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Messages - HarlowTheFish

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The Pickup Place / Re: Hvy Blues 2 vs Little '59 in neck
« on: June 06, 2020, 06:52:18 pm »
The Little 59 IMO is a pretty bunk-sounding pickup. Both too mushy in the low end and too stiff in the highs, and annoyingly fizzy on top without having any upper mids for articulation.

The Heavy Blues 2 will be a bit darker, but also actually good. It'll be a good match tonally for the Injector and Virtual Solo.

I would do a 500k volume, one 500k no-load tone (for the bridge), and one 250k no-load tone (for the neck & middle) - keep in mind, I do like a brighter sound so you might not want to do no-load tone pots.
As Stephan mentioned you can do a resistor trick to get the same tonal shift as using a 250k volume - add an autosplit for the bridge + middle setup, the resistor for anything that isn't the straight bridge hum, and you're golden. You'll definitely want a superswitch for this setup though, and while they're kind of a bitch to wire up you can do some really cool stuff (f.e. the Areas are a bit lower-output in hum-cancelling mode vs. when you split them), so to even out the pos. 2/4 volume drop you can set it to split the Areas there.

The Pickup Place / Re: AIR NORTON S muddy clean
« on: May 14, 2020, 01:55:19 pm »
It's a fat neck pickup, but it's not that warm in the bridge - a lot of folks actually find it kinda pokey. I'd go for something like a Chopper (if you still want a kind of single-coil vibe with some humbucker tossed in) or a Tone Zone S for maximum fatness and a good bit of output.
The AN and AN-S IMO are pretty unusably fat in the neck - I'd only really use them in a jazz guitar with only the one pickup (and even then I'd probably go with a Tone Zone rather than an AN). In the bridge it's kinda weird and finicky and folks are generally pretty so-so on it.

The Pickup Place / Re: smooth pickup to replace breed neck
« 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.

The Pickup Place / Re: smooth pickup to replace breed neck
« 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.

The Pickup Place / Re: smooth pickup to replace breed neck
« 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.

The Pickup Place / Re: smooth pickup to replace breed neck
« 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.

The Pickup Place / Re: 7 string thoughts
« on: April 07, 2020, 03:20:28 pm »
boost the mids to get some push to the higher notes.

Do you boost pre or post-distortion?

I always boost mids pre- and cut post-distortion, cut bass pre- and boost post- (because you cut mud but keep the thickness), and for treble it's more of a balancing act for cutting and boosting on either side of the gain.
Toss a TS-type pedal in front of your amp, get the tone to like 5% brighter than you'd want, then cut mids and treble as needed at the amp for a start. Then if you really need to toss an EQ in the loop to fine-tune.

The Pickup Place / Re: 7 string thoughts
« on: April 06, 2020, 03:55:51 pm »
You guys need to specify the tone wood of the guitar in such statements. I've tried the Pegasus in an alder body Ibanez RG7 (the Apex model), and the notes in the high register were quite thin. Not a pickup for lead players!

It could very well be that a basswood body gives a more even voicing, IDK.

I'm currently very happy with my CL7 / Liquifire7 combo in that alder guitar. :)
I've played it in mahogany, alder, and swamp ash. The thing with it is that because it's not thin on the low end, you can cut bass and treble while keeping the meat and clarity and boost the mids to get some push to the higher notes. The PAF7 set I've played in swamp ash and basswood, and it does a similar thing but with more of that Dimarzio mid flavor (which is cool, but not necessarily my vibe for 7-strings and lower tunings - I prefer a more even voicing when you have more range).
The CL/Liquifire set I'm not super keen on (like most of the JP pickups to be honest, in 6 and 7 string versions), because IMO unless you're running them in basically his same setup they sound kinda bland to my ears - JP's tone is all Mesa, and I think it really shows.

The Pickup Place / Re: DiMarzio Pickup Winding Machines
« on: April 05, 2020, 05:39:31 pm »
Theoretically, but it's genuinely more work to program a scatterwind into an automatic machine than to just do it by hand, and since most of the pickup designs that these companies make predate the scatterwinding hype train, they just are what they are - no worse, no better, just a particular sound and feel.

The Pickup Place / Re: DiMarzio Pickup Winding Machines
« on: April 04, 2020, 02:41:52 am »
You can't do a true scatter-wind unless your machine just turns the bobbin and you have someone guiding it by hand. Dimarzio (and Duncan, Fender, Gibson, all the bigger companies that make pickups) just have a set wind per pickup. It's not always gonna be uniform or identical between individual units, but it's no Bare Knuckle-style scatterwind.

IMO sure scatterwinding makes a difference, but a well-designed pickup is still gonna be good (and some of the "issues" scatterwinding fixes, like compression or clarity, are all in the ear of the be-listener).

The Pickup Place / Re: 7 string thoughts
« on: April 03, 2020, 11:00:14 pm »
Honestly my favorite 7-string pickups for not-the-chugs is the Pegasus/Sentient set from Duncan - really even voicing, balanced, not too much of any frequency, and the right blend of clarity and glue to the notes that makes the low B mesh well with the rest of them. If you're going Blaze Custom in the bridge, I'd probably do either the PAF7 for something more classic or the Ionizer 7 for something a bit more modern and sparkly.

The Pickup Place / Re: JP Neck Pickups
« on: February 26, 2020, 12:48:02 pm »
The one thing I will say in defense of the Air Norton. Yes, it has plenty of bass, but it seems to work perfectly in a basswood guitar with a double locking trem. To my ears, those both tend to shift the EQ to a little more trebly and less bassy, and both the Tone Zone and Air Norton just compensate for that perfectly to my ears.
I'm not a TZ/AN hater, I just prefer a brighter neck pickup. Hell, give me a TZ/Norton combo or double Nortons and I'm very happy. The TZ/AN combo works great for a beefy rock tone, but my favorite place for them is in a hollow-body or semi-hollow because they take these guitars that have a rich sound but lack punch and make them super grunty and muscular in a way that works really well for both cleans and higher-gain stuff (though the usual feedback caveats apply).

They do sound pretty killer in an Ibby Prestige though. The RG655 is one of my favorite-sounding superstrats and I still want one.

The Pickup Place / Re: JP Neck Pickups
« on: February 19, 2020, 04:25:58 pm »
Air Norton to me sounds like a jazz box - it's warm, thick, a little boomy, and somehow produces a godly lead tone when you give it a bunch of gain. Not my favorite personally, but really good when paired with something equally thick like a Tone Zone so you can set your amp up with less bass and compensate for both.

Liquifire was kinda like an AN with a bunch of the low end just chopped off, so you can still get that godly lead tone paired with a brighter bridge pickup. Still not super my thing, but IMO it works in a lot more situations than the AN.

The Illuminator and Sonic Ecstasy set are my favorites of the bunch - a lot of mids, sweet but present treble, and a very controllable low end (despite how much of it there is). The Illuminator is a bit brighter and snarlier, while the Sonic Ecstasy is a bit thicker and gruntier, with a touch less treble - think cranked AC15 (Illuminator) vs. cranked Tweed Junior (Sonic Ecstasy).

Haven't had a chance to try out anything with the Rainmaker yet, so I don't wanna give you bad advice on that, but the samples I've heard sound kinda disappointing to me, like a step backwards.

The Pickup Place / Re: Just curious: mini humbucker in HSS Strat?
« on: February 09, 2020, 09:13:11 pm »
Tim Henson from Polyphia has a Dimarzio set with a mini humbucker in the bridge and two tele neck pickups in the neck and middle and his sig sounds pretty killer - pretty much every tone on New Levels New Devils sounds crazy good.

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