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Author Topic: How versatile is the HD/Emerald combo + HD bridge question.  (Read 6499 times)

Lucas

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How versatile is the HD/Emerald combo + HD bridge question.
« on: December 10, 2013, 12:58:46 AM »
Hi,
as we can notice across the whole forum how much 'magical' combo Holydiver bridge/Emerald neck is praised and glorified, I would like to ask how versatile it is.
Especially in PRS SE custom type of guitars (mahogany body, maple neck, rosewood fingerboard), Slarti? :D Are you there? :D

That combo certainly can cover 80`s rock/metal sound and slightly further territories as we all know, but how does that combo perform with blues and kind of Gary Moore creamy solos as well as clean tones (HD bridge in particular)?


And another question is:
How does HD bridge compare to Crawler bridge (apart from HD being not as dark and smooth)? Do they share any characteristics tone-wise?
Can you play those creamy smooth fluid solos on HD bridge as much as on Crawler (b)?

I`m also looking to compare some aspects of both bridge pickups like clean tones and lead parts in general.

Many thanks for info!

« Last Edit: December 10, 2013, 01:01:07 AM by Lucas »
Dean Cadillac - Emerald (b), Cold Sweat (n),
Mayones Flame CS2000 - Miracle Man (b), Sinner (m), Aftermath (n)
Warmoth Custom Telecaster - Cold Sweat (b) VHII (n)
Warmoth Custom Tele - Miracle Man set

darkbluemurder

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Re: How versatile is the HD/Emerald combo + HD bridge question.
« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2013, 09:10:27 AM »
A bridge humbucker is probably the last thing I would use for a clean tone so I have to stay silent on this. But the HD bridge will work well for fluid lead playing. It will also work for blues but the Crawler may do this a bit better.

I had them both in my PRS Custom. For what I wanted out of this guitar I preferred the Crawler for its increased vintage flavor and slightly less honky sound. It made the PRS sound much more Les Paul like. On the other hand, it is not as tight as the HD, and the HD is not even the tightest in the BKP contemporary range.

Cheers Stephan

Slartibartfarst42

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Re: How versatile is the HD/Emerald combo + HD bridge question.
« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2013, 09:49:33 AM »
Well, as I have that exact combination in a PRS SE Custom 24 and I have been singing its praises for quite some time, I really should step up to the plate on this one.

Versatility

I think this is a relative question to be honest because the obvious qualification is 'Compared to what?'. As contemporary pickups go it is certainly a versatile option and I think that's because it's not massively extreme in any particular direction. It has aggression in it but that is tempered by the inherent smoothness of the pickup. It has lots of mids but they're pretty evenly spread so you cut through the mix without sounding hairy or angry. Notes are thick but they're not really fat and while it has a bottom end, you'd never call it a 'bassy' pickup. It's also tight and articulate but it's a hell of a long way from being tight in the 'djent' sense. The tonal characteristics of the pickup do place it firmly in the 80s Metal category and that is where it is most comfortable without a shadow of a doubt but as long as you accept it will always retain these core characteristics, you can take it in other directions. Add an overdrive and compressor as I often do and it thickens up further and can be used for things like Metallica and Children of Bodom but wind down the gain and compression and it will do a very credible Classic Rock sound, albeit with that 80s twist. It wouldn't be my first choice for Blues. Having said all of that, although it's versatile within the confines of most contemporary pickups, there are ultimately more versatile options out there, though I can't think of too many.

In many respects the same can be said of the Emerald. Even though it's in the 'Vintage Hot' section, it is a modern pickup. The alnico IV magnet gives it its sweetness and an incredibly harmonically rich tone but the modern wire gives it all the cut of a modern pickup like the Cold Sweat. I think that's why I like it so much because I feel like I'm getting the best of both worlds and it really is unique. With most pickups in the range, especially neck pickups, there is always an alternative that is similar but the Emerald neck stands completely alone. There is simply nothing else like it in the range. This does make it quite versatile as the modern cut it has means it's great for shreddy styles but the expressiveness you get with the AIV magnet means it's a pickup with a lot of soul. It will do all the styles of the Holydiver with ease but also take you closer to Blues styles. It's a lovely pickup for more modern Blues Rock.

Gary Moore

This is a REALLY tricky one. Gary Moore is my favourite guitarist without a doubt but in his lifetime he covered an awfully wide range of styles. The Holydiver will certainly do some of his material but I'd say it would be most at home around the time of his 'Corridors of Power' album. The Emerald has a bigger operating window for Gary Moore as it will cover that era too but also do a number of his Blues Rock numbers. I can only speak for myself but I'd use the Holydiver/Emerald combo for some Gary Moore songs while for others I'd rather use the Crawler/Holydiver combo I have in my other PRS. For others who want a more authentically Blues tone, the Abraxas or Mule neck would be a better option but I just find the more vintage pickups to be too rounded in the bass for my tastes.

Cleans

Are there bridge pickups with better cleans than the Holydiver? Yes, absolutely, but I don't think you'll find many of them in the contemporary section. The Crawler is the only one that leaps to mind. Move out of the contemporary section and you may find better cleans but then you're starting to compare apples and pears. The main role of a Holydiver bridge is never going to be cleans but with that minor caveat I'd say the cleans are good. The cleans on the Emerald are very good. It's thick and very harmonically rich. I find the Emerald very satisfying to play clean. In some respects my Holydiver neck has better cleans but they're nothing like as complex as those on the Emerald. It's just a REALLY good pickup.

Holydiver compared to the Crawler

There is certainly some common ground here and I guess that's why I like them both.  Both pickups are smooth, both have plenty mids, both are warm and organic and both are thick sounding. In some respects they are certainly related, it's just that the Holydiver is the younger and more raunchy brother. It's also important to point out where they differ because they certainly do. Where the Holydiver can be described as 'thick', the Crawler is 'fat' and on top of the warm, organic nature that is common to both, the Crawler is very rich and sweet in its tone. The Holydiver has mids pretty much across the board while the Crawler is more focused on the low mids, which gives it the darker and fatter nature that seems to be one of its defining features. While I could describe the Holydiver as 'tight', it's not a word I would use to describe the Crawler but that's not to say it tends to be mushy because it certainly doesn't, it's just that the word 'articulate' seems more appropriate. The Crawler also isn't an obviously 'aggressive' pickup but it does have a very distinctive 'growl' to it that can be really satisfying. When I bought the Crawler I was wanting to make my PRS move distinctly towards the tonal characteristics of a Les Paul and generally speaking I'd say it does just that. Cleans are certainly better on the Crawler and the Crawler also has another distinct characteristic that, for me at least, is very unusual. I'm not a great fan of single coils and I'm even less of a fan of humbuckers employing split coils but I really like the splits on the Crawler. There's some very useable single coil tones in there that I don't generally find on split humbuckers. I like the split tones on the Crawler better than most single coils I've tried.

Summary

What would work best for you really depends on what you're after. If your focus is raunchier Classic Rock, 80s Metal and more modern Rock/Metal styles, the Holydiver does very well indeed. If you need more versatility in your PRS I'd be tempted more with the Crawler simply because it has a much bigger operating window as it will cover everything from Blues to early 80s Metal and give you both humbucker and single coil tones in the process. I think it may struggle to go much beyond 80s Metal because it will start to get a little soft in the bass but there's a limit to what any single pickup will do. I use the Crawler mostly for our first set while in the second set it's far more Rock/Metal so I use the Holydiver almost exclusively but if I had to choose just one guitar to cover our entire set, I'd choose the Crawler. As for the neck pickups, the Emerald is my favourite so far because it offers so much but I would repeat that I don't really do tones that are particularly vintage. I like the sound of vintage but I miss the cut of more modern pickups. So far the Holydiver neck is as vintage as I've been happy with.

I hope this covers everything but if there's anything else you want clarifying, please just ask.
« Last Edit: December 10, 2013, 04:37:52 PM by Slartibartfarst42 »
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: How versatile is the HD/Emerald combo + HD bridge question.
« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2013, 06:33:33 PM »
Wow. That was informative. Thank you very, very much for that. Oh and screw you for further fueling my gas for a HD EM combo. ;)
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: How versatile is the HD/Emerald combo + HD bridge question.
« Reply #4 on: December 10, 2013, 08:04:50 PM »
One aims to please  :D

Anyway, our tastes are so similar it's about time you had a Holydiver/Emerald combo. You know you want to and should do  :twisted:
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: How versatile is the HD/Emerald combo + HD bridge question.
« Reply #5 on: December 10, 2013, 08:32:25 PM »
One aims to please  :D

Anyway, our tastes are so similar it's about time you had a Holydiver/Emerald combo. You know you want to and should do  :twisted:
It only is a questions of when I have the money, trust me. Since your first review of them they have been extremly high up on my list. Right now I am looking to sell one of my axes that I am not connecting with anymore sometime in the future (the one that has Crawlers and a Slowhand middle, sounds fantastic but does not play right to me) and depending on how much I can get for it I will get HD EM combo and if I am lucky perhaps also a PRS Korina Singlecut which will then either temporarily give home to my AMs or go straight to Bluenotes (depending on how much I can get), which are also extremly high on my list.

Btw, I also added your little excurse here to the review thread, felt like it gives enough interresting insight and it would just be a shame to let such nice writing disappear in the depths of the forum.
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: How versatile is the HD/Emerald combo + HD bridge question.
« Reply #6 on: December 10, 2013, 08:40:00 PM »
 :D That's very kind of you, thank you. I hope you're not getting rid of the Crawler as that would be a terrible sin.
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: How versatile is the HD/Emerald combo + HD bridge question.
« Reply #7 on: December 10, 2013, 09:47:50 PM »
:D That's very kind of you, thank you. I hope you're not getting rid of the Crawler as that would be a terrible sin.
Dunno if I will sell the guitar with them, can not count it out though. Should the buyer want it with them I would let them go for now. Thing is if I were to not sell them they would just sit around until I get a strat for them. So I am not totally opposed to the idea, cause I know that I will get them again when I find a nice HH strat, so they would only be temporarily gone. Bigger on my agenda however are a mellow bluesy rock LP type (the PRS Korina with the Bluenotes is what I have in mind), a SSS strat (Sultans or Apache), a Tele (Boss), a Baritone for my AMs and a custom LP for my 10th anniversary PUs.
Then I would go back to the Crawler and get a LP for the MQ and pair it with either a MQ or WP bridge...maybe even Pig90.

Just pains me to have unused BKPs lying around...already have a currently homeless MQ neck and AM set and right now I would rather expand my range of tones as that reflects what I play. The Crawler is great, but not the highest on my need list, right now I could do without it (and I am cause I really donīt like playing that guitar anymore, just hear it). If I do not happen to stumble across a great HH strat however I would love to keep it.
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

Lucas

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Re: How versatile is the HD/Emerald combo + HD bridge question.
« Reply #8 on: December 10, 2013, 10:07:29 PM »
Wow, Slarti, that was absolutly immense work and great informative and superb review. Thanks a million! Now I should have to send you some check with few digits at least for that  :D

Basically Emerald neck is total must-have, just being torn between HD bridge and Crawler bridge.
What Im looking for from bridge pickup in that particular situation is:

-good full bodied and defined cleans (not thin and lifeless like on many bridge pickups)
-not too aggressive
-creamy buttery tone with a little bit of twist and a little bit of bite but NOT too mellow and NOT too polite as well (something in between?)
-huge creamy lead sound but again NOT extremely polite and mellow and NOT aggressive either
-when it comes to blues it didn`t mean soft, mellow sleepy blues from Mississippi delta from 60`s 8)
it has to be smooth, creamy, fat but with a little bit of bite and twist as well
-and I`m not looking that pickup to cover modern metal sound at all. It will have to shine going from blues with something extra added to it, between classic rock, rock in general to 80`s metal AT THE VERY MOST.

So I think I have answered my question already... Holydiver? Yes?

To be honest, what grabs my attention so much when it comes to Crawler bridge is that 'growl' which was mentioned here on this forum few times while reviewing that pickups. That`s why I little bit torn between them two.

Many many thanks Slarti for great help! You rock!  :D
Dean Cadillac - Emerald (b), Cold Sweat (n),
Mayones Flame CS2000 - Miracle Man (b), Sinner (m), Aftermath (n)
Warmoth Custom Telecaster - Cold Sweat (b) VHII (n)
Warmoth Custom Tele - Miracle Man set

Kiichi

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Re: How versatile is the HD/Emerald combo + HD bridge question.
« Reply #9 on: December 10, 2013, 10:33:49 PM »
Ok, I do not know the HD yet, but to me that sounds like the Crawler would be better. Not that the HD canīt do that, but you really seem to have it for the blues and rock area, where the Crawler is strongest. It can also go up to 80s metal, but the HD is more the other way around, mostly 80s metal but can go down nicely. I think you would really enjoy that roary agression the Crawler has, as it is not exactly agressive in the sense it is most used here, but certainly not too polite. Creamy and fat it does, but it has enough in the high end to not be dull. Cleans also should be better, especially when you split, there the Crawler is the single best PU I have ever heard.

Between normal operation and split the Crawler should give you just what you want. Warm, organic, full, creamy but with that unique roar giving it character and attitude without being agressive or harsh in the usual ways.
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

Lucas

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Re: How versatile is the HD/Emerald combo + HD bridge question.
« Reply #10 on: December 10, 2013, 10:54:01 PM »
Now Im lost :lol:

Wouldn`t the Crawler bridge be too smooth and 'polite' for some ballsy rock/80`s metal riffing? I guess at that point HD wins.

cheers.
Dean Cadillac - Emerald (b), Cold Sweat (n),
Mayones Flame CS2000 - Miracle Man (b), Sinner (m), Aftermath (n)
Warmoth Custom Telecaster - Cold Sweat (b) VHII (n)
Warmoth Custom Tele - Miracle Man set

Slartibartfarst42

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Re: How versatile is the HD/Emerald combo + HD bridge question.
« Reply #11 on: December 10, 2013, 11:07:24 PM »
Wow, Slarti, that was absolutly immense work and great informative and superb review. Thanks a million! Now I should have to send you some check with few digits at least for that  :D

I'm happy to help and it really is a labour of love for me.

Basically Emerald neck is total must-have, just being torn between HD bridge and Crawler bridge.
What Im looking for from bridge pickup in that particular situation is:

-good full bodied and defined cleans (not thin and lifeless like on many bridge pickups)
 True of both pickups but probably more so with the Crawler.

-not too aggressive
 Again, true of both of them

-creamy buttery tone with a little bit of twist and a little bit of bite but NOT too mellow and NOT too polite as well (something in between?)
 Again, probably true of both but it sounds a bit more like the Crawler

-huge creamy lead sound but again NOT extremely polite and mellow and NOT aggressive either
 Probably a bit more like the Crawler, though it's true of them both.

-when it comes to blues it didn`t mean soft, mellow sleepy blues from Mississippi delta from 60`s 8)
it has to be smooth, creamy, fat but with a little bit of bite and twist as well
 That's definitely the Crawler!

-and I`m not looking that pickup to cover modern metal sound at all. It will have to shine going from blues with something extra added to it, between classic rock, rock in general to 80`s metal AT THE VERY MOST.
 Again, that's the Crawler more than the Holydiver

So I think I have answered my question already... Holydiver? Yes?
 Based on what I've just written above I'd say that it will do what you want, yes, but the Crawler may well do it better

To be honest, what grabs my attention so much when it comes to Crawler bridge is that 'growl' which was mentioned here on this forum few times while reviewing that pickups. That`s why I little bit torn between them two.
 I appreciate the problem as they're both very good indeed. I think that's what's made buying my next set so problematic because I can't quite imagine anything as good as the two sets I have. I always used to be put off the Crawler because the Procol Harum connection made me think it would be a bit too tame for me but I was dead wrong.

Many many thanks Slarti for great help! You rock!  :D
 Always a pleasure

I appreciate your concern about the Crawler being too smooth and polite but honestly, it's nothing like as tame as the Procol Harum connection suggests. I use mine with the amp's gain set to just under half way and an overdrive with the gain set to about 3/4 AND a compressor set to about half way. There's plenty balls there. When you get to 80s Metal you're right, the Holydiver wins but in Blues, Blues Rock and Classic Rock, the Crawler is better. I'd have opted for the Crawler because earlier you said that it would only go as far as 80s Metal at most, suggesting that most of the time will be spent below that.
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: How versatile is the HD/Emerald combo + HD bridge question.
« Reply #12 on: December 10, 2013, 11:21:14 PM »
Well to me it is not too polite, that roar really brings it out. It is this viking barbarian shout. Quite a thing in its own right. Just that most times people talk about agression they are talking about that upper mid thing. This thing has balls and character enough, my thought even would be that the HD might be more polite in a way, but Iīll have to have Slarti chime on that. I just think that the Crawler is not exactly polite. Dark, warm and orcanic does not mean polite.^^

What a relief that Slarti agrees with my assumption as the one who actually can compare the two.

Meanwhile a quick look around got these:

http://youtu.be/WZtPULUgWso
Lotta talk, only camera mic, but gives a basic idea.

http://youtu.be/iKUkBqHIB4I
Another tone, more that 80s rock thingy.

http://youtu.be/nN84qcU1DHM
Lotta lead play on the bridge here.

https://bareknucklepickups.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=30260.msg390537#msg390537
Look through the drive clip.

https://bareknucklepickups.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=30026.msg388010#msg388010
Finally also here somethings.
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

Kiichi

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Re: How versatile is the HD/Emerald combo + HD bridge question.
« Reply #13 on: December 10, 2013, 11:32:20 PM »
Oh and Slarti, I still think it would probably be worth it for you to take a quick stroll down P90 alley, specifically MQ or a little less the Blue note. Same idea, a warm organic roar, similar applications in terms of style, bit more open and a very discinct flavour and definition. Lovely attack, full frequency response, etc. To me that is your best shot of continuing down the same path and still seeing new things and expanding your tonal range.
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: How versatile is the HD/Emerald combo + HD bridge question.
« Reply #14 on: December 10, 2013, 11:43:45 PM »
I am sorely tempted by P90 pups for sure. The other guitarist in my band has a couple of P90 loaded guitars and I love them. He even has a MQ neck but I'm not sure I want to do that with the Vintage. At the moment it looks more likely I'll get a custom pickup made that is my take on a Super Distortion so a P90 guitar may have to wait a while unfortunately  :(
BKP owned:

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

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