Re: Tone Zone Replacement Suggestions
I'm having the same issue axis! I'm not a huge fan of the tone zone in my new (used) J Custom RG8570z either. To me, it's not necessarily muddy, but it's really dark, and lacks an "open" sound and sparkle on the top end. Too dark and compressed for my liking. It's pretty heavy/dense, and african mahogany, so maybe that's why. Maybe the same in your case as well.
Tuga, your RG3550 is basswood, so it's hard to compare to axis' case. I like the tone zone in my 3570z, which is also basswood. I think that pickup shines in basswood, but many people seem to find it too dark in mahogany guitars.
Axis, I think a ceramic, brighter EQ'd pickup might work best. I'm thinking of ordering a set of white evolutions of illuminators, I think they'll look nice on the black body. I tried illuminators at a store in an EBMM Majesty (wicked guitar), which sounded awesome, and they sit in a mahogany tone block. I'm just wondering what middle pickup would work well with them, since it seems that I can't order an evolution single on it's own. I like the true velvet middle, but I'm worried that the difference in output might be too much if I get the illuminators. Other options would be red velvet, FS-1, Area 58 / 62 / 67. All of them except the FS-1 have a nice treble boost in the EQ for that "spanky" strat sound... Especially for my dark sounding JC. If anyone has middle pickup suggestions too I'd be interested to hear.