Evolution Neck in an HSS?

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Offline gregr

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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.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2024, 03:53:10 AM by gregr »
Area 58, 61, 67 & Hot T; VVB, 54P & HB2; InjN. FT 1 & 2, Satch Track.
BNIB, PAF Pro, HFH, Air Norton, LiquiFire, EJ Neck. V Mini N & B. Corgan & Timmons sets.
Duncan SSL-2 & 6T, Lil Demon, JBJrN, HotRailN. 59, Jazz/APH & Full Shred sets. JB, Custom 2, 5 & Ceramic, Seymourizer II, Screamin’ Demon

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Offline gregr

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Re: Gravity Storm Neck in an HSS?
« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2024, 06:36:12 PM »
Thanks for the input.

The JB in this guitar sounds great, but it’s too hot and compressed for my tastes. I rocked a JB for many years but my playing has changed. These days I sing the praises of the Screamin’ Demon ad nauseam. I always feel compelled to say that the output of this pickup is a wee bit less than that of a Duncan 59. It is squarely in the vintage output camp, though it is quite aggressive. I also like the Duncan Custom 5 as well as the Custom Custom, all of which are devoid of honk, not that the JB bothers me, provided it is in the right guitar played through the right amp. It is honk that borders nasal that I cannot stand.

Anyway, I could easily put yet another Demon in it but for this guitar I want a hotter, more vocal sound with softened highs, but not too honky. I like that the GS is described as having single coil characteristics, since I’m mixing it with singles. As such I’m hoping I can get a decent response from the single coils without compromising how I dial the bridge pickup.  This is why I’m gravitating (pun intended) towards the heavier low end response of the HS-2. The HS-4 might be better provided the top coil can deliver some top end sparkle.

I used the Air Norton in the bridge for a while and didn’t like it. It was overly bright and I didn’t care for the anemic low end and didn’t have enough midrange to pull it over the finish line. The warmth of the GS Neck is the reason I think it can work. Less highs will result in a fuller tone which I find necessary in the bridge position, unless the bass is too weak resulting in a pickup that is overly honky. I also use The Breed Neck in the bridge of another guitar and really like it. That pickup has more grunt than honk. It’s quite a bit hotter than the GS Neck, however. If the GS Neck behaves anything like the AN then it’s a non-starter.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2024, 07:12:23 PM by gregr »
Area 58, 61, 67 & Hot T; VVB, 54P & HB2; InjN. FT 1 & 2, Satch Track.
BNIB, PAF Pro, HFH, Air Norton, LiquiFire, EJ Neck. V Mini N & B. Corgan & Timmons sets.
Duncan SSL-2 & 6T, Lil Demon, JBJrN, HotRailN. 59, Jazz/APH & Full Shred sets. JB, Custom 2, 5 & Ceramic, Seymourizer II, Screamin’ Demon

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Offline greenlion

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Re: Gravity Storm Neck in an HSS?
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2024, 08:05:07 PM »
In my experience, almost any humbucker in the bridge is going to overpower pickups like the Area67 or Area58 in the neck/middle. Even humbuckers like the PAF Pro and Fred overpower them and sound unbalanced. I have had more luck with the Cruiser Bridge in the neck, or an Area 61, or a Virtual Vintage 54 Pro. I use the same resistor trick on the singles to let me use them with 500k pots.

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Offline gregr

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Re: Gravity Storm Neck in an HSS?
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2024, 05:02:19 AM »
I want to switch over to the singles to clean up so a difference in output is actually desired. I am concerned, however, that the HS-2 will be *too* underpowered.

Since I have them on hand I put an Area 58 in the neck, an OEM DiMarzio single that I pulled from the middle position of a Music Man HSH Silhouette to use in the middle, and put an A2 magnet in the JB. The output from each position is pretty much on the money: the mismatch between the singles and the JB2 is just about right, though the JB2 was lowered a hair below where I like it.

I would be surprised if the Gravity Storm Neck isn’t weaker than a JB2, so an Area 67 will likely work and then the Area 58 would go in the middle. If I’m steered away from the GS then I’ll probably go with yet another Screamin’ Demon, but where’s the fun in that?
« Last Edit: January 07, 2024, 11:54:08 AM by gregr »
Area 58, 61, 67 & Hot T; VVB, 54P & HB2; InjN. FT 1 & 2, Satch Track.
BNIB, PAF Pro, HFH, Air Norton, LiquiFire, EJ Neck. V Mini N & B. Corgan & Timmons sets.
Duncan SSL-2 & 6T, Lil Demon, JBJrN, HotRailN. 59, Jazz/APH & Full Shred sets. JB, Custom 2, 5 & Ceramic, Seymourizer II, Screamin’ Demon

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Offline gregr

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Re: Evolution Neck in an HSS?
« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2024, 04:04:50 AM »
I think the Gravity Storm Neck will be too warm and thus provide too much contrast with single coils, so I changed the topic title to an Evolution Neck and would love some feedback on this.

I found the Area 58 too bright and switched it out for a VV 54Pro. It’s working better with the JB2, tonally. However, I think I’m still after the YJM/John Norum neck tone. The YJM Fury appears to have more output than the HS-3 but seems to have a very similar tone. Does anyone know how the output of the neck model of the YJM Fury compares to an Area 58 or VV 54Pro? Has anyone split to just the top coil of YJM Fury?
« Last Edit: January 13, 2024, 12:09:36 PM by gregr »
Area 58, 61, 67 & Hot T; VVB, 54P & HB2; InjN. FT 1 & 2, Satch Track.
BNIB, PAF Pro, HFH, Air Norton, LiquiFire, EJ Neck. V Mini N & B. Corgan & Timmons sets.
Duncan SSL-2 & 6T, Lil Demon, JBJrN, HotRailN. 59, Jazz/APH & Full Shred sets. JB, Custom 2, 5 & Ceramic, Seymourizer II, Screamin’ Demon

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Offline darkbluemurder

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Re: Evolution Neck in an HSS?
« Reply #5 on: January 15, 2024, 04:24:04 AM »
Love HSS set ups.

The last I set up is (from bridge to neck): JB, Area 67, Area 61 (inspired by a TGP member who did the same and raved about it). All 250k pots and a 5 way mega switch. The switch positions are:

1 - bridge, coils in series
2 - bridge split (EDIT: bridge side coil, magnet reversed) and middle split
3 - middle
4 - middle and neck
5 - neck

The upper tone pot only controls position #5 and has a 0.0022uf cap. The lower tone pot is a push-pull and currently has a 680pf cap, which I will increase to 800pf (1000pf was too much), and it only controls position #1. The push-pull when pulled puts the bridge pickup coils in parallel, but ONLY in that position. It does not do anything if the switch is in any other position.

Very versatile yet simple, and it is very easy to tweak individual positions without affecting others. EDIT: all positions are humcancelling. 

BTT - a good alternative to the JB if you want less compression is the FRED, also with a 250k volume pot.

Cheers Stephan
« Last Edit: January 16, 2024, 11:22:04 AM by darkbluemurder »
Area 67, Area 58, Area 61, VV Pro 54, Injectors, VV HB2, Virtual Solo, SDS-1, Area T, Area T 615, Virtual Hot T, Chopper T, Bluesbucker, Breed set, Air Norton, Super Distortion, DLX+ set, DLX-90, DP240, DP198, DP168, VPAF b, AT-1, Mo' Joe, FRED, Super 2; GS b

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Offline gregr

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Re: Evolution Neck in an HSS?
« Reply #6 on: January 15, 2024, 02:55:04 PM »
I currently have the JB2 up high but the screws are countersunk with the DiMarzio Area staggering. This is the coil I’m using with the middle single. The output of this coil just about matches the middle which is just slightly weaker than the VV54P in the neck. I’m using a standard switch with the standard splitting configuration on the second pole. The VV54P is being split in position 4. I haven’t listened to it split by itself this way but did it in good measure. The wire and terminal are available so why the hell not? Position 4 sounds good.

The controls are 500k (one volume with a Kinman treble bleed and one 22n master tone). The screw coil of the JB is shunted to ground with a 270k resistor in parallel with the series combination of 150k and 470p*. The same is done with the middle and neck pickups though the neck pickup is using 180k instead of 150k. I don’t like the brittleness through a crunchy amp that’s dialed to favor the JB. An Injector Neck or a VVHB2 are warmer and fatter, but I want the lower relative output I’m getting with the VV54P (thank you @greenlion ).

I’ m still interested in the HS-3 or YJM Fury which don’t appear to have the airy top end of a traditional single (or that of an Area). Please correct me if I’m wrong on this. I heard a comparison video between an HS-4 and an Injector neck and prefer the HS-4 for this project, despite the Injector having much more clarity.
https://youtu.be/N8jKiTgdcb0

I will still be removing the JB2 eventually once I land on a bridge pickup that I like**. I appreciate the FRED recommendation but it’s not my cup of tea. I love Satch though. Who doesn’t?

(*) 390p with a lower value series resistor would have been better optimized but I don’t have any on hand. Still, the difference would only be subtle. Also, the effects of this network hardwired to the screw coil of the JB are negligible when run as a series humbucker.

(**) Evolution neck in an HSS? C’mon, someone has tried this!
« Last Edit: January 15, 2024, 03:00:35 PM by gregr »
Area 58, 61, 67 & Hot T; VVB, 54P & HB2; InjN. FT 1 & 2, Satch Track.
BNIB, PAF Pro, HFH, Air Norton, LiquiFire, EJ Neck. V Mini N & B. Corgan & Timmons sets.
Duncan SSL-2 & 6T, Lil Demon, JBJrN, HotRailN. 59, Jazz/APH & Full Shred sets. JB, Custom 2, 5 & Ceramic, Seymourizer II, Screamin’ Demon

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Offline gregr

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Re: Evolution Neck in an HSS?
« Reply #7 on: January 23, 2024, 07:01:46 PM »
For those interested, I’ve made a few changes and am happy with the result.

Bridge: JB2
Middle: VV54P
Neck: Area 61

One 250k linear volume control with a 180pF bright cap.

One 250k linear “More” control.

The JB2 is loaded with 510k in series with 22nF

The selector is a standard 5-way with the second pole used only to split the JB to the screw coil in position 2. The single coils are not being split because I don’t care for the extra high end relative to the JB2. Splitting actually runs counter to the filtering I’m applying to warm up positions 2-5.

Positions 2-5 only see the 250k volume control, but each coil involved in these positions is loaded as such:

JB2 screw coil: 270k in parallel with the series combination of 200k and 470pF. The screw coil is split by taking the series connection of the two coils to hot (more on this later), and as such also sees the 510k/22n load across the entire humbucker.

VV54P: 270k in parallel with the series combination of 180k and 470pF.

Area 61: 270k in parallel with the series combination of 120k and 470pF. I’ve always found this pickup to be too strident in the neck position and finally figured out how to get it to sound like what I want.

On to the “More” control: this is a 250k pot connected in series between the output of the JB2 and the input of the 5-way switch with a 220pF bypass cap connected in parallel. The pot is wired so that the resistance decreases as the control turns clockwise. Because the pickup is split to hot, this control only affects position 1. With the control at 0, the output of the JB more or less matches the Area 61 in the midrange.

For those curious, the guitar is a Sterling SUB Silo3.

I appreciate all the suggestions. As you can see I’ve put them to good use. Thanks!
« Last Edit: January 24, 2024, 12:35:11 AM by gregr »
Area 58, 61, 67 & Hot T; VVB, 54P & HB2; InjN. FT 1 & 2, Satch Track.
BNIB, PAF Pro, HFH, Air Norton, LiquiFire, EJ Neck. V Mini N & B. Corgan & Timmons sets.
Duncan SSL-2 & 6T, Lil Demon, JBJrN, HotRailN. 59, Jazz/APH & Full Shred sets. JB, Custom 2, 5 & Ceramic, Seymourizer II, Screamin’ Demon

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Offline darkbluemurder

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Re: Evolution Neck in an HSS?
« Reply #8 on: January 24, 2024, 04:42:56 AM »
That "More Control" is very useful - it is very similar to the "Bass Contour" by Reverend. I love this in humbucker guitars to shave off some low end - extremely useful for neck humbuckers. With the pot set to zero resistance the cap gets bypassed and no longer has an effect so it is full bass in that position.

Cheers Stephan
Area 67, Area 58, Area 61, VV Pro 54, Injectors, VV HB2, Virtual Solo, SDS-1, Area T, Area T 615, Virtual Hot T, Chopper T, Bluesbucker, Breed set, Air Norton, Super Distortion, DLX+ set, DLX-90, DP240, DP198, DP168, VPAF b, AT-1, Mo' Joe, FRED, Super 2; GS b

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Offline gregr

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Re: Evolution Neck in an HSS?
« Reply #9 on: January 24, 2024, 01:40:11 PM »
Indeed. I mentioned that in another topic where I’m using a passive bass shelf with an A3-loaded Duncan 59N against a Screamin’ Demon. I don’t know whether the value of the cap is what is used in the Reverend circuit or the G&L circuit. I select it by ear. I do know that I’ve always found a 1M pot far too aggressive, even with the reverse taper. I prefer the linear taper and limit the range with a parallel resistor if necessary. The result will approach that of a reverse taper depending on how small the parallel resistor is relative to the value of the pot, though I prefer a more linear sweep.
Area 58, 61, 67 & Hot T; VVB, 54P & HB2; InjN. FT 1 & 2, Satch Track.
BNIB, PAF Pro, HFH, Air Norton, LiquiFire, EJ Neck. V Mini N & B. Corgan & Timmons sets.
Duncan SSL-2 & 6T, Lil Demon, JBJrN, HotRailN. 59, Jazz/APH & Full Shred sets. JB, Custom 2, 5 & Ceramic, Seymourizer II, Screamin’ Demon

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Offline darkbluemurder

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Re: Evolution Neck in an HSS?
« Reply #10 on: January 25, 2024, 03:45:43 AM »
I think Reverend used a 0.0022uf cap but the exact values of pot and cap are only a starting point - as you said it is all personal preference and should be selected by ear. In the PRS S2 Standard 24 and the Custom I used 0.0022uf and 500k audio pots which work fine in these guitars - I can always find the spot I am looking for so I have not seen a reason for further finetuning.

Cheers Stephan

 
Area 67, Area 58, Area 61, VV Pro 54, Injectors, VV HB2, Virtual Solo, SDS-1, Area T, Area T 615, Virtual Hot T, Chopper T, Bluesbucker, Breed set, Air Norton, Super Distortion, DLX+ set, DLX-90, DP240, DP198, DP168, VPAF b, AT-1, Mo' Joe, FRED, Super 2; GS b

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Offline gregr

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Re: Evolution Neck in an HSS?
« Reply #11 on: February 18, 2024, 10:42:30 PM »
I’ve tried it in few guitars now, but I just can’t get on with an Area 61 in the neck*. It’s just too sharp and bright and not all that fat. Maybe I need heavier strings than 10-46. I put an Injector neck in there and it’s a lot better. Position 4 with the VV54P still works pretty well.

Even still, I’m wanting to try a little fatter with an HB2. How well can this pickup clean up with a treble bleed, say in the 270pF range? Will I get any chime out of it? If not maybe position 4 with the 54P with both split might still be ok; or I can just rely on position 2 with the split JB.

(*) As an aside I’m ok with the 61 in the bridge with a dark to neutral guitar, though I definitely prefer the Virtual Vintage Blues.
Area 58, 61, 67 & Hot T; VVB, 54P & HB2; InjN. FT 1 & 2, Satch Track.
BNIB, PAF Pro, HFH, Air Norton, LiquiFire, EJ Neck. V Mini N & B. Corgan & Timmons sets.
Duncan SSL-2 & 6T, Lil Demon, JBJrN, HotRailN. 59, Jazz/APH & Full Shred sets. JB, Custom 2, 5 & Ceramic, Seymourizer II, Screamin’ Demon

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Offline darkbluemurder

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Re: Evolution Neck in an HSS?
« Reply #12 on: February 19, 2024, 03:46:32 AM »
I’ve tried it in few guitars now, but I just can’t get on with an Area 61 in the neck*. It’s just too sharp and bright and not all that fat. Maybe I need heavier strings than 10-46. I put an Injector neck in there and it’s a lot better. Position 4 with the VV54P still works pretty well.

You probably have a very bright guitar there. In my #1 I like it just fine in the neck. Injector neck is the logical step up.

Even still, I’m wanting to try a little fatter with an HB2. How well can this pickup clean up with a treble bleed, say in the 270pF range? Will I get any chime out of it?

I have that pickup in the neck position of my Pinecaster tele with a 500k volume pot and a 220pf treble bleed, and it cleans up well. Actually I rely very much on that sound for one song.

Cheers Stephan
Area 67, Area 58, Area 61, VV Pro 54, Injectors, VV HB2, Virtual Solo, SDS-1, Area T, Area T 615, Virtual Hot T, Chopper T, Bluesbucker, Breed set, Air Norton, Super Distortion, DLX+ set, DLX-90, DP240, DP198, DP168, VPAF b, AT-1, Mo' Joe, FRED, Super 2; GS b