Heresy - Distortion v. Black Winter?

Discussion in 'Pickups, Electronics & General Tech' started by Mike_R, Jan 3, 2019.

  1. Mike_R

    Mike_R SS.org Regular

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    I've got a mahogany 6 string Jackson Soloist with SD Distortions in it. I bought it to have a Floyd for leads but also to have something versatile and great for hard rock through thrash tones.

    I'm eying the Black Winters due to the rave reviews on here (seems to be the conclusion of most pickup threads). Right now I'm pretty happy with the Distortion bridge but less pleased with the neck. I've read the BWs are essentially upgraded Distortions, but I don't want to swap if it's going to make it harder to dial good thrash or hard rock tones. This guitar will spend most of it's life in E Standard and I have other guitars for drop tunings. If I got to the BW bridge I will use the matching neck.

    How likely is it that I will be happy with the EQ/output of the BWs for my purposes? Should I try the swap?
     
  2. Cynicanal

    Cynicanal SS.org Regular

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    Much as I love the BW for downtuning, I don't know that it would be my choice for standard tuning, especially for hard rock/classic metal. That said, what don't you like about the DDn and what are you looking for? There's no rule saying the BWn has to go with the BWb, and while I only have experience with the BWb, the neck seems to get rave reviews.
     
  3. KnightBrolaire

    KnightBrolaire pickup hoarder

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    the bw works better for standard than downtuning imo
     
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  4. KailM

    KailM SS.org Regular

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    It works great for E Standard, and hard/classic rock and metal as well, especially if you back off the volume knob to around 8/10. It cleans up very nicely with all sorts of usable tones just by playing with your guitar's volume knob. With the knob all the way up it's full mayhem though. :mf666:

    It's hard to say if you'll like it more than the Distortion though. Those are a classic for a reason. That's a pickup I've been wanting to try, but unfortunately haven't. I have a Nazgul in another guitar too; I don't think that one would be right for you.

    If anything, I'd try the BW neck first, as I'm pretty certain you'd like it better than a Distortion neck. It's really smooth and liquid for leads, and can do amazing cleans.
     
  5. Mike_R

    Mike_R SS.org Regular

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    I've been reading the comments and trying to listen to as many demos as I can. As far as the neck goes for reference my favorite neck pickup I've tried is the Sentient. I have one in my KM7 Mk II and it is glorious. It just has a sort of 3d, dynamic sound to it that to me screams lead tone. In contrast the Distortion neck just sounds stiff and compressed. Looking at the SD site it looks like the Sentient has an alnico magnet instead of ceramic (like the BW and Distortion necks) and much lower output.

    The Distortion bridge sounds good for my purposes at the moment but after watching Ola's demo where he compares it to the Distortion I could see how itit wou be in the ballpark if you rolled the volume knob back a bit but it's still got a bit more high end.

    I have a Nazgul in my seven and while I love the clarity on the lower strings it just seems to miss some of the fullness the Distortion has.
     
  6. PunkBillCarson

    PunkBillCarson SS.org Regular

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    Black Winters will do what distortions do, and probably even more. As has been mentioned, they clean up nicely and they can do hard rock/thrash NO PROBLEM. Roll the volume back a little bit, or just do a small EQ change and you'll be right to where you need to be. Buy the Black Winters, install them, and then feel your face turns upwards into a smile IF it has been ripped off by the goodness that is the Seymour Duncan Black Winter set.
     
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  7. Sumsar

    Sumsar SS.org Regular

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    I only have the BW and distortion in 7 string versions, but I would describe them as being somewhat close, with the BW having a lot more midrange while the distortions sound kind of scooped, and for me the BWs are better than distortions for hard rock. I don't play enough thrash or have an idea of what a good tone for that is, so I won't comment on that aspect.
     
  8. PunkBillCarson

    PunkBillCarson SS.org Regular

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    That's the good thing about the mids in Black Winters. They don't honk and they only provide grinding clarity which is good. Basically it's all the goods of the lows, mids, and highs frequencies without all the bullshit that comes with it. Nice blooming lows without being farty, grindy mids without honk, and a sharp sizzling high end that's not ice picky.
     
  9. KailM

    KailM SS.org Regular

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    Here's a nice comparison between the Distortion, Nazgul, Black Winter, and Parallel Axis (and it's not djent!!! #mindblown).

     
  10. Mike_R

    Mike_R SS.org Regular

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    Well, I got a used set of Black Winters, and installed them tonight-
    The I prefer the BW neck over the Distortion, for sure.
    The bridge on the other hand I am not quite there yet. I am going to give it some time to see if I warm up to it, but so far I prefer the Distortion bridge. There is something extra that the BW has that isn't pleasing to me. I've messed around with all the channels on my amp, different EQ settings and I just haven't found it yet.

    I appreciate the feedback - GAS is a difficult condition to deal with, and it helps to have a nudge to get off the fence.
     
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  11. KailM

    KailM SS.org Regular

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    Definitely try messing around with the height of the bridge pickup if you haven't already. The sweet spot for me is around 3/16" from the strings. It's a pretty high output pickup and if you have it too close to the strings it can be really "in your face." Backing it off a little can soften the mids (which is probably the biggest difference you're hearing compared to your Distortion) a tad and let the other frequencies breathe a little.
     
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  12. Mike_R

    Mike_R SS.org Regular

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    Just as an update: played with the BW set for a while including different amps and pickup heights. Liked the neck, didn't like the bridge. I swapped the Distortion's back in and I still didn't like the neck. I ended up grabbing a Sentient for the neck and everything is right in the world again. I am going to leave this one with the Sentient/Distortion combo, I think.
     
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