Username: Password:

Author Topic: Part Review / Part Need Advise / Part Addiction  (Read 882 times)

CLund

  • Junior Flyweight
  • *
  • Posts: 23
Part Review / Part Need Advise / Part Addiction
« on: June 03, 2021, 05:06:03 PM »
So, as the title states, I am going to post up a review and also ask for some advice.   I am somewhat obsessed with my guitars/gear, at least that is what my wife calls it, and always looking to update, upgrade, improve, or better what I am doing and what I have.    I'm am not a pro-level guitarist, but I can hold my own and I am in a regularly gigging band in the Central Florida Area.  We play mainly Alternative Rock, Rock, and a few older metal songs here or there.    Think Foo Fighters, Alice in Chains, Sublime, Smashing Pumpkins, Chili Peppers but throw in a Metallica, Allman Brothers, ZZ Top or the Strokes song here and there.

So I will start with a Family Photo and explain what I have done so far, and what I have experienced in each.



Starting from Top Left:   Kramer American Stagemaster Custom (1986/87) - Purchased in the 80's, was my first "Real" guitar.   Been through every pickup combination I can think of (Duncan's/DiMarzio/EMG/BKP).    It is a Neck-thru - Ebony board HSS with a Kahler Steeler trem (replaced the original FR sometime in the 90's) with a Kahler Auto-Latch system I just installed, which works really well.      It currently has a VHII Bridge and 2 Irish Tours in it.    Can't say enough about those pickups - they work great together, but I spend most my time on the VHII Bridge.    With my Top Jimi BrownSound patch on the Kemper I can nail EVH tone.   Pinch harmonics, dive bombs, everything just sounds SO great.    I'm no Eddie, but I can sound like him, and that is cool!   I tried a few other pickups in that Kramer over the past few years.  Including Rebel Yell, which had too much top end sizzle.  I may try that pickup in my LP someday.   Suhr Thornbucker+, which was too open and airy, it wanted to be a VHII but fell short.  I also tried a Duncan JB again - which originally came in that guitar, but it was just too stale and had no depth to it.  The VHII is my favorite BKP I have tried so far.  Just enough power to push the amp but still retain that open PAF vibe.  Every string is heard, every note of chords rings.  It's a pickup that keeps you honest about your playing and makes you a better player because of it.   Cleans tones sound fantastic too.

Next is the 2004 PRS CE-24 - GREAT playing guitar, was my go to before the Suhr and Charvel.   Never liked the original HFS/Bass pickups.   So first I tried the Rebel Yell - Didn't like it in this guitar, just to much mid/high push.  Decided to go try a Black Dog set, much better.  Black dog bridge is great, real mid to low/mid growl, perfect for Drop D tunings (we really don't play any lower tunings than drop-d or E-flat, but this would be the guitar I would use if we did.).   I will say, after playing my other newer guitars, I may want to go to something a bit more open in the highs, something that lets this guitar breath a little, so if anyone has any ideas for the PRS, let me know.   I was thinking maybe Emerald or Abraxas, but since I love the VHII so much in the Kramer, may go that way?  As for the PRS neck pickup, I always thought the Black Dog neck was to dark, and I never used it, so I decided to do something different.   It has a Mississippi Queen in the neck now and I am really happy with it.   Great growl of a HB but has some single coil jingle in it.   Great for Smashing Pumpkins, or bluesy solos.  That thing is staying put!   

On to the Charvel Guthrie Govan - Just got this guitar 2 weeks ago, so what I have to say about it is very much a Honeymoon Phase.   First, what an easy guitar to play.  The neck is amazing, so smooth, love the slinky SS frets, neck is thin but not too thin.  Just fantastic.   As for the pickups, I have never played an HSH guitar that was SO usable in all 5 (technically 7) positions.   The neck is warm and punchy, the 2 and 4 spots have great strat quack (but of course not completely strat like), position 3 pushes tele type grind and the Bridge is just monstrous (almost too much) but talk about Modern Rock / Metal beauty!   There is a switch that will put the neck or bridge pickup in single coil mode, it's very usable, but not exactly single coil.   What would be the closest BKP to the Charvel MF Bridge?   I know it's DC resistance is around 15k, but no idea on the wire, winds or magnets.  I would really like to have something similar to the bridge pickup - just maybe a little less power.

I will go to the Gibson Custom Shop G0 (VOS 1960) Les Paul.   Got this guitar new back in 2007.   Great guitar, and I will never sell it, but I found out quick I'm not a LP guy.   60's neck profile is SO much better than any of Gibson's other necks for me.  Just a bit smaller than their other neck profiles (I have smaller hands).   This thing is heavy too - kind of hard to play a 4-5 hour gig with this thing hanging from your shoulders.  BUT the tone… Nothing sounds like a LP.  I have been contemplating changing out the pickups, but having a hard time changing it.   Has Burstbucker 1 & 2 in it now and they sound good.  Just not the first guitar I grab.

Last but definitely not least, the Suhr Custom Standard.  I ordered this guitar about 2 years ago.  Built to my specs… Roasted Swamp Ash body with Burled Maple top, roasted Birdseye 3a maple neck, HSS with an Suhr Asatobucker bridge and V60LP singles.   I originally ordered it with a Thornbucker+ (plus) bridge, but it was just too airy and thin in this guitar.  Wanting to stick with Suhr pickups - I tried an SSH (non-plus) next and it was much better, but was very hollow in the mids.   Decided to try the new AsatoBucker, but it just seems weak compared to the singles.   I just ordered the Suhr SSH+, which I hope will be the fix for this guitar… but IF it is not exactly what I want, I will be looking for a Bare Knuckle for this one.    The V60LP singles are staying, I like them, no complaints there.   So if the SSH+ doesn't work for me… What would you suggest as BK fans?   I'm not sure the VHII would work here, being an Ash body, maple neck strat… but then again, maybe it would.   Maybe something with more power and beef, like an Abraxas or even a Crawler?

Well, sorry for the book…. You are a trooper if you made it this far.   But if you are like me, hearing other guitarist opinions is great, and I enjoy browsing this board and hearing what you all have to say!

Thanks,

Corey

RobAbrams84

  • Flyweight
  • *
  • Posts: 67
  • BKPs:
Re: Part Review / Part Need Advise / Part Addiction
« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2021, 12:28:45 AM »
I'm a member here because I got into trying a bunch of Bare Knuckle pickups over the last year, but I have to say that I really love Suhr stuff as well!  I have a Suhr Modern HSH with the SSV neck, Mark Landau single coil, and SSH+ bridge.  The whole thing sounds fantastic top-to-bottom.  The Suhr SSV is probably my very favorite neck pickup, and while I don't exactly have a favorite bridge pickup, I have no complaints about the SSH+.  I think you'll like it in that guitar. 

Funnily enough I just ordered a regular SSH bridge pickup for another guitar, we'll see how that goes.  I'm not as much of a fan of Suhr's lower output humbuckers; despite Pete Thorn sounding great, I don't like the Thornbuckers.  The SSV+ is a great bridge pickup, though. 

In general I've found Bare Knuckle pickups to be more hi-fi with excellent clarity and a sort of "ring" or "chime" to them, though because of that they can sometimes sound a bit sterile or clinical.  This might be why they're often favored for higher gain.  On the other hand, Suhr pickups are much less hi-fi and have some soul or a "smear" to them that you can really hear on bends and double stops.  Conversely, they don't have the same level of clarity that Bare Knuckles do.  Of what I've tried, the two brands have very different characters, but they're hard to describe in words.

As far as Bare Knuckle alternatives to a Suhr SSH+, you're basically in Holydiver or Rebel Yell territory.  I've never owned the Rebel Yell, but the Holydiver has a somewhat similar feel.  The Holydiver seems beefier to me, the SSH+ perhaps slightly higher output with more of a slight nasal quality.  It's hard to explain, but maybe the Holydiver's mids are spread over a much wider frequency range, whereas the SSH+ has more focused mids?  I owned a Nailbomb for a while and didn't like it much, and don't think that it sounded much like a SSH+.

Out of curiosity, how would you say that the Black Dog and VHII bridge pickups compare in terms of output?  I ask because my VHII neck feels like the highest output neck pickup I've ever used, and that's compared to various Gibson pickups, the Suhr SSV, BKP True Grit, Emerald, Holydiver, Seymour Duncan Jazz and '59, etc.  I currently have a VHII neck and Holydiver bridge in one guitar, and the neck pickup overpowers the Holydiver, even with the VHII about as low as reasonably possible and the Holydiver set quite high.  I wonder how far off the VHII and Holydiver bridge outputs are.
« Last Edit: June 05, 2021, 01:41:17 AM by RobAbrams84 »

Dave Sloven

  • Welterweight
  • ****
  • Posts: 4259
    • Get our album here (alnico Black Hawks)
Re: Part Review / Part Need Advise / Part Addiction
« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2021, 01:47:40 PM »
If you didn't like the Rebel Yell in a particular guitar I doubt that you will like an Emerald in that guitar either.

I would try the Rebel Yell in your Les Paul.  Should sound great
BLACK HAWKS
IMPULSES
COBRA-T
WAR PIGS
STOCKHOLM
COLD SWEATS
MIRACLE MAN
TRUE GRIT

https://slovendoom.bandcamp.com/releases

CLund

  • Junior Flyweight
  • *
  • Posts: 23
Re: Part Review / Part Need Advise / Part Addiction
« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2021, 04:32:45 PM »

Funnily enough I just ordered a regular SSH bridge pickup for another guitar, we'll see how that goes.  I'm not as much of a fan of Suhr's lower output humbuckers; despite Pete Thorn sounding great, I don't like the Thornbuckers.  The SSV+ is a great bridge pickup, though. 

Out of curiosity, how would you say that the Black Dog and VHII bridge pickups compare in terms of output?  I ask because my VHII neck feels like the highest output neck pickup I've ever used, and that's compared to various Gibson pickups, the Suhr SSV, BKP True Grit, Emerald, Holydiver, Seymour Duncan Jazz and '59, etc.  I currently have a VHII neck and Holydiver bridge in one guitar, and the neck pickup overpowers the Holydiver, even with the VHII about as low as reasonably possible and the Holydiver set quite high.  I wonder how far off the VHII and Holydiver bridge outputs are.

Rob... Thanks for the feedback.   I got the SSH+ in the mail yesterday,  I'm going to install it today in my Suhr, and I will let you all know how it goes.   As for the SSH (Non-Plus) bridge... I had it in my Suhr for a little while, and as much as I liked the power it had, it didn't have the mid range grit that I liked.   Had one of my guitarist friends play it and he described exactly what I thought about the pickup (at least in that guitar) - it didn't have that growl or push that I wanted.  Maybe a little hallow or scooped might be the proper description.   It wasn't bad, it just didn't work in that guitar (SwampAsh/Maple top and Maple neck.)

On the Black Dog / VHII - I think output wise they are fairly equal, maybe the Black Dog might be perceived a little stronger simply because there is such a strong Mid Push in that pickup, and it works well in the PRS.   The VHII is so open and harmonically rich in the highs, it a little weaker in the low/mids compared to BD.    The Thornbucker+ pickup almost seams like they tried to make it a VHII and just fell short.   I have the same experience with the Thornbucker+, just didn't care for it at all.