My Saturday afternoon project:
I've had a Wolfetone rewound JB sitting around to try out forever now (really, more than a year), and a buddy who was curious to see how that compared to a Sentient/Pegasus set sent me over a spare pair to A/B it against while I did the swap.I finally had a free afternoon where I had the time to install them, shoot some A/B video, and edit it, so I spent yesterday afternoon doing this.
These pickups really aren't all THAT dissimilar- I always suspected the Tone Zone and JB should be pretty similar, and based on the popularity of the Air Norton and Jazz with Dimarzio and Duncan fans I figured they might have a bit in common as well. Which, they did, though the Jazz was a fair amount brighter.
After playing with the Jazz/JB set a bit last night, I threw the Sentient/Pegasus set back in this morning, and then after playing THAT a bit longer swapped the Pegasus for the JB. I have a feeling that'll be the set I stick with for a while now.
Wolfe rewound the JB, as I understand, pretty close to his TimbreWolf, which is essentially a vintage-spec JB, as I understand, and not the hotter one for sale today. The seven string JBs I've played in the past have a very distinctive chainsaw-like snarl to them; that's almost entirely gone, and what's left is a midrange-y pickup with a lot of burnished harmonic overtones in the high end. It's very liquid and vocal.
The Sentient was a surprise - I didn't know much abouyt it before instaling it, but it's evidently supposed to split the difference between a Jazz and a 59. Whatever the case, it does a good job of it - the Jazz is probably a little more single-coil-y (especially in the high end, clean, and is kind of gorgeous in this respect), while the Sentient seemed more like a modern singlecoil, a lot thicker. Under gain it's clear but punchy and responds well to a picking attack. I'm still in the honeymoon phase right now, but so far this may be my favorite neck pickup that isn't a PAF Pro. It's warm yet kind of stratty clean, and handles gain very well.
The Pegasus was a surprise, too - similar output as the JB (I've heard this was also intended to be more of a vintage spec JB in some ways), though with a smoother high end and it seemed clearer to me, with fewer harmonic overtones. Not a bad pickup at all, and it may end up in my 752. The Sentient/Pegasus, incidently, look awesome - matte bobbins, more like a Dimarzio, with a black Seymour Duncan logo and black chrome polepieces.
I hadn't played an Air Norton/Tone Zone set since... 2005, probably? So it was interesting to hear these two again. The Suhr is a pretty bright guitar, so the Tone Zone worked well in there, though keeping it a little farther back off the strings really helped. The Air Norton was nice, too - orienting it for a "brighter" sound (check the Dimarzio website) was critical, since it's a pretty dark pickup, but it has a well-deserved reputation as a great alternate picker's pickup - it remains very even.
Now, the only problem is, I've got a set of pickups in my Suhr that sound great together (and sound great individually), and my fingertips are shot because I've been working to much and playing too little.