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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I’ve done some work on this guitar putting some real love into it. I put a shim in the neck pocket, Rounded the fret ends as much as I could, cleaned and scraped the fingerboard binding edges, and worked on getting the setup juuuuuust right.

It’s paid off in a lot of ways but the amplified tone still isn’t there. It came with a set of PAF Pros, as I mentioned, and although they aren’t terrible I feel like they don’t have the touch sensitivity or girth they should. I pick up my physically thinner S5570 and it’s fatter and more touch sensitive (Liquifire, Red Velvet, Steve’s Special reverse). My tech obsessed nature makes me wonder if it’s the VV tech used on the Liquifire and dual resonance on the Steve’s Special.

Being it’s a 22 fret instead of a 24 like the modern ones I’m attacking it more like I would replacing SG pickups. So what I’m wanting is a thicker, or maybe more focused neck pickup sound, output is alright as is. A bit more mids in the bridge and a hair more presence. I like the vowel sound on the edge of the sound, but to really hear it I have to turn down the tone on the guitar and turn up the treble elsewhere.

But overall I want more touch sensitivity and more girth especially on the high strings. I’ve considered going back to Duncan and going Custom Custom and Pearly Gates. With Dimarzio I looked at an Air Zone or AT-1 and Air Norton or 36th. That said, it’s ridiculous but I also would like the pickups to look the same.

Thanks in advance!

Luke
 

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It is a very personal choice.
I, personally, love the PAF Pros. I find them incredibly versatile and, in the neck position, it shakes any mud you can have on your rig, being amp- or effect-wise.

That being said, I also like other pickups. One of my favourite neck pickups is the Liquifire. I also like the Air Norton (I have several versions/adaptations of it). However, I don't tend to enjoy the "Petrucci" bridge pickups. With the exception of the D-Sonic.
I tend to prefer balanced EQ pickups with a punch in the midrange: Evo 2 is a great example. And it's an incredibly articulate pickup!
One that I'm curious to try is the Titan (bridge, or even the neck/bridge set, for the matter).


Then you have other manufacturers. You can't go wrong with a Seymour Duncan '59/JB set. You just can't!
And I'm not that experienced with BKP, but I do have a Black Hawk Alnico set (7str) and they are simply the best sounding pickups that I have!


What I'd say is... try to "listen" to what your guitar and the general tone of it, particularly unplugged. A mahogany guitar tends to be a bit less bright and more mid-punchy. But that means zip, actually.
Try to figure what you're lacking on EQ in your amp and what you'd like your guitar to do. Do you want it to drive your amp harder? Do you feel it's too bassy/muddy or too trebly/thin? Or to you need that midrange kick so you can get ever more cream out of your overdrive?

Than take a look at several pickup models, their output and EQ curve. Don't spend too much time on that, otherwise you will be even more undecided then when you started. :) And keep in mind that pickup manufacturers will neuro-market the hell out of you!
I tend to lean towards the older models. If they are in running production for several years now, it's because players actually like them. The PAF Pro, the '59, the 81 are all good examples. New pickups are, sometimes, just marketing gimmicks.


Now, that's a rather long post.
Ping me a PM if you need more help! I'd be glad to shed some light over you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for your thoughts.

In the Duncan camp, I've thought about the JB, but it seems to be picky about which mahogany guitars it actually works with. The 59 in the neck I have a love/hate relationship with. I've thought about a set of Pearly Gates like Joe used to have in one of his Chromeboys. I've also considered alnico 2 pro neck and Custom Custom Bridge.

Like I said before the PAF Pro just doesn't seem to have the touch sensitivity that the Liquifire does or the Luke Bridge I've got in another guitar. I think a set of the EBMM pickups would sound good in this guitar...that's one reason I'm looking at the Air Zone and the AT-1.
 
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