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Author Topic: Pickup reviews (Black Dog bridge, Riff Raff bridge, Mule neck)  (Read 11854 times)

Zaned

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Pickup reviews (Black Dog bridge, Riff Raff bridge, Mule neck)
« on: January 18, 2013, 09:01:56 AM »
Three pickups, two guitars. About the setup: I have all of the pickups set to 2mm distance from polepiece to string, when string is pressed from the last fret.

2002 PRS McCarty: Riff Raff bridge, Mule neck.

This guitar previously had the Cold Sweat set. The reason for the change that Iíve fallen more and more in love with lower output pickups and the more dynamic, woody tone they provide. BUT, I didnít want to sacrifice the bite I want for rock. The CS set was and is awesome for hard rock (think Sykes), but for my current tastes, this is more versatile. I also bought the Jensen cap and a 550k pot for this guitar from BKP.

Riff Raff: surprising amount of volume! The guitar itself sounds big, it has always had this certain thump in the low mids and makes itself heard. A dynamic pickup, awesome clarity (canít state that enough) and bite. Great cleans too. There is a certain percussiveness to the tone which I love. The low end stays tight, chords are clear as day even under distortion, itís touch sensitive and responds very well to the volume knob. More on that later..

Mule: warm, but not in the least muddy. Cleans are warm but clear. Even under distortion, the pickup (at least in this guitar) doesnít turn to mush, itís awesome how it holds together. It always has this warm but clear and woody tone, but is also aggressive when you want it to. It sings, but is not compressed.

All in all, itís a great combination. Like I said, I also upgraded the electronics. I already had a treble bleed installed in this guitar and didnít remove it. I donít know if it is needed, but the guitars electronics work so well now that I see no need to touch it. You can roll the volume back, it cleans up great and maintains a very clear tone. Awesome. If you split the pickups (mccarty has that on the tone pot), roll back the volume and switch to middle position, you get and awesome, warm, clear tone. Woody, but the highs still ring very clearly, and changes in volume knob/attack translate great. Expressive is the word here.

1991 Tokai Les Paul: Black Dog bridge with a Seymour Duncan Pearly gates neck.

I bought this guitar pretty recently from the husband of our bands keyboard player. A rare Les Paul, it doesnít have the muddy, nasal hump that LPs often have. One of the brightest and clearest LPs Iíve ever held in my hands! It has the usual LP wood combination of mahogany, rosewood and maple.

Black Dog: this pickup replaced a -78 Dimarzio super distortion that the guitar had. It didnít sound bad at all, but it drove the clean tone to distortion and I feel it had a pretty strong personality on the tone, meaning that it masked the guitars own tone quite much. Now, to the BD. A much woodier tone, big but not nasal midrange (the guitar doesnít have nasality either). Sounds brighter than I initially expected, but the guitar is also bright. Not harsh by any means though! Touch sensitive, dynamic, woody and big. This guitar doesnít have a same amount thump in the low mids than the McCarty, but the I feel the Black dogs low end extends further than the Riff Raff. That is probably also the guitar, as the low mid bump is not there masking the lowest lows from the tone. The end result is big but tight low end, big but not nasal midrange and very clear highs. Really growls when you lean into it. Lovely 8)

The SD Pearly sounded fine in the neck, so I didnít replace it least now. It balances fine with the BD. It sounds brighter than the Mule (thatís probably the guitar too to some extent), but I feel it misses some of the clarity the Mule has. But it sounds fine and work for now.

Two great guitars, that sound different; the pickups in both guitars let through the personality of the guitar they are in. But I donít need to change amp settings between them, so I have a win win situation :)

-Zaned
« Last Edit: January 18, 2013, 10:42:19 AM by Zaned »
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darkbluemurder

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Re: Pickup reviews (Black Dog bridge, Riff Raff bridge, Mule neck)
« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2013, 12:36:52 PM »
Great review on all 3 pickups, thanks!

Never had a Pearly neck pickup but I feel the Black Dog neck is the natural and perfect match to the Black Dog bridge. Great pickups, individually and as a set.

Cheers Stephan

Philly Q

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Re: Pickup reviews (Black Dog bridge, Riff Raff bridge, Mule neck)
« Reply #2 on: January 18, 2013, 02:04:19 PM »
Thanks for the reviews!  :D

The Riff Raff bridge/Mule neck combo has always been on my "wishlist" (I think the Riff Raff neck would be too bright for me) but I hadn't considered them for a McCarty; a set will probably end up in my Tokai SG at some point.

At some other point (before the end of 2013, perhaps....) I'm going to find a home for my long-neglected Emerald set, maybe in my own McCarty.
BKPs I've Got:  RR, BKP-91, ITs, VHII, CS set, Emeralds
BKPs I Had:  RY+Abraxas, Crawlers, BD+SM

TheyCallMeVolume

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Re: Pickup reviews (Black Dog bridge, Riff Raff bridge, Mule neck)
« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2013, 02:13:56 PM »
Great reviews!

ericsabbath

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Re: Pickup reviews (Black Dog bridge, Riff Raff bridge, Mule neck)
« Reply #4 on: January 18, 2013, 03:56:58 PM »
these were my impressions exactly with all these models, specially the riff raff in a mccarty (mine was a '96, though)
I thought the loud and thumpy feel was coming also from the thicker magnet of my custom riff raff, but seems like it's not entirely its fault
with the riff raff, that was the best sounding guitar I ever played
I miss it  :(

the woody and clear thing of the neck mule is also pretty evident in two of my les pauls
best neck pickup ever, unless you really need lots of push and don't want a pedal

I had the black dog in a '73 lp custom and it a little dark in that guitar, but that wasn't the pickups fault at all
my les paul custom is bassy, and although it's plenty of aggressive spanky top (maybe because of the really thin neck), it doesn't deliver much upper mids
the dog sounded quite woody in this one, but darkish compared to the other bkps I had in it (but no darker than the nailbomb, despite of the bomb having more treble)
but it sounds extremely well balanced and full in my '78 greco lp standard, just like you described
it really matches the greco's maple neck snappy upper midrange
« Last Edit: January 19, 2013, 06:22:45 AM by Eric Hellstyle »
Riff Raff, Mules, Black Dog, VHII's, Cold Sweat

Telerocker

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Re: Pickup reviews (Black Dog bridge, Riff Raff bridge, Mule neck)
« Reply #5 on: January 18, 2013, 11:15:22 PM »
Very nice review, thx! The neck-Mule is great indeed. Cleans are amazing, from smokey jazz to singing blues. With a crankend amp it sings in the most pleasant way. I like the balance of AIV-magnets.
Mules, VHII, Crawler, MM's, IT's, BG50's.

Zaned

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Re: Pickup reviews (Black Dog bridge, Riff Raff bridge, Mule neck)
« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2013, 06:18:46 PM »
At some other point (before the end of 2013, perhaps....) I'm going to find a home for my long-neglected Emerald set, maybe in my own McCarty.

Definitely try them in your McCarty! When discussing the pickup alternatives with Ben from BKP, his first suggestion were the Emeralds. That was before I stated that I would actually like to go to low output pickups :)

-Zaned
Paths are for followers.

Philly Q

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Re: Pickup reviews (Black Dog bridge, Riff Raff bridge, Mule neck)
« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2013, 06:32:39 PM »
The only reason I haven't, apart from my usual procrastination, is that (.... Warning:  weird OCD stuff coming up....) my Emeralds have gold polepieces, and the McCarty has all nickel hardware....

Were it not for the excessive cost of PRS parts, I'd probably have changed everything over to gold just to match the pickups.  :roll:
BKPs I've Got:  RR, BKP-91, ITs, VHII, CS set, Emeralds
BKPs I Had:  RY+Abraxas, Crawlers, BD+SM

ericsabbath

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Re: Pickup reviews (Black Dog bridge, Riff Raff bridge, Mule neck)
« Reply #8 on: January 20, 2013, 08:00:28 PM »
The only reason I haven't, apart from my usual procrastination, is that (.... Warning:  weird OCD stuff coming up....) my Emeralds have gold polepieces, and the McCarty has all nickel hardware....

Were it not for the excessive cost of PRS parts, I'd probably have changed everything over to gold just to match the pickups.  :roll:

you can swap the polepieces in 5 minutes
did that with my riff raff and black dog
Riff Raff, Mules, Black Dog, VHII's, Cold Sweat

Philly Q

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Re: Pickup reviews (Black Dog bridge, Riff Raff bridge, Mule neck)
« Reply #9 on: January 20, 2013, 09:18:34 PM »
The only reason I haven't, apart from my usual procrastination, is that (.... Warning:  weird OCD stuff coming up....) my Emeralds have gold polepieces, and the McCarty has all nickel hardware....

Were it not for the excessive cost of PRS parts, I'd probably have changed everything over to gold just to match the pickups.  :roll:

you can swap the polepieces in 5 minutes
did that with my riff raff and black dog

The slugs are gold as well as the screws - I'd be a little uncomfortable doing that swap, although maybe it's easier than I think?
BKPs I've Got:  RR, BKP-91, ITs, VHII, CS set, Emeralds
BKPs I Had:  RY+Abraxas, Crawlers, BD+SM

darkbluemurder

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Re: Pickup reviews (Black Dog bridge, Riff Raff bridge, Mule neck)
« Reply #10 on: January 21, 2013, 10:38:51 AM »
The slugs are gold as well as the screws - I'd be a little uncomfortable doing that swap, although maybe it's easier than I think?

Seems they really went all the way.

How about changing the screws and putting on a cover of your choice?

Cheers Stephan

Philly Q

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Re: Pickup reviews (Black Dog bridge, Riff Raff bridge, Mule neck)
« Reply #11 on: January 21, 2013, 02:19:36 PM »
All sensible suggestions, guys.... if only I were so sensible myself!  I'm obsessed with finding a gold hardware guitar which suits these pickups (incidentally gold would actually look good on my McCarty, I think - it's a very dark green colour)

Of course, what I should do is just try the buggers and see if I actually like them, then worry about changing hardware, or polepieces, or whatever.  :roll:
BKPs I've Got:  RR, BKP-91, ITs, VHII, CS set, Emeralds
BKPs I Had:  RY+Abraxas, Crawlers, BD+SM

darkbluemurder

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Re: Pickup reviews (Black Dog bridge, Riff Raff bridge, Mule neck)
« Reply #12 on: January 21, 2013, 04:32:51 PM »
Of course, what I should do is just try the buggers and see if I actually like them, then worry about changing hardware, or polepieces, or whatever.  :roll:

+1.

Cheers Stephan

kahawe

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Re: Pickup reviews (Black Dog bridge, Riff Raff bridge, Mule neck)
« Reply #13 on: January 29, 2013, 02:16:57 PM »
Just stumbled across this! Riff Raff bridge and Mule neck is EXACTLY what I had in mind for an SG or Mira but I am wondering if that would be too bright, especially if both are unpotted.

Philly Q

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Re: Pickup reviews (Black Dog bridge, Riff Raff bridge, Mule neck)
« Reply #14 on: January 29, 2013, 02:27:54 PM »
Just stumbled across this! Riff Raff bridge and Mule neck is EXACTLY what I had in mind for an SG or Mira but I am wondering if that would be too bright, especially if both are unpotted.

I don't think they'd be too bright.  I believe the Riff Raff neck is quite bright, which is why I'd personally choose the Mule neck over the RR neck in that situation.

If you wanted to go hotter, the Cold Sweat set is great in an SG or Mira.  And there's a big difference in tone between the neck and bridge models, which is cool in a guitar where the pickups are quite close together.
BKPs I've Got:  RR, BKP-91, ITs, VHII, CS set, Emeralds
BKPs I Had:  RY+Abraxas, Crawlers, BD+SM