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Have you ever been in pickup-swap hell?

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  • #16
    Sounds like some of you guys need to expand your selection of boost pedals! Having lots of options on how to shape the signal before it hits the front-end of your amp is always nice, and lets you reshape things far more easily than swapping pickups.


    • #17
      Originally posted by ItsaBass View Post
      '83 Les Paul Custom "Black Beauty."


      Tried everything. Many different pickups, covers pulled, crazy adjustments, pickups flipped, etc. Years spent fighting that thing. In the end, hacked it to take P90s, and it sounded better...but still DARK.

      Turns out, in my ignorance of my youth, I didn't realize that the stock pots were 100Ks, or what that even meant in regards to tone. The original Tim Shaws sounded as good as anything, once I built a proper vintage style wiring harness for the guitar. I restored the hack work that I had done to put the P90s in, and the guitar is now better than new, and original except for the internal components and slight wood repairs (which are totally invisible the way I repaired it – and under the pickup rings anyhow).
      Did you repaint it a solid color? Or do the pickup rings hide the hack job.


      • #18
        In my experience any guitar which has gone through three pickup swaps without finding a fit should probably be culled because it probably isn't that great to begin with.


        • #19
          I have had some guitars where I spent years swapping pickups in until I finally found the magic combo. In those guitars, it seems like I end up with a pickup combo that I did not like in other guitars. They were the last things I would have considered when I began looking. My PRS Singlecut for example. I tried all the combos I usually like in Les Paul type guitars, and was not satisfied with any of them. I ended up with a Norton Bridge and Fred neck. It rocks, but I would never have thought of that combo in the beginning. Certain guitars have redeemed some pickups as well. I always found a Breed Bridge I had to be very boring and underpowered until I stuck it in an alder body Jackson Dinky. Totally different pickup in that guitar.
          Last edited by Mr. B; 08-09-2020, 09:11 AM.


          • #20
            I put three humbuckers in a Strat and now complain it doesn't feel like a Strat even though I really don't like Strats that much.
            Formerly known as TheViewFromVenus.


            • #21
              I did several swaps into my little Peavey Rockmaster. (Single bridge pup.) All were decent, but not perfect. I know I did a GFS Dream 180 which was sweet. A Nazgul, that I didn't like. And something else that I can't remember. I ended up with Jason Becker Perpetual Burn, which I believe is the keeper. Killer pup.


              • #22
                I went through a bunch of pickups on one of my Kauer Banshees, and finally used some pretty extreme pole heights to get where I could be happy


                • #23
                  Originally posted by Top-L View Post

                  Did you repaint it a solid color? Or do the pickup rings hide the hack job.
                  The answers are in the post I already made.

                  It's a "Black Beauty" – already an opaque color.

                  The wood removed was all under the rings. But even with the rings off, you can't tell anything was ever done to it.

                  I used the word "hacked" figuratively. The wood removal was fairly controlled, done with a small, sharp hand chisel. I only shaved off enough of the humbucker ring mounting platforms to fit P90s with goof rings.

                  To fix, I made a custom router template that completely removed the entire height of the ring mounting platforms – all the way down to the bottom of the stock pickup cavity. In other words, I routed out to a simple rectangle. that included just barely routing off the original finish in the bottoms of the cavities. Then glued in oversized "towers" of maple-topped mahogany to replace them. I leveled the newly installed "towers" with the top of the guitar. Then I routed with a regular humbucker routing template (also homemade). Then I masked and sprayed black lacquer, and polished to blend. Voila. Like new. The new wood joints and masking lines were exactly where the edges of the pickup rings sit. The rings mar the lacquer anyhow, completely hiding the joints (which were blended in 90 percent invisibly anyhow).

                  The hardest part was properly and firmly shimming the homemade router templates, so they sat at the perfect angle on the carved top. Very frustrating and exacting process. But it just took lots of time and patience.
                  Last edited by ItsaBass; 08-09-2020, 04:37 PM.
                  Originally posted by LesStrat
                  Yogi Berra was correct.
                  Originally posted by JOLLY
                  I do a few chord things, some crappy lead stuff, and then some rhythm stuff.


                  • #24
                    I swapped several pickups in my Music Man SUB1 guitar, and nothing worked. I then realized to go with what the guitar needs (pickups with no mids) rather than what I thought I wanted. I ended up with a Custom 5 and Jazz.
                    A Steinberger (not the one in my avatar) went through a lot of swaps- it came with cheap Epiphone Probuckers. I used P-Rails, Steve Morse models, Alnico II Pros, and more. I then realized it was the guitar I didn't like and traded it away (for the Music Man in the first paragraph).
                    Dave, Ambassador/Writer/Artist for Seymour Duncan


                    • #25
                      I think I went through literally 8 or 10 bridge humbuckers in my scratch-built semi-hollow. Finally decided it was "perfect enough."


                      • #26
                        Originally posted by Top-L View Post
                        Have you ever bought a guitar where you didn't have to change them?
                        My 2011 Gibson Les Paul Traditional. After reading on the Classic 57+ was thinking to go A2Pro on it, but they sound truly amazing in this LP.

                        Otherwise, I usually swap whatever is stock, since from overall specs I know what Duncans will fit best. So far, all Duncan swaps worked wonderfully, even if the guitar came stock with Duncans.
                        Guitars:Gibson LP Trad ('57 Classics), PRS SE CU 24 Flametop (TB5/PGn), Ibanez RG870RWZ (PATB set), Jackson DK2M1H (TB4) & DK2 (TB10/VRn/CRn), LTD MH-1000HS (TB-15/Lil59n), ST213A (HRb/STK-S4 m&n) & TE212 (Hot Stack/A2Pn), Dean Cadillac 1980 (59 set) & Old Skull V (TB6/JazzN), Squier VM JM (SJM-1 set);Effects:Korg Pitchblack Poly, Digitech Drop, MXR CAE MC404 & EHX Wailer wahs, L6 HX FX & Stomp, Fender FVP-1, EHX Volume Pedal; Amp & Cab:H&K GM 40 Dlx, L6 DT25 cab;