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Thread: Pickups for Uutra-bright 100% Maple guitar : Westone Spectrum MX

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    Ultimate Tone Member Francois's Avatar
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    Default Pickups for Uutra-bright 100% Maple guitar : Westone Spectrum MX

    Hey ! I bought this last month mostly out of curiosity and because it was cheap and I have another Matsumoku Westone I like.

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    This is Westone SPECTRUM MX, a japanese guitar entirely made of Maple (neck/body/fingerboard) and all painted blue (fingerboard included), HSS, from 85 or 86. The neck is hard maple but the body is made of a lighter maple species.

    So I was curious to try an all maple guitar and this one sounds so scooped, you hardly hear any medium out of it (plugged or unplugged it this the same : no medium). Lots of treble with a distinctive snappy attack but it definitely has some bass too. So this guitar just makes me want to learn funk guitar and study 70's James Brown music which is fun because usually I don't play like that. It also good for clean strat sounds like Dire Straits but even more snappy.

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    So my question is anybody is about good pickups for bright and scooped all maple axe....
    Last edited by Francois; 03-23-2019 at 07:27 AM.
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    Ultimate Tone Slacker ICTGoober's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pickups for Uutra-bright 100% Maple guitar : Westone Spectrum MX

    Neat axe, as many of the 80's Westones proved to be.

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    Default Re: Pickups for Uutra-bright 100% Maple guitar : Westone Spectrum MX

    Maybe a custom custom in the bridge and/or 250k volume pot?

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    Ultimate Tone Member Francois's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pickups for Uutra-bright 100% Maple guitar : Westone Spectrum MX

    Continuation :

    I do not want to turn a guitar with a strong personality into a more normal guitar. Each guitar has its own personality and I want to keep it like this... But this one would really benefit from added warmth and medium. So anybody has an idea ?

    The bridge can be split with the push-pull tone knob.

    Before I got it I thought trying a DMZ X2N on its bridge (never tried it and I like Fast Eddy lead sound) but eventually this won't be a guitar I use for very heavy music anyway... Speaking of DMZ I am sure a SD will be nice here.

    I forgot to say the stock bridge pup is a UBC humbucker (=Unbalance Coil)... One of the first guitar to have this I read... When you split it, the level does not drop down much. >>> I could retain this feature using an SD Hybrid '59/custom (but I already have one and want to try something new) The '59/Custom has a good tone profile for this guitar (enough medium I mean).

    And what about a Pearly Gates ?

    Is the split X2N strat-like ?
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    Ultimate Tone Member Francois's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pickups for Uutra-bright 100% Maple guitar : Westone Spectrum MX

    Quote Originally Posted by ICTGoober View Post
    Neat axe, as many of the 80's Westones proved to be.
    I prefer my Concord III with its massive one-piece neck.
    This Spectrum has several pieces of wood in the neck and the body.

    But ergonomy wise I find it very nice : the neck is very pleasant and easy to play and straight like the strings.
    And the body contour has no edge at all like other guitars. It is very soft. Fells like a little baby in your arm.
    But I am surprise that the body is not heavy : must be soft maple.
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    Mojo's Minions Ascension's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pickups for Uutra-bright 100% Maple guitar : Westone Spectrum MX

    I always liked Dimarzio Tone Zones a lot in all Maple old Carvins. Also the JB Duncan seems to work well in maple as the scooped nature of the maple mellows out that JB upper mid ZING. Think older George Lynch tones.
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    PenultimateTone Member Demanic's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pickups for Uutra-bright 100% Maple guitar : Westone Spectrum MX

    Alternative 8 or Crunch Lab.

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    Default Re: Pickups for Uutra-bright 100% Maple guitar : Westone Spectrum MX

    Hi François,

    Be aware that evoking an all maple guitar in online threads might bring some trouble (cryptic joke refering to my past experience).

    Anyway...

    1) IME, yes, a splitted X2N is Strat like;

    2) a Pearly Gates has a focused resonant peak. So, IMHO, it'd the kind of bridge PU to avoid with all maple axes (been there, done that and it was just too bright);

    3) when I want to warm up a bright mid scooped guitar, 3 solutions come firstly to my mind:

    -a choice among "high inductance" pickups because more inductance = more mids. Generally, inductance is proportional to DCR. No need to say that Duncan Custom's, JB, X2N, DMZ SD (or Tone Zone's) are high inductance.
    Among Duncan single coils (if you want real SC's and not SC sized HB's), I'd consider those with an equally high resistance and therefore a high inductance too, like the SSL5 (with 3 times the inductance of a Fender CS 69 and almost the beef of a P90), SSL4 (with the inductance of a PAF), SSL3... Tried once a neck APS in an all maple guitar and it sounded weak/bland... but it might have sounded great in another axe so YMMV;

    -pots with a lower resistance, as mentioned by Chadd;

    -high "stray capacitance"... A mere low value cap between the hot and ground of any guitar with passive pickups would give it a warmer tone ( like the lower resistive value of pots, this last recipe might be interesting if you want just a warmer sound without more output level. And no, it's not the same than lowering a tone pot)...

    Of course, this list is not limitative and the efficiency of each solution will / would ultimately depend on the "personality" of the guitar to cure. At least, two of these three solutions are cheap and easy to try without harming the instrument...


    Pour ce que ça vaut, compatriote (les radotages d'un autre Frenchie). :-)

    EDIT - I don't know what the bridge is made of in your Westone but I'd consider the alloys and mass of its metallic hardware as another parm to think about.
    Last edited by freefrog; 03-23-2019 at 11:44 PM.
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    Default Re: Pickups for Uutra-bright 100% Maple guitar : Westone Spectrum MX

    At least some of the Lynch sigs were all-maple iirc

    A Screamin Demon and whatever those ESP-branded rails were should work then
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    Default Re: Pickups for Uutra-bright 100% Maple guitar : Westone Spectrum MX

    I like either a Custom Custom or Black Winter in the bridge. Go for APS singles.
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    Default Re: Pickups for Uutra-bright 100% Maple guitar : Westone Spectrum MX

    Quote Originally Posted by Demanic View Post
    Alternative 8 or Crunch Lab.

    Sent from my Alcatel_5044C using Tapatalk
    You know how much I LOVE the Alt8 but I wouldn't run it in an all maple guitar. There is a high mid thing that the Alt had that I REALLY love in most setting but will not IMO play well in Maple. At least in hard maple might be OK in broad leaf but in hard Maple would think it would be harsh.
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    Default Re: Pickups for Uutra-bright 100% Maple guitar : Westone Spectrum MX

    Quote Originally Posted by Mincer View Post
    I like either a Custom Custom or Black Winter in the bridge. Go for APS singles.
    Custom Custom APS flats would be a good combo. I'm a big fan of the AP II flats in a brighter guitar and the Custom Custom also is softer in attack and really fat should be a good combo in a Maple. Owned a LOT of all Maple guitars in particular all maple Carvins so know that set up pretty well tone wise.
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    PenultimateTone Member Demanic's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pickups for Uutra-bright 100% Maple guitar : Westone Spectrum MX

    I don't think that the Alt 8 could be harsh in anything.

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    Default Re: Pickups for Uutra-bright 100% Maple guitar : Westone Spectrum MX

    Super3 if you don't mind the output and high dcr.

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    Ultimate Tone Slacker Dave Locher's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pickups for Uutra-bright 100% Maple guitar : Westone Spectrum MX

    +1 on Super 3. Thick and rich, not bright.
    Last edited by Dave Locher; 03-30-2019 at 06:18 PM.

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    Ultimate Tone Member Francois's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pickups for Uutra-bright 100% Maple guitar : Westone Spectrum MX

    Thanks for all your answers !

    I checked the specs of the Custom Custom ad the APS-2 and it seems going for an all Alnico II HSS is a great idea for this guitar :
    It will retain it's original character and get the needed warmth.
    Thanks I did not thought about using A2.

    I also thought about trying a Black Winter but I don't think using this one for extreme stuff and I'll get an all BW guitar this year.

    The Alt8 tone profile sounds good on paper for this guitar but the output is a bit too much.

    I love the SSL-5 and tried it in two guitars (So I can test it here also, in the middle position).

    I read somewhere the X2N was nice in maple. Anybody has experience ?

    In this forum BriGuy has a beloved Spectrum (but an HSH) rescued from a house fire and he said it was not bright at all. He uses a JB on it.
    Last edited by Francois; 03-25-2019 at 12:18 PM.
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    Ultimate Tone Member Francois's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pickups for Uutra-bright 100% Maple guitar : Westone Spectrum MX

    Is soft maple much brighter that hard maple ?
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    Ultimate Tone Member Francois's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pickups for Uutra-bright 100% Maple guitar : Westone Spectrum MX

    APS-2 question :

    Does it comes in three different types : neck/middle/bridge or is there is only one type and you use it anywhere ?
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    Default Re: Pickups for Uutra-bright 100% Maple guitar : Westone Spectrum MX

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    Mojo's Minions dave74's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pickups for Uutra-bright 100% Maple guitar : Westone Spectrum MX

    Quote Originally Posted by Francois View Post
    Is soft maple much brighter that hard maple ?
    It should be less bright. Hard maple is about as bright and springy as it gets.


    edit: not including some far less common "exotic" body woods

    I've never even owned an ash-body guitar, so I'm not sure where it falls relative to maple.
    Last edited by dave74; 03-31-2019 at 01:08 AM.

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