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Author Topic: C-Bomb and Trilogy Suite neck review  (Read 1786 times)

vintageviolence

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C-Bomb and Trilogy Suite neck review
« on: January 26, 2016, 05:41:28 PM »
First off, I want to clarify that I'm a long-time forum lurker, having used the site to research my options before emailing Tim and purchasing the Ceramic Nailbomb and Trilogy Suite neck pickup I'll be reviewing below. Considering I've spent hours reading the forums for research, I thought my first post here ought to be a review; another user-based first-hand observation and description of the pickups. I guess this isn't as much of a "review" as a reflection of my experience with these two pickups in a Fender Pawn Shop '51 (alder body, maple/maple neck, string-through fixed bridge, 3-way toggle and 500k volume w/coil split). I run the guitar through a Lovedpal OD11, JHS modded EHX Double Muff, TC Elecronic Flashback X4, and EHX 2880 looper into Bill M modded Blues Jr. III with an Eminence Cannabis Rex. I usually play this guitar in C standard, have used various string gauges (but mostly 11-52).

I've been using these pickups in this guitar for about three years and they exceeded my original expectations. I primarily play (post)metal, (post)hardcore, and experimental/genre-blended musical styles (as well as whatever I feel like playing on any given day). In the past I have used Seymour Duncan, Lace, Dimarzio, Gibson, TV Jones, etc., but I've only started using higher output pickups in the past five years or so (been playing for about 14). More than any other pickups I've used, the C-Bomb and the Trilogy Suite help me achieve the sounds I want to hear. They are both very dynamic pickups that respond well to both physical (pickup/screw height) and audio adjustment (amp and pedal settings, volume roll-off, etc.)

Ceramic Nailbomb (bridge)
The first thing I noticed about this pickup was its sensitivity; from shouts to murmurs to punches and screams and back down again. I'm glad I decided to wire it with a coil split too, because it only adds to the range of sounds you can get from this pickup, as it thins things out a bit. Split mode is actually great for hot, biting country lead sounds (a style I used to play a ton) and general 'indie' sounds from sound to fairly raucous to mellow/chill. I'd say that the coil split focuses the sound a bit more when you're pushing your amp, though–so be prepared for a lot of punch and/or bite. When you're playing clean things can jangle quite a bit, although judicious control of picking/strumming can change the sound a lot. The coil split even retains a lot of the bass presence (not necessarily its aggression) found in the full humbucker, as well as its ability to handle loads of gain without losing clarity. I find the coil split very versatile, even though I definitely don't love it for every pickup.

Ran as a full humbucker, things are much thicker and much hotter but equally tight. I can see why things sound so biting with the coils split, because the highs on this pickup really cut through the mix. I should clarify that while the C-Bomb's highs are very present, they aren't piercing or shrill. (Some of this warmth admittedly comes from my amp/speaker, but through other rigs I find it responds equally well when EQ'd correctly). This works great for me because I can get truly nasty on the higher frets (gross or complex chords, soloing over other instruments or my own loops, mixing leads with rhythm playing) without killing everyone's hearing. It's also great for when you're tearing up a low riff and want to throw in higher strings for a percussive effect. Higher sounds jump out clearly over the other notes without muddying things up or drowning them out.

The C-Bomb's slightly depressed middle frequency presence allows for greater control over the sound of the pickup as well. I can get scooped thrash tones or ballsy hardcore just by adjusting my rig. The bass, however, is a bit harder to control: it's very aggressive and quite tight. This is definitely not a
problem for me, though–I'm generally an aggressive player when I'm not playing atmospheric stuff (and I have another pickup in the guitar). If you're a '90s rock/metal fan, I'm guessing you'll appreciate it. I definitely vibe off of it when composing on this pickup and it encourages me to express my anger and energy when it's called for in the song, but still allows me to back off do other things very well too (especially with the volume rolled off).

One limitation I've found (at least for my playing, in this guitar, through this rig) is that the C-Bomb does have a particular resonant peak in the high-mids, and it doesn't always work for every style or song/every guitar. (I tried it in my SG and while it sounded great for some things, it's much more versatile in the '51). it doesn't generally interfere with my own playing (and certainly not the music I compose on this guitar), but it's good to note. It's also something someone who doesn't obsess over the minutiae of guitar tone won't care about at all. I've definitely had no complaints, even when I've covered a song that didn't sound totally right to my ears (but also definitely not bad).

Trilogy Suite (neck)
I must admit, I'm a sucker for a good single coil–one that's got enough body to push an amp but enough articulation to cut through a mix– and this a great one. It's not exactly versatile, but what it does provide (jazz fusion, fuzzy alt leads, beefy rhythm tones) is pure gold. What still amazes me is how saturated you can make this pickup while still hearing every note clearly.

Cleans are also strong, but definitely a little more limited. I don't love strumming clean rhythms on this pickup, although it can be done–and it won't give you that "pure" clean Strat neck tone (not my favorite sound anyway…). Actually, if I want to play cleaner sections, I find keeping my OD11 on and simply rolling back the volume on my guitar works significantly better than trying to dial in a clean sound on my amp (unless I want to play jazz); that way, the sound is much more lively, and I can get amazing delay drenched mid-gain sounds.

Combined
With the coil split on the C-Bomb, I can get some unique and useable in-between sounds. It's not standard, but I actually love it for edgy, aggressive jangly sounds (think Albini, washed out beach punk, gothy droning, etc). The full C-Bomb plus the TS neck is totally thick and smooth, but with good articulation. I actually don't use it a ton, but if I wanted to play prog/psych I know I'd spend some time here.

Let me know if anyone wants more info.



« Last Edit: September 04, 2020, 05:40:29 PM by vintageviolence »

Kiichi

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Re: C-Bomb and Trilogy Suite neck review
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2016, 09:59:08 PM »
Very nice review, thank you very much. I like that you go into detailed tonal descriptions. Much oblidged as it is very helpful. This might be the clearest picture of what the Cbomb does I´ve seen in a ages, if not ever.

I added it to the review collection sticky so that it does not simply disappear. That would be such a shame....
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