge slot, what can I put in the neck that can give it that nice 1-2 punch? I don't wanna have another Breeds in the neck (I wanna be able to get a variety of sounds from this guitar).
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-15-2008, 04:05 AM Thread Starter
 
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Re: the ongoing pickup discussion continues..

Oh nvm. I completely forgot that there was a Breed Neck. I thought you meant 'put the same exact pickup in both slots'.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-15-2008, 07:29 AM
 
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Re: the ongoing pickup discussion continues..

I've got an ESP MII with alder body and maple neck/fretboard, and the Duncan JB that came stock in the bridge was possibly the worst pickup choice ever. The JB is probably the brightest, most cutting Duncan i've heard, and imho is the exact opposite of what suits alder/maple/maple guitars. The 59 seems ok, but in this guitar it's still very bright for a neck pickup.

After asking for replacement recommendations, the most common choices were the Tone Zone, the D-Sonic, and the Bare Knuckle Pickups Holy Diver. Alot of folks advised against the X2N.

I'm thinking that I might try the Duncan Invader I have in my parts box for now. It's was too muddy in basswood, but might just do the trick in alder. If it turns out great i'll post and brag about it. If it's no good i'll probably order a Tone Zone.

If you decide to go with the Breeds, please post a mini review. I hope you get the tone you are after.

Rock on!
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duncan invader , duncan pickups , esp mii , fat tone , michael romeo , pickup combo , tone zone , versatile pickup

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