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Topics - Strangeman86

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Gear Closet / Keeley Retro Super Germanium Phat Mod
« on: September 15, 2018, 05:41:57 pm »
I've previously owned the 'regular' Germanium Super Phat Mod before, and I thought it was brilliant.  It just didn't have that... extra special something for me.  Then when Keeley announced the 'Retro' version I was curious what the differences were and how it would be better.  According to Keeley's website a germanium amplifier stage has been added to the front end of the SPM to take the circuit to '11'.  That being said...

- Touch sensitive and articulate like a great tube amp (just as great with volume knob adjustments and doesn't lose your pick attack when palm muting)!!
- Evenly overdriven across all frequencies/strings no matter how dirty or clean your amp is set (some drives NEED a slightly driven amp to work their best, this one does not).
- Essentially as thick or thin sounding as you like via the flat/phat switch and tone knob (I love it in the phat mode with the tone around 1 o'clock).
- It's not meant to emulate an amplifier, but it has many of the sonic qualities of my favorite small combo (the Fender Musicmaster Bass amp with 6v6's).
- The drive range goes from smokey crunch to grunty fuzz (I enjoy the knob at about 9 o'clock) and that covers a lot of sonic ground for me.
- Mike Hermans has done a spectacular video demo on youtube, but I think it sounds BETTER in real life.
- Is easily the best overdrive I've used by a wide margin and is now my favorite.

- Limited to 250 pieces (for now; I imagine with enough demand it may make a comeback one day).
- Paint job is likely a bit over the top for some, though well done.
- The input/output jacks are still on the left and right sides of the pedal (I know, this is likely much easier to manufacture, but it still makes pedalboard real estate more fun to manage).

The Pickup Place / High Order Pickups Custom Humbucker
« on: September 10, 2018, 01:59:42 pm »
Custom humbucker from High Order pickups.  A little over 14k, standard-thick ceramic magnet.  Requested to be dark/thick.  Tonal references were the Norton and the Dominion.

- Clarity on par or better than most 'fancier' pickups I've heard/tried.
- Not compressed at all.
- EQ sounds pretty close to a Custom Custom or a Steve Morse the way I hear it.
- Smooth and sweet highs, just the tiniest bit of vocal/expressive quality in the mids and a pleasantly tight/round bottom.
- Less than $100 after shipping.

- Not quite as dynamically responsive as other pickups, but certainly not devoid of them.
- Can't get it in double cream.
- Jeff IS High Order Pickups and it takes around a month to get your order out.

Overall, a beautiful pickup.  Probably more vintage than modern, but will certainly chug when I ask it to.  It's very happy being clean or dirty, soloing or chords of any variety.  Jeff builds wonderful pickups that allow you to (in my experience; this is the fifth pickup I've ordered from him) express more of your playing than simply the voice of the pickup.

The Pickup Place / Another new direction...
« on: July 30, 2018, 05:10:08 pm »
Big edit and simplification.  I'd love some suggestions for something voiced like a slightly higher output and more aggressive Norton with a tighter bottom end and all the harmonic content.  Any help is greatly appreciated.

The Pickup Place / Direct mounting...
« on: July 24, 2018, 04:37:09 pm »
Just curious what folks' experiences are with direct mounting vs mounting rings?  Also, what method of mounting did you use?

The Pickup Place / Public Service Announcement...
« on: July 10, 2018, 05:48:53 pm »
If you've ever pondered about using two ceramic spacers as individual magnets for a humbucker (thereby leaving a gap in the middle of the pickup), let me discourage that line of thinking.  It sounds like complete dog snot, I don't care what 'bucker you try it on.  Happy mod'ing to all.

The Pickup Place / Norton mod...
« on: July 06, 2018, 08:15:58 am »
So at the suggestion of another forum member (corypheus) I grabbed a Norton.  Freaking love it, but stock it's not quite as articulate as I'd like and it's a bit too dark on the high end.  I've got some other things on order to possibly/probably modify it a bit more in the future, but for now... I removed the stock 3/4" screws and put in some Mojotone 1/2" screws and SHAZAM!!  Quite a bit more articulation (or note separation, whatever you prefer), the high end opened up a bit (gave it a bit more 'sing') and the low end is tighter as well.  I suspect the change in tone/timbre is related to two subjects: the length of the screws and likely the difference in alloys between the stock screws and Mojo's.  But, in the past, I've swapped out SD's screws for Mojo's as well and had 99% positive results.  Just food for thought.

Gear Closet / Barber Gain Changer SR
« on: July 05, 2018, 10:39:14 pm »
Up front, I love the standard Gain Changer and the GCX (really just a gain changer with expanded tone controls).  They're stupidly versatile and, although I despise this term for its overuse, about as transparent as you can find in an OD box.  The SR (special recipe for those not familiar with David's pedals), however, is a whole lot better.  It is quite a bit more refined than its predecessors.  To my ears it's a tad warmer with greater clarity, takes higher output pickups MUCH better and is sweeter overall.  I feel like it cleans up better as well.  My favorite aspect though is that I actually enjoy the lower gain toggle setting now (on the GC and GCX I never enjoyed the feel/timbre of it).  If you're in the market for an OD that is very versatile and will respond to your playing/guitar/setup with all the nuance you could want, shoot David an email.  I hope the day finds you all well.

The Pickup Place / I'm so sorry...
« on: June 19, 2018, 05:08:57 pm »
I can never leave well-enough alone.  I put the old neck back on my guitar (new neck is a little skinny, maple/pau ferro with stainless frets; old neck is very fat, roasted maple/bocote with nickel frets) just to see what would happen ... I miss the fat neck.  But I digress, to the point.  I tried my ADM and my Imperium (both with multiple magnets) and neither of them like my guitar with my old neck.  I was forced to put my SD Custom Shop Gryphon back in (Custom slug coil, Pegasus screw coil) and it was like using a comfortable, well-worn blanket.  I'm so sorry for betraying you fine folks here in this forum!   :'( :'( :'( :'( :'(

The Pickup Place / Gravity Storm Revisited...
« on: June 12, 2018, 03:45:15 pm »
Newer guitar, time to retry something.  This is what I wanted the Breed to sound like.  Great growl, some serious low end thunder (I know some folks have found the GS's low end flubby, it's just BIG in my guitar), rounded top end and smooth.  Good response to pick attack (it gets.... bubbly for lack of a better word).  I feel like this is a happy/major-chord sounding pickup; and by contrast I feel like the Imperium is a more serious/minor-chord sounding pickup.  I haven't had a chance to put some real volume on it yet (sleeping wife and baby) but I feel like this might be tied for my favorite Dimarzio now (with the Al Di Meola).  I hope the day finds you all well.

The Pickup Place / Blackouts Modular Preamp...
« on: May 31, 2018, 04:35:29 pm »
I know, it isn't specifically a pickup, but it interacts directly with and modifies the sound of one so... forgive me? 

Adds 'fatness' to every note.
Maintains core voice of the affected pickup.
Adds gobs of output and just a hair of compression (although I've heard from other folks that the output added is only to a certain point).

Level of output can be too much if you're used to lower output pickups (or are more of a clean player).
There's a bit of high end loss that is likely the cause of a slight loss of clarity.
Adds in that 'active' feel to your sound.

A fantastic idea that would be greatly improved with a bypass switch to easily go back to the normal voice of your pickup when desired.

The Pickup Place / Imperium magnet swap...
« on: May 28, 2018, 01:16:32 am »
Never one to leave well enough alone, I did some surgery and put a 1/4" rough A5 into my second favorite Dimarzio, the Imperium.  It's not that I didn't like the sonic qualities of the pickup with the stock thick ceramic, but it was more aggressive than I need most of the time.  The largest change is the attack.  It's less cutting now and has a more rounded punch.  Everything growls and (using a modern sonic reference) purrs more than before.  Cleans are more bubbly and less glassy, driven tones have a bit of cream to them and the pickup feels a bit less compressed.  In the context of its new home (my wife's guitar, which is very les-paul-esque) it sounds huge and hasn't shown any drawbacks in the modification yet (more to follow if it does though).  I hope the day finds you all well and happy modifications to all!

The Pickup Place / Al Di Meola (DP202) bridge...
« on: May 22, 2018, 05:23:43 am »
All descriptions are in the context of my guitar (parts-caster: alder body, maple neck, pau ferro fingerboard, SS frets and a hipshot bridge with three tusq saddles for the plain strings).  My guitar is bright and too much treble is my most common problem no matter what pickup I'm using.  The ADM does not have a treble problem.  It certainly has enough to cut through and be heard, but it's one of the 'sweetest' pickups I've laid ears on.  The mids are open, airy, vocal and abundant but NOT HONKY.  The low end is quite powerful for a lower output pickup but firm with just the right amount of punch.  Overall attack is great without being obnoxious and while there isn't much natural compression (at least compared to most of the pickups I've tried) I don't hear a loss in sustain.  The note separation (and the touch sensitivity for that matter) beats every other pickup I've tried, period (the Imperium and a custom Seymour were pretty well tied for first before, but they're second and third fiddle now).  The pickup sounds/feels a lot louder than the specs would indicate (275mV output; the few reviews I was able to find expressed this as well).  While I can understand why this isn't listed on the main site anymore, I'm very surprised it isn't more popular. 

The Pickup Place / Imperium
« on: March 16, 2018, 08:47:36 am »
The best thing I can say about this humbucker is that it's extremely fun to play with any amount of dirt (the clean isn't quite as amazing, but it's still great). This is probably the 'happiest' metal pickup I've ever heard (if any quality of a pickup could be quantified/categorized as 'happy') and it doesn't fight me no matter what I try and throw at it. I could literally write a few paragraphs (and did, but they sounded super cheesy) about how much I enjoy this pickup. I only wish it had a touch more low end. I got it on a whim and have no buyers remorse. Oh, by the by, check out the official demo that Mr. Davidson did, the sound is very true to life.

The Pickup Place / So I got bored...
« on: February 08, 2018, 04:42:00 pm »
To get right to the point, I had a Mo' Joe lying around that was begging to be wrenched on.  So I took out the stock A5 mag', put in a roughcast A3 and aired the northern bobbin (the one closer to the neck).  I'm flat floored with the results!  I didn't have any idea it would sound as mean as it does (lots of growl, a bit of a 'smokey' feel to the high notes when overdriven).  The last time I put an A3 in ANYTHING it was neutered, but this is a whole new animal!  I'll report back when the honeymoon is over.

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