Author Topic: smooth pickup to replace breed neck  (Read 390 times)

Offline mobys436

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smooth pickup to replace breed neck
« on: May 08, 2020, 11:47:07 pm »
Installed a set of breeds in my parts strat. Digging these much better than the jb/59 combo I had in it before. The guitar is inherently bright with lots of pop so the fatness and smoothness of the breeds seem to work well, but...not 100% satisfied with the neck tbh

It's fat for sure, but it still has a glassy, sharp pick attack that I dislike in neck pickups, and it's too loud compared to the bridge pickup. I suppose that makes sense because it was designed for a 24 fret guitar. I've tried messing with the pickup height to no avail.

I'm considering getting an air norton for the neck. It has a lower mV rating so less output, and it's a smooth pickup afaik. I've tried it before in an Ibanez RG and I remember liking it, really good for smooth, singing leads. My main concern is how it will balance with the breed in the bridge? Is it different enough from the breed neck to warrant trying it? Liquifire instead?

Offline HarlowTheFish

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Re: smooth pickup to replace breed neck
« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2020, 03:13:45 am »
For max smoothness I'd say either Air Norton or one of the Petrucci pickups. To my personal tastes they're smooth to the detriment of a lot of detail and clarity (tbh the Breed is about as smooth as I'd wanna go personally, and even then only in a bright axe) but if that's what you're going for you're probably gonna have a good time. Just keep them low to balance because the hella bass and mids will make them seem a lot louder than they actually are.

Offline mobys436

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Re: smooth pickup to replace breed neck
« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2020, 03:28:59 am »
That's exactly what I'm going for, smooth to the point where you hear virtually no pick attack and the notes kinda smush together in fast runs. I wonder how it will balance with the breed bridge tone wise? I've read on a different thread that they don't match very well in the same guitar

Offline HarlowTheFish

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Re: smooth pickup to replace breed neck
« Reply #3 on: May 09, 2020, 08:12:05 pm »
TBF the Air Norton doesn't really balance well tonally with anything other than the Tone Zone (which has just as much bass) and the Petrucci pickups are intentionally unbalanced so you have a really sharp bridge pickup and a really smooth neck.

Offline mobys436

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Re: smooth pickup to replace breed neck
« Reply #4 on: May 09, 2020, 08:38:49 pm »
Do you think being further away from the bridge ina 22 frer guitar would make up for that?

Offline HarlowTheFish

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Re: smooth pickup to replace breed neck
« Reply #5 on: May 09, 2020, 08:47:09 pm »
It'll make it more unbalanced, if anything. They're just way too fat for most bridge pickups - the Tone Zone and D-Activator X would probably manage okay. If you really want a super smooth neck pickup that balances well with the bridge, you want a bridge pickup that has a lot of bass and mids and not a whole lot of treble.
The Breed bridge is pretty fat, but it's also got a decent bit of treble and clarity, so either way a super smooth neck will stand out. Will it be unmusically unbalanced? Maybe not, but that's really in the ear of the behearer(?) and very dependent on your particular setup, playing style, and taste.

Offline mobys436

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Re: smooth pickup to replace breed neck
« Reply #6 on: May 09, 2020, 08:55:54 pm »
oh i see what you're saying, the air norton too bass heavy to match with anything but the tone zone. that's interesting the eq chart for the air norton is B:6.5/M:7/T:5 while the breed neck is 7.5/7.5/5, but I guess eq isn't everything.

I wish I could just buy the air norton to try, but then I have to drill out the holes in the feet to direct mount it, then I can't exchange it, and it makes it difficult to resale....

Offline greenlion

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Re: smooth pickup to replace breed neck
« Reply #7 on: May 09, 2020, 10:58:36 pm »
I don't like the Air Norton because of its lack of pick attack, but it may be exactly what you are looking for. To me it is a mud bomb that doesn't even feel like playing a guitar when I use a lot of gain. More like a synthesizer. There is some kind of strange "emptiness" to the Breed neck that I never liked too. I do like the Liquifire though.

Offline HarlowTheFish

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Re: smooth pickup to replace breed neck
« Reply #8 on: May 10, 2020, 02:37:23 am »
oh i see what you're saying, the air norton too bass heavy to match with anything but the tone zone. that's interesting the eq chart for the air norton is B:6.5/M:7/T:5 while the breed neck is 7.5/7.5/5, but I guess eq isn't everything.

I wish I could just buy the air norton to try, but then I have to drill out the holes in the feet to direct mount it, then I can't exchange it, and it makes it difficult to resale....
Yeah the Breed has a lot of bass, but it's much more controlled and the pickup as a whole is much more articulate, so it doesn't show as much. The AN has basically zero treble in practice, so the low mids and bass are a lot more apparent (and the attack a lot less), really the only place I'd even consider using it myself is in an archtop or semi where it's the only pickup.
If you've played basically any Ibby RG Prestige in the past 6-7 years, they mostly have a TZ/AN setup. They're pretty even tonally (the basswood ones at least), leaning a touch to bright, but that setup makes them super grindy and crunchy, great for modern rock. Since both pickups have a ton of low end, you can set your amp up in a way that'll work with both pretty well. In a less balanced setup, you need to decide in advance which tones you're gonna use for the neck pickup and which are for the bridge pickup and any splits - otherwise your neck pickup is gonna be muddy and inaudible unless you overpower the rest of the band with volume, or the bridge pickup is gonna be as sharp as Nippon steel folded over a thousand times.

I don't like the Air Norton because of its lack of pick attack, but it may be exactly what you are looking for. To me it is a mud bomb that doesn't even feel like playing a guitar when I use a lot of gain. More like a synthesizer. There is some kind of strange "emptiness" to the Breed neck that I never liked too. I do like the Liquifire though.

The synth description is pretty accurate. The JP pickups have more of a midrange focus and less bass compared to the AN so they play a bit better under gain IMO, but they seem pretty flat and characterless - which makes sense, the JP sound is basically all Mesa Mark and the pickup just needs to give it the right kind of push. I'm a H&K player and their amps are really transparent, so I need my guitars to have a lot of color and character to make up for it. I like the Suhr pickups in my Strandberg and the Kiesel Lithiums in my CL6 the most, with the Dimarzio Fusion Edge set in my RGR Prestige (ash body, rather than basswood) being a close third (though they're pretty transparent themselves - the guitar has a ton of color even acoustically, which makes up for it). I find that Marshall and Vox amps (and those based on them - my Grandmeister is basically a very angry multi-channel AC30 tonally) react similarly and want some character from the guitar, but Fenders, Mesas, and stuff like the 5150 and 6505 are a lot friendlier to a more transparent or flat setup.

What might work for you is a magnet swap - an A4 would give you a really sweet midrange (probably my favorite magnet for more vintage-vibey applications personally) and cut the treble a bit while staying defined; something like an A2 would give you a ton of low-mids and a pretty noticeable treble and attack drop.