I've been struggling with getting a good tone with my 8 string with blackouts ahb 2 pickups, and my 9 string with emg 909 pickups. I know in the manual it says if you have active pickups to turn the guitar volume down but dont like it. I want to try either new passive pickups or just get the joyo zombie (Mesa boogieish) or vivo (5150). I'm just lost and a little discouraged. I keep trying and it's just ok at best. The 8 string does sound better. And my 7 string has just factory passive alnico 5 pickups and I think I like it best.