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Pickups, Electronics & General Tech Pickup selection, wiring, technical questions & other guitar hardware discussion here.

View Poll Results: Which pickups?
Xbar/Xbar 5 8.20%
Deathbar (B)/Xbar(N) 26 42.62%
BKP (Aftermath (B)/ColdSweat(N) 19 31.15%
Other BKP or other brand setup 8 13.11%
Just keep the blackouts and save money 3 4.92%
Voters: 61. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 07-05-2012, 11:45 AM   #1
crg123
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Deciding (Aluma-tones versus BKP)

Hey guys,

I'm thinking about finally upgrading my pickups in my Septor Elite 827. The stock pickups are Blackouts (which are actually not to bad for actives).

I was thinking about getting a aftermath/coldsweat BKP combo, but because of pricing issues and installation I'm now leaning more towards the Lace X-bar and Death-bar (I think its a the 4.0 sized one). I havent heard much on the death bar, I want a good distorted sound but I need alot clarity to satisfy me. I usually keep my gain at 3 or 4 on my amp with a Maxon 808 in front.

I've heard alot of good things about these pickups. I know Tosin supposedly uses the X-bars in his Strandberg. Also some of the clips Raphat put up really blew me away. I also heard the installation from a Blackout to a Aluma-tone bar is quite simple (any advanced details I might know about?)

Some general info that might be useful in helping me:
Guitar specs:
27" Scale
Hipshot bridge
Neck through
Mahogany wings
maple/Ebony neck
ebony fretboard
inline headstock

Personal style:
I play alot of progressive metal - ranging from stuff like Vai to blotted science to AAL to Scale the Summit and also stuff like Fellsilent/ Periphery/ Sikth

What I want in a pickup upgrade:
Kinda of the normal stuff but basically
* More clarity and balance when playing large chords (particularly when distorted)
* Better dynamics (blackouts don't kill them completely like most actives do but the compression is definitely noticeable)
* Along with chord clarity, single note clarity (obviously)- but what I mean is when I'm transferring fast around the neck I want all the notes to really shine through and not blend together.
*Ease of installation is a small factor too because I don't want to be cutting up pickups/ my guitar just for a simple upgrade

So between the pickups
Xbar/Xbar
Deathbar (B)/Xbar(N)
BKP (Aftermath (B)/ColdSweat(N))
Other BKP/ other brand setup (recommend by posting)
Just keep the blackouts and save money ()

Any help would be great, thanks guys... I'm very indecisive
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Old 07-05-2012, 11:53 AM   #2
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Well lace pickups are active pickup sized, but they are passive pickups, so from changing from blackouts to lace or even any other passive pickups out there, you would need new volume pots, tone pots, and an output jack. But some hole drilling will be required for the lace pickups because each corner of the lace's have screw holes; no screw holes in the middle.

For a tonal comparison, I can't tell you what would suit you more besides reading the descriptions on their websites and reading reviews on the forum. In about 1-2 months from now my custom guitar will be in, an acacia guitars custom 8 with lace aluma x-bars. Can't help you right now unfortunately.

You gotta pay the troll toll, to get into the boy's hole.

My bandcamp for my music project, Guamskyy. Enjoy!
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Old 07-05-2012, 11:59 AM   #3
crg123
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A new output jack? Interesting, I knew about the hardware change but I did not know about the jack thanks! Would I need a knew 3-way selector too ( I don't think it would but just in case).

I heard about the 4 screw install. Is it hard to do or is it just a simple modification that won't hurt the guitar? Also is there any way/ any need to adjust the pickup height?
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Old 07-05-2012, 12:19 PM   #4
Stealthdjentstic
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The laces sound weird
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Old 07-05-2012, 12:42 PM   #5
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You don't need to change the output jack. The stock stereo jack will work just fine. You will definitely need new pots though. Lace suggests 250k pots with their pickups, because they are exceedingly bright by nature, and the 250k pots help tame that a bit (which you will need with the maple/ebony neck through)

If you go for a standard sized passive (BKP/dimarzio/sd/whatever) you can get EMG 40 bass housings and trim them to fit over the pickups, to make installation clean (and stealthy! lol)
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Old 07-05-2012, 12:51 PM   #6
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maybe Ceramic Nailbomb / Cold sweat combo
Its the set which is usually reccomended for prog metal players
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Old 07-05-2012, 12:54 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stealthdjentstic View Post
The laces sound weird
How so? I'm interested in getting everyones feedback before I make a rash decision. I need to make sure these are good for a wide variety of technical playing, and clarity.

Also as far as BKP installation goes. I measure my friend's BKP on his S7+8 and it seems like the size (including tabs) is alittle bit larger then the Blackout route. I heard some people saying they had to grind the tabs down to the screws. I'm afraid that i'd do that and they still wouldn't fit in with the EMG bass covers. Are BKPs really work the extra 50 to 100 dollars per pickup? Like I said my friend (AnarchyDivine88) has Painkillers and Warpigs, which sound great, but the money is a big factor here for me.
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Old 07-05-2012, 01:19 PM   #8
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i've only tried the Deathbucker, and i did not like it.

Write to tim and ask him if he can make them fit a blackout route.


OH! and dont forget to swap your pots to 500/550k
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Old 07-05-2012, 08:18 PM   #9
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Can anyone talk about the major differences between the death bucker versus the X-bar. It seems like right now most people are telling me to go with the deathbar/ X-bar combo instead of just X-bars.

Edit:

I want to make sure if I go with the Death-bars I wont have problems with clarity.
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Old 07-05-2012, 09:17 PM   #10
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the main difference is output from what i understand..

the deathbar is basically a higher output version of the X-Bar.. I could be wrong.. if you go with the lace bars, make sure you upload a demo track/video so that we can all hear
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Old 07-06-2012, 03:41 PM   #11
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I think the lace alumitones are incredible. I have a set of deathbuckers in both of my 6 strings, and have played several of their ERG's with xbars/deathbars in them.

I can say for sure that the deathbuckers have no issue with clarity whatsoever, they excel in it in fact. They are the clearest, most articulate pickup i've ever played. The response is slightly different than that of a Seymour duncan or BKP, but they afford you a lot of amazing tones. I'd say the deathbar (B) and xbar (N) combo would be really great for you. Both of them handle cleans extremely well, as well as dirty tones.

The coil tap feature on the alumitones is also significantly better than an ordinary humbucker in coil tap mode in my opinion, it makes any guitar extremely versatile.

So as far as the actual tone goes for any genre, they are tight, clear pickups. Chords ring out with definition, and they have great sustain. BKP's are amazing pickups too, but if you're looking for a slightly more unique and rich tone i would say the alumitones would suit you excellently.
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Old 07-06-2012, 05:10 PM   #12
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Thanks aawshred! I think that review might have pushed me over the edge. I told my self I'm going to wait a week or so to make the final decision!

Really random question for anyone but does anyone in the Boston area that charges under 50 dollars for pickup installation? I've gotten pickups swapped for like 30 bucks back home, but I don't want to go back to CT just for that!

I might just try to have my friend do it (he's a mechanical engineering major) but I need to make sure I have an accurate schematic to show him. The ones on the Lace site: Lace Music Products | Since 1979 - Lace Sensor electric guitar pickups, Alumitone, bass pickups, California Acoustic pickups - A pickup for any style of music. aren't the best especially for someone who's never wired a guitar (but he has wiring a bunch of robots and 3D printers lolol).

Does anyone know a place or can someone draw up an accurate schematic for a Two humbucker, One Volume knob, One Tone knob, 3-way switch setup? This with a coil tap like aawshred was talking about. He's got me curious about it .

One specific question is how to wire the ground on a hipshot style bridge. (I'm sure this process is much simpler then I think it is)
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Old 07-06-2012, 08:14 PM   #13
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I got bored and decided to do a mockup to choose between chrome versus black. Which do you guys think looks better?

Black


Chrome:


And for reference. Here's the original w/ Blackouts


Excuse the crappy photoshop work. I did it quick and without a mouse
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Old 07-06-2012, 11:01 PM   #14
iloki
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thats tough.. I think the black fit with the overall color scheme better, since they match your hardware.. but I think the chrome looks pretty awesome.. and really kinda unique lol
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Old 07-06-2012, 11:46 PM   #15
crg123
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Ya that's my dilemma. Do I wanna keep the classy white look or make it into a futuristic cyborg 8 string! lol
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Old 07-07-2012, 06:58 PM   #16
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personally i think i would go for the chrome, its different enough, but it doesn't clash lol
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Old 07-09-2012, 04:30 PM   #17
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Decided to go black pickups- Deathbar, X-bar combo. Any recommendations for a cheap place to grab the new hardware 1 vol, 1 tone, one jack (Is this really necessary?) I'm also thinking about the coil tap idea. Not sure though.

Also looks like I'll be selling some 8 string blackouts in the near future!
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Old 07-09-2012, 04:43 PM   #18
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definitely do the coil tap with a push-push pot (or push pull if you prefer), the tapped neck pickup sound is insanely musical and fun to play! same for the bridge pickup.
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Old 07-09-2012, 04:44 PM   #19
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Do you have a wiring diagram for that, so I can show my friend? Whats the difference between a push-push (never heard of this one ) and push-pull? Also do I really need to change my tone pot and my stereo jack? Also what do you think about 250k versus 500k pots, I've seen mixed opinions with them. Thanks!

Edit: Another idea I was playing around with is just having two volume knobs instead of a tone knob. I heard good things about taking those out (not sure about with these pickups though), plus I never use the tone knob on my guitar.
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Old 07-10-2012, 07:16 PM   #20
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WOOT! Just bought a Deathbar 4.0 and a X-bar 4.0 (both black) to be wired with two volumes (no tone knobs) and both will be push-pull for coil tapping abilities DDD. Super Psyched!
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Old 07-10-2012, 10:35 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crg123 View Post
Do you have a wiring diagram for that, so I can show my friend? Whats the difference between a push-push (never heard of this one ) and push-pull? Also do I really need to change my tone pot and my stereo jack? Also what do you think about 250k versus 500k pots, I've seen mixed opinions with them. Thanks!

Edit: Another idea I was playing around with is just having two volume knobs instead of a tone knob. I heard good things about taking those out (not sure about with these pickups though), plus I never use the tone knob on my guitar.
Ill try and find the wiring diagram, i believe its somewhere on their website. Personally i would go with the 250k push push pot. Push-push operates like a pedal switch almost, you push it once and it comes up slightly engaging the coil tap, then just push it again back into a normal knob position. Pulling to engage the coil tap can actually be kind of hard on the fly.

As far as the 250k vs. 500k goes, personally i think the 250k sounds clearer and handles gain slightly better. i started out with a 500k pot which worked great and sounded great still, but the 250k just refined it some.
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Old 07-10-2012, 10:56 PM   #22
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Thanks for the help man! Is it really weird to just have 2 volume knobs (both push pull, unfortunately I already bought them, push-push sounds cool!)? I hope thats possible. I'm trying to figure out how I would wire that.
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Old 07-11-2012, 08:31 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crg123 View Post
Thanks for the help man! Is it really weird to just have 2 volume knobs (both push pull, unfortunately I already bought them, push-push sounds cool!)? I hope thats possible. I'm trying to figure out how I would wire that.
Guitarist's guitarist Richard Thompson plays a Ferrington solidbody with three pickups; his only controls are volumes for the individual pickups - no switches or tone controls. "You get infinite tones by blending the pickups."

If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you.
If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.
-The Gospel of Thomas

Do not be afraid of being wrong; just be afraid of being uninteresting.
-T. Carl Whitmer
The Art of Improvisation, 1941

A strong spirit transcends rules.
-Prince

Chant the beauty of the good
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Old 07-11-2012, 12:41 PM   #24
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I didn't even think about that! I'm even more excited now, didn't think that was possible...
I'm still a little worried I'll like my blackout 8s better. Has anyone had experiences with both? I'm hoping these pickups can achieve a good level of grit/ power that I like in my tone.
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Old 07-12-2012, 11:35 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crg123 View Post
I didn't even think about that! I'm even more excited now, didn't think that was possible...
I'm still a little worried I'll like my blackout 8s better. Has anyone had experiences with both? I'm hoping these pickups can achieve a good level of grit/ power that I like in my tone.
I've had the 7 string version of the Blackouts, currently I have a Deathbar 3.5, and both sound very good, the Blackout is more compressed since it's active, and the Deathbar sounds like a poofy/loose Aftermath.
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