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Thread: JB alternative for mahogany guitar

  1. #1
    Member GrabtharsHammer's Avatar
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    Default JB alternative for mahogany guitar

    Hi guys,

    I have a JB in the bridge position of my Framus Diablo Supreme (mahogany neck, mahogany body w. maple top). I like it for leads, but for heavy & chunky rhythm guitar it is not really that satisfying - to me the midrange sounds too honky, the highs too dull and the lows too loose. I am looking for a pickup that is just a little bit tighter, brighter and less honky. I had a Custom in another guitar and generally liked its voicing overall but in the long run I found the low end too huge and the highs too cold/ice-picky.

    I was thinking... maybe Custom 5? Or Pegasus? Any suggestions?

    Thanks for your help! :-)
    Last edited by GrabtharsHammer; 08-10-2019 at 09:59 AM.

  2. #2
    Mojo's Minions eclecticsynergy's Avatar
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    Default Re: JB alternative for mahogany guitar

    Sounds like you want the Perpetual Burn. IMO a tighter, brighter, less honky cousin of the JB is a perfect description of the PB.
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  3. #3
    Member GrabtharsHammer's Avatar
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    Default Re: JB alternative for mahogany guitar

    Interesting! I hadn‘t really thought of the Perpetual Burn so far.

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    Default Re: JB alternative for mahogany guitar

    My first thought was the Custom 5, then the Pegasus, both of which you mentioned!
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    Default Re: JB alternative for mahogany guitar

    For tightening any guitar pickup, but particularly the JB, shorter screws under the low/wound strings really helps. I like the 0.75" hex (allen head) screws, but even just standard screws clipped shorter get most of the effect (alloy differences can change tone a bit too, some debate over whether same alloys are used, will vary with screw supplier I'm sure).

    If that isn't enough, Custom 5 (can be too scooped in some guitars, but in a middy guitar can be just perfect), Pegasus and Perpetual Burn all sound in the right ballpark. Custom-series are old forum favorites for magnet swaps, too. If you want less bite but overall same sound out of the original Custom, swap the ceramic magnet for an A8. If the Custom 5 need a bit more mids and softer attack, Unoriented A5 is great. If you just want less bite out of a Custom 5, Roughcast A5 is great.

    The Alternative 8 has fans who claim it as a louder, tighter, less upper-mid focused JB, in case you want hotter rather than lower output.

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    Default Re: JB alternative for mahogany guitar

    Have you tried adjusting the height of the pickup? Lowering the pickup further away from the strings generally "opens" up the mid range for a pickup like the JB. What I do is I'd play the rhythm chugga chugga while adjusting the pickup height until I get the sound I want. Keep in mind that lowering the pickup also lowers the output of the pickup so you may find your leads to be less saturated as a result. So unless you want to use pedals or channel switch or tweak knobs between different musical passages, you basically have to get your sound to "meet in the middle" so it's acceptable for both rhythm and lead work. I know it sounds annoying to have to compromise like that, but that's the reality of it: having a thick creamy lead sound for single notes means your rhythm chugs are going to be on the honky side. This will not change regardless of amp or pickups as long as you're not channel switching/tweaking knobs/pressing pedals.

    You might find some amps/pickups to be "better" at finding that happy medium between the two. Before you shell out more money and effort on switching pickups though, adjusting the height and the amp is far more economical. I personally only swap the pickups if I really can't get it to happen at all regardless of how I set my amp... that's usually pretty rare.

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    Mojo's Minions Ascension's Avatar
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    Default Re: JB alternative for mahogany guitar

    Alt 8 The singing solo character of the JB but tighter, brighter, much more articulate with down right explosive harmionics.
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    Default Re: JB alternative for mahogany guitar

    What was the 'another guitar' with the Custom? If it was strat like guitar, i would suggest to give the Custom another shot.
    The Custom5 seem to be briter than the Custom due to its scooped mids.
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    Member GrabtharsHammer's Avatar
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    Default Re: JB alternative for mahogany guitar

    Quote Originally Posted by hamerfan View Post
    What was the 'another guitar' with the Custom? If it was strat like guitar, i would suggest to give the Custom another shot.
    It was a mahogany neck & body PRS, quite similar to my Framus.

    Thanks for all your suggestions, guys. You were very helpful!
    After watching Keith Merrow‘s high gain pickup comparison video (unfortunately without the Perpetual Burn...), I am quite convinced that the Custom 5 should indeed be the right choice for me.
    Last edited by GrabtharsHammer; 08-12-2019 at 12:28 PM.

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    Default Re: JB alternative for mahogany guitar

    Quote Originally Posted by GrabtharsHammer View Post
    Hi guys,

    I have a JB in the bridge position of my Framus Diablo Supreme (mahogany neck, mahogany body w. maple top). I like it for leads, but for heavy & chunky rhythm guitar it is not really that satisfying - to me the midrange sounds too honky, the highs too dull and the lows too loose. I am looking for a pickup that is just a little bit tighter, brighter and less honky. I had a Custom in another guitar and generally liked its voicing overall but in the long run I found the low end too huge and the highs too cold/ice-picky.

    I was thinking... maybe Custom 5? Or Pegasus? Any suggestions?

    Thanks for your help! :-)
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    Default Re: JB alternative for mahogany guitar

    The Custom 5 and Pegasus are great choices. The Custom 5 has a good amount of chime to it and the Pegasus is a hotter but still not high powered pickup that has some midrange grind to it. The Perpetual Burn is actually based on a particularly sweet and less squawky JB used by Jason Becker back in the day. You can’t go wrong with any of these pickups. The C5 pulls off vintage tones the best, the Pegasus is probably the most versatile, and the Perpetual Burn has the output of the JB without being as annoying. I should note that the C5 and especially the Pegasus will require more gain from your amp to do what you want them to. They clean up very well though. I was floored by a Yamaha with a C5 in the bridge and a P90 in the neck. It plays well with single coils. I like the Pegasus the most. It makes you work harder for your tone though.

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    Mojo's Minions blueman335's Avatar
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    Default Re: JB alternative for mahogany guitar

    C5 is a good choice, and that PU takes magnet swaps well. Duncan has it in regular production with 3 magnets (ceramic, A2, & A5), and members have several favorites they create on their own (A8, UOA5, & A4).
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    Default Re: JB alternative for mahogany guitar

    Quote Originally Posted by Bowtomecha View Post
    I was floored by a Yamaha with a C5 in the bridge and a P90 in the neck.
    Funny coincidence, I actually just ordered a C5/P90 equipped Yamaha Pacifica 611 myself.

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    Default Re: JB alternative for mahogany guitar

    That Pacifica is such a terrific guitar. Very organic sounding.

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    Default Re: JB alternative for mahogany guitar

    Quote Originally Posted by Bowtomecha View Post
    I was floored by a Yamaha with a C5 in the bridge and a P90 in the neck.

    Great combination of PU's! Should come standard in a lot more guitars, same with a HB bridge & mini-HB neck.
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    Default Re: JB alternative for mahogany guitar

    Quote Originally Posted by GrabtharsHammer View Post
    Hi guys,

    the midrange sounds too honky, the highs too dull and the lows too loose. I am looking for a pickup that is just a little bit tighter, brighter and less honky. I had a cUstom (...) and it was ice picky
    There is one pickup that does EXACTLY everything you just described.
    That's the Screaming Demon.

    It has tight and growly big percussive but focused bass, articulate clear and very smooth highs and a very good agressive and tight midrange. Very tight when palm muted And very reactive to dynamics (highlights your right hand technique rather than artificially adding "ooomphs".

    Excellent fluid lead tones that really cuts trought without sounding shrill or ice picky.
    Very percussive again, good for legato hammer ons tapping and picking subtilities.
    Excellent clarity under massive distortion, you can hear all the notes of a chord but it still sounds big and fat and GROWLS.

    Good cleans and crunches too. The pickup is actually not high output which might be surprising but that actually makes it clearer and more focused when you play with tons of gain. Despite its relatively moderate output, it can make any amplifier roarl with a satisfying tight percussive power chords and growling bass.

    It's alnico not ceramic but somehow it kinda has the best of both worlds, the tone of Alnico with the agression of the ceramic.

    There is one drawback though: it's transparent and unforgiving. Everything you do it will pickup as it is. If your technique is sloppy, your guitar picks sqeak and you dont properly mute strings, well you're gonn have to do better. I personally view it as an opportunity to improve your playing. Once you do or if you're good already, however, it will shine and let your playing speak...

    One of the most under rated pickups from SD
    Last edited by Orange; 08-16-2019 at 02:22 AM.
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    Default Re: JB alternative for mahogany guitar

    Quote Originally Posted by Orange View Post
    There is one pickup that does EXACTLY everything you just described.
    That's the Screaming Demon.

    It has tight and growly big percussive but focused bass, articulate clear and very smooth highs and a very good agressive and tight midrange. Very tight when palm muted And very reactive to dynamics (highlights your right hand technique rather than artificially adding "ooomphs".

    Excellent fluid lead tones that really cuts trought without sounding shrill or ice picky.
    Very percussive again, good for legato hammer ons tapping and picking subtilities.
    Excellent clarity under massive distortion, you can hear all the notes of a chord but it still sounds big and fat and GROWLS.

    Good cleans and crunches too. The pickup is actually not high output which might be surprising but that actually makes it clearer and more focused when you play with tons of gain. Despite its relatively moderate output, it can make any amplifier roarl with a satisfying tight percussive power chords and growling bass.

    It's alnico not ceramic but somehow it kinda has the best of both worlds, the tone of Alnico with the agression of the ceramic.

    There is one drawback though: it's transparent and unforgiving. Everything you do it will pickup as it is. If your technique is sloppy, your guitar picks sqeak and you dont properly mute strings, well you're gonn have to do better. I personally view it as an opportunity to improve your playing. Once you do or if you're good already, however, it will shine and let your playing speak...

    One of the most under rated pickups from SD
    Sold, mine is in a neck slot ATM.

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    Default Re: JB alternative for mahogany guitar

    The Pegasus is unforgiving like the screaming Demon. I feel that you must be very deliberate when you play with it. The 6 string version is very good if you’re on top of your playing though. The 7 string... I’m still questioning my relationship with it.

  19. #19
    Member GrabtharsHammer's Avatar
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    Default Re: JB alternative for mahogany guitar

    Yesterday I received my new Yamaha Pacifica 611 with a Custom 5 in the bridge position.

    To my surprise it sounds even darker than my Framus with the JB, although the Framus has a mahogany body and the Pacifica an alder/maple body. Compared to the Framus the Pacifica sounds as if I have rolled off the tone knob quite a bit. Palm mutes just don't sound as sharp and tight. Strange, I expected this guitar to sound brighter and sharper than the Framus...

    I already replaced the Graph Tech String Saver saddles with Gotoh stainless steel saddles. It improved the tone, but the guitar is still sounding dull compared to the Framus. Well, perhaps I will have to let the luthier have a look at the electronics, install a higher quality volume pot and bypass the tone knob to brighten the sound?! I want to visit him anyway, to let him replace the Pacifica's butt ugly tortoise pickguard with a black one.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: JB alternative for mahogany guitar

    Did you try throwing extra amp gain at it? It’s a thirsty pickup. I got some decent chunk out of it By turning the bass down and the gain up.

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