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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

Right now I have an Ibanez J-custom with the original Air Norton/Blue Velvet/Tone Zone Pickup config. I'm going to be upgrading my Strats pickups to H/S/S and i'm set on using the HS-3 in the neck, HS-2 In the middle so I can still sustain the strat single coil tones but I can't decide on either a Steve's Special or the Evolutions!

I've heard great things about both pickups - The Steve Special being very clean and great for rhythms and leads too, and also great for coil splitting which I intend on doing (again to keep that strat type single coil tone)

The Evo then being a high output pickup, great for the punchy leads and some rhythms. I'm not too sure whether the Evos can handle the rhythms well (which is why i'lll need opinions) but I like the idea of having the output within the guitar. Anyone coil split the evo? If so how does it sound. Plus having the HS-2 will be a bonus especially in conjunction with the Evo.

So i'm undecided - I'm mainly looking for versatility in tones, clean and great sustain too. I play a wide range of music, from Blues/Jazz, to Prog rock to virtuoso /shred to metal. But I've also got another plan in mind, by switching the Tone Zone (great pickup for leads and riffing rhythms) out of the Ibanez, and placing it into the Strat and putting either the Evo or the SS into it. I've heard great things about these two pickups in Mahogany bodies. So that is a possibility. I'd love to hear some great opinions.

Thanks :)
 

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I recently installed a FRED/HS-3 combo in one of my H-S-S guitars, and am very happy. At first I didn't think I was going to like FRED in the bridge because it's not known for being a Prog/Riffing type of pickup.

It depends on what type of amp or amp sim you run it through. I run it straight into my J-Station, using the JSOLO amp sim w/ Compressor on for a little extra gain, and I like it. It sounded better through JSOLO than RECTIFIED.

EVO might be a bit much if you're going to use HS-3 in the neck. Might not balance too well volume wise when you switch between them. But then again, it might just work for you.
 

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I got a basswood RG with EVO in the bridge. I like it a lot for rhythm actually. Think of it as a more natural sounding EMG81 and you are pretty much there. Really amazing for heavy stuff and shread. Might not do cleans well though. It will overdrive most amps.
 

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Both of those pickups have a very distinctive tonal footprint. The Steve's Special doesn't sound like anything else. I think it would be great in a strat. The two coils are very different, so when coil cutting be mindful of which coil you're getting. Also the tone of that pickup is greatly affected by which coil you have closest to the bridge. After you install it, rotate it and try it again to compare. So not only will it matter if you choose the stronger or weaker coil for your coil cut, but it will also matter where that coil ends up being located. It's really a fun pickup.

The Evo is very bright and aggressive. I just installed one last night for someone actually. It's a pickup I'd like to own, but not if it was my only guitar. It's not going to be thick and gutsy like the Tone Zone. It's more of a screaming sound than a loin's roar. But the highs aren't overly piercing either. The S.S. can be a little piercing in the high end, but that's what they were going for. That's what makes it great for cleans, and to maintain definition under heavy overdrive.

I wouldn't choose either if I had to have only one guitar. But if I owned a Tone Zone guitar, I'd choose the S.S. It's more versatile, and it's going to sound great in either guitar, showing off their acoustic differences. The Evo in Mahogany will still be more of the same. They are both very different than the TZ so either will keep you busy exploring new sounds.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the great advice frankfalbo and others too, a big help, and I'll think I'll stick with the Steve's Special as I originaly thought although the fred did make me think but the SS might be better for me due to the great advantages and also an advantage when coil tapping.

My sis is going back to HK this summer and I've asked her to get me these DiMarzio pickups as they'll most likely to be cheaper (unlike the UK) but I only know Tom Lee Music in HK. I'm wondering if anyone knows if they sell a wide range of DiMarzio Pickups (cheaply) or any other stores, and If they sell Coloured ones too! Or do you have to order the Coloured pickups from DiMarzio?

And Would this be ok to follow for wiring a H/S/S (just treating the neck humbucker as a single coil as the HS-3 is four conductor wiring too. I am experienced in soldering and i've done a few (non guitar electronic projects) but just asking to be sure :)

http://www.guitarnucleus.com/gitschems/dimarzio_humsingcanhum.gif

Thanks :)
 
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