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Author Topic: Pickups and guitar woods combinations : Do and Don't  (Read 11181 times)

Philly Q

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Re: Pickups and guitar woods combinations : Do and Don't
« Reply #45 on: June 11, 2009, 04:11:19 PM »
Blimey, Dr. Vic, you are making this confusing.  :?  :P
BKPs I've Got:  RR, BKP-91, ITs, VHII, CS set, Emeralds
BKPs I Had:  RY+Abraxas, Crawlers, BD+SM

Copperhead

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Re: Pickups and guitar woods combinations : Do and Don't
« Reply #46 on: June 11, 2009, 05:41:28 PM »
Yes, if you have a custom guitar ordered, I'm sure you can rely on the expertise of the luthier to point you in the right direction.  And it's pretty easy to change pickups once the project starts taking shape.

Unless you're ordering parts, then you would really like to have some sort of expectation, or even a general "formula" for at least what not to do.
BKPs: Nail Bombsss, Mississippi Queen, BKP-91, Cold Sweat, mystery humbucker, Supermassive

Philly Q

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Re: Pickups and guitar woods combinations : Do and Don't
« Reply #47 on: June 11, 2009, 05:58:07 PM »
Yes, if you have a custom guitar ordered, I'm sure you can rely on the expertise of the luthier to point you in the right direction.  And it's pretty easy to change pickups once the project starts taking shape.

Unless you're ordering parts, then you would really like to have some sort of expectation, or even a general "formula" for at least what not to do.

Agreed.  I have a few parts guitars and usually have a rough idea what pickups I'm going to use, but I have loads of spare pickups to experiment with (or I "borrow" them from other guitars).  I must admit I sometimes buy pickups with no particular guitar in mind, just because I want to try them, but I can usually find a home for them.

Sometimes you can have happy accidents.  I once built a cr@ppy superstrat with a Floyd and got a DiMarzio MegaDrive for it, which sounded horrible, completely unusable.   But when I moved the MegaDrive to a mahogany Hamer Vector, it was awesome.
BKPs I've Got:  RR, BKP-91, ITs, VHII, CS set, Emeralds
BKPs I Had:  RY+Abraxas, Crawlers, BD+SM

BigB

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Re: Pickups and guitar woods combinations : Do and Don't
« Reply #48 on: June 11, 2009, 09:31:36 PM »
I will add, in the circumstance that you have a few guitars and a few decent pickups (BK or otherwise), a situation I think most of us are in,


You lucky guys...  I started playing guitar in 1979, got my first _real_ guitar in 1989, and only had a second one a few weeks ago. And I had both for dirt cheap (not much more than a BKP set each...).

even if you have a *good* sound out of all of them -

DONT settle for the first acceptable combination. Try different combinations. Move your pickups between your guitars to find what works best in what.

Given that one of my guitars has humbuckers and the other one single coils, I may have a hard time following this advice :wink:

More seriously: it's surely a good advice for those that can afford that much gear - and I would add : then post here and tell us common mortals about your experiences...

 
Have: Crawlers, BGF 50/52s, Mules, ABomb, RiffRaff
Had : Slowhands (n&m), Trilogy (b)

Will

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Re: Pickups and guitar woods combinations : Do and Don't
« Reply #49 on: June 11, 2009, 10:37:38 PM »
Give it up mate - it's like herding sheep isn't it?  :lol:

Just for reference by the way, I put a set of Mules in a Gibson Les Paul Standard and it sounded like ass.  Really thin and horrible.  That's supposed to be a default option isn't, but it didn't work for me and that guitar......

You mean herding cats.

Herding sheep is easy.

Herding cats....well, I used to have 6, and getting them in the same place is like reciting the bhagavad gita while spinning 12 plates and juggling basketballs.

Try 500 hill type sheep. They are $%&#ers.
No more aminal talk please!

MDV

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Re: Pickups and guitar woods combinations : Do and Don't
« Reply #50 on: June 11, 2009, 10:56:03 PM »
I will add, in the circumstance that you have a few guitars and a few decent pickups (BK or otherwise), a situation I think most of us are in,


You lucky guys...  I started playing guitar in 1979, got my first _real_ guitar in 1989, and only had a second one a few weeks ago. And I had both for dirt cheap (not much more than a BKP set each...).

even if you have a *good* sound out of all of them -

DONT settle for the first acceptable combination. Try different combinations. Move your pickups between your guitars to find what works best in what.

Given that one of my guitars has humbuckers and the other one single coils, I may have a hard time following this advice :wink:

More seriously: it's surely a good advice for those that can afford that much gear - and I would add : then post here and tell us common mortals about your experiences...

 

I dont mean to be a dick, making fellow members that dont have as much stuff feel bad, but going by discussions here and the various 'what stuff you got?' threads, its true. Most people here do have a range of gear, and I was tailoring my advice to the largest proportion of the audience.

p.s. the means to aquire what you want are rarely achieved by good luck! Such is the nature of good luck - it favours so very few frequently. I have a good job and a make no apologies for it, I've earned it and earn my wage. But if youre insinuating  that we're rich and youre not so we've got stuff - there are guys on here that dont earn much but save it all for gear. We're gear whores to the point of religious zealotry :twisted: As an example, theres a chap here, superb guitarist, whos a barman with a vh4, elmwood, 2 blackmachines and a nathan sheperd, that I know of. I dont imagine this is atypical of the board. We're just obsessive :)

But, yeah, more seriously :) I'm reluctant to divulge too much about my experiences with different guitar/pickup combos because my experience, of some mere dozens (not all mine ;) I do guitar teching as a small sideline) I can only relay the broadest generalities, and I have already done so. I dont want to go into too much detail lest my isolated and limited experience be contsrued as anything resembling a 'rule', because there arent any. There are, as Ive said, guidelines that you can use as starting points or best guesses. I've given advice to people here on what pickup to get and they've returned later saying that its not quite right. (Not all my doing and not singling me out, but my recommendation being one of many and not being right for the persons requirements). I know how poorly transferable one persons knowledge of tone is to another. Its the same with any subjective experience. We do our best, and I think most of the time it turns out well, but I dont really like the basic objective of this thread because if it all went to plan and we had a list of wood/pickup combo dos and donts then it would do as much harm as good. These things are not so ridgid.

MDV

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Re: Pickups and guitar woods combinations : Do and Don't
« Reply #51 on: June 11, 2009, 10:57:41 PM »
Will, I've never tried :lol: But I have seen it, and one man and a dog can handle dozens to hundreds of the walking meals. One man and a dog will not have anything like the same degree of sucess with so much as two cats :D

dheim

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Re: Pickups and guitar woods combinations : Do and Don't
« Reply #52 on: June 12, 2009, 11:39:19 AM »
i agree with MDV, on the main topic and on the sheep/cat argument.
there's no way to gather cats unless it's exactly what they intend to do themselves. and this points clearly that cats are way more clever than sheeps, men and dogs who loose their time trying to gather them.

AND, going back to topic, general tone guidelines are easy to put down, with a bit of experience and some clear idea on woods... it's much more difficult to extract useful informations from single experiences, because guitars are all different and - most of all - individual tastes are often COMPLETELY different.

for example Twinfan could say that his experience with the Mules has been less than satisfying... mine has been much better and in general Mules seem to be very popular among LesPaul players (but not just among them)... who will you believe?
i bought an LTD EC1000 (with EMG 81/60) on the web after having tried a Duncan equipped model... when i extracted it from its case i saw it's flawless satin black finish, its sexy shape and i thought WHOOOO!  :)
i started playing it unplugged, had the first acoustic and tactile impressions and thought WHOOOAA!  :D
then i amplified it and heard the dry, thin and screechy EMG 81 i thought URGHH!  :x

i could describe the painfully sudden change of facial expression just using some sexually related example but, being a gentleman, i won't (lately there's been some talk about guys looking like girls and... ok. stop it.) (no personal experience, anyway)

so i changed the little black bar-steward in a week or so with a much MUCH better EMG 85 (just for information, Painkillers are coming to kick their active asses out of it... :))
i know some idiot who would have sold it after a couple of days without even trying a pickup change... i actually bought one of my favourite axes from one of those...

but the point is that a vast majority of players praise the 81s and 81 equipped ESP/LTDs as the ULTIMATE metal gear.
so who's right?
« Last Edit: June 12, 2009, 12:31:56 PM by dheim »
Mule, MQ, Stockholm, CS, RY, MM, PK, ANB, CNB, AWP, CWP, PiG90...

too many? ;)

dheim

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Re: Pickups and guitar woods combinations : Do and Don't
« Reply #53 on: June 12, 2009, 11:56:50 AM »
ANYWAY i could say that...

DOs

Cold Sweats are awesome in my Gibson SG61
Nailbombs were awesome in my Ibanez S320 (thin mahogany body, bolt-on maple neck, rosewood fretboard) and are awesome in my Ibanez SA2020 (medium sized mahogany body with quite thick maple top, set-in maple+don't know... bubinga? wenge? 5 pieces neck, rosewood fretboard)
Warpigs sound very good in my Ibanez RGR321 (basswood body, bolt-on maple + rosewood) and awesome in my Epi LesPaul Goth, that happens to be a very middy guitar. so no overkill due to heavy mahogany body.
Painkillers work very VERY well in my Ibanez S470
Mules sound great (a bit on the trebly side but great nonetheless) in my Gibson LesPaul CA with chambered body and no maple top

DON'Ts

Holy Divers sounded definitely bad in my USM hornet (thick and heavy SG styled guitar, woods like a Gibson SG)

the fact is that, apart maybe Cold Sweats, i don't know if these are the best possible pickup/guitar combinations... but as long as i'm happy with them i won't try any pickup swapping!
« Last Edit: June 12, 2009, 12:29:40 PM by dheim »
Mule, MQ, Stockholm, CS, RY, MM, PK, ANB, CNB, AWP, CWP, PiG90...

too many? ;)

Henk

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Re: Pickups and guitar woods combinations : Do and Don't
« Reply #54 on: June 13, 2009, 12:47:26 PM »
Well i have a general idea what works and what not, but i dont think it works like that for everyone.

For instance the mules i have dont sound half as good in my '73 SG but do sound perfect in my maple neck '76 custom LP.

In general i think hotter pickups sound better in a darker sounding guitar, older (PAF) type pickups sound generally bad in all-mahagony guitars IMO.

I think it has to do with the way i balance the tone of the wood with the characteristics of the pickup. Also with a very resonant guitar i tend to prefer higher output pickups (which makes the combination sound a bit warmer and smoother). To me very resonant guitars have a 'dirty' quality soundwise, at least to my ears. Using a pickup that brings out that quality always worked for me.

If one would consider mayor changes in guitar history some general idea would be.

All mahagony- P90's

Gibson LP - PAF, lowish output HB

Fender and other more recent choise of (resonant) tonewoods- single coils or high output HB

Pretty generalised, but among the older Gibsons (pre 1980) i havent played any guitars that i would call very resonant. The older japanese guitars i have/had which seem to resonate like crazy, probably the density of the tonewoods matter in this respect. At least as i understand it, resonance occurs when sound vibrations move trough layered wood(or body/neck combination) with different densities(or air chambers obviously).

Still, if i like the idea of a certain combination of wood and pickups, my curiousity wins often enough, allthough i often end up buying another guitar for the pickups. :P

Greetings Henk
Mules in '76 Gibson custom with maple neck.

BigB

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Re: Pickups and guitar woods combinations : Do and Don't
« Reply #55 on: June 15, 2009, 07:50:36 PM »
I dont mean to be a dick, making fellow members that dont have as much stuff feel bad,

You didn't make me feel bad - I was kidding (and mostly about myself - 15 years without playing music, what a waste...). Sorry if that wasn't clear.

Have: Crawlers, BGF 50/52s, Mules, ABomb, RiffRaff
Had : Slowhands (n&m), Trilogy (b)

MDV

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Re: Pickups and guitar woods combinations : Do and Don't
« Reply #56 on: June 15, 2009, 08:59:55 PM »
I dont mean to be a dick, making fellow members that dont have as much stuff feel bad,

You didn't make me feel bad - I was kidding (and mostly about myself - 15 years without playing music, what a waste...). Sorry if that wasn't clear.



:drink:

syr2012

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Re: Pickups and guitar woods combinations : Do and Don't
« Reply #57 on: June 16, 2009, 02:32:06 AM »
I dont mean to be a dick, making fellow members that dont have as much stuff feel bad,

You didn't make me feel bad - I was kidding (and mostly about myself - 15 years without playing music, what a waste...). Sorry if that wasn't clear.



I don't get how you could go 15 years... 15 days and I'd start clawing my way up the walls...
BKP Team: Bridge MQ, Black. Bridge HD, Raw Nickel.
To Do: Bridge Nailbomb in chrome (?)

BigB

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Re: Pickups and guitar woods combinations : Do and Don't
« Reply #58 on: June 16, 2009, 06:08:12 PM »

I don't get how you could go 15 years...

I wonder too...  :roll:

:drink:

:drink: :drink: :wink:

Ok, nuff said 'bout my life, rather unintersting and totally OT - sorry...  :?
Have: Crawlers, BGF 50/52s, Mules, ABomb, RiffRaff
Had : Slowhands (n&m), Trilogy (b)