DC800 Bareknuckle swap


Well-Known Member
Mar 7, 2010
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Pittsburgh, PA
So after a month of waiting my Painkillers arrived in the mail and I got the swap done (my first pickup swap ever) within a day or two and got everything wired right my first try! :hbang:

These painkillers do sound very awesome. I'm sure everybody already knows the characteristics of a BKP: clarity, articulation, tightness. Also, I put a new set of strings on her after the pickup installation, as well as on my DC727, and there is something that I noticed that thank god assured me it wasnt bad pickups. On the 8, the low b and f# are very dull and lifeless compared to the other strings. They lack attack and definition. Same goes for the low b on the DC727. On the 800, the low b = .060 and the low f# = .074 and on the 727 the low b = .062. Anyone have any pointers as to what would be causing this? And also, I already tried adjusting the truss rod and the pickup height, so I'm beginning to think it is either because of the strings themselves, or because of the nut but I am really not sure.

Oh... and pictures of course :)





SS.org Regular
Jan 31, 2011
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Belpre, Ohio
I can only imagine how hard this thing slays.
Makes me cry a little on the inside (makes mean big man face and wipes tear from eye)

I have an Aftermath in my 727 with a .60 for the low B and its has excellent definition,
even with the guitar being made of Alder and Maple it still retains great lows and definition


Jun 18, 2008
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San Francisco
In response to your questions of lack of attack and definition. What are the wood specs on the guitars?

Are both your guitars primarily maple/mahogany woods and on the heavier side weight wise?

Ive had similar issues with a heavy maple neck thru/ mahogany body with maple top as well as a maple bolt on neck to heavy mahogany body and again with heavy thick maple top. But Ive also definitely had guitars with the same specs that didn't have those issues so its not a guarantee that those woods will always translate negatively like this. Its like your getting too compressed of a sound on the low notes that its translating to a dead or dull tone when you want a more punchy tone that jumps out at you rather than the subdued compressed sound your getting on those low notes right? If both your guitars are woods other than heavy maple/mahogany and maple top then its probably something other than the woods or maybe your guitars are just made of cuts of wood that don't vibrate low notes in the way you want. You could always try different pickups etc but somehow Im leaning towards the woods.


". . . . . . . ."
Apr 30, 2007
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npr fl
Pfft, covers look gay.

The gaps don't look that bad anyway.

Was that guitar not available with passive pickup routs?

naawwh dawg... loose routes, look gay:fawk::lol:.
but that's just my taste though. i like a tight clean
guitar, if i can help it. different strokes, of course....

last i heard, you couldn't even op50
passive routes..

so i say, nab some covers. or have some
emg-sized passives stuck in there. eg:
villex, q-tuner, lace or even passive EMG's

honestly man, i don't know why carvin didn't
plan for passive routes on the dc800. they
aren't exactly a small company :shrug:, so
launching the dc800 with active and passive
options would not have been too fiscally painful.

now, it looks like they're selling like fuckin' hotcakes.
let's hope some new options(ofr-8, passive pups, selectable
pup & control layouts, etc...) pop up in the near future.


Proud blacksheep
Dec 23, 2011
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mchenry, IL
The lack of definition is an issue I struggle with with 7 strings. For the DC800 you may want to try going down a gauge in the strings. That guitar has a 27" scale so you could actually go down in the size of strings and still get the same feel as your seven string which is a 25.5" scale. Of course if your downtuning then maybe you might not want to do that. As for the seven these are what ive discovered that causes lack of definition and clarity.

1. amp settings. What works for a 6 string doesnt always work with a 7 or an 8. Remember that these guitars actually focus on notes that are below what a normal guitar rig is designed to handle. And those low notes are gonna pull alot of power from your amp. Lows really ask a lot of your amp. You may want to try using less lows, more mids and possibly even a little more treble or presence. Not too much though. They can ruin your sound worse than if your not using enough.

2. Technique. No one wants to admit if they arent playing their best. But I did have to face the fact that a 7 string really will make you question your playing ability. I found this to be especially true with palm mutes. With a 6 string i find you can be much more heavy handed with your palm without choking the sound. With a seven it seems to keep definition you need to only use enough pressure and flesh to just dull the sound. Too much and you get an odd harmonic clink that isnt too pleasant. Ive found that I have to completely change the way i hold my right hand over the bridge with a seven vs a six.

3. Too much gain is bad for your health. When you hear an album that has a completely thick yet brutal tone many of us think they have to be using a ton of gain. But heaviness and brutal tone doesnt = distortion. Most times when you hear a tone on an album your hearing 3 tracks minimum. Usually 2 guitarist plus you have the bassist filling out the sound. If you were to do 3 tracks with super distorted guitars it would sound like mush. Some of the most insanely heavy sounds you have heard on most albums is do to the thickness the layering adds and not distortion. To test this play on your clean channel of your amp. Notice the attack and clarity. And then switch to your distortion channel. But this time have the gain all ready half way down from where you normally have it. You will notice that it will sound heavier than it did before because you started with a clean tone and then switched to distortion. So any amount of dirt is going to sound heavy. If you were to start with a super saturated amp and back the gain down then it would sound too weak because all your ears are hearing is that your taking the distortion away. Also note how much more articulation and attack is present in your clean channel vs. ANY amount of distortion. The more dirt you use the less attack you will have.

4. Articulation and definition is the real reason bands use overdrives to boost their amps. The reason is many tube amps start to flub out when you increase the preamp dirt. Many amps simply cant handle their own distortion capabilities. Anyone who has tried maxing out the preamp gain knob on a marshall DSL will confirm that some amps just cant handle it. A good way around this problem is a clean boost or overdrive. It increases the input signal strength enough to where it forces the preamp tube into distortion without overcompressing the shit out of it and turning it into soup. Use it wisely and it can really make a huge difference.