Versatile - pickup selection advice
I'm a beginner/intermediate guitar player that just got back into it after quite a while off and raising kids. Picked up a guitar last summer and love playing it, but now that I'm getting back into the groove (and having bigtime fun with backing tracks) I just can't seem to get a good sound... Looking into better pickups as a possibility.
The guitar is a stock Ibanez RG5EX1 with the Inf3 neck, Infs3 middle, and Inf4 bridge. Basswood body, Edge 3 tremolo, and Wizard II 24 fret neck. Played into a very old Carvin x100b w/2x12 cabinet. Gets a decent clean sound, but I like to play mostly 80's metal (Maiden, Priest, Dokken) and classic rock/blues (Allman Bros, Skynyrd, SRV). Sounds very muddled when driven hard with the TS9DX or a distortion pedal. Seems to lack any decent tone when gently overdriven for classic rock lead. Hard for me to describe with my lack of knowledge.
My question regarding pickups - My goal is to set up the guitar as versatile as possible, so I can get a decent sound for just about anything (trying to avoid having a battery to deal with too) Is there a good happy medium pickup that is versatile enough to switch between metal and blues to smooth jazz or whatever? Or would I be better off buying a higher gain pickup for the bridge and lower gain for the neck or middle single coil? Seems like right now I never use the horrible neck pickup and just switch between the bridge humbucker and middle single coil (or both w/5-way switch). I have been looking at DiMarzio's website and have read good things about their pickups.
Any recommendations? I see they have gain and EQ numbers associated with each pickup. Any advice on how high or low for the individual pickups to make a good versatile guitar? Any other brands recommended?
I can do the work myself as an experienced electronics tech... and I'm willing to spend a few bucks to get decent pickups, but I'm hesitant to take the plunge with my limited knowledge.
Sorry for the rambling... Any help would be much appreciated!!