80's Hair pickup suggestions?

upnorthbacon

Active member
Messages
91
Building a guitar for Hair Flair!  Single bridge pickup w/volume, basswood body, maple neck, still deciding between floyd rose or traditional w/locking tuners for hardware.  Anyway I can't justify 160 bones on a model '78 Seymour Duncan for this build.  I was listening to Duncan's website and the George Lynch screamin demon sounded pretty bright along with the custom-custom.  Any other suggestions or experience with either pickup?  I'll be playing VH, Poison, Ratt, and other misc 80's stuff.  I'm also going to post in the hardware section about my choice of bridge.
 

upnorthbacon

Active member
Messages
91
Anyone have any experiences with Rockfield Zebra pickups?  They sound pretty good on thier website and the specs also look pretty good too.
 
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ildar

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DiMarzio Super Distortion. I personally don't care for them, but tons of 80's metallists used them. Likewise the Duncan Distortion.
 

dudesweet157

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647
ildar said:
DiMarzio Super Distortion. I personally don't care for them, but tons of 80's metallists used them. Likewise the Duncan Distortion.

The Super Distortion was the Standard back in the 80's for God only knows why.  I think they're icky sounding.  And you should get a Dimarzio Tone Zone.  It's the bridge pickup EVH used in his EBMM Axis guitars.
 
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ildar

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dudesweet157 said:
ildar said:
DiMarzio Super Distortion. I personally don't care for them, but tons of 80's metallists used them. Likewise the Duncan Distortion.

The Super Distortion was the Standard back in the 80's for God only knows why.  I think they're icky sounding.  And you should get a Dimarzio Tone Zone.  It's the bridge pickup EVH used in his EBMM Axis guitars.

+1000 for the TZ, love 'em.
But the Tone Zone isn't a strictly '80's sounding pickup. It can go there if you need it, though.
 

upnorthbacon

Active member
Messages
91
I've been youtube'ing for the last couple days and the tone zone recommendation is right on!  I'm definately going to go tone zone, I was going to hard mount it to the body but I may go with a pickup mounting plate.  I really wanted to go all chrome but man those tone zone chrome plated pickups are $130!
 
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ildar

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upnorthbacon said:
I've been youtube'ing for the last couple days and the tone zone recommendation is right on!  I'm definately going to go tone zone,

You won't be sorry. It's one of the only high output pickups I've used that doesn't sound garbage in the front end of an amp, tube or (gasp!!) solid state.
 

Orpheo

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superdistortion in a stratstyle guitar, ducan custom in a les paul style (For me that is!) or the JB in a les paul. not in a strat. the JB is too bright for a stratstyle guitar, and the superdistortion is too warm for a les paul style guitar (when playing 80ies style hair metal that is! for great rocktones, the superD in a LP is almost unbeatable, although I always will prefer my pair of air nortons...).

the tonezone was put in the axis because that was a BASSWOOD body. no lows whatsoever. to compensate that, they put in the tonezone. just like the EVO, the fred, paf pro, breed, d sonic etc etc. those pickups were created for guitars made of basswood. in others they might sound good, and some of them do sound good in other guitars: the paf pro is great for alder/ash guitars, not in a les paul, the EVO is great in les pauls and strats alike. the breed is very nice in stratstyle guitars, but imho, the fred and dsonic and other pickups like that (activator, x2n, super3, etc etc) are only GREAT in basswood guitars (but still 'good'in others).

ok. on topic:

I know that mick mars ( of motley crue) used the superD in a les paul custom (70ies custom, norlin!) but also in a strat. sambora had the paf pro in the bridgeposition of a strat. iron maiden had the superD in bridge of les pauls, explorers and strats. zakk wylde had, ofcourse, the EMG81, metallica had the invador at first, later on emg's. van halen had a normal paf, lightly overwound, if I remember it correctly. the scorpions had just pafs or singlecoils (!), michael schenker had pafs aswell, just 'normal'output, not overwound or something strange.

in other words: the choice is very up to your taste, but my 2 cents are:

JB in les paul if you like it to be a bit more screaming, duncan custom if you like it tight, but not screaming and not having a lot of grit. the superD if you like it even warmer with less grit and less tightness. 

SuperD in strat (ash/alder!) if you like it tight, screaming, punchy but not overley bright. the air norton is imho a better choice: little bit tighter, more punch, better pinches, but equally cool for heavy metal like zakk wylde or blues like allman brothers.
 

upnorthbacon

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91
Orpheo thanks for such an enlightening reply!  I forgot to update my original post I was originally going with a basswood body but found the same body in the showcase in poplar for $100 less so I decided to go with that instead.  The website shows poplar as a pretty neutral wood, I'm still going with the maple neck and floyd rose.  I want a nice bright tone, not a thick metal sounding tone, poison/vh sounding.  Would the tone zone go good with a poplar body too or should I look at some type of PAF?  Should I look at EMG's they seem around the same price and include active electronics?  On a side note does anyone put the PAF chrome covered style pickups in strat type guitars?  It don't know if I've ever seen one that wasn't an open coil (Other than emg).
 

jimh

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1,344
upnorthbacon said:
On a side note does anyone put the PAF chrome covered style pickups in strat type guitars?  It don't know if I've ever seen one that wasn't an open coil (Other than emg).

The ESP George Lynch GL-56 model currently has a covered SD Pearly Gates humbucker in the bridge position

http://www.espguitars.com/guitars_george.html

Guitarist magazine (in the UK) are raving about this guitar all the time, saying its one of the best tones they've heard for ages.
Might be similar to what you are trying to acheive
 

m4rk0

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If I am not mistaken, I think I read somewhere that the Lace Arena was designed as an '80s pickup..
 
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ildar

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upnorthbacon said:
Orpheo thanks for such an enlightening reply!  I forgot to update my original post I was originally going with a basswood body but found the same body in the showcase in poplar for $100 less so I decided to go with that instead.  The website shows poplar as a pretty neutral wood, I'm still going with the maple neck and floyd rose.  I want a nice bright tone, not a thick metal sounding tone, poison/vh sounding.  Would the tone zone go good with a poplar body too or should I look at some type of PAF?  Should I look at EMG's they seem around the same price and include active electronics?  On a side note does anyone put the PAF chrome covered style pickups in strat type guitars?  It don't know if I've ever seen one that wasn't an open coil (Other than emg).

Orpheo, while meaning well, has completely obfuscated the issue. Your tone comes mostly from pickups, amp, NECK, body...and several other factors, in that order. A TZ goes extremely well with a maple neck, and the poplar will tame some of the highs so things don't get overly brittle sounding.
 

DocNrock

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4,295
All of the above are great comments.  I grew up on 80's metal and cut my chops on it.  The interactions between the wood and the pickups cannot be underestimated.  A pickup that sounds great in an alder body might sound like mud in an LP.  One that sounds good in a LP might have no balls in an alder body.

Another good 80's style pickup to consider is the Seymour Screamin' Demon.  Great highs and growly mids in an alder body.  I suspect it might sound good in a poplar body, as well
 

Orpheo

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2,738
ildar said:
upnorthbacon said:
Orpheo thanks for such an enlightening reply!  I forgot to update my original post I was originally going with a basswood body but found the same body in the showcase in poplar for $100 less so I decided to go with that instead.  The website shows poplar as a pretty neutral wood, I'm still going with the maple neck and floyd rose.  I want a nice bright tone, not a thick metal sounding tone, poison/vh sounding.  Would the tone zone go good with a poplar body too or should I look at some type of PAF?  Should I look at EMG's they seem around the same price and include active electronics?  On a side note does anyone put the PAF chrome covered style pickups in strat type guitars?  It don't know if I've ever seen one that wasn't an open coil (Other than emg).

Orpheo, while meaning well, has completely obfuscated the issue. Your tone comes mostly from pickups, amp, NECK, body...and several other factors, in that order. A TZ goes extremely well with a maple neck, and the poplar will tame some of the highs so things don't get overly brittle sounding.

still... I dont like the tonezone. not in any guitar ;)
 

simple

Senior member
Staff member
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2,101
80's Hair pickup suggestions?
 
Well, in the 80's I used "What's your sign?" as a pickup. I overheard a guy from the 70's use it and it seemed to work for him.

In the 80s we were also using Dimarzio X2Ns and Gibson Dirty fingers. I think they sucked from what I can recall. Just get a Rio Grande BBQ and it will sound like whatever you want it to.  Oh, I did have a Seymour Duncan Distortion in a Basswood Strat not too long ago and it was definately the 80's tone in a great way.
 

DangerousR6

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15,451
upnorthbacon said:
Building a guitar for Hair Flair!  Single bridge pickup w/volume, basswood body, maple neck, still deciding between floyd rose or traditional w/locking tuners for hardware.  Anyway I can't justify 160 bones on a model '78 Seymour Duncan for this build.  I was listening to Duncan's website and the George Lynch screamin demon sounded pretty bright along with the custom-custom.  Any other suggestions or experience with either pickup?  I'll be playing VH, Poison, Ratt, and other misc 80's stuff.  I'm also going to post in the hardware section about my choice of bridge.

For such I like my Seymore Duncan Invader......Very chunky....
 
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