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Author Topic: Switching to another bridge pickup  (Read 2188 times)

CommonCourtesy

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Switching to another bridge pickup
« on: June 11, 2018, 02:11:34 PM »
Been a longtime BKP user, this question is regarding my Les Paul studio, made of mahogany, in drop b tuning. Previously I had an Aftermath in the bridge which was good for a while but found it too washy, switched that out for a ceramic Nailbomb which has improved it and got it nearer to where I like it and ever since I've just left it in there. Can't say I'm totally content with the tone though, whilst its got a lot of power and bite its very harsh and hairy sometimes, esp when playing lead lines. Palm muted power chords lack the thump (unless my EQ on the amp is wrong) and cleans are a bit shrilly. There's a bit more clean playing involved in this new band setup hence the decision to look at other pickups in the range.

The style is mainly metalcore (palm mute chuggy stuff, but also lots of single string riffs and extended chords too). Can be alternative rock sometimes.

My amp is a Peavey 6505+ though sometimes my mate borrows the guitar and it goes through a Blackstar Series One. Kinda helps when he plays it I can hear it out front in a band mix rather than on the stage. Also for information the bridge tone pot has been disconnected which gives a hotter signal (too hot perhaps) and I quite like it.

So I been considering switching to something like a Juggernaut, or maybe a Black Hawk. What will the Jugg give me that the Nailbomb can't? And same for the Black Hawk or any other pickup?

Suggestions and advice welcome.

Dave Sloven

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Re: Switching to another bridge pickup
« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2018, 04:00:20 PM »
I've recently installed an alnico Black Hawk in my Schecter Stiletto.  Cleans on bridge and neck are both nice, both are fluid for lead playing, and in terms of output and sustain it is as good or better than the A-Bomb and a lot less hairy. In terms of downtuning etc I find no disadvantage relative to the A-Bomb in C standard and in lower tunings it might be better.  The pickups also split nicely, which can be useful for clean playing.  I would also recommend them for series/parallel switching if you want to try parallel mode.

The ceramic version might be better for you.  There is a comparison video by Nolly on the ceramic and alnico models that I found helpful.  It's hard to go past either model for lead playing.  The alnico one might have the advantage for leads and cleans, the ceramic one for chuggy rhythm work.  I think either would be fine in a Les Paul.

You might also want to consider the Impulse, which has less output than the Black Hawk but from videos it seems not much less than the Juggernaut.

Like you I disconnected the bridge tone pot on my Nailbomb but I am finding it useful with the Black Hawk, although this might be because the Stiletto is brighter than the Explorer.

EDIT:  Here are the two Black Hawk videos by Nolly.  One is the set (ceramic bridge) in a Les Paul, the other is a comparison of the ceramic and alnico versions (7 string).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VKw1F1Bd1-w

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2qacdnnbe2k
« Last Edit: June 11, 2018, 04:16:35 PM by Dave Sloven »
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CommonCourtesy

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Re: Switching to another bridge pickup
« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2018, 04:26:37 PM »
Hmm, the first clip (ceramic) sounds alot like my guitar now. The alnico more ballsy, so might be too similar?

Strangely I have the Alnico nailbomb installed on another Les Paul and it just works really well with particular guitar, I thought I'd get the same results in the one I'm talking about switching pickups but not quite.

Not fussed on switching modes, just looking for a plug and play type approach, no messing about! Hence bridge straight into output, I like that kinda directness.

Me and my friend don't do a lot of lead work though the latest stuff we've recorded has a bit more clean stuff, arpeggiated chords etc.

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Re: Switching to another bridge pickup
« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2018, 04:51:32 PM »
If you like the alnico Nailbomb (like I do) then I would recommend the alnico Black Hawk.  The A5 magnet seems to give a fuller tone and I think it is still tight enough.  As you can tell in the comparison video the cleans are nicer.
« Last Edit: June 11, 2018, 04:54:15 PM by Dave Sloven »
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CommonCourtesy

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Re: Switching to another bridge pickup
« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2018, 04:55:19 PM »
It might be the wood of the guitar and the fact I use lighter strings on the other Les Paul, resulting in a brighter tone perhaps?

Or even if I switch to an alnico nailbomb into the guitar, as its a ceramaic one currently.

I have heard nice things about the Black Hawk however, being similar to an EMG etc.

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Re: Switching to another bridge pickup
« Reply #5 on: June 11, 2018, 04:56:49 PM »
« Last Edit: June 11, 2018, 05:00:40 PM by Dave Sloven »
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Re: Switching to another bridge pickup
« Reply #6 on: June 11, 2018, 05:04:16 PM »
From what I can tell heavier string tension brightens (rather than darkens) the tone.

Difference between the guitars is probably due to other factors.

I don't find the alnico Black Hawk to be overly similar to an EMG.  Compared to the Nailbomb it is more like an EMG, but it has a character and an openness that is very different from an EMG.
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Nolly

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Re: Switching to another bridge pickup
« Reply #7 on: June 11, 2018, 05:19:17 PM »
Hey there,

With the tone removed from the equation you are going to get a lot more the pickup's resonant peak spike making its way through to the output, which sounds very much like what you're experiencing if you're describing it has having a shrill and harsh sound. With the 6505 I can't imagine preamp gain is an issue for you at all, so I would advise either re-connecting the pot, or installing a resistor in series between the volume pot live and ground to load it down in the same fashion a tone pot would. I'm fairly convinced this will help a lot! Assuming you don't have a "treble bleed cap" installed on the volume pot, rolling it off a bit then compensating with more amp gain will approximate the effect you would get if you did either of the mods I suggested.

CommonCourtesy

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Re: Switching to another bridge pickup
« Reply #8 on: June 11, 2018, 05:26:21 PM »
Hi Nolly, cheers for the reply!

I do get what you mean but I actually did like when the tone pot was disconnected! I prefer the hotter signal. As we all know the 6505+ head has gain on tap and its normally around 3 or 3.5 pre-gain, I also run a TS9/OD808 as well in front. A few times at soundchecks the soundguy has advised me to take away some of the high end on the amp.

CommonCourtesy

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Re: Switching to another bridge pickup
« Reply #9 on: June 11, 2018, 05:26:57 PM »
From what I can tell heavier string tension brightens (rather than darkens) the tone.

Difference between the guitars is probably due to other factors.

I don't find the alnico Black Hawk to be overly similar to an EMG.  Compared to the Nailbomb it is more like an EMG, but it has a character and an openness that is very different from an EMG.

Probably cos the guitar with the A-bomb is used in higher tunings, lol.

Nolly

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Re: Switching to another bridge pickup
« Reply #10 on: June 11, 2018, 11:05:20 PM »
Hi Nolly, cheers for the reply!

I do get what you mean but I actually did like when the tone pot was disconnected! I prefer the hotter signal. As we all know the 6505+ head has gain on tap and its normally around 3 or 3.5 pre-gain, I also run a TS9/OD808 as well in front. A few times at soundchecks the soundguy has advised me to take away some of the high end on the amp.

Sure thing! I'd recommend looking into the Ragnarok or Miracle Man to get a great heavy sound with less harshness while still maintaining a tight low end. The Ragnarok also coil-splits really well if you'd want to venture into sparkly cleans.
The thicker strings will definitely drive more output from the pickups, which will make things sound chunkier but less tight in the low end. You could also consider dropping down to a Black Dog, which gives loads of midrange grunt, tight lows and very nice articulate/smooth highs. In the hands of a metal player into a high gain amp it sounds every bit as aggressive as the contemporary options in the range.

If you want more low end punch from your amp, with 5150s it's often necessary to run the resonance at 8 up to full even if necessary. Perhaps you're already doing that though.

CommonCourtesy

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Re: Switching to another bridge pickup
« Reply #11 on: June 12, 2018, 02:11:02 PM »
I have seen demos of the Ragnarok, not overly sold by it, however. 90% of the set is played on the bridge pickup though, so its nice to just have a "set-and-forget" type set up.

One of my favourite bands is A Day To Remember (hence the username) and I really like their guitar tone. I have seen Neil has his own signature ESP now with an Aftermath in the bridge, and he also uses a Juggernaut. He was previously a Peavey head user too.

I actually run the resonance on 4/5! I found turning it up above that makes it a bit too muddy. And I use 12-56's.

Dropping down to a lower output pickup may be another option, someone did suggest Miracle Man when I first sought a pickup upgrade from the stock Gibson 498T pickup.

Is the Juggernaut just a total no then as it was the next one I was looking at installing and trying out.

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Re: Switching to another bridge pickup
« Reply #12 on: June 12, 2018, 02:26:09 PM »
Yeah I run the resonance on mine around 4/5 too. Presence on 5/6.

Miracle Man is higher output than most that have been mentioned, with the exception of the Black Hawk.  I think that resistance readings can be difficult to compare unless your wire and construction are basically similar, but the MM in my SG seems to be at least as hot as the NB in my Explorer.  The MM bridge is definitely hotter than the Cold Sweat I had in the bridge of that SG before, and I don't remember the A-bomb seeming as hot as the MM when I had it in there.  The MM is definitely smoother and less aggressive sounding than the A-Bomb, but I think the output is at least as much. It seems to be relatively close to that of the A-Pig in my other SG. The Black Hawk seems to be around the same output as the MM.

On the Juggernaut some of the better clips I've seen are those comparing it with the Impulse.  Here's one.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x5TL4WVdU30

There's also this video comparing the Juggernaut to the alnico Black Hawk, but I don't like this video as much (generally), although the big bottom end of the A-Hawk stands out.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-wOUAcGBpws
« Last Edit: June 12, 2018, 02:31:51 PM by Dave Sloven »
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CommonCourtesy

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Re: Switching to another bridge pickup
« Reply #13 on: June 12, 2018, 03:07:07 PM »
It depends what cab I'm playing through as well. My 6505+ likes V30's but sometimes during support shows where there's backline share we have to play through Marshalls. But mostly its around 5. Presence usually the same, though on the Blackstar at the last show we did the soundguy told us to turn that knob down! Maybe cos it was too pokey.

The Juggs in that first clip sound a bit fatter and fuller, whereas the Impulses sound tighter on the low end.

Second clip the Black Hawk has a lot of grunt there! Seemed little sustain when he did that tappy stuff on the Juggs though.

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Re: Switching to another bridge pickup
« Reply #14 on: November 24, 2019, 02:18:20 PM »
Ok so after reading some online reviews and researching a bit, I think its boiled down to two choices:

1. I put an Aftermath back in, I know I said I didn't like it before but it'd certainly be less hairy/honky than a Nailbomb.
 
2. I try the Juggernaut, smoother mids and tight low end, great for the playing I want to do, the guitar is solely used in drop tunings so won't be using it in E standard.

AM seems to be a one-trick-pony for metal players it seems, going by online consensus, Juggernaut seems to be a djent-type pickup but I do like what I hear from it in non-djent demos.

Which option do I take?!