Ibanez JEM Forum banner

1 - 20 of 48 Posts

·
Registered
RG 550, PGM 300, S5470, RS315,
Joined
·
45 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've got a few projects going on at the mo and I'm probably going to have to grab some pickups at some point soon.

However, I've never much liked the look of brand new pickups on my generally old and well used Ibby guitars.

Im toying with getting some hand-wound Bareknuckle pups (been looking for an excuse to grab some for years).

So I was hoping I could maybe find some old faded coloured bobbin toppers ( pink particularly) that are genuinely aged and faded (ie beer, beatings and sweat in em for years and years).
Do any companies sell old broke pickup bobbin toppers?

I know there's the old hang them in the window and sandpaper them to make them look aged route but I've never been that impressed with any that I've seen done that way tbh
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
93 Posts
I've got a few projects going on at the mo and I'm probably going to have to grab some pickups at some point soon.

However, I've never much liked the look of brand new pickups on my generally old and well used Ibby guitars.

Im toying with getting some hand-wound Bareknuckle pups (been looking for an excuse to grab some for years).

So I was hoping I could maybe find some old faded coloured bobbin toppers ( pink particularly) that are genuinely aged and faded (ie beer, beatings and sweat in em for years and years).
Do any companies sell old broke pickup bobbin toppers?

I know there's the old hang them in the window and sandpaper them to make them look aged route but I've never been that impressed with any that I've seen done that way tbh
If you're getting Bare Knuckle Pickups, their humbuckers are available to order with 'aged black' or 'aged cream' bobbins. For single-coil pups you have a few more 'aged' options, but not 'aged pink'.

Considering they offer custom etching on metal humbucker covers, they may well do bespoke 'aged pink' bobbins for you. They stock pink bobbins, so it would simply be a matter of them using the same process as for a black bobbin to 'age' it.

I know you're looking for naturally aged, but I'd suggest at least giving the BKPs a look. From the images on their website, they look very authentic to me, and this is coming from someone who absolutely despises "reliced" guitars.
 

·
Registered
RG 550, PGM 300, S5470, RS315,
Joined
·
45 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Neon_Knight_

I messaged BKP directly and asked if they were willing to age some of their coloured bobbin tops just like the aged cream and black options they offer but they said "we don't do that" unfortunately.
They didn't state why tho, I can only imagine they must get their aged bobbin tops from elsewhere rather than doing it all in house.

Oh ive been looking at BKPs for years believe me ( I'm gagging for a cold sweat neck and miracle man bridge set). Awesome pickups and an awesome company for sure.

Ive basically got two jem projects and the original pups have been stripped out of them long ago (blue and pink pups gone :cry:).
Hence im wanting the replacement pickups to either be authentic (ie era-correct or close to DiMarzio's) or at least look authentic to the late 80s/early 90s pickups that were originally in there.
However, having like three guitars all loaded with PAF pros just doesn't make any sense to me.
So mixing it up tonally with them would be nice.

Yes the fake relic look is horrible!
Either buy an old well used guitar for that look or buy a new guitar and gig the crap out of it for twenty years (which is always the best look for a guitar hands down, you should see my roadstar its getting close to Willy Nelson Martin guitar for that beat up look :LOL:).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
93 Posts
I have BKPs on a fair few guitars - worth every penny.
I've been GASing for them for years, but have yet to pull the trigger. My reluctance is around which BKP pickups to get, not whether to get BKP. This hasn't been helped by their advice completely contradicting my thoughts (e.g. I was thinking Mircale Man + Cold Sweat for power metal in Eb tuning, but Tim Mills suggested Black Dog + The Mule and using more pre-amp/pedal overdrive).

I only live an hour or so drive away from BKP, yet can't try them out...frustrating!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,861 Posts
Tim's advice is generally spot on. I've returned things for tweaks too when they were not quite right for me so great customer service. My go to pickup is the Nail Bomb, though I also have a variety of others.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
93 Posts
Neon_Knight_

I messaged BKP directly and asked if they were willing to age some of their coloured bobbin tops just like the aged cream and black options they offer but they said "we don't do that" unfortunately.
They didn't state why tho, I can only imagine they must get their aged bobbin tops from elsewhere rather than doing it all in house.

Oh ive been looking at BKPs for years believe me ( I'm gagging for a cold sweat neck and miracle man bridge set). Awesome pickups and an awesome company for sure.

Ive basically got two jem projects and the original pups have been stripped out of them long ago (blue and pink pups gone :cry:).
Hence im wanting the replacement pickups to either be authentic (ie era-correct or close to DiMarzio's) or at least look authentic to the late 80s/early 90s pickups that were originally in there.
However, having like three guitars all loaded with PAF pros just doesn't make any sense to me.
So mixing it up tonally with them would be nice.

Yes the fake relic look is horrible!
Either buy an old well used guitar for that look or buy a new guitar and gig the crap out of it for twenty years (which is always the best look for a guitar hands down, you should see my roadstar its getting close to Willy Nelson Martin guitar for that beat up look :LOL:).
Not tempted by Evos? I know Vai didn't use those until later, but they certainly wouldn't be out of place in a JEM.

To me there's a huge difference between worn and neglected. Most reliced guitars are imitating a neglected, not worn, guitar.
Worn: Tarnished hardware (esp. cosmo finish!), discolouration on a maple fret-board, scuffs on the pick-guard, faded finish, surface scratches on the back of the body (buckle rash) etc.
Neglected: Rusty hardware, deep gouges worn into a fret-board that looks like it has never been cleaned, chips/dings/deep scratches all over every face and edge of the body, years overdue for a fret level etc.
Wear and tear happens, but it becomes "neglect" when a guitar doesn't receive any basic maintenance or TLC during years of use (routine cleaning, fret level / re-fret etc.). I will never understand why anyone would desire a guitar that looks like they don't know how to maintain it. Personally, I would get a guitar refinished if the body was looking too "gigged" and replace a pick-guard once it looks tatty (they were designed to be replaced after all).
 

·
Registered
RG 550, PGM 300, S5470, RS315,
Joined
·
45 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
I've been GASing for them for years, but have yet to pull the trigger. My reluctance is around which BKP pickups to get, not whether to get BKP. This hasn't been helped by their advice completely contradicting my thoughts (e.g. I was thinking Miracle Man + Cold Sweat for power metal in Eb tuning, but Tim Mills suggested Black Dog + The Mule and using more pre-amp/pedal overdrive).

I only live an hour or so drive away from BKP, yet can't try them out...frustrating!
Yeh its always the risk you always take buying any pickups. I've had a few I've put in my guitar and put up for sale again the same day.

The good thing is with BKP they definitely hold their value if you buy one that's not your thing you usually can make most of your money back again.
Well ive never been one to question Tim Mills advice but I'm not sure the black dog and mule would be the ones for playing power metal.
Id say Cold sweat neck (coil split is great for this pup also!) and some kind of hot bridge pup for power metal (this is the difficult part to figure out, I'm going with miracle man as I play a lot of Ozzy stuff but don't use active pups).
 

·
Registered
RG 550, PGM 300, S5470, RS315,
Joined
·
45 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
Tim's advice is generally spot on. I've returned things for tweaks too when they were not quite right for me so great customer service. My go to pickup is the Nail Bomb, though I also have a variety of others.
Not used the nail bomb but always fancied one.
However the reviews I read about em always say they are quite harsh sounding. Its always put me off getting one in the bridge.
The Holy diver set is supposed to be a good one to go for also.
 

·
Registered
RG 550, PGM 300, S5470, RS315,
Joined
·
45 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Not tempted by Evos? I know Vai didn't use those until later, but they certainly wouldn't be out of place in a JEM.

To me there's a huge difference between worn and neglected. Most reliced guitars are imitating a neglected, not worn, guitar.
Worn: Tarnished hardware (esp. cosmo finish!), discolouration on a maple fret-board, scuffs on the pick-guard, faded finish, surface scratches on the back of the body (buckle rash) etc.
Neglected: Rusty hardware, deep gouges worn into a fret-board that looks like it has never been cleaned, chips/dings/deep scratches all over every face and edge of the body, years overdue for a fret level etc.
Wear and tear happens, but it becomes "neglect" when a guitar doesn't receive any basic maintenance or TLC during years of use (routine cleaning, fret level / re-fret etc.). I will never understand why anyone would desire a guitar that looks like they don't know how to maintain it. Personally, I would get a guitar refinished if the body was looking too "gigged" and replace a pick-guard once it looks tatty (they were designed to be replaced after all).
Hell no!! I really dislike the evo pickups.
Ive never liked the sound of them at all. Obviously they are hugely popular and I don't want to get in another argument about them tbh o_O but they just don't make the pickup sounds I like personally for me.

Im 100% with you on the worn vs neglected look. Rock hard but look after your stuff and it looks after you! Tho looking well used I like but falling to bits I don't.
I used to play in a band and they would just finish the gig and throw their stuff in their cases, no maintenance, string changes etc. We always sounded horrible because of it. I mean who goes to play a gig and takes their guitar out the case with only three strings left on it right!😱
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
93 Posts
Hell no!! I really dislike the evo pickups.
Ive never liked the sound of them at all. Obviously they are hugely popular and I don't want to get in another argument about them tbh o_O but they just don't make the pickup sounds I like personally for me.

Im 100% with you on the worn vs neglected look. Rock hard but look after your stuff and it looks after you!
I used to play in a band and they would just finish the gig and throw their stuff in their cases, no maintenance, string changes etc. We always sounded horrible because of it. I mean who goes to play a gig and takes their guitar out the case with only three strings left on it right!😱
Breeds? :p

Super D / Super 2 combo?

BKP has a few decent options for 'PAF on steroids' type pickups, if you don't want to stray too far from the PAF Pro tone.
 

·
Registered
RG 550, PGM 300, S5470, RS315,
Joined
·
45 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
Breeds? :p

Super D / Super 2 combo?

BKP has a few decent options for 'PAF on steroids' type pickups if you don't want to stray too far from the PAF Pro tone.
Yeh was considering super D/ super 2 combo for sure
or paf pro/ super D
Tone Zone/air Norton
Even a Mega drive maybe as a left-field option

However, finding these pickups in pink/blue and period-correct isn't going to be very easy.
But worth a shout out for some other the classifieds when I get a mo ;)

or just go completely off the rails totally on one of em and do something like this with it


As for the Breeds ive never actually used/heard one. Im sure they first came out in 1999 so not sure that they might have had enough time to get the right aged look to match with the Jems they would be going into. Plus they were spec`d for Steve Vai so I'm probably not gonna like the tone all that much tbh.

Oh yeh man BKP definitely do(y) I mean the VH2 is fantastic for those PAF type tones for sure.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
93 Posts
Yeh was considering super D/ super 2 combo for sure
or paf pro/ super D
Tone Zone/air Norton
Even a Mega drive maybe as a left-field option

However, finding these pickups in pink/blue and period-correct isn't going to be very easy.
But worth a shout out for some other the classifieds when I get a mo ;)
Super D / Super 2 is great, as long as you don't mind the output (both are obviously much hotter than PAF Pro).

I find the Air Norton a bit too dark (to the extent that I probably won't keep it), but perhaps that's as much to do with my amp settings as the pickup. I only do minimal tweaking when switching between guitars and my D Activators, Super D / Super 2 and DiMarzio IBZs are all brighter than Tone Zone / Air Norton. It's such a popular neck pickup that I feel obligated to spend more time with it before ripping it out.

Have you tried the Norton?

As for the Breeds ive never actually used/heard one. Im sure they first came out in 1999 so not sure that they might have had enough time to get the right aged look to match with the Jems they would be going into. Plus they were spec`d for Steve Vai so I'm probably not gonna like the tone all that much tbh.
Neither have I, but I thought that would be your response (hence the :p). Based purely on what I've read, you'd probably dislike it less than Evos though.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,310 Posts
Have you tried the Norton?
The Norton is a great sounding pickup, but not very high output. I really like it, but it was a bit lower output than I thought it would be. Sounds and feels more vintage than the DiMarzio specs led me to believe... They put it just a bit lower than the Tone Zone and Evo2. Great sounding pickup though!! I left it in one of my lesser used guitars (SZ320) and like it more and more every time I use it.
 

·
Registered
RG 550, PGM 300, S5470, RS315,
Joined
·
45 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Super D / Super 2 is great, as long as you don't mind the output (both are obviously much hotter than PAF Pro).

I find the Air Norton a bit too dark (to the extent that I probably won't keep it), but perhaps that's as much to do with my amp settings as the pickup. I only do minimal tweaking when switching between guitars and my D Activators, Super D / Super 2 and DiMarzio IBZs are all brighter than Tone Zone / Air Norton. It's such a popular neck pickup that I feel obligated to spend more time with it before ripping it out.

Have you tried the Norton?


Neither have I, but I thought that would be your response (hence the :p). Based purely on what I've read, you'd probably dislike it less than Evos though.
Yeh the Super D/Super 2 pickups output is fine with me as I generally play 80s rock/metal hence a hotter bridge pickup than the PAF pro would be preferable for sure.

Yeh air Norton/tone zone is a weird pickup for sure.
It either sounds great or terrible no in-between!
Agreed the Norton can sound a bit dark. Ive found the Norton sounds better in bass or alder wood bodied guitars. I put one in a mahogany body god it was so damn muddy. However, my buddy has one in his alder strat and it sounds fantastic.

Yeh same I'm the same lazy with amp settings etc make it sound nice and leave it there.
Although kit like the line 6 helix is really helpful with regard to specific pickup settings and sounds. Its basically dial in your sound for each guitar and pickup set and save it job done. Any time you switch guitar or need a specific sound all you need to do is find it again on the pedal.
Plus that Helix foot pedal is way way lighter than a 100w head, 4x 12 cabinet and three guitars and all the kit with it like i used to use back in the day o_O

Are D activators any good? ive honestly never looked into em. I think its because i was given a D activator X years ago but I wasn't impressed with it tbh very X2N ish
And IBZ pickups also?!
My friend has them a set in his S series and I've been begging him to swap them out or play a different guitar for years 😂 Idk if its the pickups or his amp settings that suck.

Yes, i thought that's what you were getting at mentioning the Breed pickups but wasn't sure.
Tbh anything Steve Vai tonally isn't really for me. As much as I appreciate what he does and has done I only really listen to his main songs and that's about it. I'm much more into Paul Gilbert and Satch when it comes to instrumental music.
 

·
Registered
RG 550, PGM 300, S5470, RS315,
Joined
·
45 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
The Norton is a great sounding pickup, but not very high output. I really like it, but it was a bit lower output than I thought it would be. Sounds and feels more vintage than the DiMarzio specs led me to believe... They put it just a bit lower than the Tone Zone and Evo2. Great sounding pickup though!! I left it in one of my lesser used guitars (SZ320) and like it more and more every time I use it.
Id definitely agree with you its lower output than you'd expect for a pickup with 12.58 Kohm, plus the low treble doesn't help a neck pickup so much (in my opinion). But it can still bang out some really nice tones for sure (y)
Id recommend if the output is a bit low for you to leave an overdrive pedal on all the time when using it (apart from cleans) but on a low setting that should beef it up a bit, or move it up a bit towards the strings so if that helps.
The pedal trick is what my buddy does on occasion and it really helps his air Norton guitar out if he needs a bit more of a punchy higher output tone in the mix.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,310 Posts
Id definitely agree with you its lower output than you'd expect for a pickup with 12.58 Kohm, plus the low treble doesn't help a neck pickup so much (in my opinion). But it can still bang out some really nice tones for sure (y)
Id recommend if the output is a bit low for you to leave an overdrive pedal on all the time when using it (apart from cleans) but on a low setting that should beef it up a bit, or move it up a bit towards the strings so if that helps.
The pedal trick is what my buddy does on occasion and it really helps his air Norton guitar out if he needs a bit more of a punchy higher output tone in the mix.
Ok, so its not just me then... I expected it to be a bit punchier. My sz320 is mahogany though, so maybe I need to put it in a basswood guitar and try it out. Although it was hailed as a pickup "made to open up the sound of mahogany set neck guitars"... meaning to brighten up the Les Paul sound for Neal Schon. I need something less nasal sounding than the stock bridge of my old Charvel Fusion anyway, might sound better in basswood.

I have a tube screamer (ts9dx) that I use like that, with the "drive" turned all the way down. It does beef up the sound a bit. I can't remember where I heard about that trick, but it may have been a video from Steve Vai about effects pedal order I saw a few years ago. I put it first in line, then the eq pedal... then on to the multi-fx, Focusrite, or amp. I keep joking that I'm going to make the world's tiniest pedalboard with only the ts9dx and an eq... :rolleyes:
 

·
Registered
RG 550, PGM 300, S5470, RS315,
Joined
·
45 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Ok, so its not just me then... I expected it to be a bit punchier. My sz320 is mahogany though, so maybe I need to put it in a basswood guitar and try it out. Although it was hailed as a pickup "made to open up the sound of mahogany set neck guitars"... meaning to brighten up the Les Paul sound for Neal Schon. I need something less nasal sounding than the stock bridge of my old Charvel Fusion anyway, might sound better in basswood.

I have a tube screamer (ts9dx) that I use like that, with the "drive" turned all the way down. It does beef up the sound a bit. I can't remember where I heard about that trick, but it may have been a video from Steve Vai about effects pedal order I saw a few years ago. I put it first in line, then the eq pedal... then on to the multi-fx, Focusrite, or amp. I keep joking that I'm going to make the world's tiniest pedalboard with only the ts9dx and an eq... :rolleyes:
Yeh honestly Mahogany ain't the one with the TZ/AZ set in my opinion.

Hmm really wow! I'm surprised that's the case as Ibanez basically uses this set as default pickups for anything above the prestige level. Which made me think they were aimed at basswood bolt on neck guitars!
Also, Neil Schon tends to use semi-hollow guitars as I recall.
Possibly the Les Paul maple top may be a tone factor as well as the body size. Ive never heard or even seen a set in a les paul tbh

Whats in your Charvel bridge? and what are you looking for tonally?

Yes a few artists have used to permanently on but on low setting pedal trick over the years (I think at one point Mastodon used three overdrive pedal all on low settings at the same time to layer up the gain but keep the clarity).

Ts9 is a wicked pedal :love: I used it for my blues set up (tho ive not used that set up for years now).

Yes play about with pedal order that can effect it, or even add a signal booster if you have a big pedal board.

My jam night board is pretty small! Tuner, Wah and zoom pd-01 (literally one of the best OD pedals ever in my opinion I have three of em).

I need another MXR 10 bar eq again its was brilliant.
Unfortunately, that and my scroll phase 90 were nicked many years ago....I'm still sore about it 😢
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
93 Posts
Yeh the Super D/Super 2 pickups output is fine with me as I generally play 80s rock/metal hence a hotter bridge pickup than the PAF pro would be preferable for sure.

Yeh air Norton/tone zone is a weird pickup for sure.
It either sounds great or terrible no in-between!
Agreed the Norton can sound a bit dark. Ive found the Norton sounds better in bass or alder wood bodied guitars. I put one in a mahogany body god it was so damn muddy. However, my buddy has one in his alder strat and it sounds fantastic.

Yeh same I'm the same lazy with amp settings etc make it sound nice and leave it there.
Although kit like the line 6 helix is really helpful with regard to specific pickup settings and sounds. Its basically dial in your sound for each guitar and pickup set and save it job done. Any time you switch guitar or need a specific sound all you need to do is find it again on the pedal.
Plus that Helix foot pedal is way way lighter than a 100w head, 4x 12 cabinet and three guitars and all the kit with it like i used to use back in the day o_O

Are D activators any good? ive honestly never looked into em. I think its because i was given a D activator X years ago but I wasn't impressed with it tbh very X2N ish
And IBZ pickups also?!
My friend has them a set in his S series and I've been begging him to swap them out or play a different guitar for years 😂 Idk if its the pickups or his amp settings that suck.

Yes, i thought that's what you were getting at mentioning the Breed pickups but wasn't sure.
Tbh anything Steve Vai tonally isn't really for me. As much as I appreciate what he does and has done I only really listen to his main songs and that's about it. I'm much more into Paul Gilbert and Satch when it comes to instrumental music.
I really like D Activators. My XPT700 (the 2nd guitar / 1st Ibby I owned) came with them as stock and they've kind of become how I expect high-gain metal tones to sound. I'm currently waiting for a set to arrive for one of my RGs - will be my third set of D Activators. They sound a lot more "'80s metal" than most people expect and are great for anything from NWOBHM to thrash to low-tuned death metal etc. I wouldn't recommend them for really modern djenty tones, but unfortunately a lot of people seem to dismiss them as being exactly that kind of tone.
The bridge has a very even EQ, but plenty of everything, which makes it very versatile with use of the amp EQ. I would say the EQ ratings on the DiMarzio site (6/6/6.5) are a bit misleading, because the high output means there is more of everything than a 6/6/6.5 pickup with 20% less output would have. Tight and punchy with plenty of bite. More dynamic than I would expect from such a high-output pup. You can get pinch harmonics effortlessly anywhere/everywhere.
The neck is very bright, but far more similar to Super 2 than Humbucker from Hell. Although it has very present highs, it doesn't get ice-picky or thin. It stays very articulate at high gain / distortion and is better for pinch harmonics than some bridge humbuckers (reducing the need to switch pups mid-solo).

The D Activator X bridge is apparently somewhere between a D Activator and the X2N.

I have an S2170SE and two RG2550Zs with DIMarzio / IBZ pickups and really can't understand the negative reputation they have. People seem to swap them out without even trying them, based purely on negative forum comments.
Does your friend have the "DiMarzio / IBZ" pickups manufactured in US by DiMarzio for Prestige Ibbys, or "IBZ" pickups manufactured for Ibanez in China for Standard Ibbys?
I'm convinced the confusion between the two has massively contributed to the negative reputation the DiMarzio / IBZ pups have on forums.

RG and S series have different versions of DiMarzio / IBZ pickup:
RG - Bridge is tonally between Super D and Super 3 (DiMarzio website compares it to the "Steve Morse" bridge). Neck is tonally similar to Super 2. Both are slightly lower output than the similar aftermarket pups (probably to make them more accessible as stock pups).
S - Lower output / more vintage sounding than the RG version. I've been told they are similar to the Air Classic, but can't comment on that.

My S2170 sounds a bit thin and lacking balls compared to my RG2550Zs, but the body (thin mahogany vs thick basswood) may contribute to that as well as the pickups. Sounds good for 70s/80s rock and heavy metal, but I would always pick up one of my RGs for more modern / higher gain tones.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
93 Posts
The Norton is a great sounding pickup, but not very high output. I really like it, but it was a bit lower output than I thought it would be. Sounds and feels more vintage than the DiMarzio specs led me to believe... They put it just a bit lower than the Tone Zone and Evo2. Great sounding pickup though!! I left it in one of my lesser used guitars (SZ320) and like it more and more every time I use it.
I haven't actually tried the Norton (only Air Norton in the neck, paired with Tone Zone). Although it looks interesting tonally, it's too low output for my taste...even assuming it sounds like the specs suggest, which you are suggesting it doesn't live up to.
I suggested it based off lovefish01's love of the PAF Pro, which is also a bit low output for me. Was trying to think of something different yet similar to PAF Pro while avoiding the obvious suggestion of Fred + PAF Joe.
 
1 - 20 of 48 Posts
Top