Ibanez JEM Forum banner
1 - 14 of 14 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Has anyone put a Tone Zone (bridge) and Liquifire (neck) in an RG550 or similar guitar and have any thoughts? I've read reviews of each pickup separately, but haven't seen anyone posting about using them together on the same guitar.

Thanks!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
233 Posts
Has anyone put a Tone Zone (bridge) and Liquifire (neck) in an RG550 or similar guitar and have any thoughts? I've read reviews of each pickup separately, but haven't seen anyone posting about using them together on the same guitar.

Thanks!
As the Liquifire was based on the Air Norton (which is a very popular pairing with the Tone Zone), I'd guess Tone Zone + Liquifire would work pretty well together. The Liquifire's EQ and output are close enough to the Air Norton that I really can't see how that combination wouldn't work.
The Tone Zone + Air Norton combo is popular in RGs largely because they're fairly dark, so balance out the otherwise bright EQ of guitars with floating bridges and bright tone woods.

That said:
My RG655 (the Prestige RG model that the 550 Genesis replaced) came with Tone Zone + True Velvet + Air Norton. The Tone Zone sounds ok, but is slightly lacking in pretty much every way for my taste. I found the Air Norton weak, lifeless and too dark.

In my RG652FX, I found the stock Tone Zone too boomy - almost certainly due to that guitar being fixed bridge (and therefore less bright). I also found the Air Norton weak, lifeless and too dark.

My favourite DiMarzio pickup set is D Activators though, and I play mostly metal, so I might not be the best person to advise on this :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Cool thanks!

I'm a bedroom player so I figure the Tone Zone should be good enough for my purposes, but are there any other DiMarzio's you'd recommend other than the D-Activators? I know people often advise to try the pickups and just swap them out until you find one you like, but realistically that's a pain. Trying to make one decision and just hopefully stick with it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
233 Posts
Cool thanks!

I'm a bedroom player so I figure the Tone Zone should be good enough for my purposes, but are there any other DiMarzio's you'd recommend other than the D-Activators? I know people often advise to try the pickups and just swap them out until you find one you like, but realistically that's a pain. Trying to make one decision and just hopefully stick with it.
The Tone Zone is "good enough"...as is any DiMarzio pickup...but it's down to personal preference and what you want to achieve with it. I prefer brighter, higher output pickups (D Activators, Evolutions, SD Black Winters etc.).

Assuming you already have the RG550, what do you dislike about the stock pickups?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
19 Posts
That's a good question to ask.
I have a new RG550 that I bought specifically to load with some BK Nailbombs/Trilogy ... but in the short time I played it stock, before sitting down with the soldering iron, I thought it sounded pretty good.

I have an S420 from the early '90's which I changed the stock to Air Norton/True Velvet/Tone Zone because the more expensive models have that ... and I felt there was a broader range of tones as a result. But it's a while back ... and I probably was changing them for an "upgrade" because that's what Ibanez do, rather than because I thought there was anything "wrong" with the originals...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
233 Posts
If it has H-S-H pickups then my guess is you're S420 is actually an S470 (20 = H-H, 50 = H-S-H with pickguard, 70 = H-S-H without pickguard). Depending on the year, it would have had either V7 / S2 / V8 or V1 / S1 / V2 pickups. I would expect Tone Zone / True Velvet / Air Norton to sound richer and fuller than the stock Ibanez pickups, but to have more lows and way more low-mids - perfect for some preferences and too loose / boomy for others.

If you already know you like the Tone Zone, it's certainly a safe choice. If you want to try something different, without going down the ultra high-output / bright route, BPK Nailbombs or something like Super Distortion (bridge) + PAF Pro (neck) could be good options to try.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
19 Posts
Yes, you are right, it's the HSH S470 ... and it had the earlier V1&2's (the new Genesis had the V7&8). Definitely "fuller and richer" as you say ... and maybe more lows. Wiring down the cavities on the S is WAY more fiddly than the pickguard on the RG ... so not in a hurry to experiment too much!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
Has anyone put a Tone Zone (bridge) and Liquifire (neck) in an RG550 or similar guitar and have any thoughts? I've read reviews of each pickup separately, but haven't seen anyone posting about using them together on the same guitar.

Thanks!
I have an '87 Rg550 and I swapped the stock pickups with Crunch Lab/Liquifire combo and I think they sound great. Cleaner sounding compared to the stock pickups and sound especially good through the Carvin Legacy or any cranked tube amp I've tried. I'm not sure how the Crunch Lab compares to the Tone Zone but I've read the CL was based on the TZ.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks, Bob. There's just way too many options and conflicting information out there!

If not the TZ, any other recommendations for a bridge pickup that matches the Liquifire that maybe isn't as polarizing/bass heavy?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
233 Posts
Thanks, Bob. There's just way too many options and conflicting information out there!

If not the TZ, any other recommendations for a bridge pickup that matches the Liquifire that maybe isn't as polarizing/bass heavy?
Have you looked into the D Sonic? Similar output to the Tone Zone, but has a more even EQ with more treble. John Petrucci used it early in his career (I believe paired with Air Norton), then moved on to darker / bassier bridge pickups.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
233 Posts
I'll definitely check it out. Any experience with the Dreamcatcher bridge pickup?
No, but according to DiMarzio's specs it's darker and lower output than the Crunch Lab.

Personally, none of Tone Zone, Crunch Lab, Dreamcatcher or Illuminator (another JP signature model) have enough high end for my liking.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
233 Posts
I thought he used a Steve's Special + Air Norton.
In my head it was D Sonic + Air Norton > Steve Special + Air Norton > Crunch Lab + Liquifire > Illuminator set > Sonic Ecstasy set > Dreamcatcher + Rainmaker

I may have D Sonic and Steve Special the wrong way around though.

Also, I believe he used Tone Zone and Blaze a bit on early Dream Theater material.
 
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
Top