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Thread: Help me choose pickups for a mahogany Les Paul style guitar

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    Default Help me choose pickups for a mahogany Les Paul style guitar

    I ordered an A2Pro neck and a Custom SH-5 from a local store, but after months of waiting they never came and I got my money back, so I've decided to order from Wymore Guitars.


    This was a good thing to me, because I don't think I had planned out my pickup choice well enough.

    I'll try to keep my requirements short

    I play mainly from classic rock to metal, the heaviest being Dream Theater, Devin Townsend, Maiden and Whitesnake, around that vibe
    I play both rhythym and lead in my band so they are very important to me. I like to get my gain from the amp, not the guitar, so I don't want very high output that will lead to a lack of dynamics and expressiveness. At the same time, I don't want something that will crap out and lose detail under stronger gain.

    My favourite lead tones are from some of today's archetype rock gods (Slash, Doug Aldrich and the like, for example)

    I like having a cutting clear sound but I also like it to be warm and relatively strong on the mids

    Based on this, last time I chose the Alnico 2 Pro on the neck and the Custom SH-5 on the bridge, but reading around the board, it seems like this can be improved on.



    Phew, that was long. Sorry for the wall of text guys

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    Default Re: Help me choose pickups for a mahogany Les Paul style guitar

    Custom should be perfect.

    You might also want to try putting an A8 magnet in there.

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    Skaforlifeologist super rad stuff's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help me choose pickups for a mahogany Les Paul style guitar

    Quote Originally Posted by Schappy View Post
    Custom should be perfect.

    You might also want to try putting an A8 magnet in there.
    i was just about to suggest ordering an a8 with your pickups, possibly an a5 too. a8 is warmer sounding than ceramic, though almost as aggressive with about the same amount of output.

    i switched out the a2 in my 490r for an a5 and it cleared the mids right up, though that's a 490r in an SG and not an a2pro in a mahogany les paul. either way, just so you've got the option
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    Default Re: Help me choose pickups for a mahogany Les Paul style guitar

    So that's two votes for the Custom!

    What about the pickup? I've heard everything from saying that the A2Pro is a perfect fit, to saying it will be too thick and even muddy.

    I like my neck pickup to be VERY clear and pristine, I love using it for clean breaking up tones and it's the only position I use for my jazz playing (a part time job)

    It should do handle gain well but at the same time be very clear, precise and dynamic. It will be put under the same ammount of gain as the bridge, btw

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    Default Re: Help me choose pickups for a mahogany Les Paul style guitar

    Quote Originally Posted by weinergod View Post
    I like my neck pickup to be VERY clear and pristine, I love using it for clean breaking up tones and it's the only position I use for my jazz playing (a part time job)

    It should do handle gain well but at the same time be very clear, precise and dynamic. It will be put under the same ammount of gain as the bridge, btw
    Based on what you say here I would recommend a SH-2 Jazz for the neck position. The A2 Pro is nice but more warm and sweet than clear and pristine.

    With a Custom in the bridge (great choice for hard rock and metal) the Jazz would be a great match.

    Your other options would be a Pearly Gates (midway between the A2 Pro and Jazz) or the '59 (very nice but I find it a little bottom-heavy in a Les Paul).

    The Jazz will work great with the Custom in a Les Paul and will get you the clear/pristine.

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    Default Re: Help me choose pickups for a mahogany Les Paul style guitar

    Many years ago, I owned a Tokai Love Rock 65 that I customised with SD Custom (b) and Pearly Gates (n) pickups. Rhythm, lead, blues, shred, it did the lot. Like a fool, I sold that guitar to finance something very expensive and American.

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    Default Re: Help me choose pickups for a mahogany Les Paul style guitar

    A '59N will give you more tone, cut, & output in the neck than a JazzN, which is kind of bland. For the bridge, a '59B gives you a classic PAF sound, and a C5 beefs that up if you want higher output. It has an A5 magnet which gives more alnico coloring than the ceramic in the Custom (same PU otherwise). The C5/'59N pair is a very popular recommendation here for mahogany guitars. Love it in mine.

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    Default Re: Help me choose pickups for a mahogany Les Paul style guitar

    Quote Originally Posted by Funkfingers View Post
    Many years ago, I owned a Tokai Love Rock 65 that I customised with SD Custom (b) and Pearly Gates (n) pickups. Rhythm, lead, blues, shred, it did the lot. Like a fool, I sold that guitar to finance something very expensive and American.


    We've all fallen into that trap
    But hey, got to live and learn!

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    Default Re: Help me choose pickups for a mahogany Les Paul style guitar

    Quote Originally Posted by blueman335 View Post
    A '59N will give you more tone, cut, & output in the neck than a JazzN, which is kind of bland. For the bridge, a '59B gives you a classic PAF sound, and a C5 beefs that up if you want higher output. It has an A5 magnet which gives more alnico coloring than the ceramic in the Custom (same PU otherwise). The C5/'59N pair is a very popular recommendation here for mahogany guitars. Love it in mine.

    I'm not sure how well classic PAF designs would work for me though.. I'm not a blues player

    (Not contesting your advice at all though.)

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    Default Re: Help me choose pickups for a mahogany Les Paul style guitar

    The DC has cold cleans. If you have a warmer neck pickup anyway you might want that for the occasional dark intro.

    The APH1 in the neck sounds a little lame to me in a Les Paul. There isn't enough happening.

    The best Les Paul combo IMHO is '78 bridge and Antiquity neck.

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    Default Re: Help me choose pickups for a mahogany Les Paul style guitar

    Quote Originally Posted by uOpt View Post
    The DC has cold cleans. If you have a warmer neck pickup anyway you might want that for the occasional dark intro.

    The APH1 in the neck sounds a little lame to me in a Les Paul. There isn't enough happening.

    The best Les Paul combo IMHO is '78 bridge and Antiquity neck.


    Maybe... but not for me at all :\
    I mean, the Antiquities aren't even wax potted, I doubt they'd behave well under gain

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    Default Re: Help me choose pickups for a mahogany Les Paul style guitar

    I'm really undecided about the neck pickup :\

    On one hand, Slash uses the APH1 and I really dig his tone.. On the other hand the Jazz sounds a bit clearer and more defined, which I love...

    But then there are people saying one can sound lame and that the other sounds bland

    Oh, if only the pursuit of tone was easier... But then it wouldn't be as fun

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    MonkeyDungologist dr. ad's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help me choose pickups for a mahogany Les Paul style guitar

    tell us a bit more about the sounds you're going for, your amp, effects (if any) and playing style?
    i have a theory re action and string gauge and customs

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    Default Re: Help me choose pickups for a mahogany Les Paul style guitar

    Let's see...

    I play light/very light (depending on how i feel when buying) d'addario strings, my action is set relatively low

    High enough for the rhyhm playing to still be tight and having no flubber on the strings, but low enough for me to do some really wide vibrato and large bends (over 3 half steps)


    I don't use effects, I always plug in straight to the amp. My playing style relies ALOT on picking dynamics, fingerpicking and using the volume and tone controls


    At the moment I'm playing through a Fender combo tube amp which is not very suited for my playing, but very soon I'll be investing in a high gain channel switching amp (Diezel Herbet, Bogner XTC, Elmwood Modena.. something like that, haven't decided on the exact amp)

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    Default Re: Help me choose pickups for a mahogany Les Paul style guitar

    cool
    considering the lightish strings, fingerstyle, actual use of the guitar's on-board controls and not saying 'marshall', i'd suggest a JB for the bridge (as pedestrian as it may sound).

    for something that cuts but still has some warmth and character i'd agree that the 59n is a good option (although i haven't tried as many neck HBs as i'd like).
    i liked it for it's sparkly cleans with the stock A5 mag but swapped an A2 in so i could get more juice out of it. still retains the basic character but has traded some of the big and sparkly factor for focus and mojo.

    good luck, whatever you decide to go with

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    Default Re: Help me choose pickups for a mahogany Les Paul style guitar

    I've always heard that the JB sounds really bad in 24.75 mahogany guitars, I'll look around and see if I can find people who used that set up and see what they have to say

    Thanks for the ideas so far guys, keep em coming!


    Edit: Oh, and if I were to replace the magnet in the 59, wouldnt I be better off getting the Alnico II Pro from the start? Sounds like it would ammount to the same thing after the magnet switch
    Last edited by weinergod; 10-07-2009 at 06:46 PM.

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    MonkeyDungologist dr. ad's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help me choose pickups for a mahogany Les Paul style guitar

    don't have any clips, but i used a JB in an LP for some time. i used heavy strings at the time, had low action and had the pickup set pretty high so it sounded really big, hot and little out-of-control; with lighter strings and more careful playing though it just sounded really fat. i lent it to a friend of mine and he did a gig or 2 with it and loved it, he was playing in a cover band at the time but is also a bit of a monster on the fingerstyle

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    MonkeyDungologist dr. ad's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help me choose pickups for a mahogany Les Paul style guitar

    Quote Originally Posted by weinergod View Post
    Edit: Oh, and if I were to replace the magnet in the 59, wouldnt I be better off getting the Alnico II Pro from the start? Sounds like it would ammount to the same thing after the magnet switch
    nope. the A2 59n and the A2P sound nothing alike, nor do the stock 59n and A5P. in my LP the A2P sounds like a big, bright, fat PAFish pickup, but funnily enough it doesn't sound like slash. in my LP the A2 59n does, but that's my weird hands and guitar for you.

    i was kinda thinking you might like the jazz, but i haven't had a chance to test one as they're hard to come by here. check out diocletian's clips for an idea of how they sound dirty; jolly's done a sh1tload of good clips too

    EDIT - check out your options with Mr Wymore, the term "floor shop custom" gets bandied about a bit around here ; ]
    Last edited by dr. ad; 10-07-2009 at 06:58 PM. Reason: the wymore factor

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    Default Re: Help me choose pickups for a mahogany Les Paul style guitar

    Yeah, the Jazz sounds pretty legit based on the description, although blueman did say it can be 'bland'

    I'll see if I can dig up some clips on the clip board

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    Default Re: Help me choose pickups for a mahogany Les Paul style guitar

    All the demo links are dead or removed

    Guess I'm out of luck at the Clip board

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