Seymour Duncan JB 7-string in Ibanez RG2027
Got my JB this week, ordered from Musician's Friend, $85 total. Installed in my 2001 Ibanez RG2027XVV.
Thanks to the sound samples on Seymour's site, playing the JB at music stores, and Darren's glowing reviews of the JB in his mahogany Dean 7-string, I was really wanting to try it out in my 2027.
The JB went in minimal trouble (had to drill 7 small holes into the body to accomodate the screw polepieces, as the Ibanez is set up for direct-mount pups. But this was pretty easy, and I was VERY careful). Alternative is to clip polepiece screws. I've heard of this, but also heard it changes the pickup's tone just a bit. Since no one sees the inside of the pickup cavity with a pickup installed...
The pickup ROCKS... sounds great, everything works fine. Just had to match wires from pickup to harness... SD black to Dimarzio red, green to green, etc.
This pickup matches up REAL well with the AN7. few observations so far...
1. Tonally, it's not a lot different from the Blaze. Sort of like its sibling. Seymour lists the JB as having scooped mids, like the Blaze. Here's what it seems.
a) The Blaze is real clean, with big scooped low mids. Excellent for clarity. The JB doesn't seem AS scooped in the low mids, maybe 75% of the Blaze. But the added top-end (upper mids, and a sort of "sparkle" the Blaze only had about 50% of) yields a net that is about equal in clarity to the Blaze, but with more presence. Almost like a Blaze with the blanket taken off the speakers.
b) The JB has a great "vocal" quality about it. Hard to describe... it's almost like what the Tone Zone has in say alder, but brighter, and less mushy. A great "cut" to the sound, but very, very sweet and smooth. I know from listening to the sound samples, the JB always had this really nice quality to it... what, a 2.5-3k boost maybe? that I just kept digging. That right there won me over. Well, it's still present in the 7-string version and in my Ibanez. Great!
c) The JB has less bass than the Blaze, maybe 15% less or so, but it's very tight. Just a tad rounder, but the net effect is actually a bit punchier, and tighter for the intricate riff stuff (Think metalcore, like Killswitch Engage, Lamb of God type riffs). The Blaze is a master here, but interestingly, I think I might prefer the JB. Smooth, but real articulate, in a way LIKE the Blaze, but different at the same time!
d) The JB seems about 10% louder than the Blaze (same distance from strings). Very clean and punchy, though, and doesn't distort the cleans.
So far, a great pickup! Splits real well... a bit more body than the Blaze used with the AN7 in "quack" position, a bit more sparkle when used with the AN7 in both-series. AND! As everyone knows, pinch harmonics are noticeably easier. The pup might be the all-time PH master. Leads cut through great... on paper, it's not as smooth as the Blaze, but it's so sweet, that it ends up being just as smooth (Alnico 5 maybe?) Speaking of Alnico, I think that's what set's it apart... it's like an Alnico 5-equipped Blaze! Less compressed and sizzly than a ceramic 'bucker, with a bit more of an organic feel.
So far, so great! I love the Blaze, and have nothing bad to say about it. It's clean, powerful, and has a sort of "bright-darkness" to it (Blaze users may know what I mean). The JB is more organic and lively, and bit more Rock to the Blaze's Metal. But for metal, sometimes that's a bit better.