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Can't Decide On Pickups...


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Hello everyone,

I am not on here often, but I have a proble, well not really a problem but here's what's up. I have an Epiphone G-400. PRetty nice guitar, but i've recently purchased a tube amp and can now tell that i'm not getting that great of clearity because of the pickups. these pickups are very sensative and can't handle that much gain, and just don't sound great overall.

The problem is that I know little about pickups, except that I want new ones. I need pickups that can handle the gain, wont give tons of feedback, have great distortion, but great cleans as well...nice warm cleans and distortion. I am not looking for 80's sound, or all out metal, more of a modern heavy rock/ alternative metal sound is what im going for, but there are so many choices for pickups I dont know where to start, EMG, Seymour Duncan, DiMarzio.....I have no idea where to start or what to get...

Can some of you guys please give me some help and ideas, and if you have more questions or need more info please say so.


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you dont want EMGs those are metal pickups , you might want something like a paf or 50's style pickup both DiMarzio and SD offer those types

That's a whole lot of not true. EMG makes some damn fine pickups for clean sounds. Bet you didn't know Buddy Guy has an EMG 85-equipped Guild Nightingale, did you?

EMG 85's or 60A's would probably sound very nice for what you want, but don't discount good pups like the Duncan JB, Jazz, '59, and Custom 5. Rio Grande has a pretty popular Texas BBQ set as well. DiMarzios tend to be a little more progressive-rock oriented, but the Humbucker from Hell, PAF Pro, Breed, and Tone Zone are very popular rock pickups.

Edited by crafty
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That's a whole lot of not true. EMG makes some damn fine pickups for clean sounds. Bet you didn't know Buddy Guy has an EMG 85-equipped Gretch, did you?

+1. I went from having no guitars with EMG's just 3 months ago to now having 4:

My Frankenstrat has an S set.

One of my RG520QS's has two 81's.

One of my S470's has the venerable 81/85 combo.

My Fender Jazz Bass has a Jazz Bass set.

All I can say is that I love the clean sounds I get out of all of them. A touch of reverb and the sound is heavenly. I bought them because I wanted something that could handle high gain, but the clarity on low gain settings is also nice.

The real issue is that tone is subjective. One person's "perfect tone" is another person's "sterile sound." You're going to have to spend some time with setups similar to yours or experimenting to find out what sounds good to you. I dont' even want to think about how much money I now have invested in aftermarket pickups, but I've really found what I think works best for me and I'm happy. And if you buy used, you get the added benefit of cheaper costs and the ability to sell off what you didn't like with minimal investment.

Remember the Alamo, and God Bless Texas...

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I tried a set of Manlius Guitar Pickups via manliusguitar.com. custom, hand-scatterwound. Really clear muddless tone, I was very pleased with them and the price. I just got tired of the lack of uniqueness to Duncans, but again, those are just my ears.


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more of a modern heavy rock/ alternative metal sound is what im going for

The Pearly Gates is kind of a weak pickup if you're going for a modern-style edge. It's designed for the Texas-blues sound like old ZZ Top. Either the Duncan Custom or Custom Custom would probably be a better pick for the style you mentioned. The Custom Custom is an Alnico II version of the Custom, so it's a little warmer and weaker output than the stock ceramic Custom.

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The customer service at Bill Lawrence is awesome.

Check his site and call him direct and describe the tone you want and he's very good at nailing it for a great price.

Just make sure that you go directly to his site cause there are copies of his pups that aren't his at all.

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im kind partial to the prs pickups, especially the mccarty's popped a pair in an epiphone lp standard sounds a 1000x better. i also have a pair of schaller golden 50's w/ covers . havent got around to installing them yet, but but there good enogh for trey anastasio of phish who's sound is amazing. the pearly gates mentioned above are also nice i was gonna put em in a sg project but ended up selling the body instead. warren haynes of govt mule uses these. on a side note how bout a more vintage sound like the sd phat cat pickups. there p90's in a humbucker size ive toyed with using them but never got around to it.

all these pickups mentioned are pricey by the way, lord i know.


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:D Hummmm... PRS pickups do rule.. but as with everything... you pay for what you get. Best way to do it is to go and try some guitars with the base line of replacement pickups (your emg-81, Seymour duncan JB's, customs, jazz, and a few dimarzios) out at a local store. Then read about the differences and what you think would suit you and try them :D

Don't think just because everyone else uses them they'll suit you. Made that mistake before. Find what ya like and stick to em (and if they don't sell many of em, stock up B))


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