Low(er) output pickups for metal

Discussion in 'Pickups, Electronics & General Tech' started by Nag, May 9, 2021.

  1. Nag

    Nag chugs and screams

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    So it seems that in recent years, the idea of using lower output pickups for metal is kind of making its way (back?) into popular opinion. If you look up manufacturer websites, you can see for example that the Seymour Duncan Pegasus and the Dimarzio Imperium Bridge (Dave Davidson signature) have some of the lowest outputs amongst the "high output" pickups of their respective brands.

    And then on YouTube I come across stuff like this :



    In this video, the guy is definitely not going for "modern metal" tones, he plays stuff that's more akin to 70s and 80s hard rock/heavy metal with a guitar tone that matches that, but it still feels tight and percussive... with a set of Duncan 59s in his guitar, and apparently no boost in front of the amp either.

    I was also looking for people using the SD Jazz in the bridge for heavier sounds but didn't find much (not very surprising). Same for a good amount of other pickups, I guess marketing has really done its job here.

    But I think we have enough proof that "it works", right? So I was thinking of making this thread so that people can share their experience - what lower output/"not marketed for metal" pickups have you guys used successfully for (what genre of) metal, do you have sound clips or videos, that kind of stuff (I assume specifying the amp and potential boost pedals would be a good thing too). I'd really like this thread to focus on humbucking pickups, because most guitars we guys use are routed for those, I know P90s work great and some are humbucker-sized on purpose.

    Me personally, I haven't used lower output pickups for metal yet, I'm relatively new to the idea... but I have some mods in mind for my first guitar (LTD M-50), and I'm really considering lower output pickups for it (maybe Alnico 2 Pros, or 59s). I like the idea of having a clean clean tone without having to roll the volume knob back, because I never touch my controls while playing... so I'd want a really clean clean tone on the clean channel, then a really brootz brootz tone on the gain channel, nahmsayin? High gain amps have a ton of gain on tap, and instead of using high output pickups and leaving the gain on 3, you can probablty use lower output pickups and put the gain on 8, right?
     
  2. Dave Death

    Dave Death SS.org Regular

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    I really like the Bare Knuckle Impulse set, but like their Rebel Yell and Emerald sets you need a beefy guitar to run a pickup with such a tight bottom end.

    They are 'metal' pickups, but not considered 'high output'

    I actually play doom metal, but my tone is more Paradise Lost than Electric Wizard.
     
  3. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    You keep making these pickup threads, and I'll have to keep saying: don't hyper focus on one part of your setup.

    Do pickups matter? Of course. Though, it really depends what you're putting them into and how you play the instrument.

    There is a lot of misinformation and conjecture about pickup output out there. Heck, folks still think DC resistance is a measure of actual output and even the various manufacturers can't agree on how to measure stuff.

    Grab the set of pickups that works within the context of your playing and the rest of your rig. You might have to try a few sets out, but that's part of the fun.
     
  4. Dumple Stilzkin

    Dumple Stilzkin SS.org Regular

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    I have a PRS ce24 with the stock 85/15’s. I don’t think these are considered high output, but they sound good for chugs and anything else really.
    They will more than likely not be changed out.
     
  5. Nag

    Nag chugs and screams

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    I actually don't. I use mostly VSTs these days and amp models, cab models, mic models and setup, amp settings, effects etc are all free to tinker with. Buying a bunch of pickups, even used ones, just to try out stuff is nowhere near free, so, I think a lot more before actually doing stuff.

    Also you can't forbid me being a massive nerd :lol:
     
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  6. gnoll

    gnoll SS.org Regular

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    I just try and use pickups I like the sound of. High output, low output, I don't mind... But if something starts to get fashionable I try to do the opposite of that. For very high output pickups maybe you can back them off away from the strings a little bit if they're too much?
     
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  7. Amer Alameddine

    Amer Alameddine SS.org Regular

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    They work pretty well to be honest, I have a Seymour Duncan Pearly Gates (Alnico 2) in the bridge position of drop C tuned guitar, and it sounds quite good, just dial in the right amount of gain, which still isn't much on my settings, and it does the job well. The cool thing with low output pickups is you can always add some more gain to give them more punch. Bottom line is that I don't think that a type of pickup can enable or prevent it from working for a particular genre, it's only one part of the equation, the rest is in the amp and your technique (how hard you pick and what angle, pick thickness..etc.).
     
  8. BigViolin

    BigViolin JEFF LOOMIS SOLOIST!

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    Low output pickups reward my pissed off picking hand. It’s about dynamics. Try a Dimarzio Fortitude or 36th or similar and pick hard.
     
  9. SubsonicDoom99

    SubsonicDoom99 SS.org Regular

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    I've used all different kinds of pickups in different situations and found that many times the less-likely combinations work really well. For example, I've used an SD Whole Lotta Humbucker in an LTD tuned down to C for heavy doom/progressive metal stuff and found that it worked extremely well for that. With sufficient gain in the amp (6505+) and no other boost in the chain I could get some really tight yet heavy tone happening and beautiful sustain. I tweaked the mids on the amp a bit and found a sweet spot that worked just right. I think those pickups are only around 8.7 or 8.8 dcr so they're not really high output in the modern sense by any means. So while I've used plenty of higher output pickups for metal and to great results, I think you can use a lower output one and create some great metal tones depending on what guitar you put them in, how you dial in your amp tone, what string gauge/tuning, etc. I'd actually love to see & hear someone try to use a Jazz pickup as their bridge Metal pickup and see what comes of it, now that you mention it!
     
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  10. Hoss632

    Hoss632 SS.org Regular

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    Hell Rabea Massaad demoed a the chapman Ml1 pro hybrid that has the Duncan Pearly gates in the bridge. That's an alnico 2 pick up, and through his stereo Kraken rig it sounded MASSIVE. Even Joe Duplientier's fortitude pick up is not all that hot and it's one of the absolute best sounding pick ups on the market right now.
     
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  11. Nag

    Nag chugs and screams

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    Got any recordings of that? Also, I dunno if I'll put a Jazz set into the M-50 but I'm interested in that too now :lol:
     
  12. mongey

    mongey SS.org Regular

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    I'm sure that years ago I read of someone using a Jazz neck PU in the bridge of a guitar for metal
     
  13. lurè

    lurè Fake Shredder

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    There's a bridge version of the SD jazz SH-2B but the neck has had more succes and it's an awesome pickup.
     
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  14. gunch

    gunch Riff Chugman

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    hot pickups were only necessary until preamps started to have more gain :shrug: Meaning the EQ profile of the pickup are what people mostly concentrate on.
     
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  15. Eyelessfiend

    Eyelessfiend SS.org Regular

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    Most humbuckers(High or low output) will work. Its just a different way of getting your sound. I almost exclusively played 57 Classics in all my guitars for years before switching it up. Never had a problem getting good metal tonez
     
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  16. Strobe

    Strobe SS.org Regular

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    My take is that I can by and large get any pickups to sound like any other pickups with the right amp and EQ settings. Two pickups can, however, sound very similar but *feel* very different in terms of response to your picking hand.

    I do not need hot pickups to slam the pre-amp to get the level of gain I need with many modern amps. That said, I tend to prefer the feel of a hotter pickup slamming the front end for metal. If I put my PAF-style Les Paul pickups into an amp, it can slay, but while it is fun to have a different feel (variety rules), it is not my ideal preferred feel for the way I play. Call me team-hot-pickups-for-metal. I certainly respect people who prefer the opposite, and clearly Gojira slays.
     
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  17. Choop

    Choop n______n

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    It's probably already been said, but you can also lower the pickup height if you find a pickup that you like but the output feels like a bit much.
     
  18. Spaced Out Ace

    Spaced Out Ace 0 0 1 0 0 6 5 0 3\

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    While the pickup matters, as do all gear choices, they are basically the first thing in the chain. Stuff later down the chain has quite a bit more effect on your sound. For instance, JBs might not work for modern metal if you use a speaker, cab, or amp that emphasizes the low end and possibly gets flubby. If the guitar, amp, or speaker are sort of lacking, the JB might make your setup sound great.
     
  19. Spaced Out Ace

    Spaced Out Ace 0 0 1 0 0 6 5 0 3\

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    Ex. Per. I. Ment. With your. Pickup. Height!

    People need to get more adept at adjusting their pickup height for the sound they want.
     
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  20. Hoss632

    Hoss632 SS.org Regular

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    100% agreed. I've found in the past that I was eh with a duncan invader. Recently listened to someone else with that pick up in a similar guitar but the pick up was lowered down quite a bit and it sounded massive and pretty badass.
     
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