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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello Everyone,

A few months back, I bought a second hand Ibanez S5470F (Red Viking). I'm still really amazed by this guitar's playability, and the only bad thing I can say about it is it could have more sustain, but this can easily be solved using pedals and it is to be expected with an Ibanez S right ?

I am really happy with the two humbuckers (they sound great in both clean and dirty tones) but I feel like the middle pickup (single coil) is lacking. First off, positions 2 and 4 sound really thin and have much lower volume than positions 1, 3 and 5 (the middle PU alone is ok and only slightly lower in volume than the humbuckers). If it were only about this difference in volume I wouldn't mind it too much, but the real problem is the tone :

What I like in Ibanez guitars is their ability to get a nice stratocaster-like sound, but mine doesn't quite achieve this... I would like to get some Polyphia, Intervals, Animals as leaders kind of sound (edge of breakup with a lot of twang and a really distinct strat sound) but all my attempts fall short. I feel like it should be easy to achieve these tones with the guitar I am using but...

Do you guys think I could solve this problem by changing the middle pickup to something else ? Or could there be something wrong with the wiring ? I'd really like to get a spankier sound with this guitar : I really fell in love with it and I'd like to make it perfect !!

Thanks a lot for your help !!


PS : What do you guys think of the Hot Grinder pickups, could I get a significant imporvement by replacing them too ?
 

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I don’t really like them hotgrinder pickups in my S5570, the guitar seems to lack some definition or clarity or detail or some other adjective. If I keep it i’ll probably change them eventually, but they’re not so bad that I need to get them swapped out right away.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
@jono : maybe I'll try to swith them for DiMarzios at some point to see the difference for myself !
@sepulchrave : it could be the case but I think they changed the middle PU because of a sustain problem (too much magnet pull IIRC).
 

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I don't really like them hotgrinder pickups in my S5570, the guitar seems to lack some definition or clarity or detail or some other adjective. If I keep it i'll probably change them eventually, but they're not so bad that I need to get them swapped out right away.
I've got an S5570 on the way that already had the pickups swapped to a Seymour Duncan Black Winter set but from some of the comments I've been reading it sounds like I'm not missing anything by not getting the Hotgrinder pickups.
 

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I've got an S5570 on the way that already had the pickups swapped to a Seymour Duncan Black Winter set but from some of the comments I've been reading it sounds like I'm not missing anything by not getting the Hotgrinder pickups.
Absolutely, there's nothing "wrong" with these pickups, they're just rather typical "stock" pickups. My trouble is that these days, on anything "mid range" or above, folks expect "name" brand pickups with the associated (or perceived) step up in sound quality.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
@jono : Totally agree. I think that the stock humbuckers are really decent, my OD/Hi-Gain sounds are great and my clean tappings are warm and full bodied (but I will swap them out too because I wanna be able to compare them to something else, and maybe try them in my RG which has V1/V2).

I think the one PU I could change to get a big improvement in tone is the single coil pickup : it sounds decent on its own but its not spanky enough IMO, but this is not the real problem...

The real problem comes with positions 2 & 4 : volume is way too low and they are not spanky at all. For comparison, positions 2 & 4 on my Chevy strat (old 80s japanese rebrand) are my favourite because they twang like a m****f****, which I believe is due to the fact that the parallel combination of both pickups gives an out-of-phase kind of effect that I really love (Polyphia/Intervals-esque tone) and that adds to the spankiness.

So I'm wondering what PU combination to use to maximise spankiness and volume on positions 2 & 4 !! FYI I play Progressive Rock in my band (with lots of very different sounds so versatility is a must), and lots of different styles at home (from Jazz to Technical Death). I love technical stuff and I've been playing for around 10 years. Right now I'm leaning toward these setups :

NECK : SH-2n Jazz / Air Norton

MIDDLE : True Velvet / SSL5 Custom staggered

BRIDGE : SH-JB / Tone Zone

Thanks for helpin me out you guys :)

PS : I will change the stock volume pot too (500k, linear) because it acts weirdly. 0 to 1 makes it go from no sound at all to very loud with no in between, which means I cant do swells... It almost feels like it goes from 0 to 10 with no in between (Im exagerating here but you get the point) : varying the volume doesn't affect the overall sound as much as on my other guitars.
 

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I would try to change height of pickups, first try to lower middle, ( that should help with sustain also) and if that is not working then lover bridge humbucker and raise middle.
 

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If I may add, the spankiest sounding guitar I ever played was S540 with position in between bridge and middle pickups,
guitar is used to have qm pickups, but bridge was changed to Dimarzio x2n,
so sound between x2n and stock qm single in middle.

I never heard any stratocaster as spanky.
 

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I've got a 5570 and the Hot Grinders and Short Tracer weren't BAD, they just weren't great. The neck was too bright and the bridge too mid-rangey. I didn't go with the Tone Zone for the bridge because I didn't want more midrange, I wanted less. I tried to get an F-spaced Gravity Storm (Dimarzio's recommendation), then Air Norton, but unfortunately they were back-ordered so I decided to go with the Liquifire. For the bridge I got a Steve's Special. It's got the twang you are talking about, lots of harmonics too. Dimarzio's website is right, it doesn't drive the amp as hard as you think either. Being that it uses two completely different coil windings changing the orientation makes a BIG difference in the tone. If you flip it over you increase the midrange pretty significantly.

Luke
 
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