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Pickup Choices


John Abbett
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All,

I was thinking it might be helpful to start a thread describing the various pickups. There are questions about pickups all over, everyone wants to know which pickup to buy. Of course this is purely subjective. If we each chimed in, and described the positive and negative of favorite pickups, it would give people a starting point to find something that works for them. A dictionary of Pickups in one spot.

My .02

I love the Gibson Burst Bucker Pro. It's a Passive humbucker pickup. Available for about 110.00 U.S. each from Guitar center. Much Less on Ebay.

This is the HB pickup that goes in the Gibson SG currently being produced. It gives a really great tone, sounds like Gibson should. It comes in a matched neck and bridge configuration. You can get a nice growl out of it if you turn up the gain, and works for Blues, Rock. I don't play anything else so I don't know if it's good for other types. When I play these, the tone is bright, powerful and has amazing tone.

The only downside is that it's "Vintage" wiring, no coil split unless you want to take it apart. It's wax potted so that's probably not a good idea.

Oh, and it's a bit pricy. You pay for the name.

Who's next? I would like to hear about active pickups too! What's the best/favorite?

-J

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I like the following pickups: (quotes from pickup websites)

DiMarzio FRED:

"We designed FRED® to bump the mid-range of the PAF Pro® EQ up a notch, but in the process, something unusual happened. Harmonics that humbuckers usually don't reproduce started popping out, particularly with overdriven amps and distortion units. FRED® has about the same power as the PAF Pro®, but the unusual overtones create a sound with more crank and growl. Joe Satriani was the first player to discover and exploit these qualities, and it's been his main bridge pickup ever since. FRED® is really sensitive to changes in pick attack and control settings, and its distinctive tone makes a great recorded sound for both penetrating solos and tight rhythm tracks.

Tech Talk: The Fred® started out as a prototype designed to add a little midrange to the PAF Pro®. When we sent one of the first ones to Joe Satriani, he discovered and exploited a unique tonal characteristic - the Fred®'s ability to emphasize upper midrange and treble harmonics through an overdriven and distorted amp. Many standard humbuckers have a tendency to fatten up with distortion. The Fred® does the opposite; it gets tighter and brighter, much like a single-coil. Joe uses the Fred® strictly as a bridge pickup, but it's also a distinctive neck pickup - works really well with a Norton®, Tone Zone® or Evolution® bridge model."

Seymour Duncan Jazz:

"application

Classic moderate output humbucker. Especially popular in neck position. Don't let the name fool you; it's not only great for jazz, but also country, blues, funk, classic rock and heavy rock.

description

Provides an articulate and clear tone. Great for fast runs. The brighter tone has slightly less output and is a good match with most bridge pickups. When distorted, the tone is full and bright. Smooth sustain. Compared to the SH-1 '59 Model, the Jazz has slightly less output and a more detailed treble response. Comes with four-conductor hookup cable.

complete setup

Available in both neck and bridge models. Often a Jazz neck is paired with an SH-4 JB (Seymour's favorite combination) or SH-5 Duncan Custom in the bridge position for diverse tones.

guitars

For balanced and warm instruments. Works especially well with mahogany bodies and rosewood fingerboards. Also works great with hollow and semi-hollow body guitars. "

Seymour Duncan JB:

"application

The archetype hot-rodded humbucker for over 30 years. Great for everything from heavy blues to heavy metal.

description

The world's most popular humbucker. Provides slammin' output while retaining singing highs, aggressive harmonics, and just the right blend of sustain and distortion. Goes from sweet warm tones to raw rock 'n' roll. Compared to the SH-14 Custom 5, the JB has a stronger treble detail. Some players use it with 250K pots to smooth out the highs. Comes with four-conductor hookup cable.

complete setup

Recommended for bridge position. Often a JB is paired with a neck pickup like the SH-2n Jazz (Seymour's favorite) for versatility or a SH-1 '59 for P.A.F. tones.

guitars

For balanced and warm instruments. Works especially well with rosewood fingerboards."

These are just my favorites. All great pickups, IMO. :D

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Honestly my favorite is a DiMarzio DP-100. It can be made to sound like anything. It can be made hot or warm (depending on caps), it can be split and for me has been rock solid reliable for less than $80. I am also partial to EMG 81 and 89 combos, but only when I'm making something for harder rock/metal styles of music.

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