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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hey guys, I play old school Death Metal, but more of the rock side. Bright, sharp. For me it's always been important to be faithful as much as possible to what was available in the late 80s/early 90s in order to recreate the sound of this era. With that in mind, my main rig is a BC Rich ST-III USA 1987, a Boss SD-1 MIJ in an old Marshall JCM 800 2203. But let's be honest, the guitar pickup, in a gain-sensitive chain like this is crucial. Without being the absolute tone freak, with that setup, everything really makes a difference.

For years, I was into Seymour Duncan until I stumbled into my first Dimarzio which to this day, I think was an OEM pickup and man, what a lively feeling compared to Seymour Duncan.

I tried many Seymour Duncan pickups (SH-4, SH-5, SH-11, Distortion, Maricella Juarez, etc) and many Dimarzio and I came to realize that more the pickup has output, more it imposes a restriction when it comes to tweak my sound. And then I found what I consider the best pickup for me so far, The Dimarzio PAF 36 Neck, but in the bridge position. The perfect balance of low end, mids, high, clarity, note separation and dynamics. Hyper responsive to nuances in the playing.

Ok dude shut up, what's your question?

I'd like to know which PAF style, old medium output pickup you would recommend me to explore for my next venture? I have many guitars so I have room for experimentation. I've been thinking Gibson pickups, but I don't know s**t about Gibson. Your help, as general players is definitely appreciated. Thanks!

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Maybe a Suhr SSV or SSV+? His pickups always have a nice top end. It has to do with the magnets he uses. The DSV is a bit smoother in the upper mids.

For something out of left field, try a Dimarzio Steve's Special. It's relatively high output, but more scooped in the mids. So you get both sustain and articulation as you run the gain up.

There's also the Wilde Bill Lawrence L-500, which comes in various output levels. Fairly neutral sounding pickup. Sort of brings out the sound of the guitar. (I think Nuno and Dimebag used the XL version).
 

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Whenever I think of great high gain tones without using high gain pickups, I think of Eric Steckel. Seymour Duncan Saturday Night Specials and Seymour Duncan Candy pickups. Or, Suhr Thornbuckers.
 

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You have stumbled onto a bit of logic that escapes some. The high gain pickups may hit the preamp tubes (or effects input) a bit harder, but not a heck of a lot, while the lower gain pickups lets you turn the amp up and let it work to get the sound. You may even start to get the power tubes to start to get into the picture with producing distortion. Which is glorious.

Sorry, no recomendations based on experience, but I'm sure the previous suggestions would be worth your thoughts.
 

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My « metal » guitar is an early ‘90s SG Special that now sports a set of Wolfe Tones (I got them used & believe they are Grey Wolfs). TONS of bottom end, almost too much when they were in an SG Std. but are the perfect fit in the brighter maple neck/ebony board Special. Marshallhead or Marshallhead II might be good too, e-mail Wolfe & ask his advice. 25% off right now.

P.S. @David Graves I did not know who Eric Steckel was, thanks for that.
 

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My « metal » guitar is an early ‘90s SG Special that now sports a set of Wolfe Tones (I got them used & believe they are Grey Wolfs). TONS of bottom end, almost too much when they were in an SG Std. but are the perfect fit in the brighter maple neck/ebony board Special. Marshallhead or Marshallhead II might be good too, e-mail Wolfe & ask his advice. 25% off right now.

P.S. @David Graves I did not know who Eric Steckel was, thanks for that.
He is one of the best kept secrets in music.lol
 

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My « metal » guitar is an early ‘90s SG Special that now sports a set of Wolfe Tones (I got them used & believe they are Grey Wolfs). TONS of bottom end, almost too much when they were in an SG Std. but are the perfect fit in the brighter maple neck/ebony board Special. Marshallhead or Marshallhead II might be good too, e-mail Wolfe & ask his advice. 25% off right now.

P.S. @David Graves I did not know who Eric Steckel was, thanks for that.
I have a set of those Marshallheads in a kauer and I also agree with this, as well as my other suggestion Of vinehams
 

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If you want a Gibson pickup try 57 classic plus in the bridge. Good pickup but you may get more character out of the previously listed independant pickup winders.

My metal guitar at the moment is a tele clasic vibe with a hot rails in the bridge. Tried EMGs in my PRS but they just werent doing it for me. Prefered the old dimarzio steves special (B) and alnico pro 2 in the neck. Funny how some pickups just dont work in some guitars...
 

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Check out Lips Kudlow signature set from Sigil pickups. They are the most versatile pickups I’ve ever used. I
bought them to put in a V. They were awesome. They obviously do metal but they are not screamers on their own. You have to add the gain which they handle very well. I eventually sold the V but kept the pickups. I have had them in several guitars. They are currently in an Epiphone Dot semi hollow. I mostly play blues or jazz with that guitar but crank up the gain and they scream, but totally controllable.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks guys, looks like I have some reading to do! I'm interested particularly in Vineham (And like the fact it's a Canadian company) and Tonewolfe so far. Suhr is also very interesting. 🔥
 

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Thanks guys, looks like I have some reading to do! I'm interested particularly in Vineham (And like the fact it's a Canadian company) and Tonewolfe so far. Suhr is also very interesting. 🔥
I have alnico 8 Vineham granite in a couple guitars (telecaster, Les Paul) as well as whiskey burner and whiskey sour in the neck positions.

The Granite to me is a great balanced medium output pickup with the A8 version a little more focused low end. Not too hot and retains clarity and more separation w a good amount of gain.

If your interested in Actives Fishman Classics are an amazingly versatile set, quiet and hard to make sound bad in any amp.
 

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i don't know if it's high gain or low gain or gainsburger. BUT...

what ever anyone tells you, ignore them. i know the exact pick up you need.
buy an evh frankenstein. i have one in a strat, and one in a les paul. it has amazing clarity, does beautiful cleans, but also rips the living shit out of hard rock sounds. my best friend put one in a $300 dean, and it's the rockinest guitar i ever heard. they're expensive, but soooo worth it. if you like hard rock and metal, this is the pickup for you. i guarantee you'll love it.
 

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i don't know if it's high gain or low gain or gainsburger. BUT...

what ever anyone tells you, ignore them. i know the exact pick up you need.
buy an evh frankenstein. i have one in a strat, and one in a les paul. it has amazing clarity, does beautiful cleans, but also rips the living shit out of hard rock sounds. my best friend put one in a $300 dean, and it's the rockinest guitar i ever heard. they're expensive, but soooo worth it. if you like hard rock and metal, this is the pickup for you. i guarantee you'll love it.
He means the vineham brown noser maybe? ;)
 
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