What are the target markets/sounds generally for the different pups (sd dm bkp suhr fishman lace etc

Discussion in 'Pickups, Electronics & General Tech' started by JediMasterThrash, Jan 10, 2019.

  1. JediMasterThrash

    JediMasterThrash SS.org Regular

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    I'm just curious if anyone has a good summary description of what the target market/target sound/general character of the different pickup manufacturers are.

    Things like best options for classic rock, or djent, or warm vs. clarity, etc.

    Based on readings so far, it seems that generally
    SD is more classic rock, maybe more muddy or less articulate for metal, but they have a few pickups the djenters like
    DM targets the metal virtuoso (vai, petrucci, etc). But it seems their newer offerings are getting tighter and tighter and moving away from the old jack of all trades like super distortion and blaze.
    EMG targets all the gain, too compressed for cleans or lower gains
    BKP targets brittish rock and metal and have super high clarify
    Fishman targets djent
    Lace is more like a passive EMG
    Lundgren targets djent
    Suhr seemes more 80's boutique but they only have like one pickup option.

    These are of course wholly inaccurate, and each manufacturer has pickups that cover a wide wide range of styles. But it's nice to just be able to target into one brand if you know a specific style/tone you're into.

    Really the question is, what differentiates the manufacturers? There's always something that makes a pup an SD vs. a DM, etc. Like a generally tighter low end, more articulate highs, super-clarity like BKPs, compression like EMGs, etc.

    What are the signature styles of each brand?

    Which brands have the best pickups for 80's rock/metal and 90's powerprog?
     
  2. KnightBrolaire

    KnightBrolaire schadenfreude

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    pickup brand is pretty much irrelevant ime. I've played 30$ pickups that sound just as good as any 150$ pickup, and i've tried A LOT of pickups.
    Pickups aren't voodoo magic (although some dadrockers would argue differently when they drop 350$+ on PAF reproductions), they're wire and magnets and ferrous metal that impart a certain sonic footprint onto the notes you play before any other electronic part of the signal chain.

    There's no real defining general characteristic to pickups across a brand since most brands make a huge swath of vastly different sounding pickups. BKP's warpig is nothing like their black dog or holy diver, duncan's black winter is nothing like the pegasus or dimebucker, dimarzio's super distortion is nothing like the dsonic or titan, etc.
    if you want an 80s type tone then basically any pickup can do those types of sounds ime.. You just need the right amount of gain and a british voiced amp/amp sim/pedal like a marshall guvnor/friedman BEOD
     
  3. KailM

    KailM SS.org Regular

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    It doesn't really work like that. Most of the manufacturers you listed strive to provide a model or various models to suit every genre of playing.

    Also, in my experience, pickups don't influence your tone nearly as much as your amp, and they generally don't limit you to one genre or another. There are certainly optimal choices for certain genres and sub genres, but you could play death metal on a stock Squier Strat if you really had to.
     
  4. JediMasterThrash

    JediMasterThrash SS.org Regular

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    The "wire and magnets" comment is exactly the reason I posted this.

    I'm an electrical engineer so I'm always interested in the physics. In the end the magnet defines the magnetic field, then the wire has a certain capacitance/resistance, and the amount of winding creates the inductance. From there it's just a differential equation away from the transfer function that defines the frequency response. So I always wonder what makes them so different, and why hand or scatter-wound sounds different from machine wound?

    That said, I think there's definitely aspects of the pickups that are hard to remove from the system. I tried a CL/LF combine in a basswood bolt on that had a nails on chalkboard shrill high end I couldn't EQ away, and the bottom end was so tight I couldn't hear the fundamentals on the bottom strings. But none of these issues on several other pups. And I had a JB/57 that was muddy as heck bottom end that couldn't get cleaned up. And I found the PAF Pro has a real nice open-vowel sound I couldn't coax out of any other neck pickup.

    Part of this is also me trying to understand pickup pairings with wood. I asked BKP directly and they said don't use their alcino pups in a maple neck thru or mahagony, it'll sound terrible, only use their ceramics in a neck thru, use the alcino's in basswood/alder bolt-ons, etc.
     
  5. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    WAY too generalized. With rare exceptions, pretty much all of those pickup manufacturers are trying to appeal to pretty much ALL of those groups with at least one of their offeringas.
     
  6. narad

    narad SS.org Regular

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    Fair enough -- it's BKP's product so let them recommend the best platform for their product. But also, bullshit.
     
  7. JustinRhoads1980

    JustinRhoads1980 Jackson Elitist

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    I feel like a lot of those pickups in that list that are labeled for a certain genre is not really correlated correctly
     
  8. Mathemagician

    Mathemagician SS.org Regular

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    EMG: do you like metal
    EMG + PEAVY 6505: Do you like metal from Metallica through 2012?
     
  9. GatherTheArsenal

    GatherTheArsenal SF2 > Everything

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    Out of your list i've only tried DiMarzio, SD's and EMG's, but I can only speak for the particular sets I've had, not each brand as a whole. I think a rep from any of those companies would be able to give a clearer answer since they would likely have had access to testing entire lineups offered by said brands, both in-house and their competitors.

    That aside I can only generally say that because I enjoy playing mainly metal (prog/death) I find EMG's (707's & 81/85) to be my choice everytime. Though worth mentioning i also find cleans are actually beautiful through the neck 707's, at least particularly for my taste I do, so I disagree with your view on them. Also they're fairly quite pickups so that's a plus for this genre.

    SD Nazgul/Sentient, I've had them for 5 years in my Ibby RGA8 and they're marketed more for metal genres, but I actually found them more flexible than what they get credit for. At the end of the day they're just not active pickups, merely mimicking them so they come off calmer (more flexible) than EMG's for example. So if I'm going with passives I'm very pleased with SD. The stock pickups that came in my Jackson are also amazing, never switched them out in the 10 years I've had that guitar so my perception of SD is that they're high quality and are good for most genres I approach.

    DiMarzio I like the least. In comparison to the above, the D'activator doesn't hold a candle, they sound faint even in e-standard and dialing in the tone i want to hear can be a pain. To be fair, there are better options offered by DiMarzio slated for metal genres so my perception of the brand is limited at best.

    With all the above said, it's not too far off that another person would disagree completely with my subjective experience and perception of those brands.
     
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  10. JediMasterThrash

    JediMasterThrash SS.org Regular

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    Interesting considering how completely different every metallica album sounds.

    While I feel MOP and JFA have _the_ most powerful metal guitar ever, it's also so saturated in the highs/upper mids that it tires the ears pretty quickly, so it's not actually a tone i'd want for myself. Ride the lightning was good, and I always thought the black album had the most "wall-of-metal" sound. Everything load and after sounds like garbage, including the new albums. The distortion sounds like farting goats.

    Kill'em'all is is like screeching noise to my ears, that's like that pre-1984 era, to me it seems like every bands pre '84 albums's hi-gain distortion sounds like screeching nails on a chalkboard, and every 80's metal band i listen to has that same crossing point, somewhere between 1984 and 1986 where their hi-gain distortion changes from nails to awesome.

    Ride the lighting vs kill-em-all
    armed and dangerous/spreading the disease vs fistfull of metal
    powerslave, hysteria, rising force, etc all started after 84

    I've always been curious exactly what it was that caused that drastic change in distortion tone before/after 1984. Did a certain amp or pickup or boost pedal come out that year?

    Isn't an EMG just the equivalent of adding a compressor between your pickup and pre-amp?

    If you're already clipping the input buffer to your preamp, is there a point to getting a hotter pickup.
     
  11. Miek

    Miek POSTING ON INTERNET

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    I personally know I super have a bias aboutbcertain pickups, but objectively, any brand can make any pickup for x genre because so many propleook for so many different things. saying a pickup is only good for genre y is reductive and leans too much into stereotype.

    that being said 99% of people can't do a double blind study of pickups so bramding and word of mouth are very effective
     
  12. KailM

    KailM SS.org Regular

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    All of that has very, very little to do with the pickups they used. Hell, James and Kirk used EMG 81/85 combos on almost every record. It was the amps that changed from album to album and the people mixing/mastering/producing the albums that made those differences.

    Do you know who notices the difference in pickups the most? The guy playing the guitar.
     
  13. JediMasterThrash

    JediMasterThrash SS.org Regular

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    Also, just to be clear, that list is not _my_ stereotypes, that's just a summary of what I've read on other forum posts (on various forums) while researching pickups, as kind of a starting point for discussion.

    I actually have EMGs on a guitar I gave my dad for playing blues. I was surprised how versatile they were, I assumed they'd be crap clean but they weren't and they weren't that different from some SDs I've used.

    I was just hoping maybe some stereotypes might be true to help narrow my search field when trying out pickups. Like, should I even bother considering a fishman if I'm not into djent, is suhr a good option for 80's metal compared to holydivers and super distortions, questions like that.

    It helps when companies name their pickups something that helps describe what they're for.
     
  14. prlgmnr

    prlgmnr ...that kind of idea

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    the fuck
     
  15. JediMasterThrash

    JediMasterThrash SS.org Regular

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    Actually they didn't use the word terrible, that was just my new-baby-coma interpretation of descriptions like brash mid range combined with certain woods.

    The convo was more about what does sound good, which is bolt-on alder/basswood for alcinos and ceramics for neck thrus. It definitely seemed like he was steering me away from trying out holy divers in a neck through constructions. even with an alder body.
     
  16. lurè

    lurè Thy Art Is Mambo

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    Probably because ceramic magnet pickups are generally tighter then their respective alnico, so they should pair well with the rounder and less snappy sound of a neckthru.

    The interpretation of manufacters regarding the midrange of their pickup and construction/tonewood is like horoscope: sometimes is right but most of the time is wrong, since all neckthru or bolt on guitars do not sound the same.
     
  17. prlgmnr

    prlgmnr ...that kind of idea

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    I guess if you ask a question in certain terms they feel bound to answer in those terms, but it's a bit like you'd said "I was thinking of putting Nailbombs in a green guitar" and they said "ok, but stay away from those ceramic magnets if the back of the neck is satin".
     
  18. laxu

    laxu SS.org Regular

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    While a pickup is generally a simple thing, there's just tons of things that can be changed to make it sound different. Just so many variations of magnets, pole pieces, amount of wire and how it is wound. Just changing the magnet can make the same pickup sound vastly different. For example I had pickups with AlNiCo 5 magnets in my Yamaha semihollowbody and I wasn't liking them - too bright and thin. Swapped the magnets for AlNiCo 2 and I could not be happier with the sound of that guitar, it gave them back all that body and sweetness.

    Pretty much all manufacturers make a lot of models meant for different preferences. I don't like most of the modern metal pickups because they can have an obnoxious midrange or low end that is hard to dial out so they only sound great for metal.

    To me it's all about marrying the right pickups to the guitar. For me the SD JB for example is horrible in anything but LP style guitars with mahogany bodies. In an alder superstrat it was thin and harsh, a SD Custom fixed that guitar right up.
     
  19. LiveOVErdrive

    LiveOVErdrive CNC hack

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    Scatter wound means the coil ends up less tight, because it's a less "perfectly packed" wind. More surface area to the coil - more inductance.

    More ferrous metal inside the coil increases the inductance too. That's how one of the brands' "virtual vintage" works. They like drill some screws or something in between the pole pieces.

    The system as a whole then is your inductor and the capacitance of your cable to ground (plus whatever volume and tone controls you have in there). The LC circuit formed by the inductive pickup and capacitive cable gives you an LC filter potentially with a mid spike.

    Pretty neat.
     
  20. BrutalRob

    BrutalRob SS.org Regular

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    One thing that comes to my mind when reading the initial post: lundgren definatwly does not target at djent.
    Take a look at their homepage. Mainly vintage or hard rock pus that might also work well for older metal styles.

    Their only modern pu is the M series ( and now black heaven) and this one in my opinion is less djenty than many bare knuckle pickups. Just a straight up brutal metal pickup
     

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