Sevenstring Pickup Guide

Discussion in 'The Sevenstring.org Workbench' started by Digital Black, Oct 10, 2004.

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  1. Digital Black

    Digital Black SS.org Regular

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    Let consolidate all the info we as a group have aquired about 7 string pickups and write them in here.

    --All registered SS.org users are encouraged to post in this thread but must abide by the following terms:

    ---- This is not the thread to ask which pickups is best for you

    ---- You may not express disaproval for ANY PREVIOUS POSTERS REVIEW in this thread. Start another or write your own review of a particular pickup.

    ---- It would be a good idea to have at least 2 months of playing expirence on the pickup you are reviewing. If you just install a set of EMG's post here saying the are the bomb and smoke everything else-I'll delete it.

    ---- Be as spefic as you can.

    ---- You may post your own review of a pickup that has already been reviewed here. The more the better.

    Hopefully this will become a good source for those looking for info on pickups. People will be able to read our thoughts and opnions and make a better judgement of what will be right for them.

    I will delete out any garbage posted in here not on this threads topic!
     
  2. Digital Black

    Digital Black SS.org Regular

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    Dimarizo Tonezone 7

    Bridge position.
    Installed on a RG7620.

    The TZ7 is a strange pickup. Clean channel on your amp, it it stays relitively undistorted and very clear. i can fake a good surf sound or Brian Setzer sound on my RG with it in phase and some echo. It does phase reverse on a 5 way switch very well without loseing power but brighting up a bit. Distortion, it screams pretty good. Palm mutes are thick. The TZ refuses to get muddy but likes having some midrange eq'ed in even though it has a relitively high amount of midrange.
    String noise can get to be much so you have to keep strings your not playing from ringing out. Feedback is easy to achive, but it won't go nuts if you leave your distortion on and not mute your strings when not playing.

    What I've learned about this pickup: It works better if you keep it further away from the strings. Some guys always have their pickups right up close to the strings. The TZ7 has more overtones and richness when you back it off some. You won't lose to much pickup gain or ease of pinch harmonics. For extrteme Pinch harmonics boost your highs some or run the presence high-they will sustain much longer.
    I don't think this would be a good pickup for mahogany or other dark sounding woods. I do think the TZ7 is very close to the 6 string counterpart.
     
  3. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    Dimarzio Tone Tone 7

    RG-7620
    RG-2027

    This just goes to show how much the body wood can influence the sound of a pickup...

    I'm about 90% sold on the Tone Zone in my 7620. It's a great, middy, warm, powerful pickup- the cleans aren't particularly memorable as such, but are definitely useable, the lead tones are excellent, and while it has a decicive midrangey "cut" to it for rhythm, the effect is quite good- very "Strapping Young Lad"-esq, at times.

    Coil-tapped, for some reason it makes my 7620 sound remarkably like a Telecaster for no good reason that I can think of. It's a great sound, though- I've always liked the tele-driven tone of Satch's "All Alone," and I have a feeling that throught he right amp (or if I just spent more time tweaking my Nomad) this could get you totally in that ballpark.

    On the downside- I really dislike how this one cleans up when you back off the volume for single-note lines- much more so through a marshall-style amp (i had to switch over to the neck pickup whenever I backed off the guitar's volume through my old TSL) than the Mesa I played before and after my flirtation with EL-34's. It has a brittle, crystaline edge that gets very "stingy" and loses that wonderful fatness that helps this one sing with the gain up. Although, if you roll the volume back to clean up your amp and play some chords, the effect is great- just the right edge of crunch over a clean tone. go figure.

    In Mahogany... Let me just say that a Tone Zone through my old Mesa Rocket-44 is one of the best humbucker cleans I've ever heard. Very Les Paul-tinged. and, through the same amp for heavy rhythm, it just killed- if you're looking for Godsmack-inspired scooped riffing, this is a great tonal combination. For lead, I thought it was worthless- too much lower midrange, not enough treble, and yet too much extreme presence- it was a dark, tubby tone that didn't seem to cut particularly well, that still managed to sound a little fizzy. Some people may like it for the exact reasons I don't, so if you like the fudnamental sound of a Les Paul it's worth a try, and maybe it'd work better with a brighter amp (my taste in tone runs towards a bright guitar driving a dark amp), but for myself I was underwhelmed with this as a lead pickup for a mahogany guitar.

    The 2027 arrived with a Tone Zone in both the bridge AND the neck, and I thought it was much better in the neck- I swapped the bridge TZ for an Evo (I'll review that later, great combo), but never got around to swapping out the neck because I really never felt the need.

    -D
     
  4. Jim Soloway

    Jim Soloway Soloway Guitars

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    Rio Grande Muy Grande Humbuckers. - Very hot signal. Great for playing loud, but for a humbucker, they're way too noisey. Expensive.
     
  5. The Rx Elite

    The Rx Elite B-A-N-A-N-A-S!!!

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    Seymore Duncan SH-4 7 String Humbucker
    Installed in Ibanez UV777, (2) RG-7620's

    I was looking for some different pickup besides the Blaze, mainly something with a little more clarity. I decided to go ahead and try out a Seymore Duncan. This is by far my favorite pickup I have ever had.

    The sound quality is awesome. Its not over the top "metal" like the EMG's are, but just the clarity and overall sound of the pickup is amazing. The low end on the pickup is very full sounding. The high end is very clear and distinct. I would compare it to a Dimarzio Evolution in a 6 string.

    After installing it in my 7620, I immediately had one installed in my other 7620 and one in my Universe. In the studio, they are great distortion and have a great clean sound, especially if used with tweaking the tone and volume knob a little bit.

    The only downfall on this pickup for me personally would be before, I had 2 Blaze II neck pickups (Neck pickup in the bridge position). I used a 3 way pickup selector and with the switch in the middle, I could get some really cool "slap" tones out of the guitar. The output and treble on the Seymore Duncan has kinda eliminated that sound. Other than that, I strongly advise anybody with a 7 to give the JH-4 a shot. If you dont like it, email me, I'd prolly buy it.
     
  6. Mind Riot

    Mind Riot Devoted seven stringer Contributor

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    Dimarzio Evolution 7

    I tried this pickup in my Ibanez RG7421 seven string. It replaced the stock pickup, and I thought I'd try something pretty hot in the bridge position.

    The Evo 7 is definitely hot, no doubt there.

    The Good: Sounded great coil split, a nice hot single coil sound, actually quite spanky and just lovely. Lead sounds in series humbucker mode were awesome, just screamed. Nice mids on this one for lead playing.

    The Bad: The main thing I was concerned about was distorted rhythm playing, and this was where it fell short. It had just WAY too many overtones. Anything on the low B or A sounded like a train wreck. Just not clear or tight. Too much mids, it just raged out and lost all clarity.

    I exchanged it with Dimarzio to try the less hot Air Norton 7 in the bridge, which was admittedly an unusual choice. Tune in next post... :cool:
     
  7. Mind Riot

    Mind Riot Devoted seven stringer Contributor

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    Dimarzio Air Norton 7

    This replaced the Dimarzio Evo 7 in the bridge position of my Ibanez RG7421.

    The Good: Smooth tone, chopped treble. Medium output, nice bass response and mids.

    The Bad: Couldn't get it to sound clear no matter what I did. I tried various EQ settings to no avail before I just realized that no matter what I did with the EQ there was a limit on how much highs were coming out of the guitar and I couldn't do anything about it. I understand how it could work quite well for some styles and as a neck pickup, but this was definitely not the pickup for me. Just not clear enough, for cleans or distorted stuff.

    Going against my gut (and going with Dimarzio's recommendation) I exchanged it for the Blaze neck model.


    \/
     
  8. Mind Riot

    Mind Riot Devoted seven stringer Contributor

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    Dimarzio Blaze neck model

    After going through two bridge pickups and not liking either of them, I approached this one with a certain amount of trepidation. Especially since it was a neck pickup, and I was putting it in the bridge, a practice that hadn't worked with the Air Norton 7.

    The Bad: It could be a tad hotter I suppose, but there's nothing really lacking.

    The Good: Most things. It is taut, muscular and clear. Distorted rhythm playing shines. Cleans are lovely coil split. The slightly scooped mids and lower output than the Blaze bridge make for outstanding clarity and tight low end. Leads could be a bit better if it was hotter with more mids, but you can't have everything. Just edge the gain up a bit or boost a tad and the leads are there.

    I consider this pickup to be my personal first choice for a basswood seven string. It shines in almost every category that matters to me, although more lead oriented players may want something hotter with more mids. It is essentially a slightly hotter PAF for seven string; the EQ curve is almost identical to a PAF and it's just about 60 mV hotter. Just a great all around utility pickup for almost anything you'd want to do.

    Personally, I feel that the Blaze neck is a great sleeper seven string bridge pickup. If more people tried it out I bet they'd love it. I sure as heck do.

    \m/ :mad: \m/
     
  9. Mind Riot

    Mind Riot Devoted seven stringer Contributor

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    Dimarzio PAF-7

    This was purchased to go in the neck position of my Ibanez RG7421 seven string as a companion to the Blaze neck in the bridge position. I considered the Air Norton 7 (tried it in the bridge and didn't really care for it's overall tone) and another Blaze neck (would have probably worked fine, but I wanted something new) and decided on the PAF-7. I could have gone with a Duncan I suppose, but I knew more about Dimarzios and it seemed fitting to have them match in this guitar.

    The Bad: Nothing I can think of. Perhaps a bit too hot a midrange in series humbucking mode for cleans, but I prefer single coils for cleans so my opinion probably doesn't mean much there.

    The Good: As Dimarzio says, low output, sweet sounding pickup. It was actually quite a bit hotter than I was expecting given the description, but I suppose compared to some out there it is quite mild. It definitely has vintage tone. Open, breathy, with some nice 'squonk' in the mids. Distorted leads are smooth and buttery. Coil split it is nice, a clean, low output, but blends wonderfully with one of the coils of the Blaze neck in the bridge. A truly heavenly clean sound, to be honest.

    The PAF-7 is quite a nice neck pickup, I dig it quite a bit. But I must also say that I got it more for it's clean sound than for neck pickup soloing.



    The Blaze neck in the bridge and the PAF-7 in the neck were my main combination in this guitar, my basswood bodied RG7421, for quite a while. But then one day a deal of a lifetime dropped in my lap, and I got my new Schecter 007 Blackjack. So, as lovely as this RG7421 has been to me (and it has been a wonderful guitar, my main electric for about five years now) it has now been replaced and must be sold to pay for the Schecter.

    Which leads me to..................
     
  10. Mind Riot

    Mind Riot Devoted seven stringer Contributor

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    Seymour Duncan JB-7

    When I got my new Schecter 007 Blackjack, this was the stock pickup in the bridge position. I was actually quite curious to see how it sounded, as the JB is a very well known pickup that I had not previously had the opportunity to play on. Especially since I had been playing with the Dimarzio Blaze neck, PAF-7 combo for a long time.

    I was fully anticipating some buyers remorse until I got used to it. You know how it is, you play a certain pickup for a long time and you really get used to it then you get a new guitar and it just sounds...funny. And you start to think, "Was I just thinking the grass was greener on the other side of the fence? Is this guitar really any better than my old one? What was I thinking? I'd better take this back, it sounds awful!"

    Then you play it for a while, get used to it, and start to see it's good points, and realize you didn't make a huge mistake. Whew!

    Well, I was prepping myself for that before I picked up the Schecter. So I plugged into my PODxt and set it to my favorite Soldano SLO-100 patch, and started playing.

    "Hmmmmmmm...this sounds pretty good...wow...this sounds DAMN good...holy crap, this thing ROCKS!!!" :scream:

    The Bad: According to the Seymour Duncan website specs, the JB has almost double the treble frequencies than it does mids or bass. I would agree with this asessment. It is a VERY trebly pickup. Personally, for distorted rhythm playing, I keep my tone knob rolled back about 3/4 of the way with this pickup. But I much prefer having the response that I can roll off to not having the response no matter what I do.

    The pickup is also quite a bit hotter than I'm used to, which makes for a more aggressive sound, but I'm also having some trouble with picking up hum from my power system. It was quite obtrusive in the signal, and drove me nuts. I eventually shielded the entire control cavity with aluminum tape and tack solder, which brought it down significantly, but it is still there. I suppose this is just something you have to accept with higher output pickups, but my Ibanez is virtually silent compared to this.

    The Good: I am amazed by the tightness, clarity, and utter freaking BALLS of this pickup. (I should mention that the Schecter has an extended 26 1/2" scale which no doubt added to the clarity and tightness, but still...) It doesn't speak, it shouts. Notes just jump off of the guitar, and it growls with authority. I can understand why so many people use this pickup, it really sounds professional. It truly takes you one step closer to sounding like a pro.

    I believe that Schecter chose it for the Blackjack series in part because of it's extreme treble response. The Blackjack series are all solid mahogany bodied guitars, and particularly on the seven strings, I know there is concern about things becoming muddy due to that choice of body wood. I can't say for sure that mahogany will always work for a seven string, but I can say that a solid mahogany body, combined with the crisp, clear treble of the JB-7, is an amazing combination. I've heard some guys talk about the JB in mahogany just being some kind of magic combo, and I agree.

    One other thing to mention, is that the JB has amazing harmonics. The Evo 7 I tried on my Ibanez had lots of harmonics too, but they seemed out of control to me. The JB squeals and screams with harmonics, but it is very controllable via the way you play.

    The JB-7 is an amazing bridge pickup for a mahogany bodied seven string. I can't speak as to how it would work in basswood, but for mahogany I strongly, STRONGLY recommend it. I wouldn't use anything else in the bridge of a mahogany seven.
     
  11. Mind Riot

    Mind Riot Devoted seven stringer Contributor

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    Seymour Duncan '59-7

    This, like the JB-7, came stock in my Schecter 007 Blackjack seven string.

    The Bad: It is too hot for me, as a neck pickup. Even in split mode, it's just a bit too hot. Jim Soloway gave me the tip of rolling off the volume whenever I use it, which works quite well and sweetens it up nicely. Interestingly enough, it seems to work with amp models on the PODxt that my PAF-7 in my RG7421 wouldn't work with at all. The PAF-7 sings sweetly through Fender Twins and Deluxe Reverbs in the PODxt, and the Roland JC-120 sounded awful, sterile and brittle. The '59-7 sounds way too middy and honky through the Fenders and sounds absolutely heavenly through the JC120. Go figure.

    The Good: As I said, once the volume is rolled off a tad it sings with a nice voice. Like the JB, it has a tad too much treble response but also like the JB it seems to really come into it's own with the tone knob rolled back a tad. Lovely cleans through the JC120 model, it is my fave clean sound with this guitar. Distorted lead playing, it sounds similar to the PAF-7, as in smooth and vocal, but it is a bit hotter than the PAF-7.

    Overall, quite a nice neck pickup, even though I feel like I have to tame it a bit for it to be useful. I'm still getting to know it, and I'm sure over time I'll come to understand it better and be able to use it more effectively.


    I typed all of these pickup reviews in a row, and man, are my hands tired. But I've been wanting to type these up since I came here; it didn't look like too many people had posted in this thread yet. I hope this info is helpful, and thanks for reading!

    MR :cool:
     
  12. 7StringofAblicK

    7StringofAblicK Contributor

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    The EMG 707:
    Well...My dream was to own one of these. I fell in love with Fear Factory tone and I raged how I wanted it. I was not dissapointed one bit in its performance, but it didn't do what I hadn't already done.

    The bad: Very, very bright on clean. It was so crystal clear with no bass in it that it was thin sounding. Power chords were sufficient, but any jazz or neck movement was left dry.

    The Good: Distorted, it was clear and taut. Clarity out the ball sack, but still lacked a awesome low end. They say this is supposed to be bassier than the 81-7, but any less bass and you'd have a problem. But, this thing has some good output volume wise. ::the clean can be very good at times for single picking and that lo-fi kind of sound. by rolling back some of the tone, you get that more rhythmic feel.

    I still prefer my JB, but that is in a mahogany bodied guitar. I may try the 707 in a mahogany body, considering it will maintain some low end. My basswood guitar with the 707 is awesome for speed riffs and for that fear factory clarity. But my other guitars that are passive retain that deep gutsy low end that I prefer.

    Damn glad to have it as a part of my arsenal, it is there when I need it and it has its great points. People may argue and desire the tone that it has more than any other kind, it is just not my favorite.
     
  13. Jerich

    Jerich Contributor

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    Lundgren M-Model

    Humbucker:

    Carvin 747 Ash body painted Black with a Birdseye Maple fret board,and Floyd Rose Copy tremolo: for this test, I felt it sounds different in my Other Carvin 727 with full mahogany Bodied & string with maple fretbaord:

    The bad: very hot pickup even when toned down it is still too vibrant for some. Very harsh distortion is not a smooth pickup when on full. Splitting the coil is reccomended.You must order them from the Ludgren Factory and be on pins and needles until they reach you. Comminication from them is not really the greatest,But i think it is becasue they do not speak English (swedish).

    The Good: It is a very High out put crunchy pickups, It has many different tones of distortion just by the volume pot alone, I use the tone Pot as a Blender pot for the treble so I use a cap to keep the tone at a simple setting that works for me. If you tune extremely Low It works well cutting through the mix.It is more consistant than the EMG-707,and i had them in both of these guitars first. Meshuggah use them But i do not like meshuggahs tone,so do not go by them.

    Great pickups for your dollar, and you do not have to route out the body cavity to fit them in.
     
  14. LordOVchaoS

    LordOVchaoS NUDE MAN! Forum MVP

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    EMG 81-7

    Now played by Dino Cazarez. I bought one of these from the custom shop section of guitarpartsdepot.com and I love it. I think I've had it about 8 months now (not sure exactly). I had a 707 at the bridge and a crappy HZ at the neck (it came with the guitar). The 707 was great for a while! Then I started missing the glory of the 81 that I have in my 6-string Jackson. Convieniently, I was browsing guitarpartsdepot and stumbled across this. I bought it on the spot and installed it the second it came to my door. Anyone who's ever usen an 81 knows how bad ass this thing is! I moved the 707 to the neck and put the 81-7 in the bridge. This thing is so hot I had to improve my playing because it picks up everything! The clarity is amazing and the sensitivity is almost ridiculous! There is NO noise unless I'm standing close to a TV when I'm playing it. You can get a harmonic from literally every fret on the neck. I get sustain from a bolt-on neck that you could only imagine coming from a neck-thru due to this pickup. Anybody who is a fan of active pickups should get one of these! It blows even the almighty 707 out of the water! I can't compare this to too many passive pickups because I don't own any anymore and the EMG-HZs are hardly a good example to compare them to. All I can tell you is that the other guitarist in my band has some Blaze 2s and is quite envious of my EMG.
     
  15. Jerich

    Jerich Contributor

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    Rio Grande 7 String... The Texas Tall single coil.

    I have a Mutt Fender Style 7-string Strat. It has a Birdseye Maple Neck&Fretboard and a H-S-S pickup configuration. The single coils are counter angled like Jake E Lee did on his custom guitars, and wired with a 5 way selector and a coil tap on M-Model. This guitar was made by Ron Lucca for me; solid alder body with black Dupont Prism paint. HipShot Bridge, super ajustable, brass (black), brass nut.

    I tried a lot of pickups in the guitar and finally found these Rio Grands to get that thinner Strat sound. I wish Joe Barden made seven string pickups... But if he did this is what they would sound like. They are a mid range, thin, full-sounding strat sound. I hate to compare it to someone, but maybe a Chris Impellitteri clean/bluesy tone.

    This guitar has a Lundgren M-Model Humbucker in the Bridge and two Rio Grandes in the Middle and neck. The output from the two Rio's is weak and I am working on a cap/resistor for the M-Model to drop it down to even it out with the Rios. This guitar is a project in the making.

    I love these pickups. If you install them in a body you must rout for the triangle size and shape they are, but I just cut/dremmeled out my pickgaurd.

    Price: I purchased three of these off ebay for $22 each = Good deal.
     
  16. Wayniac

    Wayniac SS.org Regular

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    Tom Anderson HB
    Guitar: Anderson Pro-Am 7
    The Good: Beefy tone, versatile, very responsive. Available cheap from Warmoth.com
    The bad: As most Anderson HB's are - a little bassy. Need to change the EQ'ing on your amp.

    EMG 707 - I agree with above statements... very bright and a bit thin on the clean settings.... pretty beefy when distorted. Guess I'd like to get my paws on an 81
     
  17. ecalcagnino

    ecalcagnino \mm/ Contributor

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    All these were in my 7620 test mule:

    Dimarzio EVO 7 - (bridge position) Bright as a mutha. Not a good choice for a one guitar band IMHO, it's too shrill and a little thin. Cuts great with two guitars and great for stand out leads. Good harmonics. Not too hot.

    Dimarzio Air Norton 7 - (neck position) As smooth as the Evo is bright. Love this pup, the right amount of clarity with no mud. Petrucci lead tone for days.

    Seymour Duncan SH-4 JB-7 - (bridge position) Hell yeah. This is what I am talkin' about. Not too hot but it has some juice boy. One of my favorites for metal/fusion. Super clear, no mud. Great PUP. Similar to the Blazes in the UV and Tone Zone 7s.

    Seymour Duncan SH-1 '59-7 - (neck position) Perfect balance of output and clarity. Not very different than the AN7. Reacts very dynamically to playing style and picking strength.
     
  18. terrorsound

    terrorsound SS.org Regular

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    emg 81 7's and emg 707's on ibanez and mh 307 customs:

    the emg 707's on the esp going through my line 6 vetta II sounds a bit fuller in the bass department than the 81-7's do. Both setups have the pickups angled away from the bass strings with the same spacing from the top surface of the pickup to the bottom of the b, e, a, strings. For the line 6 setup these pickups definately do the trick, mids are pretty good, presence is right there and harmonics are rediculous on both pickup models. I do not experience the thin sounding issues on any of my clean channels. there is a song on acid planet called the storm in which I use the MH 307 and 7620 for both left and right guitar parts, no thin sounding tones coming from the guitars or the gear. Maby it's just the eq cutting the treble?
     
  19. eaeolian

    eaeolian Pictures of guitars I don't even own anymore! Super Moderator

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    Seymour Duncan Custom 7

    I have a Washburn Sonic 7 (maple neck with birdseye maple board, mahogany body with the oddest paint you've ever seen) that arrived with a Duncan Distortion 7 in it. Since that pickup was WAY too bright for normal settings (my main 7 string has a JB-7 in it), it had to go. Since I've had good luck with the Custom in maple neck/board w/mahogany body guitars before, I jumped on this one in the classified of another forum. The tone of the guitar is now, um, brutal.

    The Good:

    Thick, angry midrange. The guitar now has a low-mid "roar" to it that's really hard to explain, it just sounds evil. Single notes jump without being brittle, and chords are a wall of fundamental and harmonics.

    The Bad:

    Might be TOO thick. I use a realtively bright sound, so it's OK for me, but if you are used to a bassy sound this pickup - especially with this wood combo - might well totally mush out for you. It's not as clear as the JB-7, especially during chording.

    The Verdict:

    In the right guitar, this thing is positively evil. It's always going to be close to mud, though, 'cause the low mids are so strong. It works in this particular guitar very well.
     
  20. Drache713

    Drache713 Contributor

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    Dimarzio Blaze Custom

    Installed in bridge postion of Ibanez RG7321

    One word to describe this pickup is middy. Not so much mids to make it muddy or mushy, but enough to make it thicker/fuller and stand out in the mix. It has a good amount of low end so it is warm and has good thump to it, and yet the high end is bright and clear and yet not the "icepick in the ear" sound, not harsh and is actually somewhat smooth. In all actuallity it's a very balanced pickup tone wise. The high output helps it work great for distortion, i actually had to lower my gain a lot and my mids as well on my amp. The mids and high output help with harmonics too. Sounds great coil split, only thing is that it doesn't sound that great clean; too high of output and too much mids for my taste clean wise. Distorts the clean channel fairly easily. To me it's kinda like a middle-ground pickup between the tone zone and evo, warmer and less harsh/smoother than an evo, and yet tighter and brighter/edgier than a tone zone. If you're into the scooped metal pickup sound this pickup isn't for you (although having this pickup and scooping the mids on your amp DOES work quite well). If you're into a middier metal sound ala newer dream theater, killswitch engage, shadows fall or anything like that, this pickup would work really well. I actually e-mailed dimarzio and they said the blaze custom is basiclly the pickup that is being used in the bridge of the EBMM Petrucci guitars (or the D Sonic for the 6-strings) so for those looking for a tone similar to newer dream theater/petrucci (once he got his EBMM guitars), look no further. A great high output metal pickup I say, my personal favorite!
     
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