Pickup Recommendations from Black Winter

Neon_Knight_

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here is a quick clip of both pickups with a guitar riff that hits the "quackiness" of the pickups. Ironically, when recording with the same settings, the TB-5 is slightly less quacky but its still has some of the quack but its not as prominent in the low mids, which is what i think was annoying me. I am quite happy with the pickup change but there isnt as much of a massive difference and I would eq pickups completely differently both on the amp and in the captor x. To keep the clip as unbiased as possible, i just ran the settings on the amp and with the captor x.

For the clip, the first 42 seconds are of the black winter pickups with both isolated guitars and in a quick mix (super quick and dirty) and after 42 seconds, the Custom TB-5 comes in. The only post processing for guitar is some compression on the palm mutes and a high/low pass. The custom has less low end than the black winter, so i would use a lower threshold on there, but i used the same compression settings for both, which may be why the custom sounds a tad thinner. Each riff was recorded twice, but with 2 tracks each performance that is panned to right and left.


Both sound decent, but I prefer the Black Winter in this comparison (which is what I'd expect, because I seem to have a strong preference for high output ceramic pickups - like the Black Winter and DiMarzio D Activator). I wouldn't particularly describe the Black Winter as "quacky" in this recording, but it does sound "less polite" than the Custom - a bit like if you were to compare an Evolution to pretty much any slightly lower output DiMarzio.
 

KnightBrolaire

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I think both pickups work in that context tbh, but it's good that you're happy with the new pickup. Pickup swapping can be a crapshoot.
Usually when people talk about quack, it's much more pronounced like this:

 

ezboarderz

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Yeah, i guess its just a matter of taste and what i am going for with the rig that I have. The 7 string quack in the examples above are definitely an extreme "low middy" quack that isn't really my thing, as I am not that into djent (outside of meshuggah, which is like its own thing in itself). Its hard to describe what i didn't like in the black winter for alternate picking, but for power chords/tremolo picking, it does sounds pretty awesome and I will keep a few of my recorded tracks that were recorded with it as I record the DIs.

I definitely have changed the amp settings based on how the custom responds to use a bit more bass and mids, as well as increasing the resonance a bit. For the boost, leaving the volume at a 10 also sounds the best since the TB-5 is not as hot as the black winter.

I was able to sell the black winter on a local site within 1 hour though, so its really not that hard to unload if its something that other people want to try out. I am keeping the black winter neck pickup though, as that is a nice dark sounding neck pickup that sounds awesome for cleans. So far, I am digging this combination and I really appreciate the suggestions and advice from this thread. I'm sure ill be back to ask for some new suggestions whenever i buy another guitar. The chase for tone never ends.
 

BabUShka

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Glad you liked it! I have the SH5 in two guitars and actually considering putting one in my AW-7, to replace the Nazgul 😊
 

Adieu

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Black Winter / Distortion / JB should have a similar honkiness, since they're tweaks on the same wind

Probably go DiMarzio, Fishman, or EMG
 

ezboarderz

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yeah, so far i am still loving the SH-5 (or TB-5 in my case for the F spacing). It really fits the tone i am going for and is quite high output when adjusting the pickup height quite close to the strings. I am able to put more mids on the amp and scoop less of the 750hz-800hz region.

I have actually ordered all new electronics for this guitar, as i have a good friend of mine who is into vintage guitar gear and has a lot of experience soldering. My jackson was made in india so swapping out all of the electronics for american CTS pots, a quality tone cap, german 3 way switch, an american made output jack, and high quality wiring should be a nice upgrade. I will wire it with a push/pull volume pot to split the coil of the Custom and the Black Winter neck pickup, just to see how those sound to give me some more tone variations.

Pretty excited about all of that and curious to see how it will effect the tone/how much my current electronics are holding the pickups back.
 

BabUShka

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I have a push/pull on my SH1/SH5 combo. You wont regret it.
 

SubsonicDoom99

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yeah, so far i am still loving the SH-5 (or TB-5 in my case for the F spacing). It really fits the tone i am going for and is quite high output when adjusting the pickup height quite close to the strings. I am able to put more mids on the amp and scoop less of the 750hz-800hz region.

I have actually ordered all new electronics for this guitar, as i have a good friend of mine who is into vintage guitar gear and has a lot of experience soldering. My jackson was made in india so swapping out all of the electronics for american CTS pots, a quality tone cap, german 3 way switch, an american made output jack, and high quality wiring should be a nice upgrade. I will wire it with a push/pull volume pot to split the coil of the Custom and the Black Winter neck pickup, just to see how those sound to give me some more tone variations.

Pretty excited about all of that and curious to see how it will effect the tone/how much my current electronics are holding the pickups back.
Glad the TB-5 is working out for you. Funny that my go-to pickups lately for C-tuning and lower has been the Black Winter and the Duncan Custom.
I like them both, perhaps equally, but they really depend on the guitar and the rig & pedal configuration.
Doesn't surprise me that the BW didn't work out for you in that guitar based on your setup and what you're after. I definitely think the Custom is a much better choice.
Honestly I've found myself lately really leaning more towards liking the medium-output pickups for low tunings and aggressive alternate picking/chugging stuff.
Interesting that you're using the BW neck pickup with the TB-5, that's a combination I think I'd like to check out myself.
I'd love to hear how it ends up working out and sounding once you've replaced the electronics and add the push-pull etc.
Definitely report back on that if you can!
 

ezboarderz

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Glad the TB-5 is working out for you. Funny that my go-to pickups lately for C-tuning and lower has been the Black Winter and the Duncan Custom.
I like them both, perhaps equally, but they really depend on the guitar and the rig & pedal configuration.
Doesn't surprise me that the BW didn't work out for you in that guitar based on your setup and what you're after. I definitely think the Custom is a much better choice.
Honestly I've found myself lately really leaning more towards liking the medium-output pickups for low tunings and aggressive alternate picking/chugging stuff.
Interesting that you're using the BW neck pickup with the TB-5, that's a combination I think I'd like to check out myself.
I'd love to hear how it ends up working out and sounding once you've replaced the electronics and add the push-pull etc.
Definitely report back on that if you can!
The original plan was to do the electronics swap yesterday but my friend had something come up so we will do it tomorrow. I will make some comparison clips of the before/after/split coil tones that I am getting.

I have re-recorded most of the songs on an EP that i am working on in C# and its been great and the results are better with the TB-5 as it is easier to EQ on the amp and really doesnt need much post processing outside of compressing palm mutes/high and low pass/pulling a few annoying frequencies in the 3000-5000hz range/and the low/high boost with the puigtec eqp1a to round out the lows and highs. I am quite happy with the results so far. There is one black metal song that I am leaving with the black winter bridge because i am quite happy with how it sounds in that context, but the rest have been or will be re-recorded with the TB-5.

I am now tuned to drop B and the tone i am getting is just awesome. Its super thick, 3 dimensional, and got the throatiness from the 5150 that is just awesome without overdoing it on the mids. I can imagine that the 7 string version of the TB-5/SH-5 would be amazing when going to drop A or even lower. I will wait for the electronics swap before tracking some of the songs that are in drop B and in drop C.
 

Jan

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SD Distortion also quacks like a duck from my experience but others seem to love it so who knows.
I have one. I second that. It's a high-mids quack, but it does. It also gets worse if I add too much volume on my Buxom Boost.
 

ezboarderz

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i have now completed the electronics replacement and it had made such a difference. The pickups are just screaming now and the split coil sounds are really quite interesting. Its quite twangy but still kinda has the voicing of the pickup when in parallel, its super cool to have these tones at the pull of the volume knob.

I will say that this is the first time i have tried out soldering but my friend showed me how to do it. We had some issues yesterday and my friend left the soldering iron with me and i finished it up today. There was a bit of a learning curve for me, but the diagrams from seymour duncan helped and now everything is all set and works as expected.

The pickups feel a little hotter now and im now just clipping on my DIs with the volume knob at full blast. The tone pot is a no load tone pot, which is pretty cool to see how the pickups sound without any filtering. I will take a look at recording a few clips of the different pickups but so far, i must say that this has been quite an upgrade and its like a new guitar. I will definitely do this for any of the guitars that I buy in the future.

Thanks for the advice and encouragement! Its been a blast upgrading this guitar and i am running out of things to upgrade, but the next thing ill do is to replace the floyd rose special with a schaller lockmeister, but thats not too pressing right now as I dont have issues tuning/intonation, but i know the zinc will wear down at some point.
 

ezboarderz

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Unfortunately, theres going to be a bit of delay in getting the demos out of the pickups. I went to swap strings and to adjust the intonation of the floyd rose special and apparently i overtightened two of the screws and 2 are completely stripped, so my intonation kinda sucks at the moment on the E and A strings. I borrowed a friends vice grip and tried to muscle it out but i just ended up destroying the screws and i dont think i will be able to get it out, so i am now in the market for a new floyd rose tremolo. The metal quality in the floyd rose special is pretty crappy, but it has held together for 10 years, so thats something.

I will order a schaller lockmeister tomorrow and should get that towards the end of the week. I was looking at a Gotoh 1996T but the studs are apparently bigger than the Schaller/Floyd Rose special and i'd like to avoid drilling that out if i can. I wasnt really expecting to need to do that so quickly, but soon there wont be anything to upgrade on this guitar. I will update you guys once i get that replaced and everything is nicely intonated and set up. It does give me a chance to spice up the look of the guitar as it has a black body and a gold tremolo and nut will sex it up a bit.
 


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