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Author Topic: Holydiver Bridge Review  (Read 6667 times)

GuitarIv

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Holydiver Bridge Review
« on: August 02, 2013, 01:29:04 PM »
Cheers guys,

you might have guessed right, after doing a review for the Painkiller - Coldsweat and Miracle Man - Sinner combination it's time to give you a full report on the first BKP I got: the Holydiver Bridge.

Now be warned, I might be a bit biased due to the fact that this is THE pickup for me. Everything I found in it, especially after moving it into a Jackson DK2M, is perfect. The saturation, the sweetness, the tightness, the lead tone, the clarity and generally it's character. If you gave me the choice to use just one BKP from the whole range for the rest of my life, I'd choose the Holydiver. Just to give you an idea how much I love it. Explanations follow  :D

So where do I start? I think I'll describe the saturation first and what kind of distortion I generally like. We all know there are two types of common used magnets for metal pickups: Alnico 5 and Ceramic. I can now certainly describe myself as being the Alnico fan after trying out many pickups and combinations. It's not like I don't like ceramic pickups, it's just that they lack a bit of sweetness and richness compared to Alnico pickups, at least that's my impression. I love my Painkiller and my Miracle Man, but the Holydiver has something they don't have. I recently installed a Ceramic Warpig into a mates axe and having played the Alnico Version before I found it to sound inferior as well, at least for my tastes.

Now I played Seymour Duncans before I got hooked and started using BKPs, generally I loved the sound I got from the JB and the Invader, the later being muddy at times but still having a nice fat saturation and wall of sound I liked. I feel quite the same about the Alnico Warpig, being similar to the Invader but way clearer and generally better in sound. I even feel like the A-Pig has quite some things in common with the Holydiver, just being a bit more metal if that makes any sense.

Anyhow, back to the saturation: the pickup soaks up gain and has an almost spongy feel to it at times, although never loosing the tightness like the JB, especially Tubescreamer pedals used as boost work great with it. You certainly have that hot rodded 80's PAF feeling going on, but you can go modern as well, never loosing the warmth. The clarity is superb with every note ringing out and a quite middy balanced EQ without lacking lows or highs. Pinch harmonics are quite effortless and the lead tone is to die for. I never heard a bridge humbucker having such an amazing solo tone, although you won't feel it lacking in the rhythm department. If you need a proof (sorry for the sound quality), this is me sweeping on it, the sound in real life is even better:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DcT1TXG8rCM

Regarding versatility, this thing reacts great to changes in pick attack and volume and tone pots, roll back the volume and you have a nice blues sound, when you go full power again you can really make your solos stand out. Roll back the tone and play the intro to Sweet Child o' mine. It sounds like a goddamned neck pickup. Amazing.

Now I realize this is a quite biased review, still considering my tastes in metal, being rather the old school and 80's fan than the ultra modern metal guy, it is perfect in every sense for me. The only thing I'd like to get one day as well is the Alnico Warpig due to it's similarity in character to the HD.

I hope this review is somewhat helpful, if you have any questions, just fire away! ^^

Cheers

Slartibartfarst42

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Re: Holydiver Bridge Review
« Reply #1 on: August 02, 2013, 02:44:05 PM »
Another really good review. It's my favourite pickup too and the one I would also choose if I could only use one pickup for everything. I think we have very similar tastes. Really interested to hear your comment about it reminding you of an A-Pig as that's a pickup I've always fancied trying as (other than the mush problem) I've always quite liked the Invader. Can't think what I'd use it for so I'll probably never get one but it still appeals.

Awesome sweeping mate - well beyond what I can do. Wish I could play that fast but at my age I figure it would take me so long to master it that I'll be in my coffin first! These days I just do what I do and enjoy playing as much as I can and I don't worry about spending hours mastering new techniques.
BKP owned:

Bridge - Emerald; Cold Sweat; Crawler; A-Bomb; Holydiver; Miracle Man; Sinner; Trilogy Suite

Neck - Emerald; Cold Sweat; Crawler; Holydiver; Sinner; Trilogy Suite

GuitarIv

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Re: Holydiver Bridge Review
« Reply #2 on: August 03, 2013, 12:15:57 PM »
Slart, the A-Pig was one of those pickups that I instantly loved the second I started to play it. You can imagine it being amongst the bunch of the Holydiver, the Invader and the Duncan JB. Organic sound with lots of warmth and juicy tone. I'm sure you would love it as well, and yeah it seems our tastes are quite similar :)

As for the sweeping: it's a fancy thing to do but lots of people overuse it and having the ability to make a solo unforgettable with fewer notes rather than the how much stuff can I play in a second method is a much better approach to things imho ^^

Slartibartfarst42

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Re: Holydiver Bridge Review
« Reply #3 on: August 03, 2013, 01:03:30 PM »
Yeah, my son is constantly on at me to learn some sweep picking but it's always seemed to me to be a lot of time and effort for something that 90% of your audience will be bored with in less than 20 seconds. Unfortunately, at his age and level of musical experience, he just doesn't see that guitarists like Dave Gilmour and BB King can be just as good (better imo) as Synyster Gates.
BKP owned:

Bridge - Emerald; Cold Sweat; Crawler; A-Bomb; Holydiver; Miracle Man; Sinner; Trilogy Suite

Neck - Emerald; Cold Sweat; Crawler; Holydiver; Sinner; Trilogy Suite

GuitarIv

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Re: Holydiver Bridge Review
« Reply #4 on: August 03, 2013, 03:42:07 PM »
I know that problem too well. My father was always urging me (although he doesn't play an instrument he loves music) to learn stuff by BB, Clapton, Santana and Gary Moore and I got into it just recently about a year ago. I still love metal and play it most times but I appreciate a good blues, some rock and funk as well. Heck I started playing guitar because of the live at Donington AC/DC DVD when I saw Angus Young jumping around on stage and doing all that crazy stuff with his SG.

You just have to try to keep an open mind to other forms of music because you never know when and how it's gonna help you to improve the way you play and what you play. Lots of stuff you can incorporate into other genres and not sound like a clone.

It's the difference between blues and metal. Playing metal is loads of fun, technically challenging and gives you a great feeling once you mastered techniques that seemed too difficult in the start (just like sweeping as an example) and you always have a new challenge waiting for you. I as an example need to work on my alternate picking right now and that keeps me busy and entertained.

Then again there are days when I just "have the blues" or had too much beer and in those moments it's when I pick up my guitar, load up a blues backing track, close my eyes and just let go. That's not something one can achieve with metal. My point is: I do understand what you mean and I feel the same, but that's the beauty of music, it's like a language everyone understands yet there are a lot of different accents. :)

itamar101

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Re: Holydiver Bridge Review
« Reply #5 on: August 03, 2013, 11:55:06 PM »
Awesome sweeping there. May I suggest a noise gate, though? :lol:

As with the review, I mostly agree with you - awesome pickup. I can't get enough of mine.

Talking about the whole technical side of things - Slart, learning it can never hurt. As long as it is used well, technique can only be an advantage. Just look at Jazz or Fusion players like Tom Quayle, Guthrie Govan and co.
That said, if your son prefers Syn Gates over David Gilmour, he needs and intervention. Quick. :lol:

I've never actually like the sound of sweeping. I prefer tapping arpeggios or Hybrid Picking mixed with Legato (picked that up from Tom Quayle) - but I can always appreciate the skill involved.

GuitarIv

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Re: Holydiver Bridge Review
« Reply #6 on: August 04, 2013, 01:18:59 PM »
Thanks itamar :)
I have a noisegate for it, but not a traditional one, I connect a cable from the aux in of the Micro Terror to my laptops microphone input whilst having the pc connected to the charger and the hum goes away almost completely. The Micro Terror seems to have a grounding problem which comes from the interchangeable power adapter. Other than that, great little amp  8)

Sweeping sounds great when used in the right fashion and not as a technical ego w**kery. Give Sylosis a try, Josh Middleton is a god. Especially the Edge of the Earth Album is a masterpiece and btw, he used a set of Holydivers and a JCM 800 on the newest release, Monolith  :D

Kiichi

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Re: Holydiver Bridge Review
« Reply #7 on: August 04, 2013, 02:51:53 PM »
Man, I really want a Holydiver. Since I know I have a very similar taste to Slarti (also like GuitarIv but quite a bit less metal) this one sounds very interresting.

Since I have heard a while ago that it is nice for old school Petrucci tones too I am thinking about putting it in my Dean Vendetta 7 string, which currently houses a LiquiFire Crunchlab combo. I deffo wanne keep that Petrucci going and I donīt wanne have a big change on the neck in terms of tonal quality (smooth liquid warm) but the bridge needs to be more organic for me. That is why I am unsure about the usual recommendation the Cbomb. Maybe Abomb, maybe HD?
Anyone can say something on Petrucci and the HD?

Also sweep picking is often overused, but when done right it is so cool. Love it when Petrucci does it, expecially if he plays a part together with Rudess. That sweep picking + keyboard sound is bloody great I feel.

On the styles, I feel that jazz, classic and blues are some of the best influences a metal player can have. Really teaches you a lot about melody and utilising notes which is lost on some people.
I am currently starting to try another path to improve my soloing and my improvisation soloing. Sides the usual jamming solos out to backing tracks I now think of vocal melodies (like letīs say Yesterday by The Beatles) and play that on guitar. For one figuring out how to play it helps with the instinctivly finding the notes you hear in your head a lot, but most of all I am interrested in trying to figure out how to play it the way it is sung.
To aproach the guitar in a way of another instrument always gets you great dimensions (trying to play it like a banjo can be cool for example) and since I love singing solos I wanne try and copy that phrasing and use of vibrato and such.
BKPs in use: 10th set / RY set / Holy Diver b, Emerald n / Crawler bridge, Slowhand mid MQ neck/ Manhattan n
On the sidelines: Stockholm b / Suppermassive n, Mule n, AM set, IT mid

itamar101

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Re: Holydiver Bridge Review
« Reply #8 on: August 04, 2013, 05:35:28 PM »
I absolutely agree with you there, except for the fact that Metal Players with classical influences are usually even more annoying than the standard shredder-dude. I HATE neo-classical shredding... Coming from a guy who loves classical music.

I agree that sweeping can sound great when used well - like Petrucci does and Josh Middleton (I actually quite like Sylosis, GuitarIv) or when used to smoothly change keys or get from one note to another smoothly. To many players simply abuse it.

Kiichi

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Re: Holydiver Bridge Review
« Reply #9 on: August 04, 2013, 05:44:09 PM »
I absolutely agree with you there, except for the fact that Metal Players with classical influences are usually even more annoying than the standard shredder-dude. I HATE neo-classical shredding... Coming from a guy who loves classical music.
Yes I agree with you there, I must exept neo classical shredders from this personally.
What I meant was more guys like Randy Rhoads or what Machine Head did on the latest album after taking classical guitar lessons. When it influences song writing in the sense of use of modes, harmonies, structure (love big prog songs with overture and all) and such.

What neo classical shredders often do is take the modes and melodie ideas and apply them to shred, which does not work most of the time. Often the understanding of classical music or ability to write it is insufficient, so you just get a worse version of mindless shred. Oh and what shredders in general often lack is breathing room.
I notice this a lot with Malmsteen. Saw a video of him playing with an orchestra and there was so much stuff there which could sound great if he put room between it, but the way he plays it itīs always fast. No chance to take in the musical ideas, gets annoying and it does not seem as fast anymore.
Wanne sound fast? Playsomething slow before and after a fast few bars.

BKPs in use: 10th set / RY set / Holy Diver b, Emerald n / Crawler bridge, Slowhand mid MQ neck/ Manhattan n
On the sidelines: Stockholm b / Suppermassive n, Mule n, AM set, IT mid

itamar101

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Re: Holydiver Bridge Review
« Reply #10 on: August 04, 2013, 06:42:15 PM »
I totally agree. "Knowing your shit" so to speak is so important in so many ways. Anyone who believes that theory is unnecessary is quite simply lazy in my eyes and is a songwriter/player. Not a musician.

I recently went to a one week Jazz course at the Guildhall. It was amazing. It was Ģ400 but, in hindsight, I would have spent Ģ1000 on it. Not based on what I learned there and the experience (which was incredible anyway) but because of how it has motivated me to get better at guitar that anything ever has before and has given me new goals for the next year.
I was amazed at all the theory used in Jazz improv. How knowledgeable the teachers and students were. I do believe that as an overall player I was up there with the other guitarists, but I felt DUMB. I just wasn't theoritically as knowledgeable as them. And it was great.
I've always said that being humiliated is the best feeling you can get as a musician. And I was humiliated. The course showed me my weaknesses, showed me how to improve them and most of all: gave me the motivation.

As a metal guitarist, I am working very hard to get implement the incredible knowledge, phrasing and overall awesomeness of Jazz/Fusion musicians into my style of play.
The best thing you can have as a musician is a wide range of influences and knowledge of how to implement it.
Randy Rhoads was great at that.

Slartibartfarst42

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Re: Holydiver Bridge Review
« Reply #11 on: August 04, 2013, 08:29:15 PM »
What neo classical shredders often do is take the modes and melodie ideas and apply them to shred, which does not work most of the time. Often the understanding of classical music or ability to write it is insufficient, so you just get a worse version of mindless shred. Oh and what shredders in general often lack is breathing room.
I notice this a lot with Malmsteen. Saw a video of him playing with an orchestra and there was so much stuff there which could sound great if he put room between it, but the way he plays it itīs always fast. No chance to take in the musical ideas, gets annoying and it does not seem as fast anymore.
Wanne sound fast? Playsomething slow before and after a fast few bars.

I agree with you completely. Funnily enough, I also recently saw a video of Malmsteen playing with an orchestra and I found it to be embarrassingly bad. There just wasn't that much musicality to it. As for integrating some fast playing into slower passages either side of it to give it a sense of place and context; that is EXACTLY why I like Gary Moore so much. He could shred with the best of them but he used it in moderation and never lost sight of melody and musicality. More guitarists should remember this. Maybe I'm getting old but endless shred really bores me these days.
BKP owned:

Bridge - Emerald; Cold Sweat; Crawler; A-Bomb; Holydiver; Miracle Man; Sinner; Trilogy Suite

Neck - Emerald; Cold Sweat; Crawler; Holydiver; Sinner; Trilogy Suite

Kiichi

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Re: Holydiver Bridge Review
« Reply #12 on: August 04, 2013, 08:54:21 PM »
Maybe I'm getting old but endless shred really bores me these days.
Me too, I feel the same way. I am not even close to being old even any regular measure, hey maybe it is that I grew up on the good stuff and not on pop and other stuff like other people my age have. Rocking to Sabath before I could walk, celebrating Jethro Tull, Alice Cooper, Deep Purple and such in my early childhood years left a mark on my taste.

Speed (just like everything else) just looses it effectivness when there is no contrast. Simple analogy is when you are driving a car and you go from the highway (here Autobahn) to a city and into a street with a low speed limit. On the Autobahn you donīt even realise how freaking fast you are hurling over the asphalt in a metal machine exploding liquids to propell you forward, but once you go down  you are like man I am crawling...wonder if that granny walking there is gonna pass me by...


Btw Synister Gates I to me one of the cool new guys. Of course you canīt quite compare him to someone like Gilmour but that is mostly due to them being very different in style. Gates shreds like a monster, but he also has a great sense for riffing, harmonies and melodie I feel. The AX7 double guitar part are always very nice, with something like "The beast and the harlot" just being amazing. Also I really like the solo on the new track, Hail to the King (I think), where he channels classical ideas with a phrasing I enjoyed...and he does not shred there either.


So no one seems to have any thought on the HD bridge and Petrucci?
BKPs in use: 10th set / RY set / Holy Diver b, Emerald n / Crawler bridge, Slowhand mid MQ neck/ Manhattan n
On the sidelines: Stockholm b / Suppermassive n, Mule n, AM set, IT mid

Slartibartfarst42

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Re: Holydiver Bridge Review
« Reply #13 on: August 04, 2013, 09:38:21 PM »
In fairness, I like Synyster too, despite my age. City of Evil remains one of my favourite albums and I'm right with you on bands like Purple, Sabbath and Tull etc. A better example might have been Herman Li who really does bore me to death with his playing.
BKP owned:

Bridge - Emerald; Cold Sweat; Crawler; A-Bomb; Holydiver; Miracle Man; Sinner; Trilogy Suite

Neck - Emerald; Cold Sweat; Crawler; Holydiver; Sinner; Trilogy Suite

GuitarIv

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Re: Holydiver Bridge Review
« Reply #14 on: August 10, 2013, 12:11:38 PM »
I quite liked the early A7X stuff, including City of Evil which was my favourite album. At some point I stopped to care for them though and didn't follow the newer releases. Good band still :)