Author Topic: Help with pickup vs wood type  (Read 5334 times)

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Offline audiosalvage

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Help with pickup vs wood type
« on: February 18, 2015, 08:04:00 pm »
Hi, I've got an SDS1 which sounds great in my Alder MIM strat but when I put one in my ash Lead II strat, it sounds thin and shrill.    I also have a MIM strat with a GFS Lil Killer which sounds much like the SDS but humbucking.  Would I experience the same result if I put one of these in an ash body strat? Is there a pickup that will warm up this guitar?  By the way, the original X-1 pickups are great in neck of both guitars.

Offline corypheus

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Re: Help with pickup vs wood type
« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2015, 11:10:39 am »
Ash's on the brighter side of things and to my ears a little devoid of mids but not super scooped, sounds pretty 'pop' to me. I'd personally pair it with something with a higher DC Resistance rating (warmer), a bit rolled off treble and something with a fat mids.

I personally tried DP225  (BC-1) which is hum cancelling (not a true singlecoil) and a bit louder then SDS1 (though not that much), and loved it for blues and any kind of rock, definitely not shrill or thin sounding on my Fender Ash Deluxe. Completely clean was pretty okay too, but I use the second and fourth positions for clean on that strat anyway (never use only bridge pickup for clean sounds).

Haven't tried the GFS Lil Killer so I can't comment how that would sound. I guess it doesn't cost you anything but few minutes to try, no?

As far as other true singlecoils from DiMarzio, hopefully someone other can chime in since I only really tried the True Velvet series and if you found SDS1 thin, you definitely wouldn't like True Velvet.

Offline darkbluemurder

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Re: Help with pickup vs wood type
« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2015, 01:44:44 pm »
Ash's on the brighter side of things and to my ears a little devoid of mids but not super scooped, sounds pretty 'pop' to me.

Usually yes, but individual pieces of wood - even the same species - can sound vastly different from each other. There are other factors coming into play such as body size, construction and hardware, so it's very difficult to exactly predict how a pickup sounds in a specific guitar until you try for yourself.

Cheers Stephan
Area 67, Area 58, VV Pro 54, Injector neck, HB2, Cruisers, Virtual Solo, SDS-1, Area T set, Area Hot T, Area T 615, Virtual Hot T, Chopper, Chopper T, Bluesbucker, Breed set, Air Norton, SD, DLX+, DLX-90, DP240, DP198, VHPAF, AT-1, Morse set, Super Distortion S; Norton

Offline corypheus

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Re: Help with pickup vs wood type
« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2015, 02:41:11 pm »
Ash's on the brighter side of things and to my ears a little devoid of mids but not super scooped, sounds pretty 'pop' to me.

Usually yes, but individual pieces of wood - even the same species - can sound vastly different from each other. There are other factors coming into play such as body size, construction and hardware, so it's very difficult to exactly predict how a pickup sounds in a specific guitar until you try for yourself.

Cheers Stephan

Actually there's also the body weight, the wood age, the finish and countless different things that affect tone. We can, however, take a good guess how will something affect tone, this is what OP asked for. We ain't here to overcomplicate things to the OP, we're here to help and if in any way possible simplify his/her search for the tone he/she is looking for. I said what ash sounds in general, what he can expect in general. There's whole other thing that, to my ears, DiMarzios are much less picky (again, in general - then some other manufacturer's pu) as far as different woods go, specifically in same species. It's a fact that simply saying "can't help you until you try yourself" isn't helpful.


Cory
« Last Edit: February 23, 2015, 02:44:36 pm by corypheus »

Offline darkbluemurder

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Re: Help with pickup vs wood type
« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2015, 04:39:14 am »
Actually there's also the body weight, the wood age, the finish and countless different things that affect tone. We can, however, take a good guess how will something affect tone, this is what OP asked for. We ain't here to overcomplicate things to the OP, we're here to help and if in any way possible simplify his/her search for the tone he/she is looking for. I said what ash sounds in general, what he can expect in general. There's whole other thing that, to my ears, DiMarzios are much less picky (again, in general - then some other manufacturer's pu) as far as different woods go, specifically in same species. It's a fact that simply saying "can't help you until you try yourself" isn't helpful.

I am fully aware of all that, and I certainly did not want to overcomplicate things. I would agree that swamp ash tends to have more of a midscoop which usually accentuates low and high frequencies. But if the midscoop is in a certain part of the midrange, the guitar can sound very dark. I have such a guitar with a swamp ash body that has boomy bass, is dark in the midrange and has good but not overbearing highs. The pickups typically recommended for swamp ash (strong mids and lows) all failed miserably in this guitar and produced muddy bass even on the bridge pickup. The only combination that worked was Air Norton in the bridge and a Bluesbucker in the neck because they were bright enough to balance out the inherent darkness of that guitar.

I have never had a similar experience with an alder or mahogany bodied guitar. Neither wood usually does exhibit a midscoop as does ash.

As for the rest I feel you gave the correct advice to the OP.

Cheers Stephan
Area 67, Area 58, VV Pro 54, Injector neck, HB2, Cruisers, Virtual Solo, SDS-1, Area T set, Area Hot T, Area T 615, Virtual Hot T, Chopper, Chopper T, Bluesbucker, Breed set, Air Norton, SD, DLX+, DLX-90, DP240, DP198, VHPAF, AT-1, Morse set, Super Distortion S; Norton

Offline corypheus

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Re: Help with pickup vs wood type
« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2015, 09:15:19 am »
Actually there's also the body weight, the wood age, the finish and countless different things that affect tone. We can, however, take a good guess how will something affect tone, this is what OP asked for. We ain't here to overcomplicate things to the OP, we're here to help and if in any way possible simplify his/her search for the tone he/she is looking for. I said what ash sounds in general, what he can expect in general. There's whole other thing that, to my ears, DiMarzios are much less picky (again, in general - then some other manufacturer's pu) as far as different woods go, specifically in same species. It's a fact that simply saying "can't help you until you try yourself" isn't helpful.

I am fully aware of all that, and I certainly did not want to overcomplicate things. I would agree that swamp ash tends to have more of a midscoop which usually accentuates low and high frequencies. But if the midscoop is in a certain part of the midrange, the guitar can sound very dark. I have such a guitar with a swamp ash body that has boomy bass, is dark in the midrange and has good but not overbearing highs. The pickups typically recommended for swamp ash (strong mids and lows) all failed miserably in this guitar and produced muddy bass even on the bridge pickup. The only combination that worked was Air Norton in the bridge and a Bluesbucker in the neck because they were bright enough to balance out the inherent darkness of that guitar.

I have never had a similar experience with an alder or mahogany bodied guitar. Neither wood usually does exhibit a midscoop as does ash.

As for the rest I feel you gave the correct advice to the OP.

Cheers Stephan

Yeah, some woods are more uniform in the same species (mahogany is more uniform as far as sound goes even cross species - ie khaya vs honduran), I haven't yet stumbled upon as finicky piece as you did (well, I did with Sen ash, but Sen isn't really a type of ash at all so that's besides the point), I do agree such pieces are a special case, I am sad you got one such on your guitar. In general though, that's a minority.

There's another thing that perhaps many will disagree with me on, but certain pickups do excellent job in masking the guitar's tone. In general, a large magnet ceramics do this the best (aside the obvious active pickups) to my experience, but also, for some reason, the Air versions of some higher output pickups (as far as DMZ goes) as well. I'm not saying Air Zone or Air Norton sound the same in mahogany alder or ash, but I am saying that, for some reason, these pickups tend to filter the negative aspects (overbearing highs of maple, muddy lows of specific heavy mahogany piece etc) of a finicky guitar wood much better, giving a predictive sound that is quite similar in many different woods. This might explain why you liked the AN on the bridge as much, since it remedied some of that muddiness/darkness of the wood without adding any unnecessary brightness.

Just my experience anyway.

Offline darkbluemurder

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Re: Help with pickup vs wood type
« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2015, 05:19:42 am »
There's another thing that perhaps many will disagree with me on, but certain pickups do excellent job in masking the guitar's tone. In general, a large magnet ceramics do this the best (aside the obvious active pickups) to my experience, but also, for some reason, the Air versions of some higher output pickups (as far as DMZ goes) as well. I'm not saying Air Zone or Air Norton sound the same in mahogany alder or ash, but I am saying that, for some reason, these pickups tend to filter the negative aspects (overbearing highs of maple, muddy lows of specific heavy mahogany piece etc) of a finicky guitar wood much better, giving a predictive sound that is quite similar in many different woods. This might explain why you liked the AN on the bridge as much, since it remedied some of that muddiness/darkness of the wood without adding any unnecessary brightness.

I noticed that as well. Some pickups can sound radically different in various guitars whereas others try to dominate the guitar - the latter is often good for finicky guitars.

Cheers Stephan
Area 67, Area 58, VV Pro 54, Injector neck, HB2, Cruisers, Virtual Solo, SDS-1, Area T set, Area Hot T, Area T 615, Virtual Hot T, Chopper, Chopper T, Bluesbucker, Breed set, Air Norton, SD, DLX+, DLX-90, DP240, DP198, VHPAF, AT-1, Morse set, Super Distortion S; Norton

Offline Steve K

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Re: Help with pickup vs wood type
« Reply #7 on: March 18, 2015, 05:59:48 pm »
The guitar wood does not effect the tone in any way.Just the pickups.
« Last Edit: March 18, 2015, 06:06:15 pm by Steve K »

Offline darkbluemurder

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Re: Help with pickup vs wood type
« Reply #8 on: March 19, 2015, 04:37:01 am »
The guitar wood does not effect the tone in any way.Just the pickups.

We had that discussion here http://www.dimarzioforum.com/forum/index.php/topic,5138.0.html, starting after reply #9.

Cheers Stephan
Area 67, Area 58, VV Pro 54, Injector neck, HB2, Cruisers, Virtual Solo, SDS-1, Area T set, Area Hot T, Area T 615, Virtual Hot T, Chopper, Chopper T, Bluesbucker, Breed set, Air Norton, SD, DLX+, DLX-90, DP240, DP198, VHPAF, AT-1, Morse set, Super Distortion S; Norton

Offline Steve K

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Re: Help with pickup vs wood type
« Reply #9 on: March 19, 2015, 01:31:09 pm »
The guitar wood does not effect the tone in any way.Just the pickups.

We had that discussion here http://www.dimarzioforum.com/forum/index.php/topic,5138.0.html, starting after reply #9.

Cheers Stephan

Thanks can't wait to read this.

Offline greenlion

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Re: Help with pickup vs wood type
« Reply #10 on: March 22, 2015, 10:28:08 am »
Before blaming the wood, you need to check and see if the pot values are the same, if the circuit is the same, if the pickups are at the same position on the body, if the scale length is the same, and if the bridge/nut are the same. If it is none of these, then it is likely the wood. I found a volume pot in a particularly dead sounding new PRS SE guitar that metered only 215 ohms.

Offline Guitar74

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Re: Help with pickup vs wood type
« Reply #11 on: June 06, 2019, 08:19:24 pm »
Actually there's also the body weight, the wood age, the finish and countless different things that affect tone. We can, however, take a good guess how will something affect tone, this is what OP asked for. We ain't here to overcomplicate things to the OP, we're here to help and if in any way possible simplify his/her search for the tone he/she is looking for. I said what ash sounds in general, what he can expect in general. There's whole other thing that, to my ears, DiMarzios are much less picky (again, in general - then some other manufacturer's pu) as far as different woods go, specifically in same species. It's a fact that simply saying "can't help you until you try yourself" isn't helpful.

I am fully aware of all that, and I certainly did not want to overcomplicate things. I would agree that swamp ash tends to have more of a midscoop which usually accentuates low and high frequencies. But if the midscoop is in a certain part of the midrange, the guitar can sound very dark. I have such a guitar with a swamp ash body that has boomy bass, is dark in the midrange and has good but not overbearing highs. The pickups typically recommended for swamp ash (strong mids and lows) all failed miserably in this guitar and produced muddy bass even on the bridge pickup. The only combination that worked was Air Norton in the bridge and a Bluesbucker in the neck because they were bright enough to balance out the inherent darkness of that guitar.

I have never had a similar experience with an alder or mahogany bodied guitar. Neither wood usually does exhibit a midscoop as does ash.

As for the rest I feel you gave the correct advice to the OP.

Cheers Stephan

I have the same issue with an RG that my brother in law gave me. The pickups that would normally work well and sound balanced with a basswood bodied, locking trem guitar, sound like a dark muddy mess. I actually went with a Super 2 in it, and it actually sounds balanced in this guitar. In any other guitar I have, it would sound like a shrill mess, but not this guitar. So yes, no two pieces of wood are alike, no two snowflakes. Sorry, I waxed all Arnold Horshack for a second.