Some people call them HSS Strats. Others call them Fat Strats. Some people don’t care for them, others don’t know what they’d do without them. Either way, you can’t deny the appeal of a guitar that combines the feel and mechanics of a Strat with the chunky kick of a bridge position humbucker.
We’ve discussed choosing pickups according to your style before. We’ve also had a bit of a look at choosing pickups with respect to the wood: what wood works best with which pickup for which style? In this article I want to explore some possible guitar, pickup, style and tone choices. What goes good with what?
Grady Champion was Dimebag Darrell’s guitar tech for 13 years, and he was by Dime’s side as he found and continued to refine his tone, from Pantera through to Damageplan, across countless gigs on stages all over the world. Towards the end of his life Dime had been using his signature Seymour Duncan Dimebucker pickup, but Grady tells us that Dime was also a fan of the ’59 Model, using the bridge version of the ’59 in the neck position of his guitars. Grady is currently teching for Incubus, and he took time out to have a chat about how pickups fit into Dime’s tone and what it was like to work with one of the most unforgettable metal guitarists ever.
Seymour Duncan has a wide variety of neck pickups to help you find that perfect match. There are many things to consider when you’re looking for a a neck pickup. First up is the wood of the guitar – do you have a bright guitar like alder and want to warm and fatten it up, or do you have a warmer guitar and want to make take it out of the darkness and give it some crunch and bite?
When it comes to classic pickup combinations the Seymour Duncan JB and 59 combo have to be right up there. With the ability to providing searing heavy tones from the JB, and smooth clear tones from the 59, you will end up with one incredibly versatile axe.
The original humbucking pickups designed by Seth Lover for Gibson in the 1950s were elegantly simple. By combining two pickup coils instead of simply using one (with pole piece magnets of one coil oriented in the opposite direction to the other), Lover’s design cancelled out the buzz and hum that plagued existing single coil designs, leaving in its place a fuller, rounder tone which changed the future of guitar.
How does Slash get that sweet warm sound? How does Duff McKagan get that booming clarity? Gilby Clarke’s tone? And for the newer fans, how does DJ Ashba get his Les Paul to sound like that?
Discussions about how to get “that” tone are usually centred around a particular genre. It’s easy to discuss rock, jazz, metal or country tones, because the genre itself carries an implication about a rough tonal ballpark. When we talk about rock, we immediately bring to mind various overdrive and distortion sounds. Jazz makes us think of that warm, articulate clean tone. Metal is all about crushing distortion, and country musicians can’t get enough twang.
Five Finger Death Punch is hot off the release of their fifth full length release in just seven years, The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell, Volume 2, and are currently busy banging heads across the entire Earth. Even with his extremely busy schedule, Five Finger Death Punch’s fleet-fingered lead guitarist Jason…
The Seymour Duncan ’59 is a classic. It’s an idealized representation of THE classic, a Gibson PAF — built to the actual specifications of the original design rather than copying one example of a production original which was built with wide tolerances, not all of which were stellar. These days it’s still the first suggestion when…