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Topics - gregr

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The Pickup Place / Evolution Neck in an HSS?
« on: January 05, 2024, 02:50:05 AM »
I’ve been wanting to do an HSS for a while now. It’s been a long time since I last did one.

I’m looking for a humbucker with a bit more output than a PAF and single coils to clean up. I also want the neck pickup to get me in the ballpark of John Norum/Yngwie Malmsteen using a mid gain amp with a TS-style OD or a high gain amp.

At the moment I’m looking at the Gravity Storm Neck in the bridge. There’s a JB in the guitar now and I forgot just how fun they are to play. I’ll probably run it with an A2 for a while just to get my jollies. Ultimately I’d like something a bit lower in output with less midrange emphasis and without the strange low end that the JB has. I don’t quite know how to describe it. I’m thinking the Gravity Storm Neck will provide enough contrast with some authority, but still get along with the singles, tonally speaking. Again, I want to go from a fair amount of crunch to edge of breakup by switching over to the singles and clean up even more using the volume control. I’d like the single coils not to sound overly thin and brittle. I do plan on using 500k volume and tone controls and loading down the singles with a 270k resistor, give or take.

In the neck I’m looking at either an Area 67 or an HS-2, which, despite the low output seems to have a bit of grunt. I’m under the impression that a pair of HS-2s without the dummy coils will excel at the middle + neck position over a pair of Areas. I’m also thinking that I could use an HS-2 without the dummy coil in the neck for clean and edge of breakup and then enable the dummy coil for high gain, where the drop in output won’t really matter(?). I know the HB2 works well with humbuckers, but I’m looking for something that has some brightness and something relatively even through the mids. The 54P may even be a bit too much. In general I prefer the 67 over the 58 because of the higher resonant frequency. The 58 in the neck seems to be better suited for blues, which I don’t play. I prefer the 61 over the 58 in the neck if I want that kind of sound, but that’s neither here nor there.

I never hold out much hope for the bridge + middle position when using a humbucker, but if anyone has any insight let me know. I would likely use an Area 58 in the middle if I were to choose an Area.

I know the reduced string pull is a highlight of the Areas, but honestly, players have been using A5 pickups for well over 50 years. I realize the HS series are very low in output, but will this really be a problem?

Any insight/suggestions/alternative ideas are welcome. Maybe the Gravity Storm is the last thing I want, I don’t know.

EDIT: I changed the topic title from a Gravity Storm to an Evolution. I’ve convinced myself that I need something brighter.

The Pickup Place / Goodbye HFH
« on: August 04, 2023, 05:36:24 PM »
I gave the HFH another chance for several months this time around. It was nice at first but I grew tired of the bass response and lack of mids.

I replaced it with an A3-loaded Seymour Duncan 59N. I’m using a stacked pot as a PTB control in order to further manage the bass.

The bridge pickup is my usual Screamin’ Demon which is no match for a stock 59N. The Demon is leaner and weaker than a Duncan 59B, despite Duncan classifying it as a mid-gain pickup. Itself, the 59B in the bridge isn’t all that well balanced with a 59N to begin with. For those not familiar, the wire in the Demon is 43AWG and very under-wound. For reference the DCR is of the Screamin’ Demon is 10k while the Duncan Custom is 14k. In my opinion a Custom 5 pairs perfectly with a stock Duncan 59N.

With the with the bass set to minimum the 59 is able to balance tonally with the Demon. Turn it up and you get all that PAF goodness. The Demon has its own tone control and the output is controlled by a master volume.

The Pickup Place / The Area Hot T and EJ Custom Neck
« on: July 06, 2023, 01:43:14 PM »
This is my third topic on my Telecaster experience, apologies. I could have added this to either of the other discussions but I believe it warrants its own subject line.

This all started with me purchasing an Area Hot T for a friend which I had paired with a Vintage Minibucker Bridge in the neck of a $200 Squier. The Hot T sounded thin and the output was slightly low relative to the minibucker, but I could tell it was a great pickup. We ended up replacing the Area with a Chopper T and also replaced the die-cast saddles with steel ones. A set of 500k pots and we called it a day. He’s happy.

I was so impressed with the Area Hot T that I bought a Mexican Telecaster to put it in. It was initially paired with a Vintage Minibucker Neck but it didn’t cut enough. I exchanged the Minibucker for an EJ Custom Neck and am quite satisfied.

The volume control is 500k with a treble bleed. The tone is a dual 250k/500k concentric pot. The neck and middle position are using the 500k portion of the control while the bridge position is using the 250k portion.

With the tone rolled back a bit on the Area and after some minor height adjustments which include adjusting the fillisters on the EJ, the tonal balance and relative output between the two pickups are right on the money.

The EJ is indeed very lean and bright, but it still sounds best with 500k controls. With an additional capacitor and two resistors on the tone control I can warm it up nicely with it rolled back. With this modified control the EJ is very useable for jazz.

Between the treble bleed and the larger value volume control the Area Hot has more than enough Tele snap and spank. I opted for the dual control because the Area has so much bite that the EJ can’t keep up unless the tone on the Area is rolled back as I already mentioned. This would likely still be the case even if the Area were using 250k controls. I think this has more to do with pickup location than anything and is exacerbated by the fact that I have the Area up fairly high. I know I can load down the Area with a resistor, but with a separate tone control there’s no point; besides, it’s better to have too much than not enough.

The Pickup Place / HFH vs EJ Neck vs EJ Bridge
« on: June 06, 2023, 03:40:46 AM »
I’m emailing back and forth with DiMarzio but want to get some additional input while I wait for the next reply.

I’m currently using a Virtual Mini Neck with an Area Hot T the relative output is good but the mini is too warm.

I compared the Tele with another guitar that has an HFH and thought it could also be a good pairing, albeit a little fuller and a bit scooped compared the mini. The extra midrange of the mini compared to the HFH makes it seem almost as loud as the HFH.

The specs suggest that the EJs will be leaner than the HFH which will bode well for the Hot T. I’m wondering where the HFH sits relative to the EJ neck and bridge in terms of output and EQ. Based on demos the EJs seem to have quite a bit of push in the top end. This was particularly apparent in one that compares them to Burstbuckers, where the EJs cut right through.

Backing up a bit, I’m after a neck pickup that keeps the low strings bright and can cut like the Hot T. I fear that the neck version of the EJ will lack body and sound too uneven. At the same time I worry that the bridge version will be too hot.

I floated the idea in my last email about swapping in an Alnico 2 in order to drop the level and sweeten the highs of the EJs but haven’t heard back about it. I have reservations that an A2 could weaken the neck version too much, or warm the bridge version up too much, putting me back into the position I’m currently in with the mini.

The Pickup Place / Area Hot T/Minibucker Pairing
« on: May 03, 2023, 09:38:05 PM »
I just dropped an Area Hot T into a Squier Telecaster and bought a pickguard to house a mini humbucker. I’m interested in getting the Vintage Minibucker Bridge so that I can split it. What am I to expect when comparing  levels and tonality?

The Area is quite bright despite the numbers. I find I have to turn the tone control down to about 100k in order to tame it. The volume is 250k. The bass side is up high with the treble side down a little bit to maintain balance and keep down the bite. I have enough experience with the Area pickups to know that they change their character and get quite aggressive when up high. In the case of the Area Hot T I need it up high in order to get any body out of it.

The the strings go through the back of the bridge, though I’ve replaced the zinc saddles with steel which made a marked difference.

I was initially thinking of using 500k volume and 250k tone but now I’m not sure what to do. I haven’t changed the original pots out yet.

Any thoughts/recommendations about the minibucker and pot values?

If it turns out that this specific guitar is drastically affecting the tone, I imagine this will also translate to the neck pickup in the same manner.

The Pickup Place / Bluesbucker vs Fantom P90
« on: February 16, 2023, 09:00:09 PM »
I’m not a fan of split humbuckers but will tolerate them when one coil is shunted by a resistor or in some cases a pair of resistors and a capacitor.

Assuming I would use one wired in series most of the time, why wouldn’t I want to buy a Fantom P90 instead and use a treble-peaker in order to get more of a Strat-style single coil tone out of it?

I recently saw a video on YouTube where the guy noticed a significant loss in output when splitting the Bluesbucker:

This doesn’t seem to be in line with what I’ve read about the pickup. Is he splitting to the wrong coil by mistake?

The Pickup Place / HB2 vs. Injector Neck
« on: January 19, 2023, 06:08:51 PM »
I’m curious about the relative outputs and tonal character between the Injector Neck and HB2.

As I posted in separate thread I recently split the Injector Neck. The added top end was very nice. It filled out the pickup beautifully. I have it between a Chopper in the bridge and a Satch Track in the neck.

By itself, however, the Injector is still quite a bit thin between the two rails. This is to be expected, of course.

I’m wondering how an HB2 will work in the middle position. When I think of the middle position I think of the sound of a bull horn. This is the kind of voicing I’m hoppng to get against the rail pickups in the bridge and neck; at least to a reasonable degree taking into account that it’s relatively weak. The HB2 seems like it has that kind of vibe. I’m also curious about the tone when the dummy coil is bypassed since I don’t want the notch positions to suffer much more than how they are currently. Maybe I should just use a 3-way.

I’m sure the Fast Track 1 is a good option, but I’m aiming for the sound of a true single coil and I don’t particularly care for the tone of two rail pickups together nor do I care for them split and combined in parallel. I could work with them in series but it’s a lot of trouble and I don’t want to spend the time.

The Pickup Place / Splitting the Injector Neck
« on: January 18, 2023, 02:49:37 PM »
If you haven’t tried splitting an Injector Neck pickup, I highly recommend it…

…though you might find yourself feeling conflicted, so maybe not.

The tone is outstanding. I know it’s cliche, but it really is like lifting a blanket. There isn’t much hum because part of the active coil is actually shielded.

There is also the obvious benefit is being able to pair it with something hotter than a very weak single coil without taking a large hit in quack. Combining it with a split Area 61 immediately comes to mind.

For those of you not in the know, you will need to ensure that the polarity on one of the pickups is reversed if you want hum cancellation. This can be done using a neodymium magnet. You must also reverse the wiring of one of the pickups in order to keep the pair in-phase.

The Pickup Place / SSS Strat Pickup Combinations
« on: December 28, 2022, 04:13:09 PM »
Hey all…

What are you using in your SSS Stratocasters?


-Single-spaced pickups only. They can be any kind of pickup so long as they are in the traditional single-coil form factor.

-They can be traditional or noiseless.

-At least one pickup must be a DiMarzio.

Too many to list? Please share your favorites.

Feel free to go into as much or as little detail as you like.

The Pickup Place / SDS-1 vs Lace Sensor Purple
« on: December 22, 2022, 04:09:54 PM »
SDS-1 vs Lace Sensor Purple
(vs some other fat, quiet, high output single coil that has bite in the neck position and with a top end that is smooth and devoid of glass like the true over-wound single coil that the SDS-1 is!).

Maybe VS; maybe Injector Bridge; not the Injector Neck and not the VVHB2 (you’ll never convince me they aren't too bright relative to the upper-mids!).

Think Jake E. Lee Badlands.


The Pickup Place / Air Classic Neck in Bridge for HSS
« on: December 10, 2022, 01:26:07 PM »
This time around I’m saying screw it, I’m going for a weak bright humbucker.

I’m thinking about an Air Classic Neck. I know the EJ Bridge or HFH are the standouts, but I’m looking for something that sounds more like a normal humbucker, if that makes any sense.

I’m aiming for an Area 67 in the neck, but am willing to compromise on a 58. I’d like to be able to go between the bridge and neck as if they were like a calibrated humbucker set.

I love the Fast Track 1s that I own.  I was wondering which Lace Sensor has similar output but still belongs in the Strat camp rather than taking on P90 characteristics.

I'd like to put one in the neck position with a Chopper in the bridge.  The goal is to have the neck position not be completely swamped by the Chopper on the clean channel.  I'd also like to be able to use it with medium gain to the point where it crunches nicely without the Chopper sounding saturated.

It seems to me that the Lace Silver might get it done.  Fatter and a tad bit warmer is just fine, in fact it's probably necessary in order to get a Strat tone using gain and EQ settings skewed to favor the Chopper.

I know the Fast Track 1 can do it, but I'm interested in a single bobbin rather than the texture resulting from phase cancellations that result from the use of two side-by-side coils.  Specifically, this pickup will go in the traditional neck position and will be flanked by a Satch Track placed closer to the bridge.  For this reason I want a pickup without a flange, that has  low magnetic pull and will not be influenced by the magnetic field of the Satch Track.  For these reasons a Lace Sensor will be a no-brainer.

Middle spot will be populated with an Area 61 or a matching Sensor.

I'm aware of the fact that DiMarzios can be custom ordered without flanges, but this isn't a road I want to go down at present.

Think of it as a Lace Dually meets a DiMarzio Multibucker.

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