Pickup Suggestions For Custom Build - Ash Body + Wenge Neck

Discussion in 'Pickups, Electronics & General Tech' started by 1nc1n3rat0r, Jun 29, 2020.

  1. 1nc1n3rat0r

    1nc1n3rat0r Member

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    Hey everyone,

    I'm working on my first custom build and am looking for some passive pickup suggestions (guitar build details listed below). I don't have much experience when it comes to looking for pickups and choosing which tone is right. I've been trying to nail down interesting options via YouTube, but it's hard to tell if those same tones will transfer to this build.

    I'm looking for a set of pickups that will pair well with metalcore, but still have flexibility for other styles like prog metal. The plan is to run the guitar with some high gain amplifications, so I'm looking for something that can provide lows that aren't too muddy or highs that are too bright (if that makes sense). For the tuning, this will likely be in C standard or drop A#. My primary rig is just a POD GO with headphones.

    The only pickups I have experience with are those that came as stock in my current collection of guitars (PRS CE 24 - 85/15, Epiphone Les Paul Std - ?, Ormsby Hype GTR 7 - Nunchucker / De la creme, Yamaha PAC012 - ?, Ibanez RGIB21 - EMG 81/60). Out of these, the only pickups the only ones I'm not a fan of are the EMGs.

    I have seen suggestions for using BKP Cold Sweat for the neck and a Painkiller or Holy Diver in the bridge. I have also seen lots of recommendations for the Nazgul/Sentient and Pegasus/Sentient SD pickups, but I don't know how that would translate to this build. I'm currently in favor of the Holy Diver bridge and Cold Sweat neck, but I wanted to see if anyone had any other suggestions that are worth looking into. The BKPs are cool, but they're rather expensive and I'd have to import them to the US.

    Guitar Details:
    • 6 String, 25.5" scale
    • Ash super strat body (unknown ash species)
      • Pickup routing for bridge and neck direct wood mount humbuckers
      • Routing for a blade switch, 1 vol, and 1 tone control
    • Warmoth wenge neck (22 fret) with ebony fretboard
    • Hipshot fixed bridge
    • Schaller locking tuners
    • Tuning - Likely C Standard, Drop A#

    This is also my first time installing my own electronics, so if you have any tips, let me know!
     
  2. KnightBrolaire

    KnightBrolaire grossly incandescent

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    Holy diver may be too bright and painkiller will most definitely be too bright in ash. That pickup is icepick city in basically anything other than a slab of mahogany.
    dimarzio titans or dominions might be worth looking into. They're warmer sounding pickups but they're tight as fuck on the low end.
     
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  3. AkiraSpectrum

    AkiraSpectrum SS.org Regular

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    Duncan Pegasus is a pretty good pickup that wont get excessively bassy or overly harsh and its great for Prog Metal. It's pretty versatile overall but you need to push it with an OD and boost the treble on it to get it into the more aggressive territory since it's naturally a very mellow pickup.

    I think the Dimarzio Titan naturally excels at the Prog Metal and Metalcore stuff. Very tight low end and highs aren't harsh at all. Titan's are perfect for Prog Metal.

    I'd go with the Dimarzio Titans because they are the safest bet. Duncan Pegasus (and Sentient) are great in their own right for Prog Rock/Metal and are more versatile than the Titans when it comes to 'non metal' tones, but because they are naturally more mellow they take a little more 'work' to get into those Metalcore sounds (although by 'work' its basically just adding an OD pedal, dropping a little bass and boosting the treble up a few notches, lol).
     
  4. 1nc1n3rat0r

    1nc1n3rat0r Member

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    Thanks for the responses! This is super helpful, I completely overlooked the Dimarzio pickups. I listened to a few demos of the Titan and Dominions, they both sounds great. I definitely like the sound of the Titan for the bridge.

    This may be a stupid question, I'm not sure how common it is to mix and match pickups -- Is the Titan bridge and neck set the way to go or is there a different neck pickup that blends well with it?
     
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  5. AkiraSpectrum

    AkiraSpectrum SS.org Regular

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    Mix and matching bridge and necks is all personal choice. Some people like a bridge and neck that 'match' fairly closely so that you're getting a more subtle change when you go from pickup to pickup, others like a drastic change to sound or tonal quality, it depends on what you're looking for.

    I think the question is now that you have an idea of what you want for your bridge, what do you want from the neck pickup?
     
  6. 1nc1n3rat0r

    1nc1n3rat0r Member

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    I haven't gotten the full view of what the neck pickup for the Titan offers. Bear with me here, I'm not super familiar with describing tones I'm hearing -- The samples I heard were, what I would describe as warm and lacked clarity in the higher frequencies. I think I prefer more glossy tones, where the mid-higher frequencies are more bright, but not shrill. It may have just been the YouTube demos I watched. I'm guessing I can also compensate for that in amp + EQ settings.

    It may make sense to start with the Titan set and swap the neck pickup if I'm not enjoying the sound. It's hard to tell how the wood of the guitar is going to affect the tone of the pickups without trying them out first.
     
  7. TheWarAgainstTime

    TheWarAgainstTime "TWAT" for short

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    I play a lot of metalcore/prog stuff too, and I keep my main guitar in drop B. I've had the Titan set in a few guitars and it's great for heavy stuff, but not much else IMO. I'm not a fan of ceramic neck pickups in general, though. The bridge pickup is very tight and snarly, which is great for low tunings. It can be harsh in a brighter guitar, but it slays in warmer guitars.

    I love, love, love the Dominion bridge and I recommend it for pretty much anything low tuned and chuggy, but still reasonably versatile. Thick mids, good clarity, and medium-high output. I have it in two fairly bright-sounding guitars and one neutral one, but I prefer it in the brighter ones by a small margin. It can be overly chunky in darker guitars with these low tunings, but that can be fixed by bringing it back up to D standard or higher.

    I'd say the Dominion would be a good fit here if you end up thinking the Titan is a little clanky or too lean in the low end.

    What are you looking for in a neck pickup? Mainly cleans, shreddy liquid leads, vintage voiced, etc.
     
  8. 1nc1n3rat0r

    1nc1n3rat0r Member

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    That's really good info to have! I'm still looking at the Titan samples and I haven't been too impressed with the cleans I've heard so far, they sound a little "dull" in the lower tuning, however, that may be a limitation of youtube. I've been having a hard time finding some good representations of the Dominion. I just found a few mixes on SoundCloud with the Dominions and KnightBrolaire's video for the bridge pickup, they sound great. I'm curious what the neck pickup sounds like.

    For the neck pickup, I'm looking for some balance between articulate cleans and something that will sound good with gain on the shreddy stuff while being clear. I'm recently getting back into playing again after a several year hiatus and am placing more focus on the metal side of things (previously I was focused on classical guitar and mainstream rock when I was first learning), so some versatility I think is a good route. With the stuff I've been working on recently, I have been using the neck pickup for working on scales, technique, and working on learning solos. I'm not particularly fond on the vintage sounds, so the more contemporary full-bodied tones are more what I'm after.
     
  9. akinari

    akinari SS.org Regular

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    Bill Lawrence L500XL or Entwistle HDN all the way.
     
  10. TheWarAgainstTime

    TheWarAgainstTime "TWAT" for short

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    I'd look at the Dimarzio PAF Pro :yesway: glassy cleans and great articulation on lead work, and a lot of the vintage-style low end bloom is dialed back. It's on the hotter side of medium output and has more upper mids than lower mids, so it tracks low notes and chords really well compared to a Gibson PAF or something shreddy like a Liquifire.

    You might also look at the Illuminator and Gravity Storm if you think the PAF Pro may be too bright overall.
     
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  11. 1nc1n3rat0r

    1nc1n3rat0r Member

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    Awesome, thanks for the suggestions! I really appreciate all the input.

    The PAF Pro sounds super sick, that tone sounds great. For simplicity, I'm leaning towards starting with the Dominion set and altering the setup later on once I have a better idea of how things will sound for this build and get a feel for the changes that need to be made. I'm adding the body finish this weekend and getting most of the hardware installed, hopefully i can get some pickups ordered in the next few weeks to try it all out.

    Next up -- digging into how to handle the wiring and measuring string spacing for the pickups...
     

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