update on drop G 7-string

Discussion in 'Beginners/FAQ' started by WintermintP, Oct 31, 2017.

  1. WintermintP

    WintermintP Lead/Rhythm Guitar, One Minute Winter

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    Hi

    This is a continuation of the old thread that I made about wanting to tune my JS32-7 to drop G. I don't want to upset anyone by necromancing the thread so I'm posting a new one. Feel free to merge this to the old thread if that seems to be a better choice.

    Okay, the Drop G on the guitar sounds pretty good somewhat, but as for the actual tone, it's not quite cutting it compared to the kind of tone that I was actually looking for.

    As for what kind of tone I actually was looking for, I have been trying to get a guitar tone similar to that of Whitechapel's recently and after a few discussions with my classmates I found out that the Our Endless War tone came from the EMG 81-7s. So I bought a couple of them and they'll take three weeks and another couple of business days to arrive.

    So I have a couple questions. First would be whether I would need some kind of routing to fit the soapbar or not because I know for a fact that there was another guitarist that installed his EMG pickups on his JS32-7 and posted it on YouTube but I can't find the video. The other would be how to dial that kind of tone on Thermionik. I have the Kazrog Complete Collection so I have all of the Thermionik amps and effects. I'm also using 3 Sigma Audio cabinet impulse responses, most notably the Mesa Oversized IRs they have.

    Thanks,
    WintermintP

    P.S. I know I'm being a total copout by using the same 81s that everyone else is using but therd's no 89 for 7-strings. Again, 707TW is not quite the same.
     
  2. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    Yeah, the EMG 81-7 will not fit in the pickup routes in the JS32-7, so routing will be necessary.

    If it achieves the tone you really want, that's a good move. If not, there are special pickup rings available to install passive-sized seven string pickups into an active route.
     
  3. WintermintP

    WintermintP Lead/Rhythm Guitar, One Minute Winter

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    Right, but is a routing machine one of those things that anyone can buy? Don't I need steady hands for this? I could look into learning how to solder if I really have to (if I do end up having to get a passive set instead).

    Thanks,
    WintermintP
     
  4. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    Soldering is a piece of cake if you understand the basics of it. The soldering iron needs to be hot. The solder flows toward the heat. Get a good soldering iron ($40 is generally sufficient), tin your leads, and then let the solder do the work for you, and you'll have no problems.

    Routing is another thing. You can do it by hand with a dremel tool, or you can use a routing table. The consistency with how the finished product looks will vary greatly between methods. If you repaint the guitar afterward, then you can cover up little slips, but anything major will require some additional time to repair. Practice makes better.

    I've done a couple of EMG routes myself. My first try actually came out good. I think overconfidence might have been my problem the second time. If I could go back in time, I think I would have tried to convince a friend to let me use their routing table. I've since sort of lost my taste for EMGs, and now I have two instruments with them that would most likely have been upgraded to something else if not for the routing work...

    Everyone's different. I tend to jump into things with an hour of preparation, whether an hour is sufficient or not. :lol: Being more prepared means a better result. If you are not certain which pickups you want, though, you might want to get certain before you install EMGs.
     
  5. Palmer6strings

    Palmer6strings SS.org Regular

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    My 7 string has the 707s in it. I didn’t like the tone of them at first either. I bought an EMG 81-7s to put in the bridge and it in my opinion sounded really weak. I didn’t like it at all. I’ve now come to love the 707s in it.

    But when going from passive to active, EMGs usually include what you need to wire it all up when new. They are mainly plug and play with very little soldering.
    If you aren’t comfortable with soldiering anything, I would definitely take it to someone who is good at it.

    But if this was my guitar I would leave a passive guitar passive and just research pickups that have a similar output as to what you are wanting. Fishman and Duncan’s are pretty good sounding pickups.
     
  6. WintermintP

    WintermintP Lead/Rhythm Guitar, One Minute Winter

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    @bostjan One thing I know for a fact is that I have already ordered the 81-7s so there's no turning back at this point. If all else fails, there's the special pickup rings but... honestly, I would only want a different pickup if routing is going to be something that's really difficult the first time. This is because there won't be an opportunity to actually practice routing due to the fact that I don't have any other guitars that are quite like this. I don't have access to their kind of paint or varnish so that's another problem if it'll actually cause cracks in the wood. All honesty, I have heard demos of that pickup because it's a really common pickup in the bridge position, and I really love the tone, even for an 81 (and I do believe I have stated several times in the past that I prefer the 89 in the bridge over the 81).

    Soldering is going to be really daunting for me, because I do tend to have a lot of anxiety when it comes to working with things that require a lot of heat. Even with the stove top, it took me a whole decade just for me to actually start using the thing more often (back then I've only used it once). As a matter of fact, I do have quite a history of having accidentally burned myself. That's why I wanted to avoid soldering whenever I could, which is also why I prefer EMG over all other pickup brands. I also tend to love the active tone, which is all the more reason to prefer EMG over all other brands (well, their newer active pickup models are gravitating toward passive-style tones as well, which I actually don't like; I mean, passive pickups can sound great and there are passive pickups that I really like, but there are so many tracks that I like that used active pickups for the entirety of, including my own, and call me weird all you want but I really love the active tone).

    But dang, I just found out that the older JS22-7s had soapbar pickup cavities so installing any EMG wouldn't have been a problem back then (not sure about the JS32-7s). Did they really have to go out of their way to complicate everyone else's lives? Or is it that more people started to love passive pickups and they gravitated towards that and alienated the niche buyers like myself?

    It's really painful to see that I have to go through a grueling process just to see if I'm going to be able to install a set of pickups that I really like and it's all the more painful to see the irony because EMG has been marketing their pickups for their "ease of instalment" when in actuality, it's more difficult to install their pickups than it is to install a passive, and even then I have to actually learn how to solder things and it's really hard for me to do that because I do have a lot of anxiety over the possibility of burning myself. So I'm like...

    @Palmer6strings I already have installed EMG pickups before and I know what it's like. It's just that last time it was a six-string (which I use as a pseudo-baritone) and the 89s that I installed sounded great. It was a bit problematic when it comes to the process but it did turn out really well...

    As for why the pickup sounds weak, I'm thinking it's probably your playing style, because I know for a fact that when I had the 85s installed in the Snakebyte (the aforementioned 6-string) the tone sounded great but I nearly overloaded the interface to death because of how high the output was (and then I had to bring the input gain on my interface quite low since), and once I switched to the 89s, because of the lower output I could increase the gain on the interface a little bit, and it sounded great because of the sharper attack that I sorely needed. And I'm very certain I had this problem because of my very aggressive playing style. In the previous thread I already mentioned that I had to buy heavier gauges just because I wouldn't get the right tuning stability otherwise due to my aggressive playing (I also know that my gauges are actually heavier than that of Alex Wade's; his bottom is a 68 and my bottom is a 70).

    Also, I already have researched into the other pickups but I've already come across a bunch of problems.

    One, I already have considered the Fishmans, but EMG pickups are generally cheaper. I get that the Fishman Fluence pickups can have a better tone, and I was looking into the Stephen Carpenter model, but I knew for a fact that the prices were quite steep compared to the 81-7s.

    Two, As for the Duncans, I'm generally not exactly a fan of theirs. This is because one, amongst the bands that I have been listening to, only one of them uses the Duncans, and it's only one of the two guitarists; and two, it's really hard for me to gauge the pickups' actual viability because I've always seen the same pickups being used in the same positions and nobody ever mixed and matched like some people did with EMG (including myself; the 89 is almost always used as a neck pickup and I'm one of the very few that use it in the bridge).

    Three, as mentioned before, it's not like I'm having trouble deciding what kind of a tone/pickup I want in my guitar. It's more along the lines of "I know what pickups I'm looking to install on my guitar, but how am I going to do it?"

    WintermintP

    P.S. FYI, even for a metalhead I'm probably the most timid crybaby you'll ever meet. There are so many things that I'm afraid of, especially heat and sharp objects.
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2017
  7. Grindspine

    Grindspine likes pointy things

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    EMG does make a humbucker (non-soapbar sized) 81-7h pickup.
     
  8. WintermintP

    WintermintP Lead/Rhythm Guitar, One Minute Winter

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    Doesn't matter because the cavities have round corners, each with quite a large radius. EMG humbuckers do have round corners, but the radius for each isn't that big, i.e. the corners are more defined which means I still have to do the routing for that. Also, keep in mind, I'm in Canada, which means the only way for me to gain access to these kinds of pickups is to order them through Cosmo Music via price match, and they don't even carry the EMG 81-7H here, and neither does any Canadian instrument store (the store you're price matching has to be a Canadian instrument store, and if the store you're trying to buy from doesn't normally carry the said item you can't get it anyway).

    WintermintP
     
  9. Palmer6strings

    Palmer6strings SS.org Regular

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    @WintermintP
    Crap I’m sorry, for some reason when I saw 81-7s I was thinking 81-7x...
    So to clarify, I have the 81-7x and it sounds weak. The research I was doing was saying that it had a more natural sounding low end but in the end it was just a weak sounding pickup. Especially compared to the 707s I have installed. (Which I have grown to love.)

    I have NOT tried a set of just plain 81-7s. The research I have done leads me to believe it’s more of a mid raspy sounding pickup.

    It looks like you have your mind made up though, so I honestly would just take all my stuff to a luthier when it comes to that. That way you don’t have to worry about tools and whatnot, and if they screw up, it’s on them and not you. My local guy charged me $80 USD to work on my neck/headstock and to do some rewiring on one of my guitars.

    I do a lot of electronic work so I’m good at soldering and really enjoy it. (Though I have been burnt pretty bad myself from them. Lol.) byt I usually still let someone else do the work because they have better tools than I do.
     
  10. InCasinoOut

    InCasinoOut syncopAZN

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    Dude. Do not route your guitar for EMGs with no practice at all. Even just practicing on spare wood picked up at a lumber yard would make a difference, because you can get a feel for what the tool does as you move it. Consider even spending a little extra time making a routing template that you can firmly secure to the body to make the job easier and cleaner.

    Routers are powerful tools at tearing wood away. The odds of you nailing a clean pickup route on the first try with no practice or experience... is not very likely. Take the time to get it right, instead of spending more time trying to fix a big mistake!
     
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  11. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    I mean, I don't see why you are saying that there's no turning back, when, obviously, there are still opportunities to change your mind, until you start working the wood away.
     
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  12. WintermintP

    WintermintP Lead/Rhythm Guitar, One Minute Winter

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    @bostjan Er... true to a degree, but what am I going to do with the pickups that I already did buy? Return them? That would've been okay if it were a local store I ordered from but it's Cosmo Music we're talking about. They're a 2+ hour drive away, so the only way to return them is via mail but that has other problems too. I mean, I could technically cancel the order but like... the thing is, returning those pickups just because I'm unable to install them wouldn't make sense because it's not like I dislike the pickups or anything like that. That's like wanting to buy this x item or eat at this x restaurant you know you're going to like but never go through with it due to some other circumstances and/or other people pestering you not to go through with it.

    @InCasinoOut That's exactly what I'm afraid of, but I don't know where in my local area I can get the said tool let alone a piece of wood to practice on or a routing template to work off of. It's either I have a professional do the routing or not install the 81-7s at all.

    @Palmer6strings X Series pickups are supposed to be the usual active pickups (60, 81, 85, 89, etc) with passive characteristics. That's why they're generally lower in output than their main series counterparts. I know for a fact that I was convinced to try the 89 after trying to dial a tone out of a DI file that an acquaintance sent me where he used the 89-X to record. I was not disappointed since. I know for a fact that the X Series are a mixed bag. So many people love them and so many people hate them. I honestly prefer the main series because active pickups are objectively a strictly better type of pickups, with the only disadvantage being the lack of options (some complain about having to pack a battery but that shouldn't be a problem because they generally last quite long). Lots of people hate the "active" tone but that's just because the kind of active pickups that can cater to them just haven't been released yet. That's why we have things like the Retro Active series and the 57/66 sets, along with the Fishman Fluence pickups which are really popular amongst former strictly-passive players. Again, though, that would've been great had it not been for the fact that these brands have been alienating the customers who still like some of the main series EMG pickups such as myself.

    Also, I find it a real shame that the realm of active pickups is fading away so quickly and they haven't lasted for very long. It's just like when people hated nu metal to death just because nobody understood the genre very well. Even in my local area I'm one of the very small few guitarists that actually swear by active pickups, but how can I use them if I can't even install them?

    WintermintP
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2017
  13. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    Sure, but how does the inconvenience of these two compare:
    1. Driving 2+ hours or mailing the pickups back.
    2. Routing out your guitar specifically for EMG-sized pickups, which limits you also to pickups that sound like EMGs or else using pickup rings, which, I bet you don't have, only to potentially find out you don't like the way they sound.

    But...here's the plan B I suggest. At the risk of sounding like a paid advertisement, there is a pickup manufacturer on this very board who can make you a set of pickups that fit either EMG or standard routes, and, at least when I bought from him, he was willing to communicate with me in order to deliver exactly the product I wanted.

    So, if you try the EMGs and you don't like them, after mod'ing your guitar to hold EMG's, return the EMGs anyway, (if you try to sell them, you'll end up taking a huge hit on the price), and then order a set of Elysian TAPs.

    Or else, if you are uncomfortable doing the routing, you could just return the EMGs anyway, since I bet you'll think the routing is more inconvenient than returning a box in the mail. :2c:
     
  14. WintermintP

    WintermintP Lead/Rhythm Guitar, One Minute Winter

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    Oh boy... all honesty, going through with the routing really does sound like a worthwhile risk. It's just how much it will cost to go through with it that's the main question, but once I get the information then I can maybe make a better call. Again, I have heard demos of the 81-7 and I know what the 81/81-7 sounds like because so many people have covered them on reviews. The problem is not the inconvenience. It's more of a matter of which one is going to be more of a let-down.

    That being said... It's one of those things where I truly won't know if it's a worthwhile investment until I've gone through with it completely...

    If only someone would do a tone comparison between the D Activator 7s and the 81-7s (bridge position especially) just to see if the former can have just as much output as the latter. I don't know anyone who's willing to do it though. Dang, if Mike Stamper himself could do it that would've been awesome... That would've been the decider as well...

    @mikestamper ... Please? :'(

    Does anyone know if Alex Wade used his D Activator 7s for the entirety of Mark of the Blade or if he still had some tracks where he did use the 81-7s?

    WintermintP
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2017
  15. Smoked Porter

    Smoked Porter SS.org Regular

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    I'm pretty certain that everything Whitechapel did since the self-titled has actually been Dimarzio D-Activators. That album was recorded with a Diezel Herbert, and maybe a 5153, I can't remember specifically. But the Herbert was definitely used, and a 5150 variant will get you in the ballpark no problem. What amp are you using?
     
  16. WintermintP

    WintermintP Lead/Rhythm Guitar, One Minute Winter

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    Thermionik. It's a VST Plugin that works as an amp. One of the Thermionik modules was based off of the 5150 III.

    WintermintP
     
  17. Smoked Porter

    Smoked Porter SS.org Regular

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    I'd start with tweaking around on that.
     
  18. WintermintP

    WintermintP Lead/Rhythm Guitar, One Minute Winter

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    ._. Thanks a lot... (but I already have and it's still not quite cutting it)
    WintermintP

    Also, I know for a fact that Our Endless War actually did have 81-7s. I learned this from a friend of mine.
     
  19. Smoked Porter

    Smoked Porter SS.org Regular

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    Just have Mark Lewis at your disposal, and he'll get you there. That's the easy solution. :lol:
     
  20. WintermintP

    WintermintP Lead/Rhythm Guitar, One Minute Winter

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    Don't... do this... to me... please... T-T orz

    WintermintP
     

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