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Author Topic: Replacing Cold Sweats: stuck between Juggernaut/Silo/Abasis for metal/cleans  (Read 303 times)

AndysSeveredHead

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I have an Agile Intrepid Pro 72527 mahogany 7-string (https://www.rondomusic.com/Agile_Intrepid_Pro_72527_EB_CP_Charcoal.html) w/ BKP Cold Sweats in the neck & bridge that I want to replace. I play thru an EVH 5150 III 50w 6L6 amp into a Marshall JCM 900 Lead 1960 4x12" (basically a Marshall 1960A w/o the rebranding) w/ the stock Celestion G12T-75 speakers. Apart from occasionally boosting the blue crunch channel w/ a Boss FZ-2 I don't use pedals to affect my tone.

I want to replace my Cold Sweats because so far I have been completely dissatisfied with them. I don't have a very detailed description of my tastes, but in broad strokes I'm a huge Buckethead fan who's big into the kind of instrumental rock/metal/shred he exemplifies. As such, my main axe is his signature Les Paul (love it, wanna be buried with it) which has 496R (neck) & 500T (bridge) ceramic humbuckers. I like high output pup's that don't require me to pick especially hard with to get an aggressive sound, while still having nice and clear, articulate cleans without having to roll back on the volume or coil split them. The Buckethead Signature LP covers this nicely for me: even on the 5150's blue crunch channel w/ the gain set around 1:00 I feel I have enough output for my tastes without having to switch to the even higher gain red lead channel, and on the green clean channel the cleans are more than sufficient for me: I can coil split for a jangly, strat-kinda sound, but it 's a neat, optional extra for me rather than a requirement for my clean tone.

I was basically hoping the Cold Sweats could replicate the tone of my Buckethead sig in a 7-string format, but to me they've completely disappointed: whether standard or coil-split, the cleans are always dull-sounding, even honky at times. And I find I'm required to either use a boost pedal, or use the red lead channel of my amp, if I want anywhere close to enough output to shred, as the pickups simply don't put out enough output otherwise for my liking. I've heard it said in at least one review on these forums that this is a general trait of BKP pickups where the perception of them having lower output is a side-effect of their clarity: whether this is true I don't know, but it makes me worry if bare knuckle might not be the right choice for me.

Ultimately, I want to replace them. My initial choice was the Fishman Fluence Abasi signature set: from what I'm hearing in demos they sound like they've got the nice sparkly cleans, and perhaps the kind of high gain tone I like but can't explain sufficiently (although I'm not into djent, I can't find any non-djent demos for these pup's online to my satisfaction, so I'd be taking a bit of a gamble). considering however that I'll need to either rout out my guitar's cavity to accommodate them better, or get a separate guitar more suited to active pickups (was looking at this: https://www.rondomusic.com/Agile_Geodesic_Pro_82528_EB_MOD_SS_White.html), I'm expanding my search and looking back at passive pickups.

And so, I've narrowed my choices down to the Juggernauts and Silos. From what I can gather, they're both high output pickups with good clean tones, but the Juggs have higher output, while the Silos have better cleans. How significant these differences are, I have no idea, but I'm hoping someone can lend some insight into their experiences with these pickups, how they might compare to each other &/or the Abasis, and whether they might suit my needs, or suggest an alternative choice. Any input would be greatly appreciated.
« Last Edit: November 21, 2021, 08:47:55 AM by AndysSeveredHead »

Yellowjacket

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I can comment a bit on this in part.
I haven't tried the Abasi Fluence pickups but I have tried fishman fluence pickups.  I'd say the feel is 'different' than with traditional pickups.
I had a conversation with Tosin about this -after an AAL show- and he commented on how he likes the Juggernaut tone for distortion but not for clean tones.
He was talking about transients, tightness, clarity, response, etc.  I think if playing in his style or a style similar to his, his pickups are a great option.

Now.  I have experience with Juggernauts.  I like them for the reasons that Misha likes them:  They are tight with great clarity, but they also don't get overly shrill for lead tones.  Cleans are VERY good, for a traditional pickup, even on the bridge pickup.  But I don't do the same kind of playing that Tosin does, so my needs are different.

I have the Juggernaut pickups in two different guitars.

1 is a 6 string bolt on strat style super strat.  It has a schaller locking trem system with an after market brass block.  The guitar is strat voiced but more on the dark side.  So, brighter than a Les Paul, but darker than an Ibanez RG.  The Juggernauts sound dark and huge in this guitar. 

https://soundcloud.com/user-37551482/modern-metal-demo?si=4aced8c58cc64111a2bd8aa81e7af46a&utm_source=clipboard&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=social_sharing

I don't have a clean sample on hand but I'd say they're warm and buttery.  I played an Ibanez superstrat with BKP Aftermaths and it occurred to me that the aftermath set would be an equal or better option for this particular guitar.

The other guitar is an Ibanez RG7421 with a hipshot FP bridge.  This guitar is the brightest of bright guitars with lots of twang in the tone.
The pickups sound full and balanced with more cut in the upper mids.  For this one I happen to have a clip with cleans and with dirt.

https://soundcloud.com/user-37551482/progressive?si=a1fc65545d0a4e749bcaf42ea6cdf7f2&utm_source=clipboard&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=social_sharing

and some metal tones:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iHIXh1RQhbg

My personal opinion is this:  Listen to the acoustic tone of your guitar.  Try to class it from bright to dark.  In my experience, the brighter the guitar, the better the Juggernauts will work.  But that's just my taste.  I like a guitar where the pickups complement and enhance the natural tone of the instrument. 

 For me, the Juggernaut set is basically the perfect pickups for this 7 string guitar and it really nails the exact kind of metal tone I am after. 


So yeah.  I'd say if your guitar is very bright and attacky when unplugged, I'd go with juggernauts. If it's darker, perhaps Silos would be the better choice.  Either way, I think you can't go wrong. 

AndysSeveredHead

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I can comment a bit on this in part.
I haven't tried the Abasi Fluence pickups but I have tried fishman fluence pickups.  I'd say the feel is 'different' than with traditional pickups.
I had a conversation with Tosin about this -after an AAL show- and he commented on how he likes the Juggernaut tone for distortion but not for clean tones.
He was talking about transients, tightness, clarity, response, etc.  I think if playing in his style or a style similar to his, his pickups are a great option.

Now.  I have experience with Juggernauts.  I like them for the reasons that Misha likes them:  They are tight with great clarity, but they also don't get overly shrill for lead tones.  Cleans are VERY good, for a traditional pickup, even on the bridge pickup.  But I don't do the same kind of playing that Tosin does, so my needs are different.

I have the Juggernaut pickups in two different guitars.

1 is a 6 string bolt on strat style super strat.  It has a schaller locking trem system with an after market brass block.  The guitar is strat voiced but more on the dark side.  So, brighter than a Les Paul, but darker than an Ibanez RG.  The Juggernauts sound dark and huge in this guitar. 

https://soundcloud.com/user-37551482/modern-metal-demo?si=4aced8c58cc64111a2bd8aa81e7af46a&utm_source=clipboard&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=social_sharing

I don't have a clean sample on hand but I'd say they're warm and buttery.  I played an Ibanez superstrat with BKP Aftermaths and it occurred to me that the aftermath set would be an equal or better option for this particular guitar.

The other guitar is an Ibanez RG7421 with a hipshot FP bridge.  This guitar is the brightest of bright guitars with lots of twang in the tone.
The pickups sound full and balanced with more cut in the upper mids.  For this one I happen to have a clip with cleans and with dirt.

https://soundcloud.com/user-37551482/progressive?si=a1fc65545d0a4e749bcaf42ea6cdf7f2&utm_source=clipboard&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=social_sharing

and some metal tones:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iHIXh1RQhbg

My personal opinion is this:  Listen to the acoustic tone of your guitar.  Try to class it from bright to dark.  In my experience, the brighter the guitar, the better the Juggernauts will work.  But that's just my taste.  I like a guitar where the pickups complement and enhance the natural tone of the instrument. 

 For me, the Juggernaut set is basically the perfect pickups for this 7 string guitar and it really nails the exact kind of metal tone I am after. 


So yeah.  I'd say if your guitar is very bright and attacky when unplugged, I'd go with juggernauts. If it's darker, perhaps Silos would be the better choice.  Either way, I think you can't go wrong.

Thanks for the reply! Nice to hear some input from Tosin, and thanks for the links too. I don't really have a clearly defined lead tone in mind that I'm looking for, but I'm not hearing anything I don't like from your samples. Taking into account what you and Tosin said, it sounds like I made the right choice: I decided to try the Silo's first after talking with a Bareknuckle rep. I'd say my 7-string sounds darker compared to my Les Paul, so that's supporting my decision too.

Ultimately, my gut tells me that the Abasi pup's are would be the better choice, but I'd rather not have to get a separate axe right now and I don't feel like routing out my guitar's cavity to fit a battery container. I'll report back in after I've got them installed and try to report my findings.

One thing I'm still curious about is your experience with the Fluences: my understanding is that the main difference between them and the Abasi's is the clean tones. Apart from that, can you describe their compression? One of my beefs with my Cold Sweat's is how much harder I have to attack the strings than compared with my Les Paul if I want a similar output. I don't use a lot of force in my pick attack, and I've read that the Fishman pup's are more compressed.

ericsabbath

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Have you tried raising the bridge  cold sweat as close as possible to the strings? (while holding the last fret)
Riff Raff, Mules, Black Dog, VHII's, Cold Sweat

AndysSeveredHead

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Have you tried raising the bridge  cold sweat as close as possible to the strings? (while holding the last fret)

I'd say it's already pretty close: I measure both pickups at about 3mm away from touching the strings, with the neck pickup only slightly further away.

Yellowjacket

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Thanks for the reply! Nice to hear some input from Tosin, and thanks for the links too. I don't really have a clearly defined lead tone in mind that I'm looking for, but I'm not hearing anything I don't like from your samples. Taking into account what you and Tosin said, it sounds like I made the right choice: I decided to try the Silo's first after talking with a Bareknuckle rep. I'd say my 7-string sounds darker compared to my Les Paul, so that's supporting my decision too.

Ultimately, my gut tells me that the Abasi pup's are would be the better choice, but I'd rather not have to get a separate axe right now and I don't feel like routing out my guitar's cavity to fit a battery container. I'll report back in after I've got them installed and try to report my findings.

One thing I'm still curious about is your experience with the Fluences: my understanding is that the main difference between them and the Abasi's is the clean tones. Apart from that, can you describe their compression? One of my beefs with my Cold Sweat's is how much harder I have to attack the strings than compared with my Les Paul if I want a similar output. I don't use a lot of force in my pick attack, and I've read that the Fishman pup's are more compressed.

They do have backplate and control cover battery packs for Fluence but it's difficult to say if they have anything that would fit your instrument.


I am not an expert when it comes to Fishman pickups although I've played them once or twice.  I think the big thing I noted as being different from traditional pickups was the feel. 
I really liked the Fishman Classics but I didn't care for the modern ones.
There is this tonal 'quality' about them that reminds me of their under saddle pickups for acoustic guitars.  It's hard to put into words.
It's just a DIFFERENT kind of a thing  There is WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYY!!!! less hum than even with a humbucker, and the sound is almost a bit sterile.
It doesn't have the 'warmth' and responsiveness' (feel?) that you associate with a traditional HMB.  But, then the cleans are also very bold, clear, high fi, and sparkling.  It's a great clean, but also a different clean.

It's not good.  It's not bad.  It's different.  It's a new technology and frankly, I like them better than EMGs. 

For my money, I'd get a classics set but the Abasi set looks interesting for other reasons.  Namely, it's really cool that you can get 'single coil tones' but at the same output as the humbucking tones.
For me personally, I like having different output levels because it means different levels of gain saturation.  I like that split coils have less push.  BUT.  This doesn't work for what Tosin is doing.


Anyhow, BKP are top tier pickups so you can't go wrong with the Silo set.  With a super dark guitar, I would have been inclined to try something like a Rebel Yell set, since these pickups have a very wide and even harmonic response with a tight, clear and tapered low end.  Perfect for very dark instruments.  But, ya.  I think the Silo set is the right choice for you out of the BKP line up.   If you need more clarity and less bass, you can raise the pole pieces and lower the pickup height. 

For wiring options, I really like the Ibanez 2 humbucker wiring with Series neck, parallel neck, Series B N, inner coils, and Series bridge. 

Anyway, one day you'll want to get a guitar with active pickups that you can put the Abasi set in.  I have multiple instruments since they all cover unique tones: One instrument can't ever be everything to one player.   

AndysSeveredHead

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Thanks for the reply! Nice to hear some input from Tosin, and thanks for the links too. I don't really have a clearly defined lead tone in mind that I'm looking for, but I'm not hearing anything I don't like from your samples. Taking into account what you and Tosin said, it sounds like I made the right choice: I decided to try the Silo's first after talking with a Bareknuckle rep. I'd say my 7-string sounds darker compared to my Les Paul, so that's supporting my decision too.

Ultimately, my gut tells me that the Abasi pup's are would be the better choice, but I'd rather not have to get a separate axe right now and I don't feel like routing out my guitar's cavity to fit a battery container. I'll report back in after I've got them installed and try to report my findings.

One thing I'm still curious about is your experience with the Fluences: my understanding is that the main difference between them and the Abasi's is the clean tones. Apart from that, can you describe their compression? One of my beefs with my Cold Sweat's is how much harder I have to attack the strings than compared with my Les Paul if I want a similar output. I don't use a lot of force in my pick attack, and I've read that the Fishman pup's are more compressed.

They do have backplate and control cover battery packs for Fluence but it's difficult to say if they have anything that would fit your instrument.


I am not an expert when it comes to Fishman pickups although I've played them once or twice.  I think the big thing I noted as being different from traditional pickups was the feel. 
I really liked the Fishman Classics but I didn't care for the modern ones.
There is this tonal 'quality' about them that reminds me of their under saddle pickups for acoustic guitars.  It's hard to put into words.
It's just a DIFFERENT kind of a thing  There is WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYY!!!! less hum than even with a humbucker, and the sound is almost a bit sterile.
It doesn't have the 'warmth' and responsiveness' (feel?) that you associate with a traditional HMB.  But, then the cleans are also very bold, clear, high fi, and sparkling.  It's a great clean, but also a different clean.

It's not good.  It's not bad.  It's different.  It's a new technology and frankly, I like them better than EMGs. 

For my money, I'd get a classics set but the Abasi set looks interesting for other reasons.  Namely, it's really cool that you can get 'single coil tones' but at the same output as the humbucking tones.
For me personally, I like having different output levels because it means different levels of gain saturation.  I like that split coils have less push.  BUT.  This doesn't work for what Tosin is doing.


Anyhow, BKP are top tier pickups so you can't go wrong with the Silo set.  With a super dark guitar, I would have been inclined to try something like a Rebel Yell set, since these pickups have a very wide and even harmonic response with a tight, clear and tapered low end.  Perfect for very dark instruments.  But, ya.  I think the Silo set is the right choice for you out of the BKP line up.   If you need more clarity and less bass, you can raise the pole pieces and lower the pickup height. 

For wiring options, I really like the Ibanez 2 humbucker wiring with Series neck, parallel neck, Series B N, inner coils, and Series bridge. 

Anyway, one day you'll want to get a guitar with active pickups that you can put the Abasi set in.  I have multiple instruments since they all cover unique tones: One instrument can't ever be everything to one player.

I get you when it comes to gain saturation. Fortunately I'm almost exclusively humbuckers for lead/dirt tones, so I don't think that'd be a consideration for me. Split/parallel for clean, and series for lead, nice n easy.

If the Silo's don't work out for me, I'll probably skip over any more pickup swapping, and just start saving up for a dedicated guitar for active's (I'm keeping an eye out for whenever Rondo puts out a 7-string version of this in white https://www.rondomusic.com/Agile_Geodesic_Pro_82528_EB_MOD_SS_White.html). Otherwise I think I'm gonna be stuck in a bottomless rabbit hole. Messing with poles and wiring schemes like you'd mentioned goes waaaaay over my head: all I know is that I could get my tech to set my volume+tone knobs to split+parallel, and that's the deepest I want to go. If that doesn't work, then it's on to the Abasi's, and if they don't cut it...then maybe I'll just give up on 7-strings :P.

That being said, do you have any experience with the Rebel Yell's and how they clean up? If I'd have to roll back on my volume to clean them up then they probably wouldn't be ideal for me either, as I typically don't mess around with my knobs much while playing; I want a set that will be already set to go when I switch over to my clean channel. If I could find a humbucker set with good cleans than I wouldn't be messing with alternative wiring's, but like you said, there's not gonna be one holy grail set for every use case.

Yellowjacket

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Quote
I get you when it comes to gain saturation. Fortunately I'm almost exclusively humbuckers for lead/dirt tones, so I don't think that'd be a consideration for me. Split/parallel for clean, and series for lead, nice n easy.

You really need to get one of those core 2502 N switches for your tech.  You'd love having the parallel option available for cleans right on the pickup selector!!!




Quote
If the Silo's don't work out for me, I'll probably skip over any more pickup swapping, and just start saving up for a dedicated guitar for active's (I'm keeping an eye out for whenever Rondo puts out a 7-string version of this in white https://www.rondomusic.com/Agile_Geodesic_Pro_82528_EB_MOD_SS_White.html). Otherwise I think I'm gonna be stuck in a bottomless rabbit hole. Messing with poles and wiring schemes like you'd mentioned goes waaaaay over my head: all I know is that I could get my tech to set my volume+tone knobs to split+parallel, and that's the deepest I want to go. If that doesn't work, then it's on to the Abasi's, and if they don't cut it...then maybe I'll just give up on 7-strings :P. 

My old Fujigen RG7421 is an amazing 7 string.  I tend to really like -and see the utility of- bright and very articulate guitars for metal / 7 string.  Then you can go with a darker pickup that has a hotter wind.  Make no mistake, I really LOVE the cleans that I get from the Juggernaut set in that guitar.  It's just that the cleans don't work for Tosin and his approach is vastly different from mine.


Quote
That being said, do you have any experience with the Rebel Yell's and how they clean up? If I'd have to roll back on my volume to clean them up then they probably wouldn't be ideal for me either, as I typically don't mess around with my knobs much while playing; I want a set that will be already set to go when I switch over to my clean channel. If I could find a humbucker set with good cleans than I wouldn't be messing with alternative wiring's, but like you said, there's not gonna be one holy grail set for every use case.

Clean up compared to what?  I am not quite sure on the context here.  Rebel Yells aren't as high output as the Juggernaut set or even the Alnico Nailbomb.  I'd characterize them as a very clear pickup with a wide and even harmonic spread and a tight bottom.  They're more dynamic and not quite as saturated.  The neck cleans are great.  The bridge cleans are good in a dark guitar, like my Godin LG.

It's funny that you're against working the volume knob.  Using the volume knob gives some pretty marvelous lower gain tones on that pickup set as well.  I think you should experiment more with your controls while playing because there are so many tonal colours to be had.


AndysSeveredHead

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Quote
That being said, do you have any experience with the Rebel Yell's and how they clean up? If I'd have to roll back on my volume to clean them up then they probably wouldn't be ideal for me either, as I typically don't mess around with my knobs much while playing; I want a set that will be already set to go when I switch over to my clean channel. If I could find a humbucker set with good cleans than I wouldn't be messing with alternative wiring's, but like you said, there's not gonna be one holy grail set for every use case.

Clean up compared to what?  I am not quite sure on the context here.  Rebel Yells aren't as high output as the Juggernaut set or even the Alnico Nailbomb.  I'd characterize them as a very clear pickup with a wide and even harmonic spread and a tight bottom.  They're more dynamic and not quite as saturated.  The neck cleans are great.  The bridge cleans are good in a dark guitar, like my Godin LG.

It's funny that you're against working the volume knob.  Using the volume knob gives some pretty marvelous lower gain tones on that pickup set as well.  I think you should experiment more with your controls while playing because there are so many tonal colours to be had.

Sorry, I mean to say that they'll distort/break-up on a clean amp unless I roll back the volume?

I'd rather use pickups that won't distort like than than have to compensate for them by fiddling with knobs while I'm playing: it's just not how I like to play, it doesn't interest me. Ideally I wouldn't even have to mess with switches/knobs to split/parallel humbuckers whenever I want to switch to playing clean......I'd rather just have humbuckers that already sound like I want when playing clean....but again, there's no one-size-fits-all solution.

Yellowjacket

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Ok.  Gotcha.

What amp or amplification solution are you using?

My revv generator 120 has massive headroom on the clean channel so it is difficult to have the cleans break up.

The rebel yell set isn't quite as powerful as Juggernauts or the A-bomb so it is less likely to overdrive a clean channel.  Once again, this is dependent on amp and amp settings.

With my lower gain playing, I use touch sensitivity and just ride the volume knob the whole time, but this is to reduce gain on a lower gain channel.   
I can say that I haven't had trouble with the Rebel Yell neck pickup pushing a dedicated clean channel dialed in for cleans into clipping.


The closest I have heard to a pickup that does leads, rhythm, and clean is the juggernaut bridge pickup, but I like to have more than one sound which is why I like having a neck pickup as well.

I will also say that adjusting pickup height is very important for tones in general.
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