Super Strat Pickup Suggestions: Lundgren, Dimarzio, Duncan, or BKP???

TheUnvanquished

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Hey there SS.org! I've been mostly just lurking around the various forums on this website lately, but I wanted to get some thoughts about my next guitar that is coming to me soon from Warmoth. I've got a really sick partscaster being made over at Warmoth Guitars in Washington State and want to get the pickups right the very first time if possible.

It has a swamp ash body and maple neck. It is a superstrat style guitar. Those are pretty common wood choices for a bolt-on Strat style guitar, but I'm having it rear routed for a HXH pickup set-up and wondering what pickups to go with in this guitar.

I have a handful of spare pickups that I could use, but would not be against ordering a new one, or even a new set if I needed to. The pickups I have around are a Lundgren M6 bridge humbucker, a Dimarzio Evolution bridge humbucker, a Dimarzio PAF Pro humbucker, and a bridge and neck set of Seymour Duncan Black Winter humbuckers.

I'm leaning toward using the Lundgren M6 in the bridge and putting the Dimarzio PAF Pro in the neck position. I'm primarily a riffer (as opposed to a noodly shredder-type guitarist). I know I like the M6, but my concern is whether it will be a massive jump in output when switching to/from the Dimarzio PAF Pro in the neck position. I've also dug the PAF Pro in the past, but it has been many years since I played a guitar with one in it. Do you all think that combo (M6/PAF Pro) would be worth a try?

The other obvious option would be the Duncan Black Winters I have sitting around here. They are certainly cool, but I feel less inclined to go with them for this guitar. I also am tossing around the idea of buying a set of BKP Nailbombs for this axe. I've liked those too in other instruments I've had over the years.

Anyway, what do you guys think? I would really love to know if you guys think the M6 and the PAF Pro would be a good (and output balanced) set-up, and any other thoughts about what I could load in this incoming guitar.

Thanks everyone!
 

cmpxchg

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"is X worth a try?" yes, always. will it be good? dunno. what sound are you going for?
 

BabUShka

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Ive had my Nailbomb installed for two weeks now, its growing on me. And right now I think its one of the angriest pickups ive tried! I dont know if its the cersmic magnets apealing to me, but both C Bomb and Duncan Custom are my two favourite pickups right now.
 

Jamiecrain

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It doesn’t matter which you choose. With high gain all you’ll need is a tweak of your EQ to get sound you want. Pickup differences are often overrated.
Think about it, it’s why plug in pups have never been mainstream. Pick the one that looks the best or has the best name.
 

Fabrice

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I have stopped using / buying ultra high output pickups. So if it was me, I'll be using the Evolution and PAF pro.

If you want to use the PAF pro and the M6, adjust the height of the paf at the neck, then adjust the height of the M6 to match the level of the PAF.
 

ziggystardustex

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No question about it, TV jones classic in the bridge position. Pribora hot in neck and middle. Super combi. I have them in my 89 strat plus. Since i have this configuration i use the strat as my main guitar. For soundsamples see
 

TheUnvanquished

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Try the ones you’ve already paid for first. Make notes.

I suggest Vineham for another option as well.


That is a good point about using the ones I've already purchased. If I dig what I get from the ones I've already bought, I get the tones I'm after and save quite a bit of money too.

I have stopped using / buying ultra high output pickups. So if it was me, I'll be using the Evolution and PAF pro.

If you want to use the PAF pro and the M6, adjust the height of the paf at the neck, then adjust the height of the M6 to match the level of the PAF.

I don't know why but adjusting the height of the M6/PAF Pro combo to help balance the output didn't occur to me. That also makes lots of sense. I think I didn't think of that because I've been using a couple of guitars that only have one bridge humbucker and a a single volume knob lately. There was never any need to balance the output of two pickups in one guitar. Those two instruments only had one pickup each. Whatever the reason, I didn't consider that and I appreciate you mentioning such a quick and effective remedy to any crazy huge output differences between the two pickups.

Whatever pickup combo I go with, I'm stoked to get this guitar and get it put together. Warmoth makes excellent stuff. Thank you for your input you guys!
 

Wusthof XIII

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I am personally a HUGE fan of BKP’s. I have 5 guitars with a BKP in the bridge. The ones I own are the Silo, Aftermath, Brute Force, Juggernaut and Warpig.

I actually have an American made Strat (HSS), which I have the Warpig installed on. The single coils are Fender Noiseless pickups. If you are looking for a pickup that plays hard rock or metal, you can’t go wrong. Also, my favorite of all my BKP’s is the Aftermath. I play progressive rock & metal and the Aftermath handles those perfectly, and it can easily be pushed harder to play the heaviest of metal.

I am going to throw this out there though, I have a Schecter Blackjack Tempest which came stock with Lundgren M6’s, and I won’t be swapping out the M6 for a BKP. It sounds phenomenal in my opinion. My 2¢
 

Busemannen

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The BKP Aftermath, but also the Nailbomb is pretty good... But the favorite is the Juggernaut... By far my favorite pickup. So versatile and useful when tuning down, A really good tone with some mid. Good separation and really responsive, while giving a modern sound... DiMarzio used to be my favorite brand, but since BKP, DiMarzios are meh, and SD isn't even in my consideration any more... The last DiMarzio I got is the Titan, but I didn't experience any magic, so probably gonna swap it to BKP instead...
 

bigcupholder

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I have stopped using / buying ultra high output pickups. So if it was me, I'll be using the Evolution and PAF pro.

If you want to use the PAF pro and the M6, adjust the height of the paf at the neck, then adjust the height of the M6 to match the level of the PAF.
The Evolution is still a high output pickup. It's right up there with the EMG 81 and Duncan Distortion, which I've all had in the same guitar in the span of a week. I don't know how high the output is on the M6 though, so maybe it's truly insanely high.

Also I'd suggest the opposite for setting the heights if you're primarily playing on the bridge pickup: adjust the bridge pickup to the height you think it sounds best at, then set the neck to whatever height it balances at.
 

Fabrice

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The Evolution is still a high output pickup. It's right up there with the EMG 81 and Duncan Distortion, which I've all had in the same guitar in the span of a week. I don't know how high the output is on the M6 though, so maybe it's truly insanely high.

Also I'd suggest the opposite for setting the heights if you're primarily playing on the bridge pickup: adjust the bridge pickup to the height you think it sounds best at, then set the neck to whatever height it balances at.
The Evolution is a high output, but not by the standard of today (It's what I think).

From my point of vue, it's always better to adjust the height of the neck pickup. It's this pickup who have the more traction on the strings, so it can mess up the most with the tone of your guitar.
 

KnightBrolaire

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All of those options are going to be higher output than the paf pro. Yeah you could raise the paf pro closer to the strings, but there will always be a bit of a drop from those bridge pickup options.
 

Jamiecrain

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As @budda said, try what you've got first. Raise and lower the pup, see how it changes (this will change the tone more than changing the pup itself). How? Raise it and you'll get a hotter output, but poor sustain. Lower it and you'll get weaker output but strings that will ring on forever. Experiment and you'll be surprised.

Tip - If you are down-tuning and playing djenty stuff, try LOWERING the output to get a tight tone. Going for a hotter output to get better tones for down-tuned metal-type is a myth.
 

TheUnvanquished

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^^^ Yo! That's all good stuff, gentlemen. I didn't know that the pickup height altered anything other than the output/volume. I appreciate you all for chiming in!
 

hensh!n

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It is also useful to find a point of reference to measure against. If you keep changing amps, IRs, plugins, and settings, you may think you don't like the pickup - but there are other factors to consider that likely have a greater effect on your overall tone.

Pickups for me, are more about "feel" than anything else. Next look at the output, then EQ. For example, it'll be difficult to clean up a firebreathing dragon of a pickup. But there are ways to make lower output pickups sing (compression, overdrive, etc.).

Getting a pickup for a slightly different EQ, may not be the best way to go about it. But in my experience, you can't make a "stiff pickup" not stiff by changing the Amp/Cab/IR/Plugin/EQ. Because that stiffness comes from the source. Like in recording, you'd ideally want to record a good clean take first before adding DAW editing/processing. And yes, also be familiar with what you're using. Play with the height, strings/gauges, and other adjustments as much as possible first before deciding to swap the pickup out. Also, YouTube and other demonstrations may not be the best way to make a decision as the tonal balance of a pickup through a specific amp/cab/plugin is only one piece of the puzzle.

Pickups IME: Feel > Sound
 


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