Neck Pickup Recommendations for Clean AND Distorted

Discussion in 'Pickups, Electronics & General Tech' started by ajsmcs, Nov 24, 2014.

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  1. ajsmcs

    ajsmcs SS.org Regular

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    Hello,

    This is my first post after lurking on here for the past two weeks.

    Background
    I've been playing guitar for about 10 years now. I recently got the urge to get into playing 7-string, so I went to Guitar Center to try out their selection of $200 7's.

    I didn't even play them plugged in, assuming the stock pickups were all going to suck. I just bought the one that sounded best acoustically, and felt the nicest to play. I ended up settling on the SGR by Schecter C-7.

    To my great surprise, the neck pickup sounded surprisingly decent when played clean. However, as expected, the bridge pickup did not. So after a lot of searching and reading on this site, I ended up getting the Blaze Bridge.

    I am loving that. It was a real night and day improvement. Combined with the stock neck pickup played clean, it sounds great too.

    Problem
    I'm not still entirely thrilled with the sound of the neck played distorted, good as it might sound clean. Originally, this was supposed to be a single-purpose balls-out metal axe, and I was going to just do the tried and true Blaze 7 pair based off of their recommendations.
    I mean, my primary rig is an American Standard Tele through a Vox AC15C1, so I already have clean, pretty, and bluesy covered. But I've fallen in love playing the 7 cleanly as well as distorted, and I don't want to lose that nice and pretty tone at the sacrifice of useful distorted tone. I knew going in the Blaze bridge would be weak when clean. I'm ok with that.

    Question
    What would be a good neck pickup for playing both clean and distorted? I'm thinking more of a nice thick jazzy sound clean, but nice and clear when distorted. It would be more of a lead tone. It would also need to pair well with the Blaze bridge.

    I'd definitely be emphasizing the clean usage more than the distorted, though. Would the Blaze Neck work for that purpose?

    My end goal would be three nice, useful distorted pickup settings, and two pretty clean pickup settings.

    Thanks in advance for any help you can provide!
    ~Andrew S.
     
  2. TheWarAgainstTime

    TheWarAgainstTime "TWAT" for short

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    I'd definitely suggest a Liquifire, Air Norton, or the matching Blaze neck :yesway:

    I have a Liquifire in each of my 7 strings and they cover a LOT of ground tonally. They focus on more of a "solo" tone, but that's not to say they're lacking in the clean department at all :)

    Since you said cleans are getting the priority, I'd look more into the Air Norton. The Liquifire is more or less a modified Air Norton with a more modern voicing. The opposite of the Liquifire, the AN is great for cleans and mild gain, but that's not to say it doesn't do leads/solos well too. I used to have an Air Norton in one of my 7's, but I use the neck pickup for leads more than cleans, so I swapped it for the LF.
     
  3. stevexc

    stevexc Laura Like Butter

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    I personally love the Seymour Duncan Jazz for a neck pickup. I haven't tried the 7-string version yet, but the 6-string version has proven to be a phenomenally versatile pickup.
     
  4. Whammy

    Whammy SS.org Regular

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    Welcome :)

    I assume you have the Blaze DP702 model, correct?
    There are two Blaze bridge models. One simply called "Blaze Bridge" which is the original. And the other is called "Blaze Custom Bridge" DP703. The custom is a lot higher output and less "clean" friendly.

    I really like the Blaze Neck pickup. I wouldn't call it jazzy but it does cleans extremely well along with distorted. If you have a tone pot wired up then rolling off some high-end will yield a more convincing jazz tone.

    The Blaze Neck complements the Blaze Bridge perfectly.

    Another recommendation would be the LiquiFire. It has a similar output but with more of an emphasis on mids and softer highs. Overall it's a jazzier pickup and should pair well with the Blaze Bridge.

    Both pickups would be a good choice.
     
  5. ajsmcs

    ajsmcs SS.org Regular

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    Thanks for your input!

    Its the DP702. As the stock pickup was straight up mud city, I wanted not-that. Reviewers said it would give a lot of clarity when chugging out power chords. It did not disappoint. :)

    I'd heard that the Jazz was a versatile pickup. Given the name, I'm assuming it does clean and jazzy. But how about the lead tone?

    Two votes for the Liquifire/ Air Norten. That might be on the top of my list now.

    As far as the Blaze neck: How would you describe the clean tones? Is it more of a thicker, sort of classic Gibson sound, or more of a glassy almost Strat-y kind of character? (as far as you could describe a humbucker as "Strat-like," that is)
     
  6. Whammy

    Whammy SS.org Regular

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    I would consider it to be a hot(er) PAF pickup.
    I've tried the PAF7 in the neck and was super disappointed with it. Actually disappointed it a bit harsh. I just felt kinda meh about the PAF7 :shrug:

    But yeah, the Blaze Neck does have a lot of qualities of a good PAF.
     
  7. ajsmcs

    ajsmcs SS.org Regular

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    You know its pretty frustrating. I can find pages and pages of video comparisons of 7-string bridge pickups, but none for solo clean neck of the ones above. It would be great if DiMarzio would record sound clips of their pickups in either position clean and dirty like Duncan does. Instead they have guitar solos of the pickups in combination with other stuff over a backing track, which doesn't really do me any good.

    I'll keep looking around, though.

    More than likely I'll end up replacing the tuners before the pickup. (Looking at Hipshots. Never used them, but heard good things)

    Back to the Blaze neck: Do you find it ever gets muddy when distorted?
     
  8. Zhysick

    Zhysick Sick of all

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    The Blaze is not a muddy pickup, that's for sure.

    I had'em in a RG7620. Loved the Blaze bridge and LOVED MORE the Blaze neck. Paired perfectly and sounded amazing.

    I prefer a little bit that "hollow" sound for clean in the neck, a bit more snappy, and the Blaze neck do that nicely.

    If you want a thicker neck pup I would look for the LiquiFire, a bit smoother in the highs than the Blaze.
     

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