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I posted back in June when I acquired my new RGA-121 & AR-300. I still play the AR-300 much more than I play the RGA-121, but I'm trying to change that. As I play the 121 I realize it's time to replace the p/ups. With the maple top over mahogany body, what are some good combinations to consider? I want medium output, not *hot*. I like a good basic PAF sound, just a bit more of it I suppose. I'm currently using a Triple X 112 (60/watt) through a Marshall 1960TV with Greenbacks. [FYI I have 2 Sovtek 5751's in position v1 & v2 to reduce the gain. I'm shopping for a new amp, too, & patiently waiting for a local store to get their Mesa order in so that I can demo a Stilleto Duece & Lone Star!]
I looked at the Dimarzio Norton, Air Norton & Air Zone. Any comments from users of these Dimarzio models would be greatly appreciated. Any other models I need to consider? Maybe a set of Super 58s for the 121?
Also, when I replace the p/ups I'm going to replace the 5-way with a 3-way. It'll be: neck, 2-inside coils & bridge config. Those 3 sounds cover all I need from it.
Thanks, fellow Ibanez freaks.
 

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i just got an RGA121 w/ the natural finish and the problem with it is the lack of springs under the pups for adjusting the heigth of the pups. use a longer screw and add a pair of springs to each pup and you'll be amazed at the difference in sound. i was advised to put extra foam under the pup as well to help stability. the V7/V8 pups aren't the cat's meow but are immensely improved when they are raised a little closer to the strings.
when i first plugged mine in a little over a week ago - EEEWWWW!!! now that i added the springs it's tolerable until i install new Dimarzio's.
i will still replace the pups in the coming month or so (Steve's Special blk/crm in the bridge and Air Norton blk in the neck).
did you notice how wide the string spacing is? the strings don't line up under the poles on an F-spaced pup. it seems like the neck is a little wider at the body and the new bridge (Gibraltor Plus) is a little wide for perfect pole alignment with the strings. odd? no real biggie. EVH uses standard spaced pups on a trem guitar and swears by the mis-aligned strings to the poles for a "special" tone. to each his own ;).
congrats and good luck! it's a very nice guitar - mine will get lots of play.
 

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I wasn't exactly overawed by the V7 & V8s in my RGA-121 NTF either, so I replaced them directly with a classic Duncan combo - JB in the bridge, Jazz in the neck. It sounds utterly fantastic. The output is a little low due to the standard pickup height, but as a result i'm able to get a really nice strat or tele-esque tone. The JB still screams though when you crank it :)

Definitely going to try messing around with the pickup height at some point, but i'm over the moon with this guitar now! :D

The other thing i've found, is that with the natural (NTF) finish at least, (to me) the guitar looks so much better with silvery pole pieces than with the standard black. Now it looks a real class act!
 

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Yeah, I'm thinking that if I ever manage to save up enough money to get one of these I'm definitely going with either a Zakk Wylde set of EMGs or maybe an 89 for the neck and an 81 in the bridge. EMGs are awesome pickups which not only add killer sustain to any guitar but also fix the problems of mis-aligned pole pieces and uneven string pull.
 

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Average_Jon said:
I wasn't exactly overawed by the V7 & V8s in my RGA-121 NTF either, so I replaced them directly with a classic Duncan combo - JB in the bridge, Jazz in the neck. It sounds utterly fantastic. The output is a little low due to the standard pickup height, but as a result i'm able to get a really nice strat or tele-esque tone. The JB still screams though when you crank it :)

Definitely going to try messing around with the pickup height at some point, but i'm over the moon with this guitar now! :D

The other thing i've found, is that with the natural (NTF) finish at least, (to me) the guitar looks so much better with silvery pole pieces than with the standard black. Now it looks a real class act!
i love the JB/Jazz combo and also the JB/'59 combo. i plan to get my replacement pups with crm/blk in the bridge and blk in the neck to set off the look of the natural RGA121. i've seen a couple with both pups crm/blk and i'll tone it down a little with just one that way. kinda like this:
http://photobucket.com/albums/v334/...FF/?action=view&current=GuitarMiscPics009.jpg
here's a pic from an auction that shows both pups crm/blk - a little too much "classic look" for me:
http://photobucket.com/albums/v334/screamnjem77/MY GUITARS and STUFF/?action=view&current=1c_1_b.jpg
here's a reversed crm/blk SD combo - still not my look:
http://photobucket.com/albums/v334/...S and STUFF/?action=view&current=bb_12_sb.jpg
the natural is so simple and elegant. i played a gig last night and she sang nicely with the pups raised a little but the dynamics of the V7/V8 pups just isn't there for me - i'll probably go with the Steves Special and Air Norton or the JB/'59 combo - i still haven't 100% decided which way to go.
were the Seymours an easy fit when installing?
 

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fasterlix said:
FYI....I put this gtr on the bay today.....
should have posted in the Jemsite classifieds first. good luck, sorry to hear you are moving it out. good luck with the auction.
 

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Hi,

I've bought a RGA121VLF,too, and although being a long time highend Ibanez (ab-)user, I'm quite impressed with the workmanship and overall quality. Even the stockpickups, which I didn't like in some of my other/older Ibanezes, sound surprisingly good.
Nevertheless I will at least swap the bridge pickup, but I don't exactly know, which one to choose: ToneZone or D-Sonic?
Some people say a Tonezone sounds muddy in mahogany, but compared to my other (non-Ibanez) all-mahogany set-neck guitar, my RGA sounds pretty bright (maybe because of the maple top?).

Pretty tough decision, because I live outside the US and so DiMarzios 21 day exchange policy won't apply.
 

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Well the Tone Zone/Air Norton combo is what Ibanez puts on its J-customs, which are like the highest tier of Ibanez RGs. I emailed the Dimarzio tech to ask about which combo would suit my needs best and he suggested the Air Norton for the neck because it has the best split characteristics and an Air Zone for the bridge if I play through a high gain amp because it will be clearer than the Tone Zone yet still have the same basic "tone." So now I'm just thinking about whether I should get a Tone Zone or an Air Zone whenever I manage to get my hands on an RGA.
 

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...were the Seymours an easy fit when installing?
Good point. The same question came into my mind, because as far as I can remember there were some posts somewhere in the past that SDs (and EMGs) didn't fit as replacements for direct-mounted IBZs without modification.
 

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juka said:
Good point. The same question came into my mind, because as far as I can remember there were some posts somewhere in the past that SDs (and EMGs) didn't fit as replacements for direct-mounted IBZs without modification.
Sorry i haven't replied sooner! Yeah, the SDs went in without any modifications - they were a tight fit, but they do go into the standard routings. As for wiring, it was fairly straightforward - i referred to the wiring diagrams on the SD site, and as i recall, the standard ibanez diagrams on their spares site come in handy too. The Seymours have more wires than the standard pickups do, so you have to wire some of them together - (If anyone goes down the SD route and wants to know exactly what to wire to where, let me know and i'll go into more detail!)

I've raised the pickup heights on mine now, and it's really screaming now :-D

When i get my hands on a digital camera, i'll take some pics of the beast!
 
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