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Messages - Strangeman86

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16
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

17
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.

18
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.

19
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.

20
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.

21
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). 

22
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.

23
The Pickup Place / Re: More Air
« on: April 11, 2019, 06:47:29 pm »
If we're talking mojotone 1/2in filisters vs Duncan's hex heads, the Duncan's are brighter and just a little tighter.  The mojotones are a smidge more open sounding. At least that's what I've heard in my experiences.

24
Gear Closet / N.O.C.3 Firefly Overdrive
« on: April 02, 2019, 11:01:27 am »
Pro's:
- Finally, I found an honest to goodness low gain OD.
- Great crunchy and dynamic voicing (not really breaking any molds here, sort of between a TS and a Blues Breaker to my ears).
- Very adjustable with a three-way mids toggle, a tone knob and presence and bass controls via internal trim pots (the last two are really handy for adjusting the circuit to work with your particular guitar).

Con's:
- No longer made (the used market is your friend).
- Not the most unique voicing.

Overall, a fun little dirt box that combines elements of different types of circuits and is really what I always wished some other pedals could have been. 

25
The Pickup Place / Re: More Air
« on: April 01, 2019, 08:45:09 pm »
I just looked through my box of pickup parts and found six half-inch screws of the same make and ended up liking the results. 

26
The Pickup Place / Re: More Air
« on: March 30, 2019, 09:07:25 am »
After trying it, I'm surprised it hasn't gained more popularity.  It certainly isn't a drastic change, but I feel like subtlety is often overlooked.

27
The Pickup Place / More Air
« on: March 28, 2019, 05:17:44 pm »
To stop myself from rambling...
- Purchased new pickup (from Duncan Custom Shop; 9.1k; darker, thicker, lower-output Custom Custom).
- Low end was a bit tubby, swapped the stock 3/4" fillister-heads for some 1/2" hex-heads from a Dimarzio (sacrilege) to tame it.  It worked.
- Decided to mod it further by 'airing' it, didn't have enough little plastic rings.
- I never liked the 'half-air' mod, to much emphasis on one coil's voice.
- 'Vari-air'd it (apparently envisioned by Frank Falbo).  This involves removing the keeper bar, placing one end of the magnet directly against the screw under the low strings and the other end directly against the slug under the high strings (cattywampus), then putting two little plastic rings in place (also cattywampus) to keep everything level.
- I prefer this to the half and full air mods.  It's a less drastic drop in output that still yields greater dynamic sensitivity while not over-emphasizing the voice of either coil.
- Your mileage may vary.

28
The Pickup Place / Re: Best humbucker for both cleans and dirt?
« on: February 27, 2019, 10:52:23 am »
While acknowledging the highly subjective nature of all things guitar, I tend to enjoy the Imperium when I want a Dimarzio that does clean AND dirty with equal aplomb. 

29
Gear Closet / Keeley KE-808 (Red Dirt Pro)
« on: February 26, 2019, 05:14:18 am »
If you haven't guessed/realized by now, yes, this is a tube screamer variant.  The proverbial cat being out of the bag, on to my thoughts...

I have sampled many a fancy screamer, but this one rises to the top.  While you certainly get the airy/singy midrange (it's thick and pronounced but not overbearing in most cases), you also get a very full low end and an extra smooth high end.  My favorite aspect of this circuit, however, is that the typical 'clean blend' texture that nearly all TS's and their ilk exhibit when played on a CLEAN channel is nearly non-existent.  Pick attack is not stifled and while there is some mild compression it cleans up with a volume knob as well as or better than anything out there.  My only complaint is that I wasn't able to get one in the purple finish (mine is 808 green, but it's #28 and signed by Mr. Keeley). 

Is this pedal breaking any new ground?  Not really.  But it feels/plays like a very refined and completed idea that makes me smile and want to play more. 

30
The Pickup Place / Re: PAF Pro/Air Zone not quite doing it for me
« on: January 30, 2019, 05:35:50 pm »
I can't help you with the neck (haven't had a neck pickup in years) but as far as the bridge goes... that vocal quality you're talking about is a common quality in dimarzios (at least all the ones i've come across).  The duncan custom (with an a2 or unoriented a5 magnet in it) would probably help tame the brightness you're hearing although the output would still be in the same ballpark.  Another option would be to email Jeff from HighOrder Pickups and tell him what you need (he's great at taking abstract tonal descriptions and turning them into fantastic humbuckers. Just my two cents.

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