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Thread: Check my thinking - Pickup change for mahogany guitar

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    Ultimate Tone Member zakk_speed's Avatar
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    Default Check my thinking - Pickup change for mahogany guitar

    I'm going to do some pickup and magnet swaps, so I thought I run this by you folks first as the advice here is spot on and might save me some work.

    The guitar in question is a LTD-FX260 all mid-grade mahogany with a spalted maple top - it currently has a tb4/59n stock set in and I'm not happy with the upper midrange bark out of the JB. I want more of an ac/dc hard-rock tone which can actually roll back to a usable blues tone - as a guide my main axe is a basswood RG with PATB2/PATB1n which I absolutely love (Thanks to Despair for that recommendation).

    The other project I have on the go is a complete re-fret and re-finish of an '86 Roadstar RG530WP which is basswood with a maple cap.

    The Plan:
    I have a tb11 custom-custom that i'm going to stick an A8 into to make a c8, and what i was thinking was to drop that into the FX-260 and use the A2 out of the cc in the jb to make a JB2 for the roadstar.

    Thoughts? My concern is will the JB2 work in basswood, and will the C8 work better for what I want out of the FX260, and hows the pairing of C8/59n?

    Thanks

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    Ultimate Kitten Puncher King IzzO)))'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Check my thinking - Pickup change for mahogany guitar

    I would put the JB2 in the LTD and the C8 in the basswood guitar. I think the JB2 will do what you're asking, in mahogany, I liked it a lot. Basswood might exhaggerate the lows and expose the flabby low end. You never know without trying though.
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    Shaftologist Kam's Avatar
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    Default Re: Check my thinking - Pickup change for mahogany guitar

    Yeah...personally I'd try both, just to see which works out best. It's a hassle, but it's the only way to know. I've never owned a basswood guitar or a JB so I can't really comment, but I do know that the C8 should sound awesome in the mahogany body. It certainly did in my SG copy and in my Aria. Whether it's the best possible combo for what you have, I just can't answer.

    By the way, I wouldn't worry too much about the maple top. I think it's just a thin veneer, so chances are that it isn't really affecting your tone that much.

    Sorry I can't be more help.
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    Ultimate Tone Member zakk_speed's Avatar
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    Default Re: Check my thinking - Pickup change for mahogany guitar

    Thanks guys - I'll swap the magnet in the JB first and see if I like that - the old rg isn't coming back to life untill i find the time to re-do the frets, so i can play with this one for a while.

    You're right about the maple top too, its just cosmetic, so the ltd axe is basically solid mahogany a bit thicker than an sg, but its been one of the guitars that I just cant get the right groove out of.

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    Default Re: Check my thinking - Pickup change for mahogany guitar

    I'd consider ordering a pair of A8s and a pair of Unoriented A5s. If the A8 doesn't nail it, odds are you'll like the Custom with UOA5. At least one of each.

    JB2 might be too mellow in basswood, if it's enough of a maple cap in that one to add some brightness, it might work. A lot of basswood is already quite round, often with some odd bumps in lower mids and/or upper mids. I certainly had huge problems with that with my stock JB in my RG570.

    If neither of your current pickups work, I'd consider either the PATB-1b or a PATB-3 if you want an axe particularly suited to lower gain (but still a meaty overwound sound, but without losing the highs like a really hot PAF can).

    I have a PATB-1b in my basswood Ibanez RG570 (rosewood fretboard, floating lic. floyd) now, which I absolutely love. Covers an absurd range, I can get surprisingly good crunch tones out of it, even on lower gain end of the scale. Absurdly flexible for such a hot pickup (it's a lot like a Custom 5 wound a bit hotter, but it's smooth enough despite the brightness to almost pass for a Custom Custom when the tone knob is rolled off). It's harmonics are different from the JB, but I can get some tones similar to what I liked out of the JB, as well. Insanely flexible and high output, a bit rough on low headroom preamps though.

    You also might consider ordering 6 or 12 0.5" hex screws when you order the magnets. They're quite handy for tuning the bass on pickups, can sometimes bring a farty neck pickup under control with no other modding. Or if you find the bass on the Custom 8 too wild. I'd start with replacing the fillisters under the 3 wound strings.

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    Ultimate Tone Member zakk_speed's Avatar
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    Default Re: Check my thinking - Pickup change for mahogany guitar

    Thanks Despair - my main axe is a 99 RG with PATB2/PATB1n based on your advice, I and love it, so I wanted to go with something different for the second RG (if it ever comes back to life - shes in a sorry state). Firstly though I want this LTD give me a good versatile rock/heavy blues tone hopefully with the pickups I have to hand, to complement the PATB loaded RG - mainly so i can actually pull off a unison bend without the floyd detuning.

    I have an A8 and a UOA5 magnet and have ordered up some new caps as well, and I'm going to play around with some combos and see what pans out.

    I'll report back on what the best combo was - thanks again folks.

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    Mojo's Minions blueman335's Avatar
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    Default Re: Check my thinking - Pickup change for mahogany guitar

    Quote Originally Posted by king izzo))) View Post
    i would put the jb2 in the ltd and the c8 in the basswood guitar. I think the jb2 will do what you're asking, in mahogany, i liked it a lot. Basswood might exhaggerate the lows and expose the flabby low end. You never know without trying though.
    +1.

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    Default Re: Check my thinking - Pickup change for mahogany guitar

    C8, JB2, PATB-1b and PATB-3 are all quite different from the PATB-2, and each other. All great pickups, just a matter of what works with your guitars. Of course, given you already have the coils & magnets on hand for the first two, that should be where you start.

    I just wanted to point out some other options if those failed, and ones perhaps more likely to work in the basswood guitar. The PA series are among Seymour Duncan's best pickups for that niche, though they work great elsewhere [have heard a number of reports of neck-through or alder Jacksons loving the PATB-1b and PATB-3, find it odd the PATB-2 hasn't made inroads there].

    Oh, if you want a different neck pickup that is basswood/24fret friendly, the Screamin' Demon gets a lot of recommendations. It's kind of a growlier '59 in that slot, deeper but less fat so it doesn't bloat up like a lot of neck pickups can. Full Shred neck also gets some nods. I suspect any double screw pickup [a floor shop custom option, minor upcharge on standard humbuckers] is a safe bet.
    Last edited by Despair; 02-03-2011 at 08:30 AM.

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