Okay, So I bought a Steve's Special to replace the PAF pro in the bridge of my RGT3120. Now, I was under the impression that while the PAF pro is a great pickup, it's less than ideal for gain-soaked metal riffage. Being in a metal band, I thought I'd better order a higher output pickup to replace it when the guitar arrived. Now, the guitar is here and I've been playing it for about a week and haven't installed the SS yet. I wanted to give the PAF pro a fair test before I made the decision to swap it out.
I am used to using an Evo at the bridge, which is a high output pickup just like the SS, so I thought it would be almost certain that the sound of the PAF pro would be different enough for me to decide to switch. Well, through my tube amp I was initially impressed by the output of the PAF pro but since I can't really A/B anything, I guessed I was probably getting a less full-on sound than I was used to, even if it is kinda subtle.
Well, today I was trying out a new riff with a backing track and thought it might be fun to record the exact same thing with the exact same settings on the PODxt first with the RGT3120 with the PAF pros and then with the RGR320DX with the Evos. The only other variables here are the guitars themselves (basswood vs mahogany/maple, thru-neck vs bolt-on) and the age of the strings.
Well, to my suprise both recordings sounded exactly
the same. Dispite the apparently fairly great difference in pickup output, I could not tell a single bit of difference. So I thought I'd put it to the discerning ears of the members of Jemsite to decide:
Exhibit A: PAF Pro Riff
Exhibit B: Evo Riff
I realise that this was recorded with a digital amp simulator and a fair amount of gain, but seriously? The thing is, I swear I've noticed differences in tone and output between the Evo at the neck of one of my RGs and the PAF pro at the neck of another, both through the GH50 and PODxt.
It makes me think; should I bother changing pickups at all? Does it really make any difference when using a distorted tone?