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Thread: Pickup Swaps In 3 Guitars

  1. #1
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    Question Pickup Swaps In 3 Guitars

    Hello all, so I have 3 of my guitars right now that I've been thinking of swapping pickups on to better suit the classic/hard rock cover band I'm in. We play 70's/80's classic rock/hard rock in standard E tuning and are a 2 guitarist band. My primary rig right now is EVH 5150 III 50 Watt 6L6 head thru my Marshall 1960A w/2 WGS Retro 30's and stock celestion g12t75's in xpattern with my pedalboard: Korg Pitchblack tuner, ZOOM MS-70CDR and ModTone Clean Boost. As we are doing more shows, the EVH rig will be for live shows and right now my other guitarist is letting me use his Blackstar HT5R 1x12 Combo running through the matching Blackstar 1x12 cab and my aforementioned pedalboard is running through the effects loop.

    Guitars:

    MIK Epiphone Les Paul Custom has the Seymour Duncan Hot Rodded pickup set: JB/Jazz with 50's wiring, 2 CTS push/pull tone pots 500K strung with D'Addairo .010-.046 strings.

    1998 Gibson Les Paul Special, factory Gibson saddles swapped out with Graphtec graphite string saver saddles pre-notched a long time ago, factory Gibson 300k pots changed out to Gibson 500k pots, Dimarzio super distortion p90 in the bridge and factory Gibson p100 pickup in the neck.

    Charvel Model 5fx with active EMG pickups, 85 in the bridge and slant SA (I believe?) in the neck with original floyd rose and has the Kahler locking nut after the lsr roller nut, strung with with D'Addairo .009-.046 strings.


    Anyone have any suggestions or input? Thank you
    Charvel Model-5fx EMG 85/SA
    Epiphone Les Paul Custom Korean SD JB/Jazz
    Custom Made Ernie Ball Musicman Copy Dimarzio Super Distortion's
    2019 EVH 5150 III 50 Watt Head 6L6
    1995 Mesa Boogie Tremoverb converted to Head
    Mesa Tremoverb 2x12 cab (factory Vintage 30's) converted to closed back
    Marshall 1960A 4x12 (2 Celestion G12T-75's and 2 WGS Retro 30's X patterned
    Pedaltrain Mini: Currently on pedalboard: ModTone MT-CB Clean Boost, Zoom MS-70CDR, Korg Pitchblack Tuner)

  2. #2
    Ultimate Tone Slacker TheViewFromVenus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pickup Swaps In 3 Guitars

    I don't see anything wrong with what you have to be honest.

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  3. #3
    Chris JB_From_Hell's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pickup Swaps In 3 Guitars

    Quote Originally Posted by TheViewFromVenus View Post
    I don't see anything wrong with what you have to be honest.
    Agreed. Seems like that should cover a ton of ground. Either of those Les Pauls would probably get all the tones I’d need for 70’s and 80’s rock.

    What are you looking for that they don’t do currently?

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Pickup Swaps In 3 Guitars

    More than anything play the guitars and see what they are missing or your guitars can improve on as otherwise it's like taking shots in the dark. Also for fun see if pickups from one guitar will sound better in others. Sometimes you'll be surprised.

    You can shape your tone in so many ways besides pickups. Some suggestions from basic to more extreme. Assuming you'll use the same amp(s) and pedal board. If you haven't yet though try an EQ pedal. Even a cheap Behringer eq pedal for 20-40$ online depending on your country.

    this is stuff I feel everyone should be able to do
    Pickup height - the closer to the strings the louder they become , but less sustain
    adjusting pole pieces - I'll link a good video to this at the bottom
    different pick thickness or material. I used 1.5mm dunlop gators for over 10 years, tried the standard dunlop flows and haven't looked back. Acrylic picks are great too such as gravity or D'Addario

    different string brands - some string brands do sound different, even if you get two of the same alloy (metal mixture) Dunlop versus Ernie Ball you'll hear it

    different string materials - if you're loyal to a brand or not check out the charts some sites offer. As much as I love pure nickel strings to chase certain darker tones avoid them on floyd rose or edge equipped guitars. I didn't have any issues switching to stainless steel strings for instance.

    Pure nickel the issue is spring tension on a floyd rose. Luckily I'm not too picky about my trussrod as long as i don't get an extreme amount of buzz in the low strings. My experience with floyd roses and pure nickel strings is one of my guitars i went from nickel plated steel strings which is the standard for 95% of people I've met or worked on their guitars to pure nickel and my bridge was tilted forward. Same tuning , same string gauge. 10-46 to 10-46 and I had to adjust it. No big deal at all. But it always surprises me how many people don't know about the different string material options.

    and last but not least as I'm sure people know me enough by now to mention wiring modifications. From obscure to extreme there is always something people will want.

    You'd be surprised what you'll find that works sometimes. I worked on a friends PRS guitar and in the summer we went through 3-5 variations of pickup combinations to the point I just put this certain PC part in his guitars to solderlessly swap pickups. A great guy I still talk to. He ends up going with two Dimarzio super distortions. Me personally a lot of my guitar heroes I saw were using EMG pickups and I thought I'd love them. I put them in a guitar I played every day and hated them. Or trying a fender telecaster, didn't think i'd like them but some classic vibe I really liked to the point i couldn't put it down for like an hour. All my other guitars were Schecters, ESP and a lot of pointy guitars so it stuck out like a sore thumb.

    this is to adjust pole pieces. This is something I feel every guitarist should know how to do
    Last edited by shadowfire90; 10-19-2019 at 07:15 PM.

  5. #5
    I poop in my KISS diapers while I cry that they are mean to me Aceman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pickup Swaps In 3 Guitars

    I need to know what you think you are m missing, or don't like??? Maybe tell us what the other guitar uses live???

    I'd swap the EMG's for a JB in the Charvel on Principle, maybe go with a Custom over a JB in the Les Paul, but I wouldn't feel any great need to. A SuperD and a JB should handle anything you need.
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  6. #6
    Administrator Mincer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pickup Swaps In 3 Guitars

    I don't know, you sound like you have a righteous rig, right there. It is about the poster child for hard rock. Are you unhappy with the sound, or just searching for 'better'? 'Better' usually leads to just a sideways step in the end.
    Dave, Ambassador/Writer/Artist for Seymour Duncan

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  7. #7
    Mojo's Minions masta' c's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pickup Swaps In 3 Guitars

    I'd toss an EVH Frankenstein in the Charvel with your choice of single coil in the neck and leave everything else alone!

    If you can't get a range of really good classic/hard rock sounds out of a JB, a Super D and an EVH 5150 III, then different pickups aren't going to help much!

  8. #8
    I poop in my KISS diapers while I cry that they are mean to me Aceman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pickup Swaps In 3 Guitars

    Honestly, I could probably be happy with just the SuperD for all that. What is the range of the setlist?
    Quote Originally Posted by Bad City
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    Default Re: Pickup Swaps In 3 Guitars

    Quote Originally Posted by Aceman View Post
    Honestly, I could probably be happy with just the SuperD for all that. What is the range of the setlist?
    Here's some of the covers we're doing now, seems like the EMG's in my Charvel model 5fx are just like WAY overkill:

    Grand Funk - We're An American Band
    Judas Priest - Living After Midnight
    Kiss - Lick It Up
    Cinderella - Somebody Save Me
    Bryan Adams - Run To You
    Shine - Collective Soul
    Sin City - AC/DC
    Charvel Model-5fx EMG 85/SA
    Epiphone Les Paul Custom Korean SD JB/Jazz
    Custom Made Ernie Ball Musicman Copy Dimarzio Super Distortion's
    2019 EVH 5150 III 50 Watt Head 6L6
    1995 Mesa Boogie Tremoverb converted to Head
    Mesa Tremoverb 2x12 cab (factory Vintage 30's) converted to closed back
    Marshall 1960A 4x12 (2 Celestion G12T-75's and 2 WGS Retro 30's X patterned
    Pedaltrain Mini: Currently on pedalboard: ModTone MT-CB Clean Boost, Zoom MS-70CDR, Korg Pitchblack Tuner)

  10. #10
    Ultimate Tone Slacker Dave Locher's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pickup Swaps In 3 Guitars

    For those songs and similar I would put the Charvel in its case and slide it under my bed and leave it there. The other two ought to be your #1 and #2.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Pickup Swaps In 3 Guitars

    Take my comments with a grain of salt, I know I'm a bit biased in favor of lower output pickups.

    Assuming you would like to use the Charvel, I would be inclined to put the JB there and something with a little less output in the Epi Les Paul. Something like a WLH, SNS or 59/custom seem like a good fit for me. Maybe pair the JB with a lil59 in the neck if you don't want an actual single coil in the Charvel. That would give you three guitars with different character, but still close enough that you won't have to be messing with knobs when you swap guitars.

    That said, the easy solution is to just park the Charvel at home if you think it's overkill.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Pickup Swaps In 3 Guitars

    Similar playlist for me. I use my Godin Exit 22 with EMG 60 bridge and S neck. So easiest swap would be to put an EMG 60 in the bridge, quick connector so no soldering, in your Charvel and use only that guitar.
    Second option is don't touch anything as you have everything already in your hands.
    Last edited by donaldr; 10-23-2019 at 11:54 AM.

  13. #13
    Toneologist vinnie1971's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pickup Swaps In 3 Guitars

    Super Distortion for all the above !


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    Question Re: Pickup Swaps In 3 Guitars

    So here is what I was thinking for upgrades, improvements, etc. for my Charvel model 5fx. I want to put the 90's Gold Floyd Rose original back on the guitar and hang on to the black Original Floyd Rose for another project guitar, I attached a pic of the Gold floyd rose that used to be on my Charvel. I don't know if I want to have an EVH D-Tuna professionally installed or not?

    Upgrades:

    On the Gold floyd rose: Titanium String Lock Insert Blocks, Noiseless Tremolo Springs, Gold Replacement Saddles for the low E and A strings and Original Fat Brass Tremolo Block
    Seymour Duncan Cool Rails neck, & 59/Custom Hybrid or JB trembucker pickups.
    USA CTS volume pot, 047uf Orange drop, and upgraded wiring.
    USA CTS tone/push-pull pot, (to coil-tap or go to single coil on both pickups).
    Switchcraft 3-way toggle switch.
    Switchcraft input jack
    Graph-Tech Tusq Nut.
    Strings: D'Addario EXL120 .009-.042 strings.
    Complete fret level and setup.

    What are your thoughts? Name:  KeithsPics012.jpg
Views: 96
Size:  160.3 KB
    Charvel Model-5fx EMG 85/SA
    Epiphone Les Paul Custom Korean SD JB/Jazz
    Custom Made Ernie Ball Musicman Copy Dimarzio Super Distortion's
    2019 EVH 5150 III 50 Watt Head 6L6
    1995 Mesa Boogie Tremoverb converted to Head
    Mesa Tremoverb 2x12 cab (factory Vintage 30's) converted to closed back
    Marshall 1960A 4x12 (2 Celestion G12T-75's and 2 WGS Retro 30's X patterned
    Pedaltrain Mini: Currently on pedalboard: ModTone MT-CB Clean Boost, Zoom MS-70CDR, Korg Pitchblack Tuner)

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    Default Re: Pickup Swaps In 3 Guitars

    I forgot to mention that the Epiphone already has a bone nut on it already and the nut on the Gibson les paul special is the stock nut. I know I need to get rid of the Fender LSR roller nut that I had a friend put on my Charvel model 5fx some years ago. I still don't know why I had him do that, it did have the factory ungrooved phenolic nut before he replaced it with the LSR 
    Charvel Model-5fx EMG 85/SA
    Epiphone Les Paul Custom Korean SD JB/Jazz
    Custom Made Ernie Ball Musicman Copy Dimarzio Super Distortion's
    2019 EVH 5150 III 50 Watt Head 6L6
    1995 Mesa Boogie Tremoverb converted to Head
    Mesa Tremoverb 2x12 cab (factory Vintage 30's) converted to closed back
    Marshall 1960A 4x12 (2 Celestion G12T-75's and 2 WGS Retro 30's X patterned
    Pedaltrain Mini: Currently on pedalboard: ModTone MT-CB Clean Boost, Zoom MS-70CDR, Korg Pitchblack Tuner)

  16. #16
    Administrator Mincer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pickup Swaps In 3 Guitars

    I always kinda liked the LSR nuts.
    Dave, Ambassador/Writer/Artist for Seymour Duncan

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    Gear pics and more on my Instagram.

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    Default Re: Pickup Swaps In 3 Guitars

    Quote Originally Posted by Mincer View Post
    I always kinda liked the LSR nuts.
    Same here

  18. #18
    Tone Member SAguitar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pickup Swaps In 3 Guitars

    And just what is wrong with your LSR roller nut? Is it not functioning as it should? Or does it get in your left hand's way?
    "Live by the Groove, Die by the Groove."

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    Default Re: Pickup Swaps In 3 Guitars

    Quote Originally Posted by SAguitar View Post
    And just what is wrong with your LSR roller nut? Is it not functioning as it should? Or does it get in your left hand's way?
    I think it makes the Charvel too bright and kinda twangy sounding
    Charvel Model-5fx EMG 85/SA
    Epiphone Les Paul Custom Korean SD JB/Jazz
    Custom Made Ernie Ball Musicman Copy Dimarzio Super Distortion's
    2019 EVH 5150 III 50 Watt Head 6L6
    1995 Mesa Boogie Tremoverb converted to Head
    Mesa Tremoverb 2x12 cab (factory Vintage 30's) converted to closed back
    Marshall 1960A 4x12 (2 Celestion G12T-75's and 2 WGS Retro 30's X patterned
    Pedaltrain Mini: Currently on pedalboard: ModTone MT-CB Clean Boost, Zoom MS-70CDR, Korg Pitchblack Tuner)

  20. #20
    OH THE GLAZE! Clint 55's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pickup Swaps In 3 Guitars

    ^ I notice drastic changes in tone between nut materials. Metal is gonna give you the brightest tone. Graph tech is bright but balanced and corian is warm. There are others but those 2 are my favorites. If you don't like it, change it out.
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