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Saturday, July 28, 2012

Pickups I've owned

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Epiphone Alnicos (from a G400).  Both neck & bridge were very muddy.  Not much to say.  They simply aren't good.

Ibanez INF4&3 - The INF3 was fairly decent, but the INF4 was very harsh and shrill.  Kind of like a "screamer" pickup that just tried way too hard and went way over the top.  By some sorcery, this pickup happens to be muddy at the same time.  Shrill and muddy.  Awful.

ESP LH-301 - These sound similar to EMG H4s, but have a little less output and are a little more muddy.  The coil tap feature is pretty useless.  It sounds nothing even resembling a single coil, just sounds like a very weak humbucker (in a bad way). 

ESP LH-150 - These are surprisingly good.  Better than the 301s for sure.  I'd say that these are the best budget in-house pickups I've ever heard.  They are balanced, there is no excessive mud or shrill.  The neck has a reminiscent cream, while only being slightly muddy.  The bridge is pretty powerful and focused, again just a little muddy.  Not bad.

EMG H4 - Worth less than it's price tag.  Too muddy to believe that it's an aftermarket pup.  Lacks balls.  Generally just sounds weak. 

EMG H2B/N - These are surprisingly nice.  As far as HZs go, I really like the H2N.  It is nice clean and has a very bluesy feel.  The bridge is very moderate, so it doesn't suffer like pickups that are too high output and not designed well.  As a result it actually handles gain better.  Not a bad choice for low-mid gain stuff.

EMG 81 - The 81 is very direct.  It has balls, and it's not afraid to show them.  This is the pickup for modern metal rhythm.  The only downside is that if you're not careful with your EQ, this pickup can become too shrill, and that's just nasty.  EQ accordingly, keep the shrill away, and the 81 is simply a monster.

EMG 60 - People who say that EMGs suck for cleans have never bothered with a 60.  This is one of my favorite clean pickups, believe it or not.  It is powerful, so it balances well with something like an 81 in the bridge.  That can be a problem with passives when you're trying to get a balance between a metal bridge pickup and a clean neck pickup.  The distorted tones are too dark for riffing, but it's fairly good for soloing high up. 

BKP Miracle Man - This pickup is high output, but it doesn't really sound like it.  It is very dynamic, and works well for multiple situations.  It handles high gain well, and it also sounds good clean.  Not too bright or harsh unlike a lot of bridge pickups.  It was too dark for my tastes, but if you were playing straight up rock and EQ'd accordingly, I would recommend this.

SD Custom - This pickup is the bridge between vintage and modern.  It can hold it's own for most types of metal, and it can also calm down for rock and blues with an roll of the volume knob.  This is a viable candidate for a studio type guitar, if you don't know exactly what you'll need to be doing. 

SD '59 - This pickup has a good and somewhat unique clean sound.  My experience with it is that it is too dark, so you may need to EQ accordingly.  It doesn't handle modern high gain very well, but it shouldn't really be expected to - it's a PAF. 

Ibanez INF1/2 -

GFS Fat Pat set

DiMarzio D Activator set

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