Is it the pickups or the wood? - Jemsite
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-23-2005, 05:38 PM Thread Starter
 
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Arrow Is it the pickups or the wood?

Recently I've been comparing my new RG370DX (basswood body, HSH pickup config) to my old Yamaha Pacifica (agathis body, HSS pickup config) and I'd have to say that the RG blows the Pacifica away when it comes to distortion but I don't know if I can say the same thing for the clean tones (atleast in the position with the neck and mid pickups working together). On the RG, the clean tone is kind of....sterile I would say but on the Pacifica it has a little more character to it.....I guess the word would be warmness.

Both guitars still have their stock pickups because I'm getting rid of the Pacifica in the near future and upgrading the RG but I was just curious as to whether the difference that I'm hearing in the tone has to do with the fact that the Pacifica has single coils and the RG has a humbucker or is it more with the differences between agathis and basswood. I can't say that I know anything about agathis and where it falls in the tonal wood selection.

Also, I'm going to upgrade this RG with a PAF Pro in the neck and a Tone Zone in the bridge so do you think that would warm up the clean tone any? Any feedback that anyone can give me on this would be greatly appreciated.
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-24-2005, 03:33 AM
 
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Re: Is it the pickups or the wood?

It's not really a comparison you can easily make - you're comparing different pickup brands, one with humbuckers and one with single coils. That's like trying to compare hammond organs against pianos. The only way to truly test this would be to put the same pickups in both and do a double blind test. In my experience the pickups will affect the tonality way more than the wood (although I'm not saying the wood won't make a difference), and I think there's a certain element of people perceiving qualitites to their guitar sound that are more psychological than real. Double blind is IMO the only way to really tell, and the results will probably surprise you.

Regards,

Dave
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-24-2005, 08:29 AM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Is it the pickups or the wood?

I was surprised by these results, though. I mean, I would've figured that the Ibanez was better hands down, but my crappy little Pacifica seems to have a better clean tone. I know that this question can't be answered in absolute terms but really I was just wondering if anyone else had compared the sounds of splitting the humbucker with the middle single coil against having both single coils together. I am also just plan curious about the tonal characteristics of agathis because I've not seen it on any of the websites that I've gotten from here that talk about the woods used in guitar manufacture.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-24-2005, 10:04 AM
 
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Talking Re: Is it the pickups or the wood?

Thats the beauty of having a versatile collection of guitars. Don't be dissapointed, not one guitar can do everything.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-24-2005, 11:13 AM
 
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Re: Is it the pickups or the wood?

What's the stock neck humbucker on the Ibanez? My old V1 / V2 pickups that used to be on my 570 are pretty naff on clean or distortion, way too overwound for my liking. I measured the dc resistance on the V2 and it was 8K per coil. I'm guessing it uses 44 AWG wire to get that high a dc reading, and I would think the pacifica single coil will be 42 / possibly 43 AWG, lower turn count, lower inductance, wider spacing between turns, which is likely to give a better clean single coil sound. Plus split humbuckers never sound exactly like a true single coil due to the differences in construction anyway.

In the end though, I feel that overwound pickups never sound that great clean, they're not really designed for that, so it's no surprise to me that the pacifica wins.

Regards,

Dave
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-24-2005, 12:24 PM
 
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Re: Is it the pickups or the wood?

I am going to guess that the reason the RG was better for distorted sounds was the pickups (assuming you were comparing bridge pickups directly).

Here is what I learned - pickups that are good for clean usually are not the best choice with distortion, and pickups that are good for distortion are usually horrendous for clean. Pickups inbetween often compramise both.

Last edited by red5; 06-24-2005 at 12:29 PM.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-24-2005, 12:27 PM
 
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Re: Is it the pickups or the wood?

Quote:
Originally Posted by lyconxero
Also, I'm going to upgrade this RG with a PAF Pro in the neck and a Tone Zone in the bridge so do you think that would warm up the clean tone any? Any feedback that anyone can give me on this would be greatly appreciated.
I was actually just about to edit my last post to suggest you put a ToneZone in the bridge and a PAF Pro in the neck.

I have no idea what is in there now, so it is hard to make a comparison. The ToneZone is at its best with at least a little bit of distortion. The PAF Pro will do it all nicely. Be sure to get a good single coil in the middle (probably a quiet one!!!!!) so you can use the middle positions for clean.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-24-2005, 12:57 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Is it the pickups or the wood?

Thanks for all the replies, guys. The RG370DX still has it's stock Infinity pickups. I was actually thinking about putting a hum-cancelling pickup in the middle position like a Chopper but after reading over these posts I may have to re-think that a bit and go with something like a blue velvet.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-24-2005, 01:06 PM
 
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Re: Is it the pickups or the wood?

Quote:
Originally Posted by red5
I am going to guess that the reason the RG was better for distorted sounds was the pickups (assuming you were comparing bridge pickups directly).

Here is what I learned - pickups that are good for clean usually are not the best choice with distortion, and pickups that are good for distortion are usually horrendous for clean. Pickups inbetween often compramise both.
I would argue that most of the pickups evh has used or has in his signature models are fairly well balanced across the board, and i would say the same of satchs pickups. Tone is a subjective thing remember so for me pickups that fulfill two functions are the only ones I will even allow in my instruments
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-24-2005, 03:05 PM
 
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Re: Is it the pickups or the wood?

it's both the wood and pickups. the wood is going to have a base eq curve. the pickups will boost or cut those and/or additional frequencies. but also keep this in mind. its also the player. 2 people sitting behind the same guitar will sound similar, but each players technique is unique. those differences in dynamics also make a difference in tone or the perception of tone.


rich
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basswood body , bridge pickup , bridge pickups , clean tone , neck humbucker , paf pro , tone zone , yamaha pacifica

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