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Thread: Pickups for Ibanez J.Custom - for instrumental rock

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  1. #1
    Ultimate Tone Member Nagisa's Avatar
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    Question Pickups for Ibanez J.Custom - for instrumental rock

    I have an amazing J.Custom that came with Fishman Fluences. For a while I thought they were pretty good, but A/Bing the guitar with my LP with a Custom/Pearly Gates or my AZ that has the Hyperions, I notice the fishmans are just not as alive, especially the neck. The neck's highs are really dull. I actually like the bridge (modern ceramic) for heavy tones but I have tried both the modern ceramic and classic neck and both just do not work well for melodic overdriven solos like Petrucci.

    The Custom on my LP is somewhere in the ballpark of output level of what I'm looking for with my J.Custom - I like it a lot, but I would prefer alnico in a more EQ-balanced pickup (The C5 was too scooped for me).

    I have a Kemper so the amp is not really an issue.

    The J. Custom is African Mahogany and macassar ebony.

    My favorite tones are early Dream Theater, which were Steves Special/Tone Zone and Air Nortons, mainly. While I appreciate their newer albums, I feel like ever since they went to Musicman and changed pickups, I haven't liked Petrucci's tone as much.

    I would just get the TZ/AN mix but I have read so many people getting them stock and replacing them. I also am not a huge fan of the TZ videos I've seen on Youtube. It seems a bit too mushy. So far the AN seems pretty good. I have read some complaints about it sounding compressed. I'm interested in seeing if there are better pickups for me than the "standard" set, especially since the standard set is around 25 years old and there have been a lot of new pickups released since then. I also am slightly concerned about resale value, as I will need to buy new to get nickel covers, but if I end up wanting to swap if they don't work out, I may one day need to sell them.

    I'm thinking of keeping it all alnico and avoiding ceramic, but I could be persuaded otherwise. The Gravity Storm neck is ceramic and I have read good things.

    I'm living in Japan so makers other than Dimarzio and Duncan are hard to order from.

    Thank you!

  2. #2
    Mojo's Minions Masta' C's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pickups for Ibanez J.Custom - for instrumental rock

    Check out this video comparing several of the JP pickups.

    Hint: Old school Ibanez JPM with Steve's Special/AN at the end.


  3. #3
    Ultimate Tone Member Nagisa's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pickups for Ibanez J.Custom - for instrumental rock

    Quote Originally Posted by masta' c View Post
    Check out this video comparing several of the JP pickups.

    Hint: Old school Ibanez JPM with Steve's Special/AN at the end.

    Thanks! I really liked the AN on that vid, but the steve's special had a strange overtone going on. All the majesties sounded so similar it was hard to choose, but maybe the 2nd with the sonic ecstacy was my favorite on the bridge.

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    Administrator Mincer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pickups for Ibanez J.Custom - for instrumental rock

    I think a Custom or Custom 5 is a great idea. A Jazz works really well in the neck.
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  5. #5
    Ultimate Tone Member Nagisa's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pickups for Ibanez J.Custom - for instrumental rock

    Quote Originally Posted by Mincer View Post
    I think a Custom or Custom 5 is a great idea. A Jazz works really well in the neck.
    See I really like my Custom in my LP but the C5 was too scooped for it.

    It may be a safe choice but I'm not so big on using the same pickup in 2 guitars.

  6. #6
    Ultimate Tone Member BeKindRewind's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pickups for Ibanez J.Custom - for instrumental rock

    I'm thinking Full Shred Set. The Full Shred bridge is the same output as a Custom, it's Alnico 5, and not scooped. And the Full shred neck is designed for clarity in the neck position.

    Either that or the JB\Jazz set. Juicy and clear

  7. #7
    Ultimate Tone Member Nagisa's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pickups for Ibanez J.Custom - for instrumental rock

    Quote Originally Posted by BeKindRewind View Post
    I'm thinking Full Shred Set. The Full Shred bridge is the same output as a Custom, it's Alnico 5, and not scooped. And the Full shred neck is designed for clarity in the neck position.

    Either that or the JB\Jazz set. Juicy and clear
    I've read that the FS neck is like a more articulate Jazz but that it lacks character and also is ice picky. What do you think?

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    Ultimate Tone Slacker Archer250's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pickups for Ibanez J.Custom - for instrumental rock

    Hmm

    A Norton and Air Norton pair, perhaps

    But tbh, might not be very balanced. The Norton is one of the brighter pickups

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    Attenuators are for pussies. Neighbors calling the cops isn't a problem - if the cops can actually still decipher the neighbor's complaint on the phone with the Marshall in the background, you're doing it wrong and it needs to be louder.

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    Administrator Mincer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pickups for Ibanez J.Custom - for instrumental rock

    The Full Shred neck is one notch brighter than the Jazz. If you have a darker sounding guitar, or you really need to cut through, it can work.
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  10. #10
    Ultimate Tone Member Nagisa's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pickups for Ibanez J.Custom - for instrumental rock

    Hmm I'm thinking the DiMarzio offering may suit me better in this guitar. For the bridge, wondering about AT-1 vs Gravity Storm. The AN neck sounds good to me but I keep hearing it's dark and this is a somewhat dark guitar.

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    Ultimate Tone Slacker Archer250's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pickups for Ibanez J.Custom - for instrumental rock

    I've used the AT-1 before. Very good, but quite middy, which is good if that's your thing.
    Quote Originally Posted by Myaccount876 View Post
    Attenuators are for pussies. Neighbors calling the cops isn't a problem - if the cops can actually still decipher the neighbor's complaint on the phone with the Marshall in the background, you're doing it wrong and it needs to be louder.

  12. #12
    Ultimate Tone Member Nagisa's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pickups for Ibanez J.Custom - for instrumental rock

    Quote Originally Posted by Archer250 View Post
    I've used the AT-1 before. Very good, but quite middy, which is good if that's your thing.
    To be honest I don't have much reference for middy pickups. I have tried scooped ones but witha mid spike? Maybe no direct experience. In theory though I think I'd prefer a more even EQ. Thanks - I think for now I'll scratch the AT-1 off the list.

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    Default Re: Pickups for Ibanez J.Custom - for instrumental rock

    You could try putting the Custom in the bridge temporarily & try out the various mag swaps in it. UOA5 might workout if A5 doesnt, A8 might be useful trying out too, thats if you have those mags lying around & it wouldnt cost you anything but is time consuming a bit.

    Apart from that the 59/C hybrid gets good recs around often.

    No idea for neck.

  14. #14
    Ultimate Tone Member Nagisa's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pickups for Ibanez J.Custom - for instrumental rock

    Quote Originally Posted by Hank- View Post
    You could try putting the Custom in the bridge temporarily & try out the various mag swaps in it. UOA5 might workout if A5 doesnt, A8 might be useful trying out too, thats if you have those mags lying around & it wouldnt cost you anything but is time consuming a bit.

    Apart from that the 59/C hybrid gets good recs around often.

    No idea for neck.
    Yea I know people here seem to like the Hybrid. How good is it for soloing? Also would it work well in a mahogany Ibanez? I could potentially go Hybrid/Jazz...

  15. #15
    Administrator Mincer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pickups for Ibanez J.Custom - for instrumental rock

    I've used the Hybrid in a mahogany Brian Moore before, with great results. It seems to do many gain ranges well, and is great for soloing, especially if you don't need/want the compression of higher output pickups.
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  16. #16
    Ultimate Tone Member Nagisa's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pickups for Ibanez J.Custom - for instrumental rock

    This demo of the Gravity Storms is really making me interested in them. Only concerned about the neck being ceramic, I can kinda hear it's not as open as the bridge. It's also fairly thin, though other vids haven't been so thin.


    (fun starts around the 5:00 mark)

    The youtube vids of the hybrid make it seem geared toward classic rock and blues. What about the hybrid/jazz for the kind of music in the GS video?

    The more videos of the FS..the less I'm interested in it. It looks like the Jason Becker is clearer than it (not so many great comparison vids for non chugga)
    Last edited by Nagisa; 11-12-2019 at 08:08 AM.

  17. #17
    Ultimate Tone Member BeKindRewind's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pickups for Ibanez J.Custom - for instrumental rock

    Ceramic neck pickups are better than you'd think, but definitely not my favorite. Look at the EMG 60 - Its a great ceramic neck pickup, I didn't even know it was ceramic until after I recorded Jimi Hendrix covers with it and marveled how good it sounds clean .

    I don't have experience with very much dimarzio stuff but I think for the neck, if the FS doesn't sound right to you, and you're worried about an Air Norton being too fat, then the Jazz is what you want. I've had a Jazz in almost all my guitars at least to try it, and it's never failed me. To me it sounds PAF-ish with plenty of "mojo" but then it's glassy and clear too.

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  18. #18
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    Default Re: Pickups for Ibanez J.Custom - for instrumental rock

    Ceramic pups seem to have a quick response to picking, the notes don't exactly have an airy/bloom quality to them, which is why I dont like them in the neck alot but for shredding they work very well in either neck or bridge. They generally have a tight feel to them. The gravity storms will cut through dense effect chains & not get lost in the mix.

    Look into the screamin demon for the neck, probably a decent vid out there. You want the neck pup hot but clear sounding right?

  19. #19
    Ultimate Tone Member Nagisa's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pickups for Ibanez J.Custom - for instrumental rock

    Okay you know what, I'm going to go with you guys along with my gut and avoid ceramics in both positions. I'll look more between the Jazz and Demon.

    As for the bridge...more input on hybrid / pegasus / others in that range would be nice. I know it sounds silly but I want to avoid another custom as I have that already. [I have the non-F spaced version in my LP and the ibanez is a direct-mount F spacer, so I'd rather not remove it from the LP and try to fit it in the Ibanez for a sound test.]

    Do you think Duncan's pickups will achieve the smooth vibe that say Vai has as well as Dimarzios will? My impression is that Duncans are more voiced either for classic rock or metal rhythms..

  20. #20
    Administrator Mincer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pickups for Ibanez J.Custom - for instrumental rock

    Well, the Pegasus is a more modern-voiced pickup than the Hybrid. To me, it is more percussive, which I don't always like in a bridge pickup.
    Dave, Ambassador/Writer/Artist for Seymour Duncan

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