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Thread: Pickup Help Needed for older Ibanez w/Basswood Body!

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    Default Pickup Help Needed for older Ibanez w/Basswood Body!

    Hey everybody.

    I have a guitar that needs some tonal help like you wouldn't believe!
    I'm mainly looking for replacement pickups in the neck and middle positions, but am open to any suggestions.

    Guitar:
    1989 Ibanez 540R, Hum-Single-Single, original Edge tremolo, JS1000 neck with Rosewood fingerboard.

    The guitar currently has a set of DiMarzios in it.
    Pro Track in the neck and middle, and a Tone Zone in the bridge.
    I really like the Tone Zone, but the Pro Tracks just don't do anything for me. They have no sparkle, no harmonics, and the neck just sounds too dark for my tastes.

    The music my band plays is not overly complex, but we do a lot of mixing cleans and dirty tones.
    I would like neck and middle pickups that are well rounded. Not overly dark or too bright.
    Lots of harmonics (yeah, I know it's a neck pickup).
    I have a PAF Pro in the neck of my JS1000 and it is almost perfect for the music that I play.

    I am primarily a neck position guy. My distortion tones range from early Maiden to Santana (Brothers or Supernatural).
    I'm not a shredder, more like a Michael Schenker or EVH player. I use lots of harmonics, feedback, sustained notes, and my style is very legato.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated. I apologize if my post is somewhat cryptic. It's early here and I haven't had my coffee yet!

    Pickups I have considered:
    JB Jr (not sure how they would mesh with the Tone Zone, but if Duncan has a TZ equivalent, I am all ears)
    Lace Hot Golds (again, not sure how they would sound with the TZ)

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    Default Re: Pickup Help Needed for older Ibanez w/Basswood Body!

    I also wanted to mention.....
    I saw another thread about a guitar with a basswood body, but I did not want to hijack.

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    Super Toneologist jtougas's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pickup Help Needed for older Ibanez w/Basswood Body!

    I would maybe look at the various Rails... Maybe the Cool or Vintage over the Hot...
    "Screw regulations. Bring the noise."

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    Slam Dunk da Funk Funkfingers's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pickup Help Needed for older Ibanez w/Basswood Body!

    Tone Zone S would seem like an obvious candidate for the neck position.

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    Ultimate Tone Member dvadneau's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pickup Help Needed for older Ibanez w/Basswood Body!

    I'd agree with Funkfingers, sounds logical.

    From my own experience:

    I have an Ibanez from '91, basswood body, maple neck and rosewood board, licensed Floyd. I had a Tone Zone in there for nearly the whole time, until about 3 years ago when I started swapping pickups. I've got a Crunch Lab in there now. I'm debating whether or not to put in my Air Zone again - everything I wanted the Tone Zone to be, btw.

    I've got a Pro Track in the neck and it's really good. I'm surprised you find it dark.

    However, I've been running with a 1Meg volume pot since I got the Tone Zone. It had a 250K tone pot, but that's been removed. I can't stand the placement of the 5-way on my EX (similar to the RG series), so I've got a rotary switch and a volume pot.

    I recommend trying without the tone pot. See if that does anything for you. It's easy to take it out of the circuit.

    I find the 1Meg really opens up the pickups, so that might be something to try as well.

    As for pickups, I liked the HotRails neck, although I found it a little dark - don't recommend it if you find the Pro Track dark.

    I tried the Classic Stacks in the neck and middle. I didn't find the neck open enough. I tried an APS-1 (Alnico II Pro staggered) and really liked it. It was just too low output for what I wanted the guitar to be at the time. I might go back to that. It's in the middle right now and it great when I want a crystal clean sound.

    I tried the Cool Rails neck and Vintage Rails neck and didn't care for either. I found them a little cold. The Vintage Rails I found to be very low output. I would take the APS-1 over it any day, in that it has more output and tone.

    The Pro Track was the most single-coil-like sound I had tried in a hum-canceling form (not having tried most of the DiMarzios, mind you). It's described as having a PAF-like voice, which I would agree with. I tried a Lace Sensor Gold and found it decent. I just liked the Pro Track better.

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    Ultimate Tone Member Natman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pickup Help Needed for older Ibanez w/Basswood Body!

    I'd say go for the Pearly Gates if you like good clean tone and need noiseless. But then again, I'd say you should avoid basswood. And Floyds. But then again, a man needs something with strings to plug into his wicked modded amps.

    Just wanted to shout out to my boy in HI. He's the man behind Thomas Ampworks and he modded my Mesa Heartbreaker last year. It completely rocks! Fun to see you here Andy

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    Ultimate Tone Member elelpe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pickup Help Needed for older Ibanez w/Basswood Body!

    Parallel Axis Stack ... Well, Parallel Axis all the way

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    Ultimate Tone Slacker metalmachine's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pickup Help Needed for older Ibanez w/Basswood Body!

    Elelpe! Who is that woman in your avatar!!!!

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    Mojo's Minions frankfalbo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pickup Help Needed for older Ibanez w/Basswood Body!

    PATB stacks are great but they'll have to be routed deeper to fit in the 540R cavity. They are tall. I've done this with a couple 540R's and the tone is worth it though.

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    Ultimate Tone Member elelpe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pickup Help Needed for older Ibanez w/Basswood Body!

    Quote Originally Posted by metalmachine View Post
    Elelpe! Who is that woman in your avatar!!!!
    Zhang Xin Yu
    Last edited by elelpe; 05-25-2012 at 08:50 AM.

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    Default Re: Pickup Help Needed for older Ibanez w/Basswood Body!

    Quote Originally Posted by elelpe View Post
    Damn!!!!! She even looks good in blue.........

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    Default Re: Pickup Help Needed for older Ibanez w/Basswood Body!

    Quote Originally Posted by Natman View Post
    I'd say go for the Pearly Gates if you like good clean tone and need noiseless. But then again, I'd say you should avoid basswood. And Floyds. But then again, a man needs something with strings to plug into his wicked modded amps.

    Just wanted to shout out to my boy in HI. He's the man behind Thomas Ampworks and he modded my Mesa Heartbreaker last year. It completely rocks! Fun to see you here Andy
    Hey Nathan,
    Thanks for the props! I need to find another Heartbreaker combo! I really miss mine.

    I didn't see a Pearly Gates single coil replacement on their website. I'll keep looking though.


    Thanks guys, keep them coming!
    I will have to research them after work today!

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    Super Toneologist jtougas's Avatar
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    Default

    FWIW, I intend to try a Parallel Axis pair in my RG320 as soon as I can...
    "Screw regulations. Bring the noise."

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    Default Re: Pickup Help Needed for older Ibanez w/Basswood Body!

    Quote Originally Posted by frankfalbo View Post
    PATB stacks are great but they'll have to be routed deeper to fit in the 540R cavity. They are tall. I've done this with a couple 540R's and the tone is worth it though.
    I couldn't find the PATB on their website.
    Is it PA-STKn: http://www.seymourduncan.com/product...rallel_axis_s/

    I already routed the cavities another 3/8 to 1/2" just to acomodate the DiMarzios, so no worries there.

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    Default Re: Pickup Help Needed for older Ibanez w/Basswood Body!

    Quote Originally Posted by Funkfingers View Post
    Tone Zone S would seem like an obvious candidate for the neck position.
    Judging from the Tone Guide, the TZ is darker than the Pro Track.

    I should say that I don't necessarily think the Pro Track is too dark. I should have been more clear above.

    I do like the tone, but find the pickup to be fairly sterile sounding. It just seems like there is no life to it. Of course, I am unfairly comparing it to the PAF Pro in my JS1000 too!

    I have a push/push volume pot in the guitar right now (500k). I had it set up to add the bridge pickup in parallel with whatever setting the 5-way switch is on.
    I think I will move this option to a push/pull pot on the tone.

    I'll try the tone bypass on the push/push volume today at practice and see if that helps.
    Maybe I'll end up only having the tone for the bridge pickup to keep it from getting too bright. I never use the tone knob, but I've always kept them in my guitars just to tame the bridge.

    Does the 1M pot make the guitar brighter or just add more sizzle and output?

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    Super Toneologist jtougas's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pickup Help Needed for older Ibanez w/Basswood Body!

    PATb is the Parallel Axis Trembucker - bridge.

    But yeah, the PA-STKn is the Parallel Axis - Stack neck.
    "Screw regulations. Bring the noise."

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    Default Re: Pickup Help Needed for older Ibanez w/Basswood Body!

    So....
    I played the guitar again for about an hour last night.
    I actually really like the tone of the Pro Track in the neck position. I think that what I don't like is the lack of harmonics and character.
    I think I am just so used to the PAF Pro in the neck of my other guitar, that I am looking for the same type of feel, sensitivity, harmonics, etc.

    I'll check out some TZ S videos today.

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    Dawn Of The Shred TheLivingDead's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pickup Help Needed for older Ibanez w/Basswood Body!

    Get (to) tha CHOPPA!

    Seriously though. It'll do everything you want and more.

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    Default Re: Pickup Help Needed for older Ibanez w/Basswood Body!

    I was just listening to some clips of the Chopper! Pretty nice tones! Now I just have to learn to play well........

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    Default Re: Pickup Help Needed for older Ibanez w/Basswood Body!

    Would you go with a Bridge or a Neck position Chopper with a Tone Zone in the bridge?
    Seems like a Bridge (if they make one) position pickup would be closer in output, but it's just a guess.

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