The Eight String Pickup Guide

Discussion in 'Pickups, Electronics & General Tech' started by Konfyouzd, Mar 28, 2011.

  1. wizbit81

    wizbit81 SS.org Regular

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    I've got a custom made 8 string with hipshot bridge and tuners, spalt top, mahogany body and neck. It's equipped with DeActivators and I have to say I'd like to try others too. Good clarity, even under uber distortion, but I feel the output is low and there's just something missing. I wanted a monster, but it's tamed!

    Possibly the pups are a bit low, may need to raise them and see if that makes a diff.
     
  2. sicair

    sicair SS.org Regular

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    Guitar: Agile Dual Intrepid RN8
    Amp: Marshall Valvestate + Bugera 412 H/F Cab OR the best tone I could get out of the free version of the PodFarm + UX2
    Strings: Thomastik Infeld Set + GHS Boomer + D'Addario.
    Tuning: Standard
    Style: Metal

    Pickups: Celphus Alpha and Beta - 6/10

    They pickups sound great. They hold a meaty powerchord, and nearly keep up with my other guitars (which have blackouts) in harmonics. That's impressive considering my head only has one tube. They sustain isn't all that great, but I've never been one to hold a note for more than a few seconds. Leads are very basey though, in any pickup position. I had to readjust my amp settings to get the highs to cut through. The cleans are crystal clear; I can play arpeggios or chords using all 8 strings and hear every note distinctly, and it's nice that the guitar sound different in each pickup position.

    I don't particularly like the pickups myself though. They sound very abrasive, especially when I try to chug on my low E (6th string). These pickups seem geared toward getting that "djenty" tone, quite a bit of attack but no real power. If you're chugging anywhere higher than the B string, it doesn't sound too great.
     
  3. butterschnapps

    butterschnapps (´・ω・`)

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    Agile Septor 828, bolt on swamp ash bodyPod HD Pro > Rocktron Velocity 300 > Orange 4x12MetalThe stock Cepheus pick ups leave a lot to desire in my opinion. I was okay with the highs, but the lows were muddy as hell. If I were to keep this guitar, I would put some BKPs in em or Lundgren M8s, but instead I'm selling it since I've got a custom 8 string being made with Aftermath 8s. Once that gets in, I'll add to this thread.
     
  4. Decline Of Society

    Decline Of Society Banned

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    You'd love to know that, wouldn't you?
    ONLY Lundgren for me!
     
  5. Rap Hat

    Rap Hat the:pawn.project

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    Lace Alumitone XBar 4.5

    Guitar used: Agile Pendulum Pro NAT 82527 (single pickup model)
    • Mahogany Body
    • 5-Piece Maple & Walnut Neck-Thru
    • Fixed Bridge (Agile Multiscale)
    • 1 Vol, No Tone

    Amp(s) used: AxeFX Ultra into PC w/BlueSky ProDesk 2.1 monitors, TS9 into Marshall DSL100 into 1960A Cabinet

    Ease of Install: This was my first solo pickup installation, and I found it to be pretty easy. The guitar originally had an EMG 45dc active bass pickup, so it was a matter of pulling out the old pickup plus active electronics and tossing in the Lace and a 250k volume pot. The XBar fit well, with only a minor amount of side-to-side wiggle room. For height I used the included foam, which I cut to allow the wires to fit better. I was a little confused about which wire was ground and hot, but the Lace rep here sorted it out.
    Going from active to passive gave me a very clean cavity, and it looks pretty spiffy with barely any wires.

    4.5/5

    Sound: In one word, excellent. It's voiced quite different then the typical 8-string pickup. Instead of a bright, middy crunch it's clear, even and responsive. Lace says it's based on an "HD" P90 voicing and I definitely agree. It has some of the P90 bite, but done in such a way that it doesn't sound boosted. Overall gain level is moderately high. It's not blasting the output, but it's definitely loud. The clarity sort of counteracts this though, so in practice it doesn't seem super hot.
    Regarding ideal styles, I'd say: progressive rock/metal (including Deliverance-era Opeth), AAL-style "djent", jazz, and in some cases doom/sludge. I don't play heavier death metal or black metal, but from what I've heard the XBar may not be ideal for that. Think music where note clarity is desired and gain isn't dimed.

    There's one neat deal the pickup has: when running into the AxeFX with a clean amp and no cab the pickup takes on a near-acoustic tone. I've been able to get it sounding better than some piezos I've used, and this is only a bridge pickup. When doing this with other guitars it's generally too biting or muddy, but the Lace puts out the perfect blend of frequencies for it.

    4/5

    Final Thoughts: I've had experience with Blackout 8s, EMGs, Cepheus and DiMarzio and the only one that stands up (with my styles) to the Lace is the DA8. Since this is the 4.5 XBar there's a chance it's a hair different than the 4.0 one, but other reviews of retail (not prototype) XBars come to similar conclusions. Like I said in the sound section it's not really a one-size-fits-all pickup, but it absolutely nails a wide range of styles.

    Overall Score: 4.5/5

    For sound clips check out the link in my sig. It has the clips I did for the NPD here.
     
  6. Konfyouzd

    Konfyouzd Dread-I Master Contributor

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    Guitar: RGA8
    Pickups: EMG808
    Style: Rock/Jazz Fusion wannabe

    I've found that I like these best with the tone knob rolled back which is strange considering I usually remove tone knobs. :lol:

    I went with the solderless system this time and didn't want to cut the wires to put in a killswitch or blower switch this time so I opted for the solderless tone knob. Some folks have this weird sound to their tone that kind of sounds like someone chewing potato chips on the attack. I got a slight bit of that out of these initially but was able to dial most of it out. I still get it a tiny bit on the LOW E but noticed I was able to get them to sound pretty good w/ the tone knob rolled back.

    Those of you with 808s that are a little unhappy with the tone, try rolling back the tone knob and re-EQing accordingly before swapping to the X series. Not saying you shouldn't try it, this is just a cheaper preliminary measure. I would actually like to try the X series myself.
     
  7. ma5h

    ma5h 8 string marsupial

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    Hi folks, havent been here in a while. I recently received an 8 string set from Veijo Rautia. So I swapped my D-Activator 8s for them and did a comparison. I m not saying one is better than the other but they are different. Your thoughts/preferences would be appreciated.

     
  8. DeltaOrionis

    DeltaOrionis SS.org Regular

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    I prefer the D-Activator 8s!
    The Rautia pickups sound thinner and a bit harsh, DA8s have more clarity and more balls.

    However, for a full comparison, you should have played some chords, clean and solo stuff too!
     
  9. FireInside

    FireInside THE. DEAD. SEASON.

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    Yeah I definitely prefer the D-Actvator 8's as well. The other ones seem to have too much attack and are too harsh.
     
  10. Creech

    Creech SS.org Regular

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  11. Konfyouzd

    Konfyouzd Dread-I Master Contributor

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    Pickup: Lace Alumitone X-bar 4"
    Guitar: Ibanez RG8 (Basswood body, 5pc maple/walnut neck, rosewood fretboard, volume only)
    Strings: D'Addario 9 - 54 + 80
    Amp: Fender Mustang III (and Pod HD500 whenever I get around to trying to make a patch for it)

    I have had these pickups for roughly a week now.

    Initially I was going to try a Deathbar/X-bar combo, but all of the clips I heard of the Deathbar sounded very very thin to me which I didn't like much. The X-bars sounded much fatter in comparison through sound clips, but I'd heard that they felt "underpowered."

    In my experience, the X-bar isn't at all underpowered--at least not for my needs. There seems to be a very pronounced mid and upper middle range to them. The bass end stays suspiciously clean no matter how low I try to go; I currently have my guitar tuned to drop E with no clarity problems whatsoever.

    Now if the bottom end is that clean, we usually end up with problems in the upper registers where notes will become shrill and/or ice-picky... Not the X-bars. The tone seems to almost stay COMPLETELY even across the registers which is something I'm not 100% used to with pickups. Most that I've tried have some variation in the tonality between registers which for some folks/some scenarios may be a good thing.

    My style is along the lines of an 80s shreddy/modern thrash/prog hodge-podge and it these things nail that tone for me.

    Not only that, but in alternate picked shred runs individual notes stand out like crazy and if you miss one you'll know. Legato runs are articulate but seem to allow the notes to blur together *just* enough to get the legato effect.

    On the clean channel I was also very surprised. I have no idea how to describe what the X-bar sounds like in the neck other than it sounds like it's literally sparkling. I've heard people describe pickups before where they'll say that notes seem to "shimmer." And I think this might be what they mean, but this is the first time I've ever heard this in my own clean tone.

    In the bridge it still has a similar "shiny" clarity without jumping way up in volume or becoming harsh. Depending on your dynamics it might even be difficult to tell the difference between neck and bridge although if keepin the same dynamics and playing the same lick on either, you'll easily notice the difference.

    Very cool pickups indeed.

    Oh and did I mention they make like ZERO noise?
     
  12. Konfyouzd

    Konfyouzd Dread-I Master Contributor

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    Definitely going to try this when I get home. Both my amps are modellers, but I never really took the time to play with the clean tones much... If I can get similar results to yours I can say screw piezo on my next build... :agreed:
     
  13. bluntmasta

    bluntmasta SS.org Regular

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    lace deathbar or 808x need help
     
  14. crg123

    crg123 SS.orgLocalArchitect

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    Death bar if you want a lot of clarity and not as much output, with diverse applications. EMG808x if you want more of a straight metal pickup with a decent amount of compression (not as much as a standard 808 though). IMO I have the X-bar/Deathbar combo in my 8 and I love it. Don't let the name deathbar confuse you, it's not really a high gain pickup. It's a medium gain pickup with a very open (not tight like say an aftermath) tone. The lace's have a large tonal palette that can be great as long as you own an eq and a compressor.

    Also are your stock pickups active or passive. Active>Passive isn't too bad, but Passive > Active requires routing
     
  15. Gram negative

    Gram negative Christopher Horton

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    The more I hear, the more I think that the Lace pickups might be good for me.

    I know Konfyouzd is practically endorsing them at this point, lol. What he descibes is what Im after, "shimmering" cleans on the neck, and clear distortion tones without noise.
     
  16. jonajon91

    jonajon91 New Picture

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    My friend is looking at his first ERG at the moment (8 string) and is looking at the interpid body shape, but is torn on the pickups. Would it be better to get the passive cephus pickups ($699) and save two hundred dollars, or would it be better to get the active EMG's ($899) with the poor clean tone and the muddy low end? Also, we hear that passive pickups are easier to swap out, so he could fit some DiMarzio pickups in a year or so.

    How good are the stock cephus pickups?
    What do you agile owners think of the cephus'?
    passive VS active?
    Cephus stock and then swap to DiMarzio or $200 dollars for EMG's?

    Any help appreciated :)
     
  17. jonajon91

    jonajon91 New Picture

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  18. yellow

    yellow Banned

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    Forgive the disregaurd for format, but this is a general tip for any and all active 8 string pickups, it works for SD blackouts as well, but I just copied and pasted this from another thread:

    THE EMG 808 FIX

    To me, this is the most important innovation and discovery for the ERG/8 string guitar with active pickups. I read and researched all over on how to solve the muddiness of the EMG 808. It is not very clear with high gain as many say. The bass is very promiment and drowns out the high end, the low end is too bassy and boomy. Simply put, there is not enough clarity in the high end, and it lacks definition in the treble area, so I am the first to have pioneered and discovered THE EMG 808 FIX and I wish to share it with all of you, free of charge lol!!! Its quite simple:

    EMG Resonant Peak Control

    The RPC is a variable active control that boosts the high frequency response up to 6 dB at 4000 Hz, while simultaneously reducing low frequency response. Its potentiometer controlled circuitry allows you to sweep from natural sound to accentuated highs typical of single-coil pickups. Like the EMG-SPC, it can be wired to one pickup or at the output of the guitar.

    so there you have it. Anyone with the emg 808's in their 8 string who want more clarity, brightness, and high end in their tone, and/or want to cut out the boomy, bassy, low end a bit, you now have your fix. forget the 18v mod, forget wasting money on another pickup, whether active or passive, this little knob is the answer to your problems.

    best part is: there is no routing required, no big adjustements, and no big cost whatsoever. its only $50 bucks. you simply replace the tone knob (which will be set at 10 when you remove it) with the RPC knob. done. The pickup game has now changed and its very affordable :agreed:

    NOTE: I REPEAT THIS WORKS FOR ANY AND ALL ACTIVE PICKUPS ACCORDING TO EMG
     
  19. vick1000

    vick1000 SS.org Regular

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    Dimarzio D-Activator 8 bridge, Ibanez RG8, Peavey 6505+ combo or a Crate Shockwave, into a 4x12 with 4 Texas Heats.

    Not liking it at all. Stock pickups are better in some ways, though not as hot of course. Ordered a Deathbar and X-bar to compare.
     
  20. Poltergeist

    Poltergeist SS.org Regular

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    Xbar and Deathbar ordered...So they recommend a 250 k pot but if one would choose to use a 500k pot it will give a subtle high end to the tone or more bite?
     

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