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#2463881 - 01/19/13 07:48 PM Reality Check/Assistance
Dannyalcatraz Offline
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Registered: 07/28/04
Posts: 3114
Loc: Dallas/FW Metroplex, Texas
We've all heard it said: just because a thing can be done, doesn't mean it should be done. Well, I'm rethinking 2 guitar projects, because even though I can afford them, I'm not sure I should do them as I planned.

1) I have a Dean EVO Special Select- arched maple top (quilted tiger's eye finish) with a mahogany body- I bought in 2003. It holds tune with a death grip, it sings even when unplugged, it feels great in my hands, but the pickups, compared to my better guitars, are muddy...lacking clarity and definition. So I'm upgrading them in 2013. So I decided to upgrade them, and settled on a Bareknuckle Rebel Yell HB (bridge) and a Mississippi Queen HB-sized P90 (neck).

https://bareknucklepickups.co.uk/main/pi...ckup=rebel_yell

https://bareknucklepickups.co.uk/main/pi...ssissippi_queen

2) I decided to have a custom guitar made. With the Luther's help, I picked out a nice piece of claro walnut, which, as it turns out, was big enough to make a single-piece top & bottom for not one but TWO guitars. So we decided to go for it- that's the way the wood was cut. The first one had already had its details worked out by the time the wood got cut, nothing on it is changing. But now I'm trying to figure out the details of the second one. Again, Bareknuckle pickups were chosen: a Nailbomb HB in the bridge and a Stockholm HB-sized P90 in the neck.

https://bareknucklepickups.co.uk/main/pi...pickup=nailbomb

https://bareknucklepickups.co.uk/main/pi...ickup=stockholm

Here's why I'm reconsidering my decisions: on the first guitar, as good as those pickups would sound, at @$375 (before shipping from the UK to the USA), they'd basically cost nearly as much as the guitar did (not adjusted for inflation). On a certain level, that seems a bit bizarre to me.

The second set of Bareknuckles would be just as pricey, but since they're going into a custom guitar, it makes more sense. But does it make ENOUGH sense?

So, I'm asking those who know more about pickups to help me find reasonable substitutes for those pickups, ESPECIALLY the HB-sized P90s.

I mean, I can find a good HB- I've got candidates lined up from Lace, Railhammer, Tesla and others.

But oversized P90s are harder to find, and good ones especially so. And on top of it all, the Stockholm is a pretty high-output P90.

So: should I choose differently, or should I stick with the Bareknuckles?
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#2463892 - 01/19/13 08:37 PM Re: Reality Check/Assistance [Re: Dannyalcatraz]
Larryz Offline
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Registered: 06/23/08
Posts: 5349
Loc: Hwy 49, California
I'm stuck on EMG's for Strats and 57 HB's for LP's but in your case DA, you only live once. If you are having a one piece walnut custom made baby, then you have to go for the PUP's of your dreams! Damn the cost and full speed ahead! wishing you the best of luck with it... thu

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#2463895 - 01/19/13 08:54 PM Re: Reality Check/Assistance [Re: Larryz]
picker Offline
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Registered: 06/13/04
Posts: 13115
Loc: Near 12th Street and Vine...
The Dream 90 & Mean 90 pickups both sound really good.
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#2463906 - 01/19/13 10:38 PM Re: Reality Check/Assistance [Re: Dannyalcatraz]
skipclone 1 Offline
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Registered: 08/21/03
Posts: 6852
Loc: Japan
Ya there`s the flip side-just because you can compromise, doesn`t mean you should.
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#2463910 - 01/19/13 11:40 PM Re: Reality Check/Assistance [Re: skipclone 1]
Dannyalcatraz Offline
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Registered: 07/28/04
Posts: 3114
Loc: Dallas/FW Metroplex, Texas
So, Larry & Skip- it sounds like you're saying the custom should get the BKs? What about the EVO upgrade?

Picker- thanks for the heads up! I'll track down some soundclips or vids demoing those.
_________________________
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap”.

My FLMS- Murphy's Music in Irving, Tx

http://murphysmusictx.com/

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#2463970 - 01/20/13 10:12 AM Re: Reality Check/Assistance [Re: Dannyalcatraz]
Larryz Offline
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Registered: 06/23/08
Posts: 5349
Loc: Hwy 49, California
The EVO comes with HB's which I like better than 90's so I would go with the Barenuckle HB's which allow for a nice clean volume controlled guitar when not being used to blow your doors off...57 Gibson HB's run about $159 each...which ever way you go I would either run two HB's or two 90's instead of a combo...it's really what you like best that counts and it looks like you have already settled on the company you like best...I would concentrate more on the custom model you are having made. cool

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#2464003 - 01/20/13 11:50 AM Re: Reality Check/Assistance [Re: Larryz]
Dannyalcatraz Offline
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Registered: 07/28/04
Posts: 3114
Loc: Dallas/FW Metroplex, Texas
If I had settled, I wouldn't be asking!

Besides- you ever hear the saying, "Know thyself"?

Well, lets just say some introspection called into question my pickup choices.
_________________________
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap”.

My FLMS- Murphy's Music in Irving, Tx

http://murphysmusictx.com/

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#2464018 - 01/20/13 01:28 PM Re: Reality Check/Assistance [Re: Dannyalcatraz]
Guitarzan Offline
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Registered: 02/26/02
Posts: 14767
why not get Pete at Vintage Vibe to make you pups for the EVO?

CLICK
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#2464022 - 01/20/13 01:41 PM Re: Reality Check/Assistance [Re: Dannyalcatraz]
Larryz Offline
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Registered: 06/23/08
Posts: 5349
Loc: Hwy 49, California
Originally Posted By: Dannyalcatraz


Besides- you ever hear the saying, "Know thyself"?



Yes, I have...and that's why I said "You have to go with the PUPs of your dreams" and "It's really what You like best". You may 2nd guess yourself and question the cost of the materials vs the cost of the guitar, but my advice is still to "Know Thyself" and go for it! We can all make suggestions, but you must pay attention to your own intuition when making the final call.

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#2464028 - 01/20/13 02:10 PM Re: Reality Check/Assistance [Re: Larryz]
Dannyalcatraz Offline
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Registered: 07/28/04
Posts: 3114
Loc: Dallas/FW Metroplex, Texas
In both cases, I realized that certain parts of my decision making process were being influenced by factors that had little to do with the pickups themselves, so I came here seeking objectivity.
_________________________
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap”.

My FLMS- Murphy's Music in Irving, Tx

http://murphysmusictx.com/

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#2464039 - 01/20/13 03:15 PM Re: Reality Check/Assistance [Re: Guitarzan]
Dannyalcatraz Offline
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Registered: 07/28/04
Posts: 3114
Loc: Dallas/FW Metroplex, Texas
Originally Posted By: Guitarzan
why not get Pete at Vintage Vibe to make you pups for the EVO?

CLICK


Never heard if 'em, but there certainly were some potential winners- thanks!
_________________________
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap”.

My FLMS- Murphy's Music in Irving, Tx

http://murphysmusictx.com/

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#2464095 - 01/20/13 11:36 PM Re: Reality Check/Assistance [Re: Dannyalcatraz]
Dannyalcatraz Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 07/28/04
Posts: 3114
Loc: Dallas/FW Metroplex, Texas
Took a look at those Vintage Vibes.

I haven't found any that fit my mental image of the EVO...but I found a couple that may be an improvement over the Seymour Duncans in a hollowbody I own!
_________________________
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap”.

My FLMS- Murphy's Music in Irving, Tx

http://murphysmusictx.com/

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#2464096 - 01/20/13 11:37 PM Re: Reality Check/Assistance [Re: Dannyalcatraz]
Larryz Offline
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Registered: 06/23/08
Posts: 5349
Loc: Hwy 49, California
The Gibson 57 Classic Zebra's run $139 each at Sweetwater, the Gibson HB sized P90's run $96 on Amazon...these would be as cheap as I would want to go as far as suggesting reasonable substitutes...hopefully more people will chime in for you...

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#2464112 - 01/21/13 04:21 AM Re: Reality Check/Assistance [Re: Larryz]
Bluesape Moderator Offline
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Registered: 06/13/05
Posts: 11418
Loc: Ottawa
Picker's right . GFS are freakishly underpriced for the tone and quality you get. I know one custom luthier locally who prefers GFS pups in all his builds, and even tries to persuade well-heeled customers to try them before going the boutique route.
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#2464158 - 01/21/13 07:48 AM Re: Reality Check/Assistance [Re: Bluesape]
Winston Psmith Offline
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Registered: 02/15/10
Posts: 1888
Loc: Inside the Beltway
Not making an argument for one pup over another, myself, but I would say, if you're building a dream guitar, you may as well dream big, whatever you finally choose. I'd been curious about Bareknuckles myself, but at those prices, I can afford to wait, that's about all.

As far as the Dean EVO - sometimes you have a guitar that you enjoy enough to upgrade, regardless of the cost vs. value argument. Go for it.


Edited by Winston Psmith (01/21/13 08:08 AM)
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#2464403 - 01/21/13 09:40 PM Re: Reality Check/Assistance [Re: Dannyalcatraz]
skipclone 1 Offline
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Registered: 08/21/03
Posts: 6852
Loc: Japan
Originally Posted By: Dannyalcatraz
So, Larry & Skip- it sounds like you're saying the custom should get the BKs? What about the EVO upgrade?

Picker- thanks for the heads up! I'll track down some soundclips or vids demoing those.


Well there`s lots of good recommendations so I`d say look at the bigger picture-you have a guitar that you are building just the way you want, heck with the cost. Is there a reason to do that with a prebuilt guitar? (those EVOs do look nice).
What would you be using it for? is it just the pickups and that`s it? I ask, because I`ve made promises like that before. Average shelf life is about a week.


Edited by skipclone 1 (01/21/13 09:42 PM)
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#2464407 - 01/21/13 11:01 PM Re: Reality Check/Assistance [Re: skipclone 1]
Dannyalcatraz Offline
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Registered: 07/28/04
Posts: 3114
Loc: Dallas/FW Metroplex, Texas
To be honest, it was the idea of putting $375 worth of Bareknuckles in a $500 guitar (a very nice $500 guitar, yes, but...) analyzed in the cold lit of day that got me rethinking everything.

The first custom is 100% planned out. Nothing I can foresee will derail that project at this point in time.

The EVO was slated to get its pickups upgraded because it is the lone sub-$1K electric I own, and I've had it long enough I can now tell the difference between it and the rest of the collection.

So I went thought the process of thinking through what I wanted, and, inspired by the Reverend Double Agent, I decided to go for a HB/HBSP90 configuration. And the Bareknuckles won the contest. The cost didn't really matter, since it was the only guitar I was planning on upgrading.

But then the luthier and I figured out there was enough claro walnut to make tops & backs for 2 guitars and everything changed.

I decided that the 2nd custom would be a better choice to receive the premium pickups. Then I decided to out the runner up set in the EVO. Then I realized that between the two guitars, I was talking about spending $750 on pickups, before shipping. That got me thinking about the real reasons why I had chosen the pickups I did, and not all of the reasons I came up with made sense.

So I started asking around...

Besides you guys, an experienced UK tech whom I know and respect from another board told me that he felt the Bareknuckles were overpriced for what they delivered, and pointed me at several companies he felt were of similar or better quality...some with lower prices.

I still think the second custom deserves good pickups. And I want to stay with the HB/HBSP90 configuration, the hotter, the better. Think...a hot-rodded car from the 50s. That is what this one is shaping up to be.

But the EVO isn't going to be left out in the cold. I mean, at this point, I can't justify putting pickups worth 80% of its purchase value in it, but I should be able to find something better than its stock pickups for a reasonable price. And like the 2nd custom, I want to stay with the HB/HBSP90 configuration. These won't be as hot, though.

How would I use it? Good question.

Personally, to paraphrase David St. Hubbins, my entire relationship with guitar has been a free-form exploration of my soul. I play almost exclusively in 2 tunings- standard and NST- and almost have a symmetry within my collection. I have guitars exclusive to each tuning: at least one acoustic, one solidbody and one hollowbody devoted to each. My classical is in standard, as is my sole tremolo equipped guitar.

When I get the 2nd custom, it will probably stay in standard, and that other tremolo guitar will be retuned and set up for NST. (Or maybe I'll make custom #2 the NST axe with the wiggle-stick- this is subject to change, clearly.)

And the EVO will become the NST HB/HBSP90 guitar in the collection...if the 2nd custom isn't taking that role.
_________________________
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap”.

My FLMS- Murphy's Music in Irving, Tx

http://murphysmusictx.com/

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#2464629 - 01/22/13 03:18 PM Re: Reality Check/Assistance [Re: Dannyalcatraz]
skipclone 1 Offline
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Registered: 08/21/03
Posts: 6852
Loc: Japan
Well I think you would not be doing yourself a favor by having multiple guitars with the same pu configuration from the same manufacturer. Quality aside, IMO you would want as much as possible to outfit each guitar to do something the others can`t, or can`t do as well. If you are limiting the EVO mod to pickups I`d say get something that`s completely different from bareknuckles. I don`t know that maker well but, if you have a chance to get some characteristics about what they sound like, you can say, wow great sound. I want something totally diferent from that.
_________________________
Same old surprises, brand new cliches-

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#2464633 - 01/22/13 03:32 PM Re: Reality Check/Assistance [Re: skipclone 1]
Dannyalcatraz Offline
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Registered: 07/28/04
Posts: 3114
Loc: Dallas/FW Metroplex, Texas
Thank you- I hadn't thought about it that way, but there is a lot of sense there.

Since I'm aiming for a hot-rod with the second custom, perhaps I should aim for some more subtlety from the EVO*- nobody will see THAT coming!









* and yes, unless I do something like adding a coil split on the HB, the only mod on the EVO will be a pickup upgrade.
_________________________
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap”.

My FLMS- Murphy's Music in Irving, Tx

http://murphysmusictx.com/

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#2464915 - 01/23/13 03:18 PM Re: Reality Check/Assistance [Re: Dannyalcatraz]
skipclone 1 Offline
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Registered: 08/21/03
Posts: 6852
Loc: Japan
Sounds like a trajectory-good luck!
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Same old surprises, brand new cliches-

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www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandid=602491

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#2464917 - 01/23/13 03:45 PM Re: Reality Check/Assistance [Re: skipclone 1]
Dannyalcatraz Offline
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Registered: 07/28/04
Posts: 3114
Loc: Dallas/FW Metroplex, Texas
Generally speaking, what do low-output "vintage" style- dare i say "jazzy"- HBs & P90 pickups sound like once you start applying effects like distortion?

I ask because most my guitars I have middle to hot pickups, and I'm currently looking at HBS-P90s like:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qBPPYdHdCI8&sns=em

OR

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LAxXmwdVnuU&sns=em

To partner with this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P0i4TcUc41Q&sns=em

OR

http://www.railhammer.com/hypervintage_bridge.html

The humbuckers sound nice clean or distorted, but I can't find anything with this kind of HBS-P90 with any kind of distortion. I ask because, even though I don't just play with piles of distortion, I want some kind of clue as to the limits of HBS-P90s like those.


Edited by Dannyalcatraz (01/23/13 03:48 PM)
_________________________
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap”.

My FLMS- Murphy's Music in Irving, Tx

http://murphysmusictx.com/

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#2465342 - 01/24/13 09:34 PM Re: Reality Check/Assistance [Re: Dannyalcatraz]
skipclone 1 Offline
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Registered: 08/21/03
Posts: 6852
Loc: Japan
For no clear reason, I`ve never owned a P-90 equipped guitar. I did put a jazz HB in the neck potition, following the maker`s recommendation, in my Cole Clark when I switched pickups.
In general you would be disappointed if you wanted to do metal with lower output pickups. You can tinker around and get good punch from them but they would lack the steely edge.
Of course they would do great with all downstroke shoegazer rock *v*.
_________________________
Same old surprises, brand new cliches-

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#2465348 - 01/24/13 11:04 PM Re: Reality Check/Assistance [Re: skipclone 1]
Dannyalcatraz Offline
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Registered: 07/28/04
Posts: 3114
Loc: Dallas/FW Metroplex, Texas
I'm not really set up for metal just yet- even with the Carpet 'o' Pedals, my Fender HRD just ain't quite up to that task. That's why I have an Orange on my wish list!*

As for shoegazing, are you talking Curve, Lush, Jesus & Mary Chain, Cocteau Twins, etc.? I can live with that. I can REALLY live with that!

I like a broad variety of music, and I'm just trying to suss out where such a guitar might fit in my arsenal.





* I'd have one by now if I could slop buying guitars or gemstones,,,



Edited by Dannyalcatraz (01/24/13 11:08 PM)
_________________________
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap”.

My FLMS- Murphy's Music in Irving, Tx

http://murphysmusictx.com/

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#2465541 - 01/25/13 02:55 PM Re: Reality Check/Assistance [Re: Dannyalcatraz]
skipclone 1 Offline
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Registered: 08/21/03
Posts: 6852
Loc: Japan
Well for the heavy sound the right amp and tubes are equally important-typically EL84 power tubes, but there are forum folks who are much more up on that than I-I`m trying to focus more on the amp side of things but I`m still kinda under the spell of guitars.
I can easily live with a good vintage setup too-I love an ear flattening solo but not every song calls for it. Another thing I have never owned is an all single coil guitar. I got completely sold on them from having my friend`s custom shop strat stay at my place for a year or two, but-well I guess that could be my next guitar purchase, if I get the amp issue sorted out.
_________________________
Same old surprises, brand new cliches-

Skipsounds on Soundclick:
www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandid=602491

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#2465555 - 01/25/13 03:45 PM Re: Reality Check/Assistance [Re: skipclone 1]
Dannyalcatraz Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 07/28/04
Posts: 3114
Loc: Dallas/FW Metroplex, Texas
And the wind cried "G&L"...
_________________________
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap”.

My FLMS- Murphy's Music in Irving, Tx

http://murphysmusictx.com/

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