Wednesday, September 1, 2010



Seymour Duncan:
SH-1 59: Bit harder sounding than a PAF. Has kind of a vintage sound is good for blues, classic rock, and hard rock. Most common in neck position but is found in the bridge also. Decent cleans but has better od then the jazz- versatile.
Pros: Versatile.
Cons: Jack of all trades.
Hint: great for neck position use with high output bridge humbucker- has good cleans but takes nicely to overdrive too.

SH-2 Jazz: Low output. Very clean sounding. Mainly used in the neck but I have seen it used in the bridge once or twice. Very commonly paired with SH-4 JBs, SH-6 distortions, and SH-5 Customs. Poor overdrive IMO but some like it.
Pros: good cleans.
Cons: poor overdrive for anything heavier than blues.
Hint: good in neck position if you only need good cleans.

SH-4 JB (Jeff Beck Signature): One of the most popular pickups. It has relatively high output. It’s great for heavy blues to grunge to metal. Very trebly. Better cleans than most high out put pickups.
Pros: Good hard rock/thrash tones, better cleans than you’d expect.
Cons: Hard to predict which wood it’ll work well in- although it’s very trebly, I’ve liked it in (some) alder guitars more than mahogany guitars. Can sound thin sometimes too.
Hint: Great choice on guitar with one humbucker. (fat strats, G&L Rampage, and such) Decent cleans with good Overdrive. Only down sound is it’s a bit eqed but set up properly its not much a problem

SH-5 Custom: Sounds like a beefed up PAF. It’s great for hard rock and I recommend it as a vintage-ish sounding metal pickup. Very commonly paired with a SH-1 in the neck. Pretty crappy cleans and can get a bit muddy is the down side.
Pros: Like the sound of your Gibson but need more gain
Cons: Pretty lousy cleans. Can get muddy if not eqed pretty perfectly.
Hint: Not very versatile but good for a beefed up classic tone.

SH-6 Distortion: It has high output, Good for metal, punk, and hard rock. Very commonly used with a SH-2 in the neck for versatility. Does not have great cleans. It also can get very muddy.
Pros: gives the amp a good kick for distortion. Works well in darker-voiced woods.
Cons: Very trebly but can get muddy too if you aren’t careful.
Hint: Avoid in alder guitars (especially with maple necks)- will be extremely bright! However some disagree.

SH-8 Invader: Like a SH-6 on steroids. Made for metal but can be used for Hard Rock, Punk, and other Aggressive styles. Usually only used for the bridge but can be used for neck. Terrible cleans in my opinion. It can be very muddy too. However I have been told it is good for beefing up the sound of a hollow body. But I don't really know why you would buy a hollow body to beef it up. But if you already have one, 70 dollars on a pickup is better than a few hundred on a guitar.
Pros: Lots of gain, and can be used to fatten out a thin or bright-sounding guitar.
cons: Extremely muddy with darker amp or guitar
hint: use it to beef up a really thin sounding guitar or amp

SH-10 Full Shred: Good for metal, hard rock, classic rock, and, well, shred. In-between a SH-5 and a SH-6 in the output but has a lot of presence. Great harmonics best on a Seymour Duncan pickup imo!!!
Pros: Great for classic rock, hard rock, or metal. I've liked it in both mahogany and alder guitars
Cons: Not great cleans but not too bad either
Hint: Really nice in the bridge position. Brings out good playing but devastating to poor.

SH-11 Custom Custom: Bright sounding, not as bright as JB though. It’s like a SH-5 except with alnico II magnets. Good for classic rock and blues. Can get a bit muddy with a high gain amp.
Pros: “Nice” bright, rather than piercing. Mature, expressive tone.
Con: gets a bit muddy with high gain, partly because of alnico II magnets. But with a high gain amp that is natrually very tight sounding its not muddy.
Hint: As it’s bright, works well in Mahogany guitars. great solution for more gain in your classic rock voiced guitar

SH-12 Screaming Demon: Moderate output. A lot like a PAF, but more in a rock vein. Good for classic rock and hard rock. Very nice harmonics.
Pros: not super hot, so quite versatile (or at least, more than you’d think).
Cons: You’re paying extra for the Lynch name.
Hint: great for an old-school superstrat tone.

SH-13 Dimebucker: It has seriously high output. I only recommend for metal. And is seriously trebly too, but can get muddy too.
Pros: I’m thinking hard here… High output?
Con: can be too trebly yet muddy at the same time. Seriously not recommended.
Hint: Avoid.

SH-14 Custom 5: Like custom custom except with alnico V magnet It’s great for blues, classic rock, and Hard rock.
Has a good deal of bottom end.
Pros: Better tone than the custom and better for high gain than the custom custom.
Cons: Doesn’t achieve the extremes the other customs do.
Hint: If your considering the custom custom and have a high gain amp I'd go for this instead

SH-55 Seth Lover: Well its pretty much a modern PAF. It was designed with the humbucker inventor Seth lover. Great for blues, country, and Classic Rock. However with gain it gets very muddy. It also feed backs like a mofo as it’s unpotted.
Pros: Gives that awesome classic rock tone
Cons: not meant to be used with any higher gained amp, or any high wattages either. A 50 watt plexi reissue is pushing it in both terms.
Hint: If your play primarily cleans and need a warm tone It's a pretty great sounding pickup. However if you're using any large amounts of gain or volume I'd avoid.

SH-PG1 Pearly Gates: Warm slightly hotter than normal vintage humbucker. It’s great for blues, country, classic rock, and hard rock. My favorite pickup of SD. I like it in the neck position.
Pros: Great for classic rock or a neck pickup paired with something higher gained
Cons: muddy with high gain. Not the greatest cleans but good cleans.
Hint: Neck position paired with a high gain pickup in the bridge. Or both if going for a classic rock tone. Much cheaper that say a Gibson pickup Great vintage soloing tone. Suprising amount of dynamics for a low gain pickup.

APH-1 Alnico II pro: Warm vintage sounding humbucker. It’s great for jazz, blues, hard rock, and classic rock.
Pros: very warm tone, great for jazz and similar stuff.
Cons: needs to be paired with a warm-sounding bridge humbucker (if fitted in the neck position) as you’ll struggle to EQ both pickups properly if you don’t.
Hint: Don’t pair with bright bridge pickup.

DiMarzio: Overall DiMarzios have a lot of presence. Usually bring out every note which is great for more experienced players. But for beginners who have started making bands it will cause for a lot of awkward silences from the crowd.

Air Classic: Vintage sounding. It’s relatively bassy. It’s great for blues, classic rock, and hard rock.
Pros: nice cleans and nice overdrive. More warm than bright.
Cons: Muddy with high gain. Not the best cleans either.
Hint: similar to Duncan 59 but warmer compared to brighter

Bluesbucker: Higher output vintage pickup. It has more treble than the average vintage pickup. This pickup when split gives awesome Jimmy Page tone. It’s great for blues, classic rock and hard rock. Pretty obviously Dimarzios wanna be burstbucker.
Pros: Nice cleans and great slight OD.
Cons: Muddy with too much gain
Hint: brighter sounding vintage pickup. Good for a mahogany guitar

PAF/PAF Classic: Built to sound like the old PAFs of the 50s but its considerably brighter. It’s great for classic rock, blues, county, and hard rock. Can get a bit muddy. I much prefer PAF pros.
Pros: great cleans and good light od
Cons: muddy with too much overdrive
Hint: Some use it in the neck paired with a paf pro in bridge.

Air Norton: one of DiMarzios most popular pickups. A good vintage sound with a little more kick. Great midrange. Good for almost anything.
Pros: versatile.
Cons: can get muddy.
Hint: Brighter woods suit it better- such as alder.

PAF Joe: Made for Joe Satriani. He wanted a mix of a PAF and an old 50s Gibson humbucker. It has a great balance in tone. It’s great for classic rock, hard rock, blues, and more.
Pros: warmer than dimarzio PAFs.
Cons: Not the greatest cleans and gets muddy with gain
Hint: use with brighter guitar and lower gained amp.

Fred: Also used by Satriani. It has great harmonics. It has a much more balanced tone than most of Dimarzios pickups. It’s great for shred, metal, hard rock, and even blues.
Pros: vocal tone. Sounds like Joe.
Cons: not too versatile.
Hint: It has very vocal tone. It's really great for soloing but i would not recommend it if you play a lot of rthym or are in a band with a singer.

Mo’ Joe: A hotter, more intense Fred. It’s great for shred, metal, and hard rock.
Pros: slightly more versatile when it comes to hard tones. Less vocal.
Cons: still a bit muddy. Not as vocal as fred (yes not as vocal is both a con and pro)
Hint: like satch but want to be heavier. Heres the answer Better rthym tone as well.

Evolution: Designed for Steve Vai. It has pretty high output and a tone of presence. Every note really jumps out. There is a slight lack of low end when played clean. It’s great for Shred, Metal, and Hard Rock.
Pros: very good for shred. Suprisingly good cleans. Great soloing tone for both bridge and neck pickups.
Cons: Not for beginners.
Hint: Only for experienced players. with the right amp and in the right guitar it will make the tone you want. Effects your tone more than you average pickup swap.

Evo 2: Just like the evolution with a little less power.
Pros: Better cleans than evo. More bass.
Cons: Doesn't bring out playing like an Evolution
Hint: Good for someone with a very bright amp compared to evolution.

Breed: Also designed for Vai. Basically a Evo and PAF pro mixed together. It has awesome harmonics and output with a more vintage tone.
Pros: much more versatile than Evos.
Cons: perhaps not hot enough for the crazy metal stuff. Not as good with dark amplifiers.
Hint: don't get for the super high gain (modern metal) but definitely hot enough for less gainy metal. Do not use with a dark amp. Better in brighter tonewoods.

X2N: Very High output. It’s good for metal and Shred. Pretty lousy palm mutes however. Very Muddy and really bad cleans. Personally I hate this pickup.
Pros: eh
Cons: Too much gain. Sounds like poop
Hint: Avoid

Super Distortion: Often compared to Seymour Duncan’s Distortion in tone. Great distorted tone but not too great of cleans. Nicer harmonics than the SD distortion. It’s great for Hard Rock and ballsier classic rock.
Pros: better than SD distortion
Cons: Still not great cleans and its quite bright
Hint: Brings out thin sounding guitars nicely. Really nice sounding pickup.

Tone Zone: Very versatile. It’s often compared to Seymour Duncan’s Jb. Good from harder blues to Metal. Much deeper tone than JB, though.
Pros: Good solo tone, reasonably versatile.
Cons: Prone to muddiness.
Hint: Avoid in darker sounding woods, like mahogany. I would also not suggest one with a dark amp.

EMG: These sound great for modern metal, and like all pickups, sound best through a quality (more often than not) tube amp. Not terribly versatile (apart from the single coils).
81: Great for Metal and that’s about it. Pushes a tube amp way more than your average pickup.
Pros: Extreme amount of output. Good harmonics.
Cons: Prone to thin-ness.
Hint: Sounds best in mahogany.

85: Has more output than the 81 but is bit more versatile. Has a very chunky sound. It’s great for metal/harder rock.
Pros: more versatile than 81, doesn’t sound thin.
Cons: Still not very versatile compared to a good passive pickup.
Hint: works well in alder.

89: Has coil-splitting possibilities. Therefore is one of the most versatile pickups EMG makes. It’s more similar to the 85 than the 81.
Pros: Want to coil split here's your answer
Cons: same as all emgs. It's still is a bit sterile.
Hint: Good answer for someone who likes the sound of emgs but plays a lot of styles. Perfect for pairing with SAs in my opinion

60: Cleanest sounding of active EMGS. Brightest sounding also. Mainly used in the neck paired with either a 85 or 81 in the bridge. Good for metal and hard rock. Still far from great cleans.
Pros: better cleans than most active pickups far more versatile
Cons: Still not very versatil
Hint: If you need super high gain but want to have a chance at decent cleans here is your answer

This is the most unbiased I could be. Personally I'm not a huge fan. But you can try them at nearly any guitar store. Just look for Jackson or Esp guitars. They're not for everyone including me. But you may love them.

SA series is quite nice.
pro: much better clean tone than emg humbuckers
con: quite bright. Not to be paired with an 85.
Hint: Really awesome with an 89. has a less sterile sound than emg humbuckers.

Gibson: These are quite good for stock pickups, but to be honest, unless you’ve tried them (and compared them to other branded pickups) and like them, I wouldn’t really consider them for an upgrade- especially in the UK/Europe where they’re hideously expensive.

57 Classics: Nice Blend of mids, highs, and lows. It’s great for classic rock, blues, hard rock, and more. I much prefer burstbuckers however.

Angus Young: Much like a 57 classic but hotter.

Burstbucker: Used in mainly les Pauls. Classic sound. It has relatively high mids and bass. It’s great for classic rock, hard rock, blues, and more. My favorite Gibson pickup.
Pros: Sound good clean and distorted.
Cons: Expensive, especially in UK.
Hint: If you want a Gibson tone then it may be worth it. But a Pearly Gates would do more than suffice

Tony Iommi: High output. It’s great for metal and hard rock. Not the greatest of cleans however. Mainly used in the bridge with a 57 classic or 490r in neck. A little trebly.
Pros: comes in epi Iommi sig. Best pickups available in a epiphone solid body guitar
Cons: trebly. Bad cleans
Hint: I wouldn't buy it except if I were looking at sgs and on a budget. Where I would buy the epiphone Iommi.

Dirty fingers: High output. Not too great of cleans but ok distorted. Comparable to the X2N and invader. In my opinion way too muddy and way too sterile.
Cons: Horrendously bad
Hint: Avoid

496R Hot Ceramic/500T Super Ceramic: Used mainly in explorers and Vs. Has mediocre cleans but good distortion. Good for hard rock and metal. I still prefer burstbuckers.
Pros: very hot.
Cons: crap tone.
Hint: replace as soon as possible.

490R/490T: Standard in many Gibson guitars. It has decent cleans and good distortion. It’s great for blues, hard rock, soft rock, metal, and more. It’s very versatile. But I much prefer burst buckers.
Pros: better than the 496R
Cons: still bad
Hint: replace

498T Hot alnico: Like the above but a little hotter. I prefer it over the standard 490T.
Pros: Doesn't need to be replaced like other gibsons do
Cons: Not a bad pickup but not great either
Hint: don't buy other than stock

Some updates

Swineshead pickups

Very high out put pickup but has great tone. It even manages pretty good cleans. Similar to an evolution but a little more rounded out. Neck pickups sings and bridge brings good amount of gain.
pros: Versatile for high gain. Really good tone.
cons: A little bright and cleans aren't the greatest.
hint: Very good pickups, Especially if you do a lot of lead parts

Similar to venom but with less gain and and alnico V compared to ceramic.
Pros: More versatile than venom. Really fantastic cleans.
Cons: Could use a bit more gain in bridge to thicken up the tone a bit
hint: Can be used for anything with the right amp. But could use a bit more gain. A warthog neck and Venom bridge make a fantastic pair.

I have heard great things about other swinesheads. But haven't used them personally. My friend has yet to send me his opionions on them.


Miracle man:
Really good gain on passive. However has a lot more clarity than an emg would have. And has better cleans and lighter od as well.
pros: Great for achieving any level of overdrive from metal to classic rock with a lower gain amp.
cons: Not fantastic cleans. A little harsh when improperly eqed.
Hint: really fantastic stuff.

Awesome pickup my favorite of this brand (actually all pickups) Extremely versatile. The only thing it doesn't do extremely well is jazz. But properly eqed it does it well enough. Amazing clarity and feel.
pros: insane clarity, extremely versatile, great soloing tone
cons: not the best for jazz
Hint: If you spend more time with high gain I'd suggest this

Another awesome pickup from BKP. Again extremely versatile. Less gain than the nailbomb. Does jazz better than the nailbomb. Not quite as good of a soloing tone in my opinion. Retains insane clarity
Pros: great clarity extremely versatilte, better at jazz
cons: not quite as good as nailbomb in high gain and soloing arena. But still very very recommended.
Hint: get over nailbomb if your play a lot of jazz.

Stormy Mondays:
This pickup is far more geared towards low gain use. Insane jazz tone. Does blues and classic rock tones quite amazing as well. Perfect for your jazz box or Lespaul.
Pros: Amazing cleans, great for jazz and blues.
cons: Gets alittle muddy for gain. Then again if you bought this pickup for hard rock you deserve it.
Hint: Use for low gain applications.

Again this is another case where I haven't been able to try or get solid info on most of thier models. But they really are fantastic from what I hear. (Just not enough info on inivisual models to sort out Bias a
nd such)

1 comment:

ViTAR said...

How about Dimarzio D Activator Neck/Bridge and D Activator-X Neck/Bridge?