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Messages - Strangeman86

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1
The Pickup Place / Re: DiMarzio Twang King / Area T / Virtual T
« on: June 12, 2019, 10:49:38 am »
Well, it isn't an ideal solution for some, but if you can't find a 'stock' tele-style pickup that works you could always call up either Seymour Duncan or Mojotone. They both offer custom pickups in most styles (albeit for a higher than normal price).

2
The Pickup Place / The Domperium...
« on: June 05, 2019, 08:57:06 am »
So, I was curious again.  Apparently curiosity killed some cat however long ago, silly cat.  Anyway...  I decided to take one of my Dominion's and splice in part of an Imperium (specifically, the 'northern' or neck coil is from the Dominion and the 'southern' or bridge coil is from the Imperium).  The magnet setup is the Imperium's (3/8" thick ceramic with a spacer pad to isolate it from the frame), the Dominion coil still has the keeper bar making direct contact with the magnet, but the bar doesn't touch the frame (I have no idea if that makes a difference, but I KNOW the magnet being isolated from the frame makes a world of difference in the high end based on previous endeavors).

To my ears, this particular mutation is more balanced than either of the individual designs (likely from the disparity between the coils).  There's still some compression going on, but it's more subtle.  The overall output feels like it's somewhere between the Dom. and the Imp. (I have no way to measure, sorry).  The low end is kind of punchy and not muddy, the mids are reduced from either individual pickup (and feel wider as opposed to being focused in a certain range) but in a pleasant fashion and the high end is open and smooth.  There's a good amount of bite with distortion and a great mix between the Dom's more raucous nature and the Imp's velvet-fisted control.  The cleans, are absolutely wonderful.  Not a honk in sight (like a lot of 'buckers) and a bit of chime and depth. 

I wouldn't go so far as to say it's perfect, but so far I'm digging it.

3
The Pickup Place / Re: Dimarzio D Activator-X (bridge) Review...
« on: June 04, 2019, 11:18:16 am »
I know there was a thread recently talking about how high pickups should be and I commented that I simply adjust each pickup to taste. With my setup (medium action, guitar description in my sig') I like the DAX 2.5mm from the low E and roughly 1.3mm from the high e. Just in case anyone is curious.

4
The Pickup Place / Dimarzio D Activator-X (bridge) Review...
« on: June 03, 2019, 02:32:50 pm »
Hello folks!  I hope the day finds you all well!  Just wanted to present my thoughts on a long time curiosity of mine, the D Activator-X bridge model.

Pros:
- Output for days, but not overbearing (and if it's too much for you, just lower the pickup away from the strings a bit... or a lot, the pickup won't mind).
- Great clarity and note separation (not nearly as good as some, but vastly superior to others).
- Dynamically sensitive (again, not as good as some, but for a pickup with three giant ceramic magnets it's pretty stinkin' good).
- Don't let the EQ measurements fool you, the pickup feels a bit more 'flat' which I feel makes it more adaptable to multiple situations (your amp and pedal EQ adjustments are much more important though).
- A reasonably 'big' sound.
- The dual blades have always been an appealing look for me  ;D
- The extra output means you don't have to dig in or pick as hard.
- Lots of tasty harmonics that are easy to call forth.

Cons:
- Probably the biggest one is the EQ.  I've seen some folks describe this pickup as dull or lifeless.  And given that a lot of Dimarzio's humbuckers have a more mid-boosted voicing (Dominion, Imperium, Sonic Ecstacy, Pandemonium, etc...) it's easy to see why.
- The dual blade look isn't for everyone and you can't have it with a cover of any sort (although you can get it in a large number of colored bobbin combo's).
- Some folks like their pickups to be more subtle.  While it IS possible to be so with the DAX, it is certainly not its primary strength.
- Feels a bit stiff in certain situations.

Overall, a fantastic pickup if you need something big, powerful and almost neutral.  It will likely appeal more to players who want those qualities and like their effects/preamps/amps to do more of the voicing.  For me, it's more of a pallet cleanser after years of playing pickups with boosted mids.

5
The Pickup Place / Re: Sonic Ecstacy Review...
« on: May 30, 2019, 05:50:17 am »
If I ever decide to buy that one I certainly will.

6
The Pickup Place / Re: Pickup pole adjustment tool size
« on: May 29, 2019, 08:59:55 pm »
I only ever adjust the poles to keep the volume even between each string.

7
The Pickup Place / Re: Any chance of a stickied DiMarzio Mods post?
« on: May 29, 2019, 04:59:28 pm »
A twice-aired Dominion.  Obviously the standard Dimarzio fare of a gap between the pole pieces and the magnet, but also a gap (with some sort of pad, like the Imperium's magnet setup) between the magnet and the base plate.  It really cleans up the attack, opens up the treble in a super-pleasant way and increases the dynamic sensitivity quite a bit. I should also mention that I'm using an Imperium's 3/8ths in mag for this mod (I know, sacrificing one pickup for another) which makes up for most of the power lost in the air'ing process.

8
The Pickup Place / Sonic Ecstacy Review...
« on: May 29, 2019, 09:15:34 am »
Pros:
- Punch, girth and cajones (for lack of a better term).
- Fan-tastically articulate (especially on the bottom end).
- Surprisingly dynamically responsive for a pickup of this output (in other words, it cleans up fairly well when the volume pot is turned down).
- Beautiful, singing leads; authoritative, present rhythms. 
- Less compressed feeling than one might surmise.

Cons:
- Comes in one color with a specifically styled cover and a steep asking price (I got mine $21 off sticker, thank you early Memorial Day sales).
- Will likely play nicer with brighter instruments.

Overall, a great pickup!  If you need something to add some serious size to your sound and get your instrument to people's ears, look no further.  The EQ curve was initially what peaked my interest with this one (my guitar likes p'ups with lots of mids and darker highs).  Ever since I tried the Imperium, I haven't been truly happy with any other pickup, but this one... maybe.  I think they're evenly clear/articulate (albeit in slightly different ways).  Obviously the SonEc is much higher output (I could take it or leave it personally; output is much farther down my list than feel/EQ/tone).  The Imperium is smoother... I don't know, time will tell for me (I don't have a second electric so that both have a home).  For me, it's too much like comparing a professional, velvet-gloved assassin (the Imperium) to a middle-weight MMA fighter (the SonEc).

Overall,

9
The Pickup Place / Re: Guitar Pickups Sweet Spot (your experience)
« on: May 28, 2019, 07:34:30 pm »
Same here. It depends on the guitar and the pickups. I just adjust to taste

10
Gear Closet / Earthquaker Devices Cloven Hoof
« on: May 16, 2019, 07:29:36 pm »
I really wanted to let the honeymoon period wear off before I spoke my mind on this pedal (I've had it four solid months).  I'd been looking for an articulate, aggressive, dynamically responsive and doom-ish fuzz and every one that I'd tried or listened to came up very short of what I wanted.  I actually emailed the folks at Reverb who were kind enough to recommend this little box (in fact, the gentleman I spoke to had recently been looking for something similar, purchased and fell in love with this particular fuzz).  So I found one gently used and pulled the trigger.  Now...

Pros:
- Incredibly adjustable between the shift (mid frequency), tone and fuzz knobs.  It can go from dark and roaring to thin and splatty and a bunch of flavors in between.
- It sounds great with the fuzz knob anywhere (it really depends if you want more of a 'vintage' sound or something modern/heavier).
- It responds to adjustments of the volume knob wonderfully.
- Note separation is just fantastic.
- it has inspired me to write more than a handful of riffs/licks.

Cons:
- I constantly have to convince myself NOT to buy a second one (but on the real, it could use a hair more output on the volume knob, I almost have to max it out).
- The white LED is bloody blinding!

Overall, this is my dream fuzz.  It's a grind-y, chainsaw-y, wall of a fuzz that makes me smile every time I stomp it on.

11
Gear Closet / Re: Adventures in bridge building...
« on: May 12, 2019, 08:51:26 am »
The outer corners of both e saddles actually.  I did that when I had these saddles on a Hipshot base plate so I could use all of the intonation range.

12
Gear Closet / Re: Adventures in bridge building...
« on: May 08, 2019, 12:13:06 pm »
Now that I actually have a way to take decent photos, I thought I'd share the fruits of my labor.

13
Gear Closet / Adventures in bridge building...
« on: May 07, 2019, 10:52:16 am »
Some context before I spew forth, I love to tinker.  Often while tinkering I get too excited and end up either cosmetically damaging something or breaking something.  Recently I decided to try a new bridge on my parts-caster... because I can't leave well-enough alone.  For a few years now I've been using a Hipshot hardtail bridge (fantastic, solid, relatively cheap and simple to use) and it's worked wonderfully other than one issue.  I use rather thick, custom-gauged strings and tune to E standard, and the Hipshot will not pull the low E string back far enough to intonate correctly (this guitar has been plek'd and set up by Glaser Instruments in Nashville, but even they couldn't get it to intonate 100% correctly).  I end up tuning that string a bit too noticeably flat so fretted notes ring true.  So I did some research and bought a Babicz Full Contact bridge (an opportunity to try out an aluminum bridge as well).  Just before I got the Babicz in the mail I decided to drop some size from my strings and that has just about cleared up the intonation issue, but new gear needs to be tried.  To stop this story from hemorrhaging more, I ended up losing some pieces to the Babicz opening the package but I didn't want to send it back. 

Now that all that is out of the way, I intend to compare the sonic differences that come to my ears with different components.

Stock Hipshot Hardtail:  Fairly balanced, good high-end presence and bite, solid low end and very stable.  Just a bit too bright on my guitar.

Hipshot Hardtail with Tusq saddles:  Lots of mids and low end, I can feel more vibration in the guitar's body, smooth and creamy high end (they're great if you have a super bright instrument but with an average to dark instrument they'll likely sound like mud).  For some reason these make the strings feel a bit loose (although, that may just be the way the vibrations feel with Tusq vs the stock steel saddles).

Babicz Full Contact base plate with Tusq saddles:  First thing I noticed was that my guitar was lighter (the Hipshot's base plate is solid brass, but I didn't think I'd notice the difference) and, acoustically, just a bit louder (I feel the most vibration through the guitar's body with this setup as well).  Plugged in this setup gives me great high-end presence without being too bright and a different character/timbre than the brass/steel (hard to describe, more on that in the future).  I have noticed that notes do sustain just a little bit longer.  I believe the Tusq is providing balance in the low-end and midrange here (I suspect that if I'd been able to use the Babicz's stock saddles it might have been painfully bright).  This is my favorite of the three setups.  The clarity is better than either application of the Hipshot, it's lighter and the lip on the rear-wall of the base (it almost looks like a car's spoiler, which may not appeal to everyone) is pretty comfy to rest my hand on.  My favorite feature, however, is the small allen screw on the bass-side of the base that puts a little lateral pressure on the saddles and prevents them from moving (I've never had saddles feel so stable/tight/firm/whatever).

I apologize for being long winded, I have no one in my life right now to nerd-out with.  I just hope that my mis-adventures can help some folks either avoid mistakes or make better decisions with their instruments in the future.  I hope the day finds you all well.

14
Without opening the unending can of worms that is the tone-wood debate, I agree with DarthPhineas.  Pick something that you're familiar with at first so you can get an idea of the guitar's voice, then get specific with your pickup choice.  What I've personally noticed with the Imperium is that, even though the wind is mid-heavy, it still doesn't mind mid-heavy guitars.  It is overall tight and aggressive, a bit stiff at times, but less honky (to my ears) than the Gravity Storm or even the Dominion (another option you should look at if your guitar ends up being kind of bright).  As far as what Ascension said, a Custom 8 or even the stock Seymour Duncan Custom would also be a great choice if the guitar is mid-heavy (they're both nice and aggressive and sound a bit bigger than the Imperium, though from what you've said they might be a little too 'round' for you). 

15
I have no experience with the Satchur8 yet, the Illuminator is too boxy for my tastes (although it does have great clarity), but I LOVE the Imperium.  Very controllable and dynamic while still being able to kill small animals at ten yards.  I would also say that it's got that 'flat' quality to the low end that you're looking for.  I've tried ... at least nine different Dimarzio bridge pickups and the Imperium is by far my favorite.  Just my two cents.

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