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Need Assistance With Selecting HBs for Mahogany w/Maple Neck


ForDaFingaz
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I'm having some trouble selecting pickups for a project I'm doing. I'm constructing a Mahogany Warrior body that I'd like to use with a Jackson DK2M neck. I'd like to use an aggressive set of HBs for this project considering the body shape. I'm just not sure what I should use. I'm considering HBs that are balanced in the tonal range like Seymour Duncans "Black Winter" (high: 6/10 mid: 6/10 low: 6/10). I'm not sure, technically, if this is a good choice considering the body/neck materials. Anyone have a recommendation?

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I kind of guessed that the "aggressive HBs" bit would come....I would personally put a SD '59 in the neck and something in the bridge that represented how I would play that guitar. Maybe another '59, a Custom, a Custom Custom (!!) or similar. Out of all of the instruments I have played, I have always gone back to the ones with a milder neck pickup for the "tubular" solo sound and something a little less than insane for the bridge. The instruments I have with EMGs or in fact ones that I have beforehand with aggressive outputs didn't do it for me. I felt that they were doing all the work that the player should be doing, and when you put some work in you didn't get it translated back out.

Sorry if this doesn't help however I thought I'd illustrate how I build my tones. Lower outputs can be jacked up with pedals or whatever and you maintain more touch sensitivity. If money goes well this year (student income sucks) I would love to replace the pickups in my seven with some of the new SDs. Definitely not the Nazguls. Maybe a couple of metal-covered Sentients.

I think that when you get towards the more aggressive end of the pickup ranges you lose the contributions that the woods give to the final tone recipe. If you go that route, most of the differences in woods become less important unless you go for super-strange. Mahogany/Maple isn't!

I'd ask if you play digital or analogue, and then if you use solid state or tube in the pre-amp. That will help define your end use.

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Contrary to what I wrote in my last post, I am sure that many of the pickup builders here could build something with a high output that puts across the "aggression" that you want. Thing is, that word means nothing in terms of tone really since a '59 can be aggressive because of its dynamics. Funny thing, trying to explain tones using language :-)

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Unlike how some people view EMGs, I like them for their consistency in whatever instrument you put 81s/85s/60s in. It means you can build using junk or less exotic woods and still get an excellent result, whereas some pickups would have trouble trying to pull any result. Bang EMGs in some crappy Basswood instrument and ping, instant metal.

However - what guitar2005 just said. That would be a great combo for hitting the front end of a valve pre-amp.

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So my first impression from the response I've gotten is that the higher output pickups override any tonal qualities of the materials in the guitar.

I hate to admit this, but I don't own a head or cab. I don't have the space, budget, or neighborhood. I have been running my guitars through a GuitarPort and VST for years. I'll probably get a lot of laughs about this fact. :)

So I'd like to get some opinions from musicians who would use a Warrior on stage or whatever. Technically, would you like to hear some of the tonal qualities of the wood come out by pairing the materials with a mid-output HB, or go more high-output? I know a thread like this might go on forever on this subject. I just need to get a feel based on all the feedback here.

Thanks so much for the assistance.

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It's not always the case as I am sure the experienced winders will attest. In my personal experience I've found lower output pickups or ones with less "aggressive" magnets keep more punch than going for gain gain gain gain gain. I guess it all depends on what you define as "aggressive". Have you consider BKP or even getting RAD to wind you something? I'm sure that your original idea of the Black Winters would be cool as a starting point for what you are aiming for which a custom winder could tailor for your own needs, ie. amp type, instrument, playing style. I bet that if Seymour Duncan pickups didn't come with names or descriptions - only codes - they wouldn't seem as attractive in many cases if you get my meaning.

I also just went to find out what my bridge pickup in "no.1" is made of. It's a SD Custom Custom TB-11 which is an AlNiCo-2 with a higher output wind. I was squealing the crap out of it on Cemetery Gates this evening which you probably wouldn't associate with a pickup that is commonly used as a Frankenstrat pup clone.

Don't take my aimless ramblings as gospel truth though. They're all coloured by my own personal slants. One of which is that the SD Black Winters are heavily pushed, same as the new Nazgul/Sentient/Pegasus pups. Or EMG's "X" series. There's little new being brought to the table other than minor cosmetic refreshes and whatever is in fashion right now. Meanwhile, the road-hardened designs are cheaper and do the job just as well as this week's one-trick pony.

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