Need good pickups: any help is appreciated !

Discussion in 'Pickups, Electronics & General Tech' started by Bruticus, Oct 11, 2020.

  1. Bruticus

    Bruticus SS.org Regular

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    Hey guys. Visited this website plenty before but signed up to ask: what're THE BEST pickups you'd go for considering the following situation.

    I play a 7-String Schecter Blackjack ATX Diamond Series. It's got Seymour Duncan BlackOuts AHB-1 (active I'm guessing since it requires a 9V battery). The reviews on the AHB-1 are actually very positive.

    However: I've tried every method known to man to get a good recording metal tone (all the quality IRs, my old 5150 II amp and all the best amp sims, Waves or Slate Digital and other top-notch plugins, Tube Screamer 808 and Tumnus Tone pedals...). I'm not looking for a djenty tone and don't play that style, but I need a nice deep detailed crisp modern metal tone, and to get rid of that underwhelming cardboardy sound and I've now understood the last remaining item to look into would be the pups. WHATEVER the amp or cab or post-processing, my guitars always sound amateur and low quality. It doesn't matter if I EQ-scoop them or whatever, they still sound like a piece of crap that's been redecorated (but it's still a piece of crap).

    Oh and one last thing: I only ever use the regular rhythm gtr bridge pickup and never pull up the switch for neck/lead mode, so I'd only need to get one pup right ? (rather than change both)

    Thanks ! Any advice would be great.
     
  2. budda

    budda Do not criticize as this Contributor

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    New battery? New strings?

    Try a friends guitar through an identical recording setup to see if the cardboard thing is still there.

    If you're going for a good recorded sound, it may be more to do with signal chain and knowledge of recording technique (dialling in sounds for recording vs live) than pickups.

    The pickups you have arent bad.
     
  3. Bruticus

    Bruticus SS.org Regular

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    new battery and strings, both.
    I actually tried lowering the pickups, to make them less hot. Holy crap, had no clue you could change your tone like that. MUCH better. If I'd know that all these years...

    But I'd still like to read a few opinions about the best active pups for metal and a 7str.
     
  4. budda

    budda Do not criticize as this Contributor

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    There's no best. Sorry.
     
  5. Bruticus

    Bruticus SS.org Regular

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    give me a couple of really good ones then. Have you ever made a pickup updgrade and immediately felt much more satisfied with the tone ? If so, what pickup was that.
     
  6. budda

    budda Do not criticize as this Contributor

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    Not really :lol: usually pickup swaps have been adjacent to what was already in there.

    Do you have a clip of how your guitar sounds and a clip of what you're after? That will probably allow more people to offer useable suggestions.
     
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  7. Bruticus

    Bruticus SS.org Regular

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    - can't post a link as I need to be registered for two days or more to post one, will post soon-

    To answer you, I'd like the gtrs to sound like anything pro, or at least close enough. Seriously anything that sounds somewhat modern and articulated, from nu-metal from the early 2000's to modern death metal. I've never heard an official studio-released album where the guitars sounded amateurish. Give me Korn's, Cannibal Corpse's, Blut Aus Nord's, Lamb of God's guitar tone, I'll be grateful to sound close to any of those production-wise. I don't have a particular guitar tone in mind at all, I just want the guitars to be crisp and detailed and sound as real as possible and not plastic-y/cardboardy.
     
  8. dr_game0ver

    dr_game0ver SS.org Regular

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    What speakers are you using?
    Meybe a EMG 66-7?
     
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  9. KnightBrolaire

    KnightBrolaire 90% GAS 10% skill

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    If you want to stay active, then EMGs should be an easy and cheap direct swap (plus they sound miles better than blackouts imo). Fishman Fluence are by far the clearest and most modern sounding active pickup out there currently, but the install is a little bit more involved if you want to utilize all the voicings and coil splits.

    Can't go wrong with the 81-7x ime.
     
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  10. budda

    budda Do not criticize as this Contributor

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    Those pro sounds you mention are at least 3+ guitars a side. You'll need to dial in tones that layer well.
     
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  11. Bruticus

    Bruticus SS.org Regular

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    Hi. Two Seymour Duncan BlackOuts AHB-1. I find they lack detail whatever I do to the sound (post-processing, adding pedals, different amp or cab sims). The 66-7 seem to be quality pups based on the reviews, but as a countryman of yours myself they're not available here unless I order from the official website with extra costs so I'll be looking at the 81-7x mentioned next.

    Reviews are fairly unanimous about the sound quality of the 81s. One website points out to 'sharp attack' as a main pro, and 'needs a good amp' as a con. I'm guessing a properly setup amp sim should do the trick. I've got BIAS FX, Amplitube Metal, the Audio Assault stuff, among others.

    One guy in the reviews for the 'Fishman Fluence Mod.HB 7 Soapb.Set BK' says he's used EMG and SDuncans for years but that these were a new level of clarity. VERY tempting. I wonder whether they can be sold separately (I don't need two of em, just bridge). Many ppl note the similarities with EMGs, but crisper and less compressed. I'm calling some local guitar handyman and hopefully it isn't too expensive to install.

    True. This is off topic but I'm still wondering, years later, whether it's a good idea to record 4 full takes, or just the two and copy-paste them and on the clone tracks modify the amps and cabs and even the pitch a tiny bit, if that's enough, or if you just NEED the 4 recording takes.
     
  12. Hoss632

    Hoss632 SS.org Regular

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    For active 7 string pick ups. Fishman definitely beats EMG and the blackouts by a wide margin IMO. Another suggestion I would have are Kiesel Polarity actives. They also have 2 voices like Fishmans with an active and a passive.
     
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  13. Bruticus

    Bruticus SS.org Regular

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    someone elsewhere suggested the Bare Knuckles Nailbombs over the Fishmans. Any opinion on that ? From what I've heard, the Fishmans sounded the clearest from any pickup I've checked out but if any criticism is to be applied they're so detailed they mayyy lack a bit of meat, and I'm guessing this is where the Nailbombs have an edge over them.
     
  14. Hoss632

    Hoss632 SS.org Regular

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    Well the nailbombs are passive. But they are badass as well. If you don't mind a passive pick up bare knuckle has some of the best. The juggernauts may be the best all around metal pick up on the market imo. But if you want a more aggressive riff pick up in the bridge I would say the bare knuckle ragnarok is worth a look.
     
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  15. Choop

    Choop n______n

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    It'd be worth it to try EMG's since the swap is super simple if you do end up changing your pickups. Blackouts and EMGs are both good quality active pickups for metal (EMG's especially have been used to hell and back for recording pro metal albums), so they are definitely up to the task.

    As far as recording, it may help to look at pickup or even amplifier comparisons and listen to how the guitars sound in a mix versus when you just hear the raw guitar track. The track on its own usually doesn't sound super pleasing or overly full when it is dialed in for a mix.
     
  16. Zhysick

    Zhysick SS.org Regular

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    Before spending any money I would swap your neck and bridge pickups since you don't use your neck anyway...

    The neck blackout is clearer, lower output and less bassy than the bridge pickup. I really liked how it sounded when I had it in a guitar a few years ago as the only bridge pickup back then. Leads were amazing too, very sweet.

    Try it for free, worst case you don't like it and you will end up buying a pickup anyway.

    You can swap them by yourself if they are using the quick-connect thing and know nothing about electronics.

    Cheers!
     
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  17. Bruticus

    Bruticus SS.org Regular

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    BUMP - for any reader who's made it to the bottom of this thread here and wants to know, YES the pickup upgrade of going from Seymour Duncan Blackouts to Fishman Fluence Modern 7s was really worth the 250$ (plus installation fees). It isn't a miraculous change, but it's a noticeable change. My conclusion here is you can have a really good amp and cab and mics (or sims and IRs the same), dial in the best settings with EQ Comp etc... but your guitar's tone starts with the pups before being hooked up to any other hardware or software, and you'll never achieve as good clarity with good settings and avg pups, as with good pups to begin with.
     

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