Pickups for a new build

rauchman

Senior member
Messages
771
Greetings,

Have a mahogany Velocity coming soon, that will be mated to a 24.75" conversion neck Tiltback Strat, roasted maple / ebony board, and....I need pickups.

In my last build (hybrid Tele, swamp ash body, 25.5" all roasted maple neck), I used Suhr Thornbucker + (B), Dimarzio SC Cruiser (M) and Suhr TB (N).

I LUV the TB's.  They have great richness of tone, expression, clarity and touch sensitivity.  Also have them setup for coil splitting, and they do an excellent SC sound.  However, I find them a little dark in this guitar (using 500k pots / .047 caps), and my 80's metal head in me wants MOAR.

Should mention, I had experimented with putting on the 24.75" conversion neck on the Hybrid Tele, and the sound change dramatically.  It was fuller, more "rock and roll", but was still a smidge dark.

Since I like the TB's so much, I've been exploring other Suhr offerings.  Contemplating an SSV, SSV+, SSH or even the Aldrich set (I've read these split are excellent).  My gut tells me though, SSV, SSV+ or SSH with an SSV neck.  Any thoughts / experience with these pups?

Lastly, because of the tonal variation when I put the conversion neck on the Hybrid Tele, considering taking the TB's out from the Tele, moving them to the Velocity and get the SSXXXX for the Tele.

Opinions / thoughts would be very much appreciated.....muchos danke!
 

stratamania

Senior member
Messages
9,232
SSH with an SSV+ neck is used quite a lot as a combination, and sometimes with a single coil in the middle position on Suhr HSH variants.

 

rauchman

Senior member
Messages
771
stratamania said:
SSH with an SSV+ neck is used quite a lot as a combination, and sometimes with a single coil in the middle position on Suhr HSH variants.

Excellent....thank you!

Just want to verify, SSV+ for the neck?  Hadn't considered that....interesting.
 

stratamania

Senior member
Messages
9,232
rauchman said:
stratamania said:
SSH with an SSV+ neck is used quite a lot as a combination, and sometimes with a single coil in the middle position on Suhr HSH variants.

Excellent....thank you!

Just want to verify, SSV+ for the neck?  Hadn't considered that....interesting.

Sorry I had the + in the wrong place. It should have read.

SSH+ with an SSV neck
 

rauchman

Senior member
Messages
771
stratamania said:
rauchman said:
stratamania said:
SSH with an SSV+ neck is used quite a lot as a combination, and sometimes with a single coil in the middle position on Suhr HSH variants.

Excellent....thank you!

Just want to verify, SSV+ for the neck?  Hadn't considered that....interesting.

Sorry I had the + in the wrong place. It should have read.

SSH+ with an SSV neck

Thank you!
 

JohnnyHardtail

Senior member
Messages
320
If you are looking for something a little bit brighter than the Thornbucker+, there are a few options from Suhr.

1) Suhr SSV+ bridge (10k).  It really fits the description of what you are asking for.  However its probably best for 25.5" scale guitars.  It will be a more bright and crisp version of the Thornbucker Plus.  like the Thornbucker plus it also has good mids, but its a clearer sounding pickup compared to the Thornbuckers.  It will lose some of the vintage character thats inherrant to the Thornbucker which proabably makes it a more versatile pickup IMO.

2) Suhr SSV briddge (9k).  I haven't tried it, but Suhr use it in a lot of HSS strats.  Sounds like it could be a good choice for a Gibson scale guitar as it will increase the brightness to compensate for the shorter scale length.

3) Regular Thornbucker 8.6k.  I wouldn't expect a big difference compared to the Thornbucker Plus.  Its likely the mounting height will change the tone as much as the difference in the winds.

I have a Suhr SSV neck, but I don't really like it so much.    It complements well with the SSH+ in a super-strat.  For lower output bridge pickups, the SSV neck is a bit too warm and thick and also a bit too high output IMO.  If you are going with a 24.75" scale guitar I would suggest a more PAF like neck pickup, such as Thornbucker neck, Duncan APH-1, or maybe Duncan Jazz.


 

rauchman

Senior member
Messages
771
JohnnyHardtail said:
If you are looking for something a little bit brighter than the Thornbucker+.  There are a few options from Suhr.

1) Suhr SSV+ bridge (10k).  It really fits the description of what you are asking for.  However its probably best for 25.5" scale guitars.  It will be a more bright and crisp version of the Thornbucker Plus.  like the Thornbucker plus it also has good mids, but its a cleaner sounding pickup compared to the Thornbuckers.  It will loose some of the vintage character thats inherrant to the Thornbucker which proabably makes it a more versatile pickup IMO.

2) Suhr SSV briddge (9k).  I haven't tried it, but Suhr use it in a lot of HSS strats.  Sounds like it could be a good choice for a Gibson scale guitar as it will increase the brightness to compensate for the shorter scale length.

3) Regular Thornbucker 8.6k.  I wouldn't expect a big difference compared to the Thornbucker Plus.  Its likely the mounting height will change the tone as much as the difference in the winds.

I have a Suhr SSV neck, but I don't really like it so much.    It complements well with the SSH+ in a super-strat.  For lower output bridge pickups, the SSV neck is a bit too warm and thick and also a bit too high output IMO.  If you are going with a 24.75" scale guitar I would suggest a more PAF like neck pickup, such as Thornbucker neck, Duncan APH-1, or maybe Duncan Jazz.

Excellent info...thank you.  This helps as I'm trying to understand how the scale difference impacts pickup tone.
 

Re-Pete

Senior member
Messages
628
I don't have the experience with Suhr pickups, but in general, if you want a more sharper pronounced attack from your pickup you might want to look at ceramic magnets in the pickup.

I have a Dimarzio Super 2 in a guitar for decades and it was quite pronounced and indeed the blurb from Dimarzio suggests them as a replacement pickup if you find the neck pickup on a solid mahogany guitar just a bit dark. Coupled with the Dimarzio Super Distortion, they were one of the original pickup replacements that folks started using in the 1970s. The other being the Seymour Duncan set (Jazz & JB).
 

Ace Flibble

Senior member
Messages
859
The Aldrich can definitely do 80s with 'MOAR', and is the only Suhr pickup I'd take for that purpose + splitting, though when I think of MOAR 80s METAL I think of only three pickups:

1) DiMarzio PAF Pro, for people who are going to push their amp with a maxed-out OD pedal anyway. Only medium-low output but the tone balance is 100% 80s shred and riffing. A PAF Pro into a Boss Super Overdrive into a JCM800 or JMP is the 80s tone as far as I'm concerned. Splits perfectly, hence why it was Richie Sambora's choice for his Kramers and later his Fenders where it (as a special edition with screw&slug coils instead of 12x allen poles) was paired with the overwound Fender Texas Specials; that combination was so popular that Fender continued using the PAF Pro with hot singles for a few years after Sambora left them, ultimately only replacing it when they ended their deal with DiMarzio and got Seymour Duncan to make their own version (the Pearly Gates Plus, which is identical to the Sambora-edition PAF Pro). The lower (by 80s standards) output can really help balance out 'dark' guitars, too.

2) Seymour Duncan JB. Same as above but for people who want to put their OD pedal only halfway up. Similar tone balance and response as the PAF Pro but more output. Used in a lot of Kramers, Jacksons, Charvels, ESPs and Deans in the late 80s and of course countless 80s shredders and heavy riffers from the cheesiest of hair metal to the heaviest metal. Splits very well, especially if you use 250k or 300k pots (which the JB does well with in full series humbucking, too). The Aldrich is a barely-modified version of the JB, just a tiny bit tighter in the bass and lacking a little treble which makes the split a little less convincing than the JB's. (Plus the JB is cheaper in most countries... I really wonder why Suhr bothered to make the Aldrich when it's so similar to such an easily-available pickup. Same goes for Dean's Tyrant humbucker.)

3) Seymour Duncan Distortion. Same as the JB but with a double-thick ceramic mag shoved in, for people who don't want to use an OD pedal at all. Even more output and a tighter response with a touch more cut, just like an OD pedal usually emphasises. (I.e. similar to the Suhr Aldrich in the lows but without losing high-end, so it suits dark guitars better, and with more overall output.) Into a Plexi it's late-70s glam rock; into a JCM800 it's mid-80s hair metal; into a SLO-100 it's late-80s/early-90s heavy metal. It's got a bit more 'twang' when split than the others thanks to the extra big ceramic, which in the bridge does make it sound a little bit more like a 'normal' single coil; in the neck or middle it sounds a touch harsh split, so I only ever recommend the Distortion for the bridge if splitting is a concern. (That, and the extra large ceramic can pull on the strings a lot in the neck position, severely reducing sustain or even pulling strings out of tune. This is not a problem in the bridge or middle.)
 

rauchman

Senior member
Messages
771
Ace Flibble said:
The Aldrich can definitely do 80s with 'MOAR', and is the only Suhr pickup I'd take for that purpose + splitting, though when I think of MOAR 80s METAL I think of only three pickups:

1) DiMarzio PAF Pro, for people who are going to push their amp with a maxed-out OD pedal anyway. Only medium-low output but the tone balance is 100% 80s shred and riffing. A PAF Pro into a Boss Super Overdrive into a JCM800 or JMP is the 80s tone as far as I'm concerned. Splits perfectly, hence why it was Richie Sambora's choice for his Kramers and later his Fenders where it (as a special edition with screw&slug coils instead of 12x allen poles) was paired with the overwound Fender Texas Specials; that combination was so popular that Fender continued using the PAF Pro with hot singles for a few years after Sambora left them, ultimately only replacing it when they ended their deal with DiMarzio and got Seymour Duncan to make their own version (the Pearly Gates Plus, which is identical to the Sambora-edition PAF Pro). The lower (by 80s standards) output can really help balance out 'dark' guitars, too.

2) Seymour Duncan JB. Same as above but for people who want to put their OD pedal only halfway up. Similar tone balance and response as the PAF Pro but more output. Used in a lot of Kramers, Jacksons, Charvels, ESPs and Deans in the late 80s and of course countless 80s shredders and heavy riffers from the cheesiest of hair metal to the heaviest metal. Splits very well, especially if you use 250k or 300k pots (which the JB does well with in full series humbucking, too). The Aldrich is a barely-modified version of the JB, just a tiny bit tighter in the bass and lacking a little treble which makes the split a little less convincing than the JB's. (Plus the JB is cheaper in most countries... I really wonder why Suhr bothered to make the Aldrich when it's so similar to such an easily-available pickup. Same goes for Dean's Tyrant humbucker.)

3) Seymour Duncan Distortion. Same as the JB but with a double-thick ceramic mag shoved in, for people who don't want to use an OD pedal at all. Even more output and a tighter response with a touch more cut, just like an OD pedal usually emphasises. (I.e. similar to the Suhr Aldrich in the lows but without losing high-end, so it suits dark guitars better, and with more overall output.) Into a Plexi it's late-70s glam rock; into a JCM800 it's mid-80s hair metal; into a SLO-100 it's late-80s/early-90s heavy metal. It's got a bit more 'twang' when split than the others thanks to the extra big ceramic, which in the bridge does make it sound a little bit more like a 'normal' single coil; in the neck or middle it sounds a touch harsh split, so I only ever recommend the Distortion for the bridge if splitting is a concern. (That, and the extra large ceramic can pull on the strings a lot in the neck position, severely reducing sustain or even pulling strings out of tune. This is not a problem in the bridge or middle.)

Some great info....thanks.  I had tried a JB in the late 80's and it left me wanting.  Seemed compressed and a narrow eq band with pushed mids.  You mention the Aldrich is similar to the JB...good to know.
 

Street Avenger

Senior member
Messages
2,134
rauchman said:
Ace Flibble said:
The Aldrich can definitely do 80s with 'MOAR', and is the only Suhr pickup I'd take for that purpose + splitting, though when I think of MOAR 80s METAL I think of only three pickups:

1) DiMarzio PAF Pro, for people who are going to push their amp with a maxed-out OD pedal anyway. Only medium-low output but the tone balance is 100% 80s shred and riffing. A PAF Pro into a Boss Super Overdrive into a JCM800 or JMP is the 80s tone as far as I'm concerned. Splits perfectly, hence why it was Richie Sambora's choice for his Kramers and later his Fenders where it (as a special edition with screw&slug coils instead of 12x allen poles) was paired with the overwound Fender Texas Specials; that combination was so popular that Fender continued using the PAF Pro with hot singles for a few years after Sambora left them, ultimately only replacing it when they ended their deal with DiMarzio and got Seymour Duncan to make their own version (the Pearly Gates Plus, which is identical to the Sambora-edition PAF Pro). The lower (by 80s standards) output can really help balance out 'dark' guitars, too.

2) Seymour Duncan JB. Same as above but for people who want to put their OD pedal only halfway up. Similar tone balance and response as the PAF Pro but more output. Used in a lot of Kramers, Jacksons, Charvels, ESPs and Deans in the late 80s and of course countless 80s shredders and heavy riffers from the cheesiest of hair metal to the heaviest metal. Splits very well, especially if you use 250k or 300k pots (which the JB does well with in full series humbucking, too). The Aldrich is a barely-modified version of the JB, just a tiny bit tighter in the bass and lacking a little treble which makes the split a little less convincing than the JB's. (Plus the JB is cheaper in most countries... I really wonder why Suhr bothered to make the Aldrich when it's so similar to such an easily-available pickup. Same goes for Dean's Tyrant humbucker.)

3) Seymour Duncan Distortion. Same as the JB but with a double-thick ceramic mag shoved in, for people who don't want to use an OD pedal at all. Even more output and a tighter response with a touch more cut, just like an OD pedal usually emphasises. (I.e. similar to the Suhr Aldrich in the lows but without losing high-end, so it suits dark guitars better, and with more overall output.) Into a Plexi it's late-70s glam rock; into a JCM800 it's mid-80s hair metal; into a SLO-100 it's late-80s/early-90s heavy metal. It's got a bit more 'twang' when split than the others thanks to the extra big ceramic, which in the bridge does make it sound a little bit more like a 'normal' single coil; in the neck or middle it sounds a touch harsh split, so I only ever recommend the Distortion for the bridge if splitting is a concern. (That, and the extra large ceramic can pull on the strings a lot in the neck position, severely reducing sustain or even pulling strings out of tune. This is not a problem in the bridge or middle.)

Some great info....thanks.  I had tried a JB in the late 80's and it left me wanting.  Seemed compressed and a narrow eq band with pushed mids.  You mention the Aldrich is similar to the JB...good to know.

I don't find the JB compressed sounding at all. It is a fairly loud pickup, which may be too much for certain styles, or too loud to mix with single coils. If you were to compare a JB to a Distortion, it would sound like scooped mids. It's all a matter of what you're comparing to what.
 

JohnnyHardtail

Senior member
Messages
320
There is a demo of the SSV, Thornbucker, Thornbucker+ that recently appeared in my youtube feed.  Its in Japanese, but IMO still worth listening to the tones for comparison.



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Ozu3GQ-BUU
 
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