Hey guys, first post here, been lurking for a while, and I'm glad to be on board! Anyways I am contemplating putting some Duncan's in my Ibanez S7420 7-string. Basic details of the guitar are tuned to B standard, 25.5" scale, rosewood fretboard, bolt on maple neck, thin mahogany body, and a licensed floyd rose although I have it blocked so it's essentially a fixed bridge.
This next portion where I describe the tone I am looking for is going to be VERY long and detailed, do not read further if you get bored easily! lol
I use a Digitech GNX3000 pedal for my tones and effects, and I usually run the pedal to the PA to take full advantedge of the pedal's amp and cabinet modeling. The type of amp models I tend to favor include the Engl Powerball, Mesa Rectifier, Peavey 5150, and VHT Pitbull.
The vast majority of the type of music I play is metal along the lines of All That Remains, Arch Enemy, Between the Buried and Me, Children of Bodom, Devildriver, In Flames, Into Eternity, Lamb of God, Machine Head, Nevermore, Pantera, Unearth, and others along those lines. Essentially, heavy music with an emphasis on technicality and skillful playing while remaining heavy. While this is the style of music I am most into, I also venture into other types of music, including Prog like Dream Theater, Classic metal like Iron Maiden, classical and jazz, and Instrumental rock such as Joe Satriani. So in short, the vast majority of the material I play is technical heavy metal, but I also like to venture into other territory genre wise, so I need a set of pickups that are versatile and flexible.
Tone wise, I am looking for tight bass that has some kick to it and warmth. I don't want so much bass that the sound becomes dark or boomy and out of control with sloppy definition, and at the same time I don't want so little bass that palm mutes have no impact and the tone is cold and thin. In the mids I am looking for a good full, snarly, growly sound with body that stands out well in the mix. I don't want so much mids as to be out of control crunch or become muddy and too vowel like/airy, and at the same time I don't want so little mids as to not have any body or definition to the tone with no depth. With the high end I am looking for some bite and aggression that gives a little sizzle. I don't want so much high end that the tone becomes harsh and fizzy/scratchy, and I don't want so little treble that the tone is perpetually smooth and has no attack or distinction/clarity with the tone. The pickup set needs to have good harmonics, respond well to palm mutes and riffs, and be equally capable with cleans and overdriven/distortion tones. It also needs to be equally useful both for rhythms and for leads.
One thing I have noticed with many of the bands I have mentioned is that a lot of them use EMG's. I've played EMG's before and what I don't like with them is the scratchy, plastic, sterile tone and high end to them. It sounds too digitized and harsh to my ears. I need a set of pickups that has tight tone with great articulation, great definition, and great clarity, but I want them to be more organic and natural sounding than EMG's.
I know that there is not one pickup set that can give everything you could ever imagine for with tone or be so versatile that they can do everything, but I'd like to be able to get as close to that as possible. Looking at the pickups on the site, my first instinct would be to go with a Jazz 7 in the neck and a Custom 7 in the bridge. Any help or suggestions as to what pickups you would recommend me to get would be very highly appreciated!