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Thread: Good bridge pickup for Jackson RR1 ?

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    Default Good bridge pickup for Jackson RR1 ?

    Hello everyone. Newb here...well 35 year player and electronics engineer.

    I just purchased my 15th guitar (4 sold...now down to 11) and it is a Jackson Randy Rhoads 1 with a JB and Jazz combo. I always wanted one that was snow white with black bevels, and now they actually make them that way. I was not fond of Jackson wood or Jackson necks in the 80's and 90's, but the quality of everything, and the neck carve, has improved as of late. Great wood and great neck/action! Top quality these days!

    Anyway, I have issues with the JB being anemic and gutless in the RR1. I once had the same set of pups in a Les Paul with the same problem. Love the Jazz, hate the JB. No guts...but I disslike mud, so pickup selection is sometimes tricky. I have tried SH-5's (I like it in an SG...gain too low for this RR1 axe), SH-6's (good in my ESP...not metal enough, me thinks), Invaders (hate them!...mud city), and all the PAF style pups (good classic tone...have many guitars with them). I also have a few Gibson guitars with ceramic 500T's (broad, powerful and clear...a bit top endy) I doubt any will get what I'm looking for. I'm looking for clean metal edge, no mud, good low mids with just the right chest thump (without mud), and no ice pick in the ear top end, but great cutting upper mids. What am I looking for in a SD bridge pickup?

    The Jazz in this axe is perfect. The bass and mids are balanced. The low end on the Jazz makes the JB sound like a total wimp (because it is)! I put pull-switch pots in and tried SC on both. The Jazz is doing nice Strat type neck tones, and the JB sucks. After looking over the choices with the tone chart, gain levels, and magnet types, I think the Alternative 8 might be what I'm after. Since I'm keeping the Jazz I would like a matched (looking) set, so Blackouts are out for now until I exhuast these cosmetic options. Alnico 5 pickups have never worked for me, except maybe in the neck position. A5's ae harsh and shrill to my ears. I have never tried an alnico 8. I hope I made a good choice with the Alternative 8 (ordered and on the way). I tried to get on this forum before ordering, but had to wait for approval. So I wanted to replace the JB ASAP since I can't enjoy my new RR1 the way it is now.

    Who here has experience with the Alt 8 pickup? What are your thoughts on it? Do you think it will do the trick, or should I look for something else in the SD line?

    Thanks all!

    Phil
    Last edited by PHILBERT; 06-25-2010 at 06:07 AM. Reason: spelling

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    Mojo's Minions jmh151's Avatar
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    Default Re: Good bridge pickup for Jackson RR1 ?

    Try an Alnico 8 magnet in the JB before you try anything else. The magnet's $5. It gives the JB more bottom end, makes it more powerful and louder

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    Default Re: Good bridge pickup for Jackson RR1 ?

    Quote Originally Posted by jmh151 View Post
    Try an Alnico 8 magnet in the JB before you try anything else. The magnet's $5. It gives the JB more bottom end, makes it more powerful and louder
    Thanks....I'm getting the feeling the A8 magnet produces a great tone. The Alternative 8 has them, of course, but it is wound extra hot...which could cause some mud. I have no idea what wire size was used on it. I may indeed try magnet swapping if it doesn't work out.

    Has anyone tried an Alternative 8 pickup? Thoughts on the tone of them?

    Phil

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    Default Re: Good bridge pickup for Jackson RR1 ?

    My Alternative 8 TB-15 came yesterday. I threw it in. First thoughts?

    Sledge hammer gain! This thing will push any amp real hard. No preamp needed!

    Tone is lower mid focused. Upper mids are next, but it sounds like there is a hole somewhere in the middle...or maybe some top is missing. Still, there is a midrange freq I'm used to hearing that is missing, so string def is a little off. It took a while to balance the height of it, but I found the sweet spot. It gets better when I roll down the vol, but gets bright and sounds like a single coil if I go too low. Gain is compressed, as one would expect at 16K. Perhaps the gain is just too much.

    What I would like to hear is a little more deep bass (guts), and a little more clarity on the top. I know T500 ceramics have both in spades. I wonder if I made a combo of the A8 and T500 if I would get the best of both worlds? I have the parts, so I could do it.

    Phil

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    He Did the Monster Mash DrNewcenstein's Avatar
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    Default Re: Good bridge pickup for Jackson RR1 ?

    Duncan Custom. Maybe not as slammin' as the Distortion, but beefy-ballsy crunchy for power and major chords.

    Or a Custom 5.
    Quote Originally Posted by Brown Note View Post
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    Default Re: Good bridge pickup for Jackson RR1 ?

    Quote Originally Posted by DrNewcenstein View Post
    Duncan Custom. Maybe not as slammin' as the Distortion, but beefy-ballsy crunchy for power and major chords.

    Or a Custom 5.
    The Duncan Custom keeps coming up as the one to try. Maybe I should give it a try.

    I loved it in my SG, but the gain was mid gain. I have the EVO set in my custom made guitar that is just so balanced and crunchy. Great pups! Another possible choice.

    And I just put my new EVH Frankenstein in my ESP... WOWZA! That thing explodes with every touch! Bold and balanced! Not "metal", but VERY VH sounding. The response is so quick and explosive that I can feel the notes jumping off the fretboard...and I have a hard time finding what I call the sweet spot because it is good at nearly any height. 14.63K Ohms! And I see it is made by a company in Santa Barbara...hummm And the sticker on the bottom says "SH EVH". SH??? Sounds familure! Been to Santa Barbara...nice place.

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    Default Re: Good bridge pickup for Jackson RR1 ?

    My friend has a Dimebucker in one of his Rhodes and a El Diablo in the other. He gets really great tones out of his rig with those two pickups.

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    Mojo's Minions Ed Hunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Good bridge pickup for Jackson RR1 ?

    Quote Originally Posted by PHILBERT View Post
    The Duncan Custom keeps coming up as the one to try. Maybe I should give it a try.

    I loved it in my SG, but the gain was mid gain. I have the EVO set in my custom made guitar that is just so balanced and crunchy. Great pups! Another possible choice.

    And I just put my new EVH Frankenstein in my ESP... WOWZA! That thing explodes with every touch! Bold and balanced! Not "metal", but VERY VH sounding. The response is so quick and explosive that I can feel the notes jumping off the fretboard...and I have a hard time finding what I call the sweet spot because it is good at nearly any height. 14.63K Ohms! And I see it is made by a company in Santa Barbara...hummm And the sticker on the bottom says "SH EVH". SH??? Sounds familure! Been to Santa Barbara...nice place.
    does ur rhoads have a floyd? If so try a DMZ tone zone sounds friggin HUGE in a neck thru alderjackson with a floyd and ebony board.

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    Default Re: Good bridge pickup for Jackson RR1 ?

    Floyd and ebony? Why yes, to both...



    Thank you for your suggestions. The Dimebucker looked like a good choice on the tone chart, but I don't trust the SD tone chart. It doesn't turn out the way they list them. And that blanket statement "works well in mahogany guitars with rosewood" doesn't help at all! That is my issue with SD, and why I have a hard time choosing an SD pickup. DMZ has a tone chart that is spot on. My EVO set is an exact match in my custom made guitar. Great pups with mid gain and full tone, but not what I would want for the Rhoads.

    The Alt 8 is sounding better with the volume down about 25-30%. I'm digging it that way. If I drop too low it sounds single coilish. But string definition really clears up and I get enough guts to stand up to the neck pup (and my other guitars). I guess it is working OK. The single coil tone is also nice. Is it perfect? No, but it works well. I might be missing some sizzle and a bit of deeper bass...or the lower mids are dominating the overall tone and gives it that effect. Not too bad with the gain down a bit. Plenty of output with the volume down a bit.

    If I were to target the metal tone I'm after, it would be a "Krokus - Eat the Rich" tone. That is one of my favorite "old-school metal" tones. I know the speakers they used are a big part of that tone, and maybe a Rhoads is not ever going to get that tone, but it is what I wish for.

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    Default Re: Good bridge pickup for Jackson RR1 ?

    Quote Originally Posted by PHILBERT View Post

    I just wanna jump through the screen and steal it!

    The Custom 5 is my suggestion.

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    Default Re: Good bridge pickup for Jackson RR1 ?

    Given the Floyd, and wanting chest-thumping bass & lower mids, broad mids, lots of upper mid cut with just enough sizzle & bite but no ice pick... That exactly describes a PATB-2 Parallel Axis Distortion. Which also adds improved sustain and accentuated harmonics thanks to the polepiece structure. Parallel Axis is designed to give better string balance, particularly on floating bridges.

    The PATB-2 tends to heavily compress, but it's still got great string separation and articulation. Just a perfect metal pickup.

    Check out daemon barbeque's stuff and note that's through a POD--it sounds even better pushing a tube amp. He also had some samples directly comparing the SH-6 Distortion with the PATB-2 on his other page, but my search-fu is failing me. Flagolated Demon Cookies is a good workout of it's harmonics.

    The Alt8 does some interesting things in some guitars, but the heavily distorted clips with it that I've heard have a funny mid notch. Kinda cool but a bit strange. If you don't like that one property, you might do better with something from the Custom series (or a PATB-1, the Parallel Axis version of the Custom 5) magnet swapped to A8.

    The Custom 5 or PATB-1 (I have a PATB-1 in my basswood RG570) are interesting pickups, but have odd hollow mids thanks to the A5. Not metal scooped, but it's there. Great bass & upper mids, though. I like mine, but am planning to magnet swap to A8.

    Custom 8/PATB-1A8 are less compressed, more flexible pickups, but still high output. Attack and thump like a ceramic Custom, sweeter highs more like a Custom Custom, though not quite as smooth. Widely described as oddly open feeling for their output. Great all around pickup, awesome for metal but can do rock and blues.
    Last edited by Despair; 06-27-2010 at 04:01 PM.

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    Default Re: Good bridge pickup for Jackson RR1 ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jackson Distortion View Post
    I just wanna jump through the screen and steal it!

    The Custom 5 is my suggestion.
    You will have to pry it from my cold dead fingers!

    Sugestion noted...thanks.

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    Default Re: Good bridge pickup for Jackson RR1 ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Despair View Post
    Given the Floyd, and wanting chest-thumping bass & lower mids, broad mids, lots of upper mid cut with just enough sizzle & bite but no ice pick... That exactly describes a PATB-2 Parallel Axis Distortion. Which also adds improved sustain and accentuated harmonics thanks to the polepiece structure. Parallel Axis is designed to give better string balance, particularly on floating bridges.

    The PATB-2 tends to heavily compress, but it's still got great string separation and articulation. Just a perfect metal pickup.

    Check out daemon barbeque's stuff and note that's through a POD--it sounds even better pushing a tube amp. He also had some samples directly comparing the SH-6 Distortion with the PATB-2 on his other page, but my search-fu is failing me. Flagolated Demon Cookies is a good workout of it's harmonics.

    The Alt8 does some interesting things in some guitars, but the heavily distorted clips with it that I've heard have a funny mid notch. Kinda cool but a bit strange. If you don't like that one property, you might do better with something from the Custom series (or a PATB-1, the Parallel Axis version of the Custom 5) magnet swapped to A8.

    The Custom 5 or PATB-1 (I have a PATB-1 in my basswood RG570) are interesting pickups, but have odd hollow mids thanks to the A5. Not metal scooped, but it's there. Great bass & upper mids, though. I like mine, but am planning to magnet swap to A8.

    Custom 8/PATB-1A8 are less compressed, more flexible pickups, but still high output. Attack and thump like a ceramic Custom, sweeter highs more like a Custom Custom, though not quite as smooth. Widely described as oddly open feeling for their output. Great all around pickup, awesome for metal but can do rock and blues.
    That is the info I needed to hear. Thank you!!!

    With that I can make an informed decision. I will take that advice. And I agree on the mid notch with the Alt 8. It is there. The more I play it, the more I think it is the Metalica sound. It does that well. I bet the Alt 8 would be good in a HSS Fat Strat. It would add the "umph" that is hard to get on a Strat...and the single coil on the bridge would do it justice. But for my perfect metal pickup, I need to try something else like that PATB-2. The Alt 8 is sound good, and I enjoy playing it, but I need that mid and crunch that I am missing.

    Thanks again.

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    Mojo's Minions Binnerscot's Avatar
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    Default Re: Good bridge pickup for Jackson RR1 ?

    If you really want to wake that JB up, just disconnect the tone controls (pup -> switch -> volume -> jack)

    ...try that before a pickup/magnet swap....it gave me a new appreciation for the JB.
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    Default Re: Good bridge pickup for Jackson RR1 ?

    UPDATE: Thanks to those who have given me the courage to try something I would not normally have done, I FIXED my Jackson RR1 bridge pickup problem.

    The Alternate 8 had a hole in the mids that just did not work for me. Punch yes, but not tone...and no thunder. NFG! I had a few pickups around that were not in use, and only two pickups with trem spacing (JB at 14K and now the Alt 8 with 16K), so which one would I swap out the magnet on?

    After all this talk about different magnets and their sonic tone qualities, I decided a ceramic was what I needed. I had an old Duncan Distortion to cannibalize, now that ESP has the awesome EVH Frankenstein in it, and I took the magnet from it. I decided the JB with a ceramic magnet might be just what I needed. BINGO! We have a winner! This is that classic "buzzsaw" hot 80's metal sound. Perfect as soon as I played it. I didn't even adjust the pickup height yet, and it sounds fantastic.

    JB + ceramic = 80's metal!

    PS - So is a JB with a ceramic just a Duncan Custom?

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    Default Re: Good bridge pickup for Jackson RR1 ?

    Quote Originally Posted by PHILBERT View Post
    UPDATE: Thanks to those who have given me the courage to try something I would not normally have done, I FIXED my Jackson RR1 bridge pickup problem.

    The Alternate 8 had a hole in the mids that just did not work for me. Punch yes, but not tone...and no thunder. NFG! I had a few pickups around that were not in use, and only two pickups with trem spacing (JB at 14K and now the Alt 8 with 16K), so which one would I swap out the magnet on?

    After all this talk about different magnets and their sonic tone qualities, I decided a ceramic was what I needed. I had an old Duncan Distortion to cannibalize, now that ESP has the awesome EVH Frankenstein in it, and I took the magnet from it. I decided the JB with a ceramic magnet might be just what I needed. BINGO! We have a winner! This is that classic "buzzsaw" hot 80's metal sound. Perfect as soon as I played it. I didn't even adjust the pickup height yet, and it sounds fantastic.

    JB + ceramic = 80's metal!

    PS - So is a JB with a ceramic just a Duncan Custom?
    JB + Ceramic from Duncan Distortion = Duncan Distortion.

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    Default Re: Good bridge pickup for Jackson RR1 ?

    Quote Originally Posted by dominus View Post
    JB + Ceramic from Duncan Distortion = Duncan Distortion.

    Sorry.
    No...sorry...it is not the same. I used that Duncon Distortion for 23 years, and it never had that much gain. Not even close. Good pickup, but not that good. The JB coils must have something different going on. This ceramic JB is ungodly hot with the perfect metal tone. Slices to the bone! No way it is the same.

    And why are you sorry? I'm happy!

    EDIT: Even if it is the same winding, I needed a trem version. My other was non-trem. It does sound different and much louder though.
    Last edited by PHILBERT; 07-04-2010 at 06:27 PM.

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    He Did the Monster Mash DrNewcenstein's Avatar
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    Default Re: Good bridge pickup for Jackson RR1 ?

    Hmm. I'd always heard the Distortion and JB were the same pickup with different magnets.

    Maybe it's the "old" vs "new"? Maybe the coils of the DD, having been used for so long, have settled into a given "voice" as the wax melts and resets (however minimal) from body, storage, and stage heat, thus slightly constricting the coils.

    Or maybe it's the trem-spacing vs regular spacing?
    Quote Originally Posted by Brown Note View Post
    I'm soooooo jealous about the WR-1. It's the perfect guitar; fantastic to play, balances well even when seated and *great* reach for the upper frets. The sound is bright tight and very articulate. In summary it could only be more awesome if it had b00bs and was on fire!
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    Mojo's Minions Binnerscot's Avatar
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    Default Re: Good bridge pickup for Jackson RR1 ?

    Quote Originally Posted by PHILBERT View Post
    No...sorry...it is not the same. I used that Duncon Distortion for 23 years, and it never had that much gain. Not even close. Good pickup, but not that good. The JB coils must have something different going on. This ceramic JB is ungodly hot with the perfect metal tone. Slices to the bone! No way it is the same.

    And why are you sorry? I'm happy!

    EDIT: Even if it is the same winding, I needed a trem version. My other was non-trem. It does sound different and much louder though.
    Glad you found your sound (for now, it never ends).

    The JB with a ceramic magnet is sometimes called a Distortion Light. The coils of the JB and DD are the same, but the DD uses an oversized ceramic magnet. A standard ceramic in the JB will give you similar tone, it is not as hot as a DD...
    Quote Originally Posted by LesStrat View Post
    Of course, I lack the requisite intellectual capacity to engage in a theoretical discourse regarding the sociological and ethical implications of the absurd and incongruous concept of personal ownership of firearms and the ridiculous supposition that humans are capable of responsibly using said weapons.

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    Default Re: Good bridge pickup for Jackson RR1 ?

    Quote Originally Posted by DrNewcenstein View Post
    Hmm. I'd always heard the Distortion and JB were the same pickup with different magnets.

    Maybe it's the "old" vs "new"? Maybe the coils of the DD, having been used for so long, have settled into a given "voice" as the wax melts and resets (however minimal) from body, storage, and stage heat, thus slightly constricting the coils.

    Or maybe it's the trem-spacing vs regular spacing?
    Or maybe the original Distortion was defective or out of spec? If it was underwound, or had a partial short or was wired out of phase with itself, it could sound really weak and thin.

    It's also possible he lucked into a particularly overwound JB, which to a lot of tastes will sound better (both with stock magnet and ceramic).

    I'd still go for a PATB-2, myself, given the Floyd. Hotter, warmer, more low mids/bass, more harmonics, but a hair less bite. But I can see not bothering to swap if you're already happy!

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