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Author Topic: A-bomb or C-bomb for Explorer?  (Read 323 times)

BigBassBob

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A-bomb or C-bomb for Explorer?
« on: July 18, 2020, 01:53:53 PM »
Hi all, first time posting here since 2007 I think.

I work in a guitar shop and a used Explorer came in as a trade. I've always liked Explorers and this is one of the nicer ones I've played (albeit it with some road wear).

I've also just been asked to do some guitar work in two different metal projects and I'm tempted by this guitar but was curious about upgrading the pickups.

I've always hated the 496r and 500t (had them in a V which eventually had 550k pots and Mules which really brought it to life) and I've swapped them out of a customer's 76 reissue Explorer (they sounded like mud in that guitar especially). To my surprise they work quite well in this guitar but they're still lacking some clarity. I actually quite like how compressed and mean the 500t is with gain, I just want something that isn't so dark sounding for cleans and low gain.

I'm seriously debating pulling the trigger on this Explorer, throwing a Nailbomb in the bridge and putting 550k pots in. I'm just wondering whether to go alnico or ceramic.

I know that alnico will be a bit more organic and ceramic will have a tighter sound with a slight mid scoop. In theory I think the C-bomb is what I'm looking for but would like the input of the BKP veterans here.

I'll be running the guitar into some sort of 5150 style preamp. Generally I keep my guitars in standard but I'll probably be setting this guitar up for drop C.

Cheers!
Bob
Active bass player & bedroom guitarist.

Dave Sloven

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Re: A-bomb or C-bomb for Explorer?
« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2020, 04:05:12 PM »
As someone who's just sold an Explorer after 12 years and tried a couple of different BKP sets in it I would say the following:

Out of the Nailbombs I ran the alnico one in the bridge and the matching neck, and I was pretty happy with that, especially compared to the alnico War Pig set that I had in it first.  I had the same bridge pickup in an SG before that and hated it there, it was too hairy and aggressive in that guitar, but the Explorer mellowed it out quite a bit, although I still felt that the guitar lacked some cut and was quite bassy.  But I had the pickup from being in the SG and figured I would give it a try.  At first it was in D standard and then I tried B standard and C standard.  D standard was fine, C standard was nearly as good, B standard a bit too low.

I always thought I could have done a lot better with that guitar if I had a bridge pickup that is much tighter in the lows with less low mids.  I never tried the Cold Sweat bridge I have in that guitar, I guess I basically got sick of experimenting with it given that it was quite a big guitar with a big case and I ended up getting a super strat that could fit in my car easier with the stuff we take on interstate tours.  The amp and cab I used with it was always a Peavey 6534+ and a V30s 412

The pickups I always wanted to try in it were:

Impulse
Rebel Yell
Emerald

I think any of these would be excellent in an Explorer and eradicate the muddy factor, while the inherent bassiness of the Explorer would ensure that it still had plenty of oomph. All of them are also better lead pickups than the NBs (and come with awesome matching necks for leads and cleans) and are awesome rhythm pickups.  The Nailbomb set was nice but I think these three sets would all be superior, especially for lower tunings.

BLACK HAWKS
IMPULSES
WAR PIGS
STOCKHOLM
COLD SWEATS
MIRACLE MAN

https://slovendoom.bandcamp.com/releases

BigBassBob

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Re: A-bomb or C-bomb for Explorer?
« Reply #2 on: July 19, 2020, 04:07:41 AM »
Thanks for your input, Dave, really appreciate it.

I had a set of Rebel Yells in a V years ago and while I preferred them to the stock ceramics, I just never gelled with them. It felt like they were fighting with the guitar in the upper mids. The Mules that replaced them really made that guitar's voice shine.

I've just spent the evening listening to countless videos and recordings.

While I totally get its application the Impulse sounds a little too clinical for my tastes. The Emeralds sound great but the highs seem a touch muted to me (mind you my ears are shot around 4khz).

The three pickups which are really jumping out are the C-bomb, the Cold Sweat and the Painkiller in that order. There's something about the grind in the C-bomb that's calling me.
Active bass player & bedroom guitarist.

Dave Sloven

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Re: A-bomb or C-bomb for Explorer?
« Reply #3 on: July 19, 2020, 04:41:42 AM »
This is a Rebel Yell in an Explorer.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S7mAGqMmjcY

I always thought the alnico NB sounded good in the Explorer.  I later put them in a Schecter Omen Extreme for a while and sold the Explorer with the pickups out of the Schecter.  Now i am installing them in a very heavy (I would guess 12lbs) Gibson Les Paul Classic (I'm doing a free install in order to sell the pickups),  I'll let you know how they sound after I test them
« Last Edit: July 19, 2020, 09:05:00 AM by Dave Sloven »
BLACK HAWKS
IMPULSES
WAR PIGS
STOCKHOLM
COLD SWEATS
MIRACLE MAN

https://slovendoom.bandcamp.com/releases

one

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Re: A-bomb or C-bomb for Explorer?
« Reply #4 on: July 19, 2020, 08:45:10 AM »
I hate ceramic nailbomb with a passion. Recently I had an 8 string loaded with them and I like it quite a bit, but the 7th version I had in a precise guitar was terrible, shrill highs, bland chugging, I could get anything right from it, maybe it was the guitar because I change it for a Warpig and it improved a lot, though not completely