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Thread: Matching pickups to guitars

  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2019

    Default Matching pickups to guitars

    Below are the guitars I have and their current pickups. I would love to hear any thoughts / suggestions.

    Gibson SG. I have to finish wiring. I ditched the stupid Gibson PC board and have CTS pots to replace them. I'm only using a master volume and master tone. I'm going to put a phase switch where one of the knobs was, I may just put a dummy pot and knob where the other was.
    Bridge - Pearly Gates w/ triple shot
    Neck - Gibson Iommi w/triple shot

    Hamer Echotone (nice imported 335 copy)
    Z-90s. Unlikely I change the bridge, and I'm definitely not changing the neck.

    Epiphone Slash Special AFD.
    Stock pickups. The bridge sounds better than I thought, the neck is meh...

    Cheap Samick
    1 pickup - stock humbucker

    A partscaster with
    Alnico 2 (aps1) neck (staying)
    GFS "Jimi" middle - reverse stagger (staying)
    Some Wilkinson ceramic in the bridge

    Here are the pickups I have laying around:
    GFS Veh Neck (w triple shot)
    Dragonfire matching "Gates" set - Pearly Gates copies I have triple shots for these but haven't soldered them yet.
    Gibson 490 set.

    I'm leaning towards this:

    Pearly Gates Bridge
    Iommi neck for now, but it may overpower the PG

    Epiphone Slash
    "Gates" bridge
    VEH neck

    Samick that looks like a metal SG. It actually plays well and holds tune, so I'm putting one of the leftover humbuckers in it after I have the other guitars in their final (for now) pickup configuration.

    Z-90s are staying. They're amazing in a semi hollow.

    Replacing bridge pickup with the "Gates" neck

    I wired a system like the GFS Quik Connect using 4 conductor 1/8" cables I bought on Amazon. I solder the Triple Shot out to a female jack and have a male plug coming from the selector / toggle / phase reverse toggle depending on which guitar. So I'll probably move all the pickups around a lot anyway. It's not that much more convenient, but I had a lot of covid boredom and thought it would be fun.

    I also have a GFS onboard wah kit I may install in the Epiphone, but I'm not quite ready to route the back and drill a bunch of holes in the front. It would be cool to use in a cocked wah kind of way to get that nasally sort of Vox sound. I'll probably wait to rewire this guy anyway until I replace the pots & toggle.

    I bought it as a screw-around guitar but it plays great out of the box (although the G string bridge saddle needs to be filed a little more)and is beautiful. My dad was an Epiphone dealer back in the 90s and they have seriously, seriously upped their game since then. Their $250 guitars back then were mostly junk. The bolt on neck is weird, but other than the pickups and electronics it's a solid guitar and will be in my regular rotation.

    I'm basically just bored and looking to talk shop.

    Other axes include
    A 22 string Tele I built from a kit (from Pitbull in Australia)
    Another partscaster built from mostly GFS parts for my son. He loves Queen and this uses the Brian May wiring.

    An old resonator which I play a lot
    A Fender acoustic 12 string
    An old beat up Teisco Del Rey. It has a repaired headstock and plays like ass. I doubt I've played it in the past 20 years, and back then I only used it for slide. I'll probably sell it the next time I build a kit.

    A clue of old Epiphone 3/4 student "Les Pauls" . I may trick one of those out for craps and giggles if they hold tuning. The tuners were pretty janky to begin with and close to 30 years old.

    FWIW My main amp is an Ampeg SJ12t and I also have one of the Monoprice 5 watt tune amps.
    Last edited by piblock; 06-05-2020 at 06:18 PM.

  2. #2
    Mojo's Minions beaubrummels's Avatar
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    Jul 2012
    The dude abides

    Default Re: Matching pickups to guitars

    If your choices are locked at what you have laying around, your current plan sounds fine. And if you have your own quick connect worked out, all the better to change the plan if needed.
    Quote Originally Posted by Demanic
    Incompetence is widespread in a world that rewards mediocrity while punishing excellence.
    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarFanatic
    I am currently using Skullcandy headphones I found in the garbage.
    I did find the DS-1 in the garbage.
    I once found a guitar amp in the garbage, a Peavey Studio 110. It caught fire at the first gig I played it at.. But it was at the end of it, thank god.

  3. #3
    Administrator Mincer's Avatar
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    Mar 2004
    Tampa Bay area, Florida, USA

    Default Re: Matching pickups to guitars

    Thing is, you won't know if it works for you until you start replacing stuff. It all sounds just fine, but if something doesn't when you put everything together, we might be able to help after the fact.
    Dave, Ambassador/Writer/Artist for Seymour Duncan

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  4. #4
    Mojo's Minions hamerfan's Avatar
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    Aug 2005
    Germany's Finest - Bavaria

    Default Re: Matching pickups to guitars

    The 490 set is really nice, if you swap the magnets. I use a 490R with a A5 with the neck of my 1999 Gibson Les Paul Classic an prefer it over a 59n.
    If you don't want to tamper the Gibson set, sell them and get a Custom5 or a Custom Hybrid for your Gibson SG.
    Last edited by hamerfan; 06-06-2020 at 08:32 AM.
    I get the feeling the A8 will blow your skirt up more so - Edgecrusher

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  5. #5
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2019

    Default Re: Matching pickups to guitars

    Thanks for the input, guys. Here's where I'm at.

    Last night I got these two guitars wired:

    The SG with the Gibson Iommi in the bridge and a Pearly Gates bridge in the neck

    The Epiphone Special Slash - Dragonfire Gates in the bridge and GFS VEH in the neck

    All four pickups are set up with triple shots. I've played them through my Monoprice 5 watter, so it's hard to say how the sound so far, but the SG seems to be in good shape. I'll crank them through my Ampeg SJ12T next weekend and report back

    I stripped the finish off the Hamer (335) last night and I'm going to coat it with Tru-Oil. The Harmonic Z-90s are going back in when it's ready.

    I scored an Epiphone 339 Ultra bare bones for $200, funded mostly by selling the 490s. It has Grover tuners and most of the wiring in tact. I need a bridge, tailpiece, and pickups. I think I'm going with Seth Lovers, but I'm going to hold off doing anything until the Hamer is ready. Any suggestions other than the SLs for this guy?

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