Donation

Author Topic: Pickups that have left you less than impressed?  (Read 23394 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline ed hunter

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 464
  • Karma: 35
    • View Profile
Pickups that have left you less than impressed?
« on: July 28, 2012, 05:56:40 pm »
I wanted to hear from others which pu's they tried that left them  :P
for me it was and keep in mind this is ONLY MY OPINION NOT A CONCRETE FACT
First off is the super d(yeah i know it is known as a classic and it is not a bad pu but i felt it was rather plain sounding,no real magic for me
The X2N wow what i got from it was hot output ,hot output and more hot output but that was it!)very bland EQ
the screamin demon(another pu that i had high hopes for but left me asking thats all it is?)
the steves special(now to be fair this is a specialty pu in that it was developed for guys that need a midrange reduction because their amp is very middy(ala MESA BOOGIE)
the duncan 59(wow i certainly hope that this is not the tone of the pu that some pay thousands of dollors for when they buy a real deal PAF) this one was very boring to me, Plain jane!
duncan PG another pu i bought thinking this is goin to blow me away after reading all the great things about it! NOT! LOL!
Duncan invader(can you say FUGLY LOOKING and MUD BOMB in one sentence!)sold this one so quick i for got i even owned it! LOL!
there are others but those are the main ones,and while i am listing the bad ones for me,ones that surprised me were the double whammy(this should have stayed in production, and the virtual hot PAF's(killer models that i think were better than the 36th that replaced them)
Megadrive( wow this is a steve special without the midrange taken away real nice! great drive and eq!) how about you what models made you say "why did i buy this?"
« Last Edit: July 24, 2014, 10:45:23 pm by ed hunter »

Offline mesa0131

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 214
  • Karma: 10
    • View Profile
Re: Pickups that have left you less than impressed?
« Reply #1 on: July 28, 2012, 07:08:02 pm »
Great Dislike's:
EMG 81/85 (altho i didnt buy them, they were stock in two of my guitars) I was happy to have them when i bought the guitars new, then realized how bland and useless they are once my ear for tone matured

D Activator A cheap pickup, no real great EQ, just harsh upper mids/highs and couldn't work out in 5 of my guitars. Not a good sign.

Crunch Lab I didn't mind this one so much, but when I swapped a D-sonic in its place I realized how mundane the CL was. a rolled off EQ and more gain, didn't sit well with my ears. Don't miss it, wouldn't buy it again

Super 3 (Came Stock in a MIJ Super Strat) NOT a real hair metal/thrash fan. Mids out the wha-zoo

SuperD Sounded great in a cheap Jackson JS30RR V, but not great enough to keep it around.

D Activator X A very VERY powerful pickup, I liked the EQ in my baritone, but I don't play breakdowns inside of breakdowns (a la Acacia Strain/Oceano) and my baritone sounds more than thick enough with my go to pickup (dsonic) so i had no real use for it.

Cruiser Neck Very Boring, turned me off of ceramic dual blade single coil pickups. Lifeless, quiet... Turned my ear more towards HS/VV and standard single coil pickups.

Liquifire I realize what this pickup was made to do and it just isn't my bag at all... Will have a Paf Pro replacement.

Honorable Mentions:

D Sonic Clear thick organic and just the right amount of output

Paf Pro Perfection for neck applications with D Sonic

Virtual Solo Great in the middle with higher output pickups!

HS-2 Well just awesome anywhere, series or split!

Twang King Neck Surprisingly amazingly warm tele neck tone! Glad i went with it over all else. It has made me love playing neck pickups!!!

Twang King Bridge Great Tele tone, very spanking, and takes overdrive really well! I love mine! For when you REALLY need to twang

G&L MFD ASAT Special Pickups Overwound single coils, minimal hum, and great output and tone. Compared to my tele this thing wins hands down. Very thick! But they are completely different animals. I would compare these pickups to a cleaner sounding P90, with all that great qualities when overdriven or gained out on a good amp.



Fine wines are found in glass bottles, not plastics sacks; As such, so are the finer electrons.

Offline Joey Voltage

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 52
  • Karma: 1
    • View Profile
Re: Pickups that have left you less than impressed?
« Reply #2 on: July 28, 2012, 07:43:13 pm »
DActivator - is the top of my list of disappointment.  I'm still messing with it though.  I was really hoping for something clean, and accurate, but hot and smooth at the same time.

super 3 - generally like it but I like it in some guitars better, and it was my first DiMarzio model, sounds better if you have a floyd, a basswood body, and a maple neck and fingerboard.  I always run hot and cold with it though, I love the dark sing for some things, but at times I find it kinda boxy.

Fred - HATED it as a bridge pickup, which i originally bought it for - had a weird dense character, and I was really expecting just a subtly different paf pro.  Recently i auditioned for a local prog/thrash band and the guitar i had gotten used to playing had a hum from hell in the neck, i swapped this in on grounds of maybe getting a more singing neck sound, and was pleasantly surprised it stil had a very nice glassy sheen to it. LOVE it as a neck pickup, works well with a tone zone, which is what I have in the bridge of this guitar.

PAF Pro - Default neck pickup, but a little wimpy for a bridge pickup though, especially for floating locking trem guitars. So it gets an A as a great neck pup, but I don't like it as a bridge pick up.

Steves Special - Tried to like it twice, and at one point I did like it briefly, but its not my thing, might sound good for some detuned stuff, haven't tried it for that, might screw with it though.  Didn't care too much for the plasticky treble it had. 

Jackson J90C, I liked this one iirc, had a nice muscular midrange, wish I still had it for comparison. I ended up replacing it with a super 3, and then put it back a couple years later and thought it was everything I was hoping the super 3 was. Although I owned the version with the philister and slugs.  They also made a dual slug version they encased in a plastic cover like an emg.

Humbucker from hell - I like this one alot too for the neck, but it didn't quite have enough oomph for me for it to be a staple.  Its kind of picky about guitars too, and I couldn't get it to work for me as a general blend, like say a paf pro for the neck. Which surprisingly works well with most.

Tone Zone - One of my favorites!  have never had a problem with muddy, farty low end.  It seems to work very well with my picking. And I love the mid punch. 

Air Norton - Meh, I don't feel one way or the other about it, might un-air it and give it a try.

Air zone - cool fat grind, didn't quite have the drive I was looking for at the time though, might give it another try.

EVO - Just couldn't make them work for me, or my guitars, actually sounded great in a real alder bodied jem though.

Ibanez V7/V8, boring, came stock with a RG1570

Ibanez inf's - belong in the garbage

1997 Peavey wolfgang stocks - Neck pick sounds good, fat, with good drive, bridge pickup is weak, and lacking in comparison though.

Hs3 have them stock on a YJM.  I LOVE the sound of these.  they are weak in output, but make up for it in the tone dept.

ToneZone S, was okay, but not like the real thing. But I don't know how you could expect it to be. 

Fast Track 1, I think I liked it, but I was just a teenager when I had it so I dunno

Chopper, mated it with the TZs, not bad as a neck pick up, but wasnt overly thrilled with it either.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2012, 11:59:08 pm by Joey Voltage »

Offline mesa0131

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 214
  • Karma: 10
    • View Profile
Re: Pickups that have left you less than impressed?
« Reply #3 on: July 28, 2012, 07:53:54 pm »
Joey! I was confused on which you liked and which you disliked... or if you kind of liked some but after all got rid of it...
Fine wines are found in glass bottles, not plastics sacks; As such, so are the finer electrons.

Offline SouthendSteve

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 30
  • Karma: 0
  • This tone stuff is wicked complicated.
    • View Profile
Re: Pickups that have left you less than impressed?
« Reply #4 on: July 28, 2012, 07:58:10 pm »
Area '61 were a bit thin. In my opinion, the output was a bit on the low side, but that's more for me than anyone else.
"I know what I want, and say what I want, and no one can take it away"-Bruce Dickinson, Journeyman.

Offline Joey Voltage

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 52
  • Karma: 1
    • View Profile
Re: Pickups that have left you less than impressed?
« Reply #5 on: July 28, 2012, 08:06:12 pm »
I'll go back and edit my post and put in more details of the definite hates and likes.  Some of it is because also that some of the qualities I hated or liked about each model might be different with me today because my playing (and the mechanics there of) had(s) drastically changed  between owning them.

Offline Commander Chaos

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 201
  • Karma: 8
    • View Profile
Re: Pickups that have left you less than impressed?
« Reply #6 on: July 28, 2012, 08:54:42 pm »
The TZ and Evolutions have never sounded remotely good to me. The worst of all though is the Duncan JB, It has got to be the thinnest sounding pup ive ever tried.

I'm off and on with the Paf Pro, some days it sounds awesome and others it sounds weird to me, could be the wah sound it has

Offline KH Guitar Freak

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 841
  • Karma: 5
    • View Profile
Re: Pickups that have left you less than impressed?
« Reply #7 on: July 28, 2012, 11:43:16 pm »
LOL! I've never really dislike any pickup out there really. However, I never liked those Seymour Duncan JBs. Too bright sounding, and just don't care for the overall tone. Also, not really a big fan of those Seymour Duncan '59s. A bit too mid scooped for my tastes...

Offline eggman

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 198
  • Karma: 8
    • View Profile
Re: Pickups that have left you less than impressed?
« Reply #8 on: July 28, 2012, 11:55:01 pm »
Howdy,

 Less than impressed? Seymour Suncan '59s. The neck was boomy and the bridge too trebly; seemingly no mids.

Offline tonejam

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 256
  • Karma: 12
    • View Profile
Re: Pickups that have left you less than impressed?
« Reply #9 on: July 29, 2012, 05:05:26 am »
Gotta agree with Mesa, thought the Cruiser neck would do wonders for Strat middle pickup. It's "OK".......but doesn't inspire. I'm now looking for a HS-2.

Offline ed hunter

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 464
  • Karma: 35
    • View Profile
Re: Pickups that have left you less than impressed?
« Reply #10 on: July 29, 2012, 05:20:00 am »
Hey this thread is turning out better than i expected! I see there is a lot of JB dislike,which i can understand because it has a rep to be a love or hate model.
I have a love/hate relationship with it, some days it rocks and some days it sounds very Meh!
I did realize that gear and humans are weird,  let me try to explain, sometimes when i plug in i get a tone that makes me want to keep playing all day and night,it sounds that good then sometimes i come back to that SAME rig,settings an everythig that made me smile the very day before and hate the tone???
How can this be?? LOL!  it is like a little gremlin comes in the middle of the night and messes with my settings or something! LOL!
Btw, where is bud and lone phantom? i was hoping they would participate in this thread? I know LP is bloggin for duncan latley which is cool,he has a new mod to try it is where you use a mini switch to change between a 250K pot and a 500K pot just by flickin a dpdt switch, great discovery! http://www.seymourduncan.com/blog/tips-and-tricks/create-a-two-stage-potentiometer/
he is the mad scientist with these things! LOL
 Lone phantom is the guy that helped me love the tone zone,he has a cap mod that rolls off the real big low end of the tone zone and it is great if you think the TZ is too bassy in your guitar.
« Last Edit: July 29, 2012, 05:28:03 am by ed hunter »

Offline Joey Voltage

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 52
  • Karma: 1
    • View Profile
Re: Pickups that have left you less than impressed?
« Reply #11 on: July 29, 2012, 01:54:14 pm »

 Lone phantom is the guy that helped me love the tone zone,he has a cap mod that rolls off the real big low end of the tone zone and it is great if you think the TZ is too bassy in your guitar.

you can take that mod even further if you dont use your tone pot. 

regarding the JB you can also try and move the voicing by increasing it intrinsic coil capacitance, (self capacitance/parasitic capacitance).  I mentioned the process in the D Activator thread, and you can also make it adjustable too, as well as test out many different values with a few alligator clips.  probably will work better for a jb since it has mirror coils to the best of my knowledge, and not dual res.

There are other things you can do as well to passively alter things,  as well as actively,  although most people  don't like to fuss with batteries

Offline mesa0131

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 214
  • Karma: 10
    • View Profile
Re: Pickups that have left you less than impressed?
« Reply #12 on: July 29, 2012, 02:39:42 pm »
I think if you have a pickup you really like, but you want to tailor it more in your own person taste, then modding is great. But to take a pickup you genuinely don't like and tinker with it, may just leave you feeling like you wasted your time. Slim chance you'll like even after all that work and effort, you may just feel like youve gone insane (like i did with the D activator)
Altho I did like hte A8 mag swap in the D-activator it still have the same overall high end spike that i really did not like. Seem scratchy and harsh... And since my rig sounds great with other pickups i use, I aint changing it for a D Activator
Fine wines are found in glass bottles, not plastics sacks; As such, so are the finer electrons.

Offline Joey Voltage

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 52
  • Karma: 1
    • View Profile
Re: Pickups that have left you less than impressed?
« Reply #13 on: July 29, 2012, 03:12:32 pm »
I think if you have a pickup you really like, but you want to tailor it more in your own person taste, then modding is great. But to take a pickup you genuinely don't like and tinker with it, may just leave you feeling like you wasted your time. Slim chance you'll like even after all that work and effort, you may just feel like youve gone insane (like i did with the D activator)
Altho I did like hte A8 mag swap in the D-activator it still have the same overall high end spike that i really did not like. Seem scratchy and harsh... And since my rig sounds great with other pickups i use, I aint changing it for a D Activator

yeah I feel the same about that particular model.  There are some qualities I like about it and I can see how it might be good for certain applications which is why I haven't dumped them yet (that and they are yellow with black poles which might make it a bit tough), but generally yes I agree, engineering a solution to circumvent a very easy problem is seldom worth the effort.

For the cap thing though, literally took me 5 min to rig up so I could test in real time, and although It didn't change how I felt, at least I know.  so it was worth it in that regard.  although the flip side is that simple modification to something you do like can lead you to more tonal possibilities.

Offline mesa0131

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 214
  • Karma: 10
    • View Profile
Re: Pickups that have left you less than impressed?
« Reply #14 on: July 29, 2012, 05:14:52 pm »
Indeed! As is why I'm glad i have A8 mags, and they are fun to drop into A5 pickups, just adds some output and boosts the lows and highs a smidgin. I did this today a few minutes ago in a '91 Ibanez V1 neck pickup and man did it fix that pickup right up! The added power and clarity was just what that thing needed.
Fine wines are found in glass bottles, not plastics sacks; As such, so are the finer electrons.