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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I got my now treasured 1990 RG550 Coral Mist Metallic and thought it was time to give it the treatment it deserves so I ordered some new pickups. I am usually a vintage guy and play more clean/slightly overdriven than I do distorted, so I'm not looking for the usual high gain pickups. Looking for pickups to reflect that. The AT-1 I was going to put in the bridge is backordered so I started with a True Velvet in the middle and Humbucker from Hell in the neck.

HFH may seem a strange choice but I'd read it actually does quite well in the neck for clean, open sounds and isn't a high-gain monster. I like something different so I tried it.

The True Velvet is unremarkable, but not terrible and certainly an upgrade from the clangy, bodiless S1 that came stock. My beef is with the Humbucker from Hell... this may be an opinion stirring comment, but frankly, the sound is awful! This is, however, my first pickup installing job, so I'm wondering if I've done something wrong.

The sound is basically all highs. Now you're thinking "it's 8.5/4.5/4.5 Treble/Mid/Bass, so what do you expect?" Fair enough! But I just wasn't expecting it so sound SOOOO empty.

I did try it in the bridge as well. The one good thing I can say is that with heavy distortion, it does what it's supposed to do- very bright and tight. That said it lacks the harmonic content I want- I kept listening for all the overtones and note bloom I want to hear and it just doesn't happen. Frankly the stock V1 and V2 are way better, for me, on all counts, except the one strong point I just detailed. Not the pickup for me, but I'm just learning at this point.

Suggestions are welcome for both neck and bridge. I have also played the Liquifire in my mahogany RG that I no longer have. I liked it pretty well but it's a little too hi-fi for me. Overly clean/glassy and lacking harmonic complexity when clean. I need a pickup that's fat and juicy for lead tones but still with a "point" or "edge" to the attack, sounds good when it starts to break up, and also sounds good with a fair amount of gain while NOT BEING FIZZY. I can't stand Surfing With the Alien-type fizzy lead tones. Air Norton has been suggested to me but since I understand it's very close to the Liquifire so I want to do something different.

Considering:
Norton
PAF Joe (Neck)
Breed (Neck and bridge)
Dominion (from the write-up on the DiMarzio website and the output guide, it looks pretty close to what I want... but perhaps a little less bass would be good.).

Thanks for any feedback-
Gaucho
 

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I have also played the Liquifire in my mahogany RG that I no longer have. I liked it pretty well but it's a little too hi-fi for me. Overly clean/glassy and lacking harmonic complexity when clean. I need a pickup that's fat and juicy for lead tones but still with a "point" or "edge" to the attack, sounds good when it starts to break up, and also sounds good with a fair amount of gain while NOT BEING FIZZY. I can't stand Surfing With the Alien-type fizzy lead tones. Air Norton has been suggested to me but since I understand it's very close to the Liquifire so I want to do something different.
Sounds like a Super 2 would do the job, or a PAF Pro!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Because of the route I took getting the pickup (long story), I'm stuck with the HFH. It's back in the neck position and I'm trying to make the most of it. The tone can be alright with plenty of bass and mids, but then it's too much bass for using the middle or bridge pickup... drats.

I've kind of given up on trying to make my RG a hyper-versatile guitar. After all I've got other guitars for different jobs. So now I'm focused on getting a great bridge pickup that will give me lots of harmonic content- think THICK overtones but not overly trebly/fizzy. This has me leaning a bit away from the AT-1 I was thinking of earlier (more classic vibe) and to a bit heavier but still versatile sound. I don't really play much metal but I want a thicker beefy tone for the sounds I like to make. I like a lot of the 90's Gothenberg metal sound, to give y'all an idea. Currently considering

Breed bridge,
Tone Zone,
Dominion bridge,
Norton (not Air Norton).

Eventually I want to replace the neck as well and may go back to a Liquifire.

I also need something that's not going to totally overwhelm the relatively weak Humbucker from Hell (output of 226). Then again I can just lower the bridge PUP.

BTW I've got a True Velvet in the bridge.

Experience & recommendations sought- thanks!
 

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The first thing I would do is to put the HFH up for sale in the classifieds. I don't know how much you paid, but I'm guessing you'll at least get most of your money back.

In the neck: I would use a Fred. the midrange and high end harmonics are unparalled. It will be a drastic improvement over the HFH.

I'm assuming you have the true velvet in the middle and not the bridge.

In the Bridge: I think your idea of using the AT-1 is your best choice....other than that I would use the Breed neck. Either one will pair excellently with the Fred in the neck.

I'm not a fan of the True-Velvet at all. It's just too sterile sounding for me. I'm currently using a ToneZone S in the middle of my RG770 and couldn't be happier. It splits well with the stock USAF4 in the neck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks RGTFanatic. Fred is not one that had crossed my mind. I like the sound of all that harmonics/overtones talk, but I was concerned about the "fizziness" factor. Is that a consideration for you?

You did mean the Breed Neck for the bridge position? Just curious, why the neck model rather than the bridge?

Finally on the True Velvet, yes it's in the middle, and yes, it's very flat sounding. I appreciate the increased midrange as compared to a more traditional Fender style single coil, but overall it falls short. Maybe I'll take you up on your advice and put them both on CList.

As for the idea of a single coil-sized humbucker for the middle position, I hadn't really considered that because I had it in my mind that I wanted real single coil sound. I hadn't thought of your point that in positions 2 & 4 it will still have the Strat-type sound; on top of that I almost never use just a middle position single coil on its own (position 3)... so I'll be thinking on that.

Thanks again!

Other opinions?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Fred: Fat enough?

So I'm reading up on the Fred and I like what I read, including that it sounds great clean or slightly overdriven. My concern is that though I want clarity like everybody does, I want my neck pickups to be FAT- my idea of the perfect neck tone is Slash's interludes and solo in "November Rain." Fat, singing, plenty of low-mids to mids, but with that edge of glassy highs defining the attack.

Since the Fred is (by some accounts) basically a modified PAF Pro, will it be fat enough for what I'm wanting? If I wanted a neck pickup that sounded "like" a single coil, I'd play my Strat.

Thanks-
Gaucho
 

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PAF Pro may be a little too 'clear' for you, it's a very sterile sound since it was originally designed back when so many guitar players were running through Bradshaw effects racks and they wanted something that gave a nice, even range to play good through effects.

I used to love the one I had in my RG550CM but switched it to an EVO Neck and I love it even more. It's very 'round' sounding, even though it's basically a PAF Pro with slightly less highs, and overall a little lower output, but not that you could actually hear the difference in volume since you're talking only about 3 mv.

I'd also recommend the Breed, if you like even more lows and mids, but I've played a couple of guitars with Breeds and I found I was turning up the highs a bit on the amp since the Breed lacks a bit of 'glass', but they are very warm and punchy.

I know yours has the V1 and V2 (I don't even know what happened to mine) but I have an RG1550 with V7 and V8 and I DID NOT LIKE THEM... BUT...

If you search a bit for it, you can find instructions to swap the magnets in these and they sound awesome. The neck has a nice responsive, warm but clear tone and the bridge, while a little louder than it was, is very articulate even through heavy distortion and it just sings when I'm playing through a slightly overdriven VOX AC30.

I don't know how the V1/V2 would respond to a similar modification, but maybe it's worth a shot... maybe even see if you can find someone that's done the same mode and recorded with it (i'm not playing it the moment... health issues) and see if you like the V7/V8 mod and pick up a set cheap on e-vile-bay.

A little off-topic, but it's funny... there was a thread where someone insisted that all you have to do is change the EQ on your amp and after-market pickups were just marketing hype... I STILL wonder about the ears on people that think that. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks Mic- also glad to hear you get tone you like out of a Vox. I use an AC15 which is wonderful for more traditional/classic sounds, but not so much for anything with much gain. The Dizmarzio support folks recommended a gain boosting pedal (not an overdrive or distortion pedal, essentially I think an output boost)... but I'll probably eventually get another amp for the harder rocking stuff.

Glad to hear what you had to say about PAF pro... it sounded good in a lot of ways, but then I also heard people talk about how great it was for that classic 80's hard rock sound... NOT what I'm after.

Thanks-
Gaucho
 
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