Duncan Solars vs '59 SH-1N / JB TB-4 - My comparison

Discussion in 'Pickups, Electronics & General Tech' started by alessandroarzilli, May 15, 2019.

  1. alessandroarzilli

    alessandroarzilli SS.org Regular

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    Hello everybody! Recently I’ve been getting a lot of private questions about what do Duncan Solar pickups sound and some people seem to be going little nuts online, trying to buy a pair of them taken out from a Solar guitar (which may seem a bit awkward and detrimental).
    For these reasons I wanted to make a comparison between the Duncan Solars and my Jackson Soloist stock pickups, which are a very well balanced pair of humbuckers perfect for rock and metal.

    Quick tech specs of thw two guitars:
    Jackson Soloist SL-2h
    https://www.jacksonguitars.com/gear/shape/soloist/usa-select-soloist-sl2h/2803071803
    Body = Alder
    Neck = Maple (neck-trhough)
    Fretboard = Ebony
    Neck Pickup = Seymour Duncan ‘59 SH-1N
    https://www.seymourduncan.com/pickup/59-neck?__uuid_ref=5ccd90545d9aa
    Bridge Pickup = Seymour Duncan JB TB4
    https://www.seymourduncan.com/pickup/jb-trembucker?__uuid_ref=5ccd90aee3797

    Solar A2.6W
    https://www.solar-guitars.com/product/a2-6w-white-matte/
    Body = Mahogany
    Neck = Maple (Set Through)
    Fretboard = Ebony
    Neck pickup = Duncan Solar / Neck (seems like a tweaked Duncan 59)
    https://www.seymourduncan.com/pickup/59-neck?__uuid_ref=5ccd93d818678
    Bridge pickup = Duncan Solar / Bridge (seems like a tweaked Custom 5 and TB-14)
    https://www.seymourduncan.com/pickup/custom-5?__uuid_ref=5ccd942dbf22c
    https://www.seymourduncan.com/pickup/custom-5-trembucker?__uuid_ref=5ccd9371153fb

    My comparison:
    I’m going to play some clean stuff first and make things a little bit heavier riff after riff! My signal chain will be my guitars (tone and volume knobs at maximum) straight into my Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 straight into Reaper. And in both of my guitar tracks I’ve just loaded an instance of the Neural DSP Fortin NTS Suite without any EQ or post processing.

    My conclusions:
    I believe both guitars have a very powerful sound, but what really surprised me is that the Duncan Solar pickups sound like a tweaked version of the 59/tb4 pair: they sound both grainy and warm, glassy but still powerful. Also, the Soloist is made of Alder which may give a little bit of more sustain. All in all, though, the Solars are my favourite, especially the bridge one, for it's *ver* high output, but still has a lot of clarity. What's your opinion about this?
    I'm adding some pictures of the VST plugin Voxengo SPAN, which is a great free spectrum analyser, so you'll see the frequency differences from both guitars.
    SL2H.jpg A26.jpg SL2H NECK.jpg A26 NECK.jpg SL2H BOTH.jpg A26 BOTH.jpg SL2H BRIDGE.jpg A26 BRIDGE.jpg

    I'm not sponsored by Jackson or Solar guitars, I'm just a metalhead videoeditor who likes to make videos testing gear.
    I hope you'll like my comparison, here's the link to the full video where you can see and hear in detail how the pickups sound.
     
    MAJ Meadows SF, Strobe and wakjob like this.
  2. wakjob

    wakjob SS.org Regular

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    I think Ola's favorite Duncan pickup is the C5.
    So it stands to reason that the Solar pu's are similar.
     
    HeHasTheJazzHands likes this.
  3. alessandroarzilli

    alessandroarzilli SS.org Regular

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    I really thought they would sound almost the same, but the Solar's bridge is very powerful
     
  4. efiltsohg

    efiltsohg SS.org Regular

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    congrats you found out that a JB and a custom 5 sound different in completely different guitars
     
    Korneo, StrmRidr, T00DEEPBLUE and 3 others like this.
  5. Metropolis

    Metropolis SS.org Regular

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    Guitars are too different to make a proper judgement how they really sound... but generally JB has more mids and less bass than Solar bridge. Still everytime I hear a Solar compared to higher end guitars I'm really impressed how they sound.
     
  6. littlebadboy

    littlebadboy SS.org Regular

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    What's a C5 if I may ask?
     
  7. Masoo2

    Masoo2 SS.org Regular

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    custom 5
     
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  8. Zoobiedood

    Zoobiedood SS.org Regular

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    It is a Custom pickup with an Alnico 5 magnet...now a production pickup called the Custom 5.
     
    littlebadboy likes this.
  9. MAJ Meadows SF

    MAJ Meadows SF on a tone quest

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    I was surprised how much I liked the Solar pickups when I got to try them. You nailed it with the comparison; they are based on that set and Ola was using them for a while before he got SD to make the Solars. Nicely done video.
     

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