zjb7777

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Hi all!

Sorry for the long winded post ahead of time lol.
I recently picked up a Solar SB1.6 and while I love the feel of the guitar, the pickups leave a bit to be desired, especially in terms of clarity and the mids are scooped. I'm pretty happy with the tone I get out of my 7 string with Dimarzio Titans, so I don't think it's my setup. My rig is currently a Scarlett 2i2 into Neural DSP Nolly and some other plugins here and there with some York Audio IRs. I mainly play a mix of metalcore and prog metal/fusion. Even with a solid bit of EQ'ing both before and after the amp in my DAW and in Neural, I can't get a tone that sounds quite right to me with the stock Solar pickups. The guitar has a humbucker in the bridge, but the guitar has a Hot Rails style neck pickup and I'm not sure what to look for there. I'm not super familiar with single coil pickups and Hot Rails, although in my limited experience, I think I prefer standard singles. For reference, I mainly use neck pickups for cleans and some soloing. For the bridge pickup, I need something tight and clear with lots of note definition, solid cleans, but can get brutal when needed. I'm thinking the Titan is a good idea but I wanted a bit of a different flavor for my 6 string. I'm also intrigued by the Bare Knuckle Cold Sweat and Painkiller, Lundgren M6 and Seymour Duncan Full Shred, which all seem to encapsulate what I'm looking for. Where I'm stuck is what neck pickups to pair with each respective brand, does anyone have suggestions as to which bridge pickup may work the best, as well as a neck pickup to go with it? I'm open to other pickup brands and models, but I'd really appreciate some ideas or suggestions.

Thanks!
 

død

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I prefer true single coils over stacked humbuckers any day of the week. I replaced a horrid sounding rail pickup in my ESP with a Suhr V60LP a couple of weeks ago, sounds absolutely stellar for cleans and leads. Pairs nicely with the SD Black Winter that’s in the bridge.
 

Alex79

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Avoid the Full Shred, it is very close to the pickups that are stock in the Solar. They have the exact same wind but differ in pole pieces and maybe some other detail.

The "weak/scooped" mid family from Seymour Duncan are all the ones with "custom" in their name, the solar pickups and the Full Shred; same wind basically.
 

SubsonicDoom99

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I play Solar guitars and have to agree with the dislike for the Solar pickups, I really wanted to like them and gave them a chance but they just didn't do it for me after a while.
I'm going to throw out a bit of a different suggestion for you, and recommend looking into the SD Alternative 8 pickup.
It's a really high output pickup but to my ears it's really like a JB but with a smoother, sweeter top end, and more punchy midrange clarity.
I think a lot of people get wary of alnico 8 because they think it's going to be "too much" but I found that it actually works really well in the Solar.
Paired with the Little 59 single-spaced 'bucker in the neck, has a really fat nicely balanced tone but also you can split it for more single coil-ish tones if you want that too.
 

zjb7777

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I prefer true single coils over stacked humbuckers any day of the week. I replaced a horrid sounding rail pickup in my ESP with a Suhr V60LP a couple of weeks ago, sounds absolutely stellar for cleans and leads. Pairs nicely with the SD Black Winter that’s in the bridge.

That's good to know, thanks! Do you have any experience with Suhr's Humbuckers? I've looked at the SSH+ and DSH+ and they sound pretty cool in their description and some demos I heard, but not sure how well they handle down tuning, any ideas?
 

zjb7777

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Avoid the Full Shred, it is very close to the pickups that are stock in the Solar. They have the exact same wind but differ in pole pieces and maybe some other detail.

The "weak/scooped" mid family from Seymour Duncan are all the ones with "custom" in their name, the solar pickups and the Full Shred; same wind basically.

That makes sense, thanks for letting me know. Anything else from Seymour Duncan's line that you think might work for what I'm looking for?
 

zjb7777

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I play Solar guitars and have to agree with the dislike for the Solar pickups, I really wanted to like them and gave them a chance but they just didn't do it for me after a while.
I'm going to throw out a bit of a different suggestion for you, and recommend looking into the SD Alternative 8 pickup.
It's a really high output pickup but to my ears it's really like a JB but with a smoother, sweeter top end, and more punchy midrange clarity.
I think a lot of people get wary of alnico 8 because they think it's going to be "too much" but I found that it actually works really well in the Solar.
Paired with the Little 59 single-spaced 'bucker in the neck, has a really fat nicely balanced tone but also you can split it for more single coil-ish tones if you want that too.

I'll have to look into that. I'm not much of a huge fan of anything that sounds like a JB unless it's significantly tighter and can handle down tuning. How does the Alt 8 handle lower stuff like drop A/B?
 

død

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That's good to know, thanks! Do you have any experience with Suhr's Humbuckers? I've looked at the SSH+ and DSH+ and they sound pretty cool in their description and some demos I heard, but not sure how well they handle down tuning, any ideas?
I don’t, unfortunately. I was really close to ordering an Aldrich for the bridge, but I tune to drop A# in my band, so I was a little skeptical about how it’d handle that low of a tuning. Ended up with the aforementioned Black Winter instead, which does exactly what I want from a bridge pickup.
 

Neon_Knight_

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DiMarzio D Activator / SD Black Winter / BKP Painkiller would handle low tunings well and give you a different vibe to your Titan. They all share similarities (hot, tight, articulate), but also have differences - which you prefer would be very much a matter of personal taste.

BKP Aftermath seems to be popular for the styles you play.
 

Neon_Knight_

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For those who think high-output ceramic pickups don't clean up very well, check out the intro on this (plus the awesome riffage that follows):

 

SubsonicDoom99

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I'll have to look into that. I'm not much of a huge fan of anything that sounds like a JB unless it's significantly tighter and can handle down tuning. How does the Alt 8 handle lower stuff like drop A/B?
That is mostly what I've used the Alt 8 for is lower tunings, mostly from C standard to drop A#, and it handles it extremely well. Very tight low end, has good upper mids that don't get harsh like the JB can tend to do. Right now it's basically my favorite humbucker for low tuning along with the Black Winter.
 

zjb7777

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That is mostly what I've used the Alt 8 for is lower tunings, mostly from C standard to drop A#, and it handles it extremely well. Very tight low end, has good upper mids that don't get harsh like the JB can tend to do. Right now it's basically my favorite humbucker for low tuning along with the Black Winter.
That's fair enough. I'm definitely considering that, but leaning somewhat towards DiMarzio. I don't think I'd go with anything BKP because of price. I'm also interested by Fishman as well with the modern set, from trying them out, I know they're super clear and articulate and can get brutal as well. I've demoed them with a friend's guitar and I did really like them through my rig, especially with the gain reduction switched on. Probably between a Titan and a TBD Neck pickup or a Fishman Modern in the bridge and a single width in the neck. Decisions, decisions
 

onefingersweep

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Dimarzio Chopper is a really nice rail SC sized pickup. Especially in the neck position.
Maybe try to pair it with the Dimarzio Titan, they should work well together in terms of output balance.
 

Legion

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OP, what geographical region are you in? Depending on that, some options might be prohibitively expensive, or you might get a great price on some premium options.
 

lost_horizon

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I have a BHP Aftermath Ceramic in the bridge and I find the Cobra single coil is so good in the neck! I have Sinners and the Cobras are quieter and fluid, i.e. the note sings more than on the other BK hot singles. I have had stacked single coils and they actually do sound like little humbuckers. Exception is maybe the HS3 or HS4 where you still get the spank even at high gain.

If you are worried about snigle coil buzz do the PRS single coil mod where they solder a resistor in the coil split position so you get all the single coil noise but none of the hum.
 

zjb7777

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OP, what geographical region are you in? Depending on that, some options might be prohibitively expensive, or you might get a great price on some premium options.
I'm in the US and for the most part I've ruled out BKP because I don't really want to spend more than $300+ on a set. So no BKP unless I find a ridiculous deal used. I'm pretty sure I've narrowed it down to DiMarzios, likely a Titan Bridge with a Chopper or Cruiser in the neck or Fishman Modern with a single width neck, both seem like they'd be voiced similarly. A lot of artists I like use Fishman now and I'm honestly pretty impressed from using them, I just don't know much about the Single width in the neck.
 

zjb7777

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Dimarzio Chopper is a really nice rail SC sized pickup. Especially in the neck position.
Maybe try to pair it with the Dimarzio Titan, they should work well together in terms of output balance.
Thanks for the recommendation! The chopper and the Cruiser both seemed to fit the bill here so I'm looking at both. I prefer regular Singles over stacked singles but the more I think about it, I definitely want hum cancelling in all positions.
 

zjb7777

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I have a BHP Aftermath Ceramic in the bridge and I find the Cobra single coil is so good in the neck! I have Sinners and the Cobras are quieter and fluid, i.e. the note sings more than on the other BK hot singles. I have had stacked single coils and they actually do sound like little humbuckers. Exception is maybe the HS3 or HS4 where you still get the spank even at high gain.

If you are worried about snigle coil buzz do the PRS single coil mod where they solder a resistor in the coil split position so you get all the single coil noise but none of the hum.
Thanks for the suggestion! I've looked at BKP and I do really like the sound from a lot of them, but I probably won't pursue them unless I find a really good deal on a set I like.

I'm not aware of the PRS single coil mod, do you have any more info/links on that so I can read up some?
 

Legion

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I'm in the US and for the most part I've ruled out BKP because I don't really want to spend more than $300+ on a set. So no BKP unless I find a ridiculous deal used. I'm pretty sure I've narrowed it down to DiMarzios, likely a Titan Bridge with a Chopper or Cruiser in the neck or Fishman Modern with a single width neck, both seem like they'd be voiced similarly. A lot of artists I like use Fishman now and I'm honestly pretty impressed from using them, I just don't know much about the Single width in the neck.
Ok in which case I was going to recommend Elysian pickups but I realized he's not going to be open for business until March or so. And BKP is out too, then.

I need something tight and clear with lots of note definition, solid cleans, but can get brutal when needed


OKAY so we got many DiMarzio, Duncan and EMG offerings that fit the bill (seriously do not discount EMG, those things are industry standards for a bloody good reason)

DiMarzio: I've been a DiMarzio guy most of my life, and I can wholeheartedly recommend the Cruiser in the neck: beautifully chimey pickup, and BOY you're in for a treat with that thing wired in parallel. In the bridge, Do not discount the Crunch Lab: lovely pickup, I just sold mine because I hated how it looked lol. The Evolution is another fantastic pickup. Finally we come to the Dominion: this is a pickup that I really REALLY tried to like, but ended up hating because I thought it was TOO tight, to the point where the low string chugs sounded thin and had no bounce to them. A lot of people here love the dominion to death though.

Duncan: I have limited experience with these, and the things I have experience with are the Custom-family, which I think someone earlier in this thread ruled out. You might wanna pay attention to the modern metal offerings they have: Omega, Pegasus and Nazgul.

EMG: Man, its a fucking tragedy EMGs are so slept on. the 57TW in the bridge and SAX in the neck are the ULTIMATE active pickup combo in my opinion, and those will likely cost you a good chunk of money less than Fishmans. The 57 in fact fits your requirements to a tee.
 

zjb7777

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Ok in which case I was going to recommend Elysian pickups but I realized he's not going to be open for business until March or so. And BKP is out too, then.




OKAY so we got many DiMarzio, Duncan and EMG offerings that fit the bill (seriously do not discount EMG, those things are industry standards for a bloody good reason)

DiMarzio: I've been a DiMarzio guy most of my life, and I can wholeheartedly recommend the Cruiser in the neck: beautifully chimey pickup, and BOY you're in for a treat with that thing wired in parallel. In the bridge, Do not discount the Crunch Lab: lovely pickup, I just sold mine because I hated how it looked lol. The Evolution is another fantastic pickup. Finally we come to the Dominion: this is a pickup that I really REALLY tried to like, but ended up hating because I thought it was TOO tight, to the point where the low string chugs sounded thin and had no bounce to them. A lot of people here love the dominion to death though.

Duncan: I have limited experience with these, and the things I have experience with are the Custom-family, which I think someone earlier in this thread ruled out. You might wanna pay attention to the modern metal offerings they have: Omega, Pegasus and Nazgul.

EMG: Man, its a fucking tragedy EMGs are so slept on. the 57TW in the bridge and SAX in the neck are the ULTIMATE active pickup combo in my opinion, and those will likely cost you a good chunk of money less than Fishmans. The 57 in fact fits your requirements to a tee.
Seriously, thanks for all the insight and recommendations. The Cruiser definitely seems up my alley, and I like most Humbuckers wired better in parallel vs split coil. I've had a crunch lab before in a previous 6 and I found it relatively dark, nothing EQ couldn't help, but I'd probably go for an Illuminator over CL. I have heard clips of the Dominion and thought it was a bit thin. Evolution and Titan seem to be high on the list for DiMarzios.

I do like Duncan's, LOVED the Omega when I tried it in a Holcomb SE, and the Nazgul seems pretty cool, but it looks like all of SD's single coil covers are gloss and won't match the matte bobbins of those pickups, unfortunately a little OCD thing I may struggle to get over lol.

And y'know, I hadn't really thought of EMGs. I've had a 57/66 set before but never had a solid rig to play them through, although I did like them. I have liked the clips I've heard of the 81X before, but I'd definitely spring for the TW version of whatever bridge pickup I get. I like bridge split/parallel to not have the option. I'll look into the 57TW, thanks! If you have experience with them, how do they fare in terms of string definition under relatively high gain? That's the biggest thing drawing me to Fishmans but I'm not sure about the super Hi-Fi sound and the 2 voices doesn't really seem to matter that much to me.
 


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