Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Yorkshire, England
Replacing a warm and muddy Tone Zone in an SIR70
I have an recent Iron Label S series (SIR70FD) , 24 frets, gibraltar II standard hardtail, mahogany body, nitro wizard neck (maple and I think wenge 3-piece neck and bound rosewood fingerboard). I'm using 9-42 EXL or NYXL strings. Amplification varied, I like my blackstar club 40, occasionally use a VS100 combo, a JMP1 preamp or a GT-6.
I bought the guitar as a no-nonsense workhorse that I wouldn't be precious about, and I'm having some health problems that make a light guitar vastly preferable.
My previous workhorse was an ART80 with a Fred in the bridge and an Iron Gear Hot Slag (i think) in the neck. It was ok. Perhaps a bit of a mid honk I'd rather not have, but that made it do a reasonable impression of an LP. It got too heavy and i wanted a more wizzard-feeling neck so it went.
It was intended to be a companion to a very road-worn Fuji-gen S520 with a pair of Evos and I really like it as a stunt guitar. It's very tight sounding and goes from being part of the rhythm texture to buring leads very easily. Too easily and the trem just encourages inappropriate levels of showing off. This replaced the role of my maverick X1 which was obscenely heavy, and the only guitar I have owned and not changed pickups on.
I'm playing something vaguely rock/metal sounding most of the time, although my own projects tend to have a synth driven electronic side. Accused of being prog, and one of the guitarists I work with a lot likes to get a violin out and go all Ed Alleyne-Johnson. I quite like early Offsping, Bad Religion and Pennywise, local goth-scene bands (Sisters, New Model Army, March Violets) and symphonic stuff like Nightwish and Within Temptation. Also Dragonforce, rising force era Yingwie, Racer X, bits of Vai and Satriani. I've appreciated more technical music as I have got older.
My problem is this, I'm finding the Tone Zone in the bridge of my SIR70 has an overwhelming bottom end and lacks clarity. It was even worse on 10-46 strings. It's not just in my head, afforementioned violinist/guitarist really dislikes it as it's so broad sounding it's either dominating the mix or inaudiable and not a lot in between. He's playing a classic rocket-roll (mental squealy old dimarzio in the bridge, unsure if stock), a peavey stunt-guitar with an X2N in the bridge or the afforementioned maverick (very tight sounding and razor precise when cranked).
I like the Air Norton in the neck of the SIR and would rather not replace it to balance a new bridge pickup, but I probably will have a use for it. I'm considering taking the true velvet out and doing VLX91 HH switching, it's really useful on the S520 and I have to have the true velvet backed off or it gets in the way. I have a steam hammer in the bridge at the moment which is ok, but that's all it is. It doesn't have the growling overtones that most dimarzios (fred, evo, tone zone to some extent) have to some extent and it's not as tight and precise as I'd like. That said when it went in I thought it sounded like an Invader (long sold) in a bright strat and played through most of dude ranch without thinking. I found the invader good in a bright guitar but it lacked definition on anything complicated, although it hid mistakes well. Talking of cliches i've got a duncan dime somewhere, I like what it does, it's very tight and precise, but it's too much and lacks subtlety. not tried it in a few years though. I think that's destined for the partscaster I'm building that is likely to be kept in a low tuning.
I'm not sure if an evo would be a good match on a hardtail and I'd like something a bit warmer, I've used a fred before but I think it's a bit down on output to match the air norton. I'm loathe to keep trying pickups in this one as they are body mounted, so i need to drill the threads out. Furthermore the pickup cavity is carved to fit pointy dimmarzio mounting ears so I've had to file the ears on the iron gear i'm using at the moment and I suspect the same would be true for almost anything else, so I can't afford to be messing around on pickup swaps.
I'm considering an Evo2 or Gravity Storm 2 with the intent that they'd be like the Evo but down a notch in presence, Mo'Joe as I liked the Fred in my last mahogany hardtail but thought it needed more output, D-Activator and a black winter are also intreaguing but I don't know enough about them. Entertaining the possibility of going Bare Knuckle but dont know enough about the range. Can anyone shed some light on my dilemma?