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"Classic Rock" pickups for Flying V

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  • "Classic Rock" pickups for Flying V

    So I just picked up a nice Epiphone Flying V and want to replace the stock pups. All of my guitars have vintage-type output (Gibson 57s, Slash Sig, 59 Blues, APH1, etc), as I really don't like high output pickups. I want this guitar to be a little different, just a little more aggressive, but still vintage/moderate output. This guitar will be used mostly for playing stuff like old KISS, Aerosmith, Thin Lizzy, etc. Also love playing Stones and Black Crowes music, but probably not with this guitar.

    I'm having a hard time trying to nail down what might work from's often hard to pick up the nuances of the pickups that way, never mind that many of the videos will be done on a superstrat type guitar and playing a different style from me altogether. There are a few options I think I've gotten down to, and I just wanted to see if anyone out there has experience with them, and what their thoughts might be...

    Saturday Night Special set
    Whole Lotta Humbucker set
    59 Blues set
    59 neck/SH-14 Custom 5 bridge
    Jazz neck/SH-14 Custom 5 bridge

    I am primarily a rhythm guitarist whose biggest heroes are Keef, Townshend, Malcolm, Izzy and the like.

    Thanks in advance to whoever has an opinion!


  • #2
    Super Distortion / PAF 36th set from DiMarzio comes to mind.
    "New stuff always sucks" -Me


    • #3
      I'd say go with the Saturday Nigbt Specials. The bands you listed are more defined by the playing style of the guitar moreso than the guitars tone, so just pick whatever you think sounds best to you.

      Only real points of consideration is that often times the '59n has too much bass in some guitars and some people find the Jazz too bright
      If I only had a dollar for every song I've sung
      every time I had to play while people sat there drunk,


      • #4
        the Saturday Night Special set would be good for a change of pace, and for what youre aiming to do with your rig.
        Epiphone Les Paul Tbte Plus (SD custom shop humbucker & SH2b neck)


        • #5
          I didn’t see them mentioned on your list, but was thinking Pearly Gates would fit your description of vintage output and a little more aggressive.


          • #6
            the sns set might suit a v well for the music you mention


            • #7
              T-top clones for something 70s-ish, with bite, and different from what you already have.

              In a Duncan set, I concur with the suggestion of the Whole Lotta set.

              SNS seem appropriate too, though I haven't owned them myself.
              IME A4 pickups tend to do best in good wood - not always a sure thing with an Epi.
              I have four - two have real personality; the other two are well-made yet lack strong individual character.

              IMO in the vintage-hot category, the 59/Custom hybrid is a good match for most guitars.

              BKP Rebel Yell set is another great one that's vintage-plus: searing yet chunky, with great cleanup.
              But they aren't cheap.

              Aggressive means different things to different people. To some it might mean hot & full, to others maybe bright & cutting.

              OP, Is your Vee korina or mahog? And is its natural voice bright, midrangey, scooped, or fairly neutral?
              "Brains have been washed. Fear has been mongered. Now we prepare for the final stage of our conspiracy theory." - Isle Of Dogs



              • #8
                The Epi is a 2020 model, mahogany. I would characterize it as a pretty typical warm tone, probably a little brighter than my other Epis (LP, Dot, ES-175), but not a bright guitar by any means. It is definitely hard to define "aggressive", but maybe that it breaks up a little quicker, gets a little more of an edge to the side, a little more bite. Unfortunately, one of those "I'll know it when I hear it" scenarios.

                No matter what, I still want to be on the crunchier side of things as opposed to a more buzzsaw type of sound. So it's probably not too dissimilar to PAF type tones, but with a little more clarity and definition. Not too much mud. So probably I'd like a little more brightness but not piercing or spiky.

                I apologize to everyone, I am the opposite of tech-savvy, so I usually end up describing the specific music I like to play instead.

                Thanks everyone for your thoughts!


                • #9
                  Crunch? Custom/59 set.
                  Guitars:Gibson LP Trad ('57 Classics), Epiphone Les Paul Special (SP90-1 set), PRS SE CU 24 Flametop (TB5/PGn), Ibanez RG870RWZ (PATB set) & S761FM (TB16/STK-S7 m&n), Jackson DK2 (TB10/VRn/CRn), LTD MH-1000HS (TB15/Lil59n), ST213A (HRb/STK-S4 m&n) & TE212 (Hot Stack/A2Pn), Squier VM JM (SJM-1 set);Effects:L6 Helix Floor, Digitech Drop & FreqOut, Mission Engineering EP1-L6;Shure GLX-D16;


                  • #10
                    Another vote for the Saturday Night Specials.
                    aka Chris Pile, formerly of Six String Fever


                    • #11
                      59N & 59/Custom Hybrid


                      • #12
                        Your description is what the Whole Lotta Humbucker set does really well.
                        Dave, Ambassador/Writer/Artist for Seymour Duncan


                        • #13
                          Just wondering if anyone can compare the SMS and WLH sets, how they differ from one another. The online videos and sound clips are unable to highlight what makes each unique from the other, at least to my ears. In general, I find that to be the case, unless something is drastically different (ie, Marshall DSL vs Fender Deluxe Reverb). But maybe after more than 35 years of going to concerts, the hearing is not what it once was...

                          I suspect that I'd like both sets, but I'd like to get an idea of the real difference between the two if possible. These seem to be my best options, as one thing I have picked up on videos is that the Pearly Gates might be a little brighter than I want.

                          So does anyone have experience playing or hearing the two sets in person?


                          • #14
                            I recommend the Brandonwound T-Top replica set. Probably exactly what you want and I think would have been what was in the guitars when they recorded that music. Plus he charges mass market prices for custom wound pickups. I have the WLH set in a LP and I do love them but the JP#1 set he made me is on a whole other level.

                            Kirk Dahnke
                            Junior Member
                            Last edited by Kirk Dahnke; 08-09-2021, 02:45 PM.


                            • #15
                              I personally think that given what you want to play with this, a SuperDistortion/PAF set would really nail it. You CAN just lower the SuperD into submission. Riding the volume with the right height will also give you a lot of tonal options there too.

                              However, if you are not going for that - and I do think you are, I suggest Pearly Gates set, which I'll use to play anything, or the Whole Lotta Set (which I do not own, but based on a lot of readings and the suggestions here...)
                              Originally posted by Bad City
                              He's got the crowd on his side and the blue jean lights in his eyes...