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Pups for SL2HT - like EMGs, but not?

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  • Pups for SL2HT - like EMGs, but not?

    Hey everybody - recently became the proud owner of a SL2HT, which instantly became my favourite player. But I've been struggling with the tone. The Soloist is a huge tonal change for me, my other main axes are big slabs of 70s mahogany so I'm used to trying to brighten guitars up, not fill them out.

    It came with previous-owner installed EMG81/85s. I have never been crazy about EMGs but they sounded great through my JCM800, which has lots of bass anyway and just likes the hottest brightest signal you can throw at it. I loved the output, clarity, and smoothness of them. However, I couldn't dial in a decent tone on the amps that I play out with, a Mesa MKIII and a Royal Atlantic. The EMGs just don't have enough going on below the upper midrange. I pulled the EMGs out and tried a Railhammer Chisel in the bridge, which was basically the same problem - bright guitar plus bright pickup. Then I threw in an SH-6 I had lying around, which is currently residing there. It sounds... okay, it's good for riffing but there's a really artificial-sounding low mid spike that makes leads sound kind of boxy, or whatever is the opposite of 'singing.'

    So, what I'm looking for is something that will give me most of the output and clarity and that sorta smooth cut of the EMGs but with a much broader frequency range, and without the HEY EVERYBODY, HERE'S YOUR LOW MIDS!!! of the Duncan Distortion. Responding musically to volume and tone knob changes is a definite plus. I'd rather have the bottom end a little loose than not have enough - you can always *cut* bass later, but you can only add so much. Tonally I never play clean-clean, and I'm sort of between Mastodon and LoG kinds of gain levels and style.

    Any pickup suggestions?

    Also, I've put 500s for volume and tone with an 022 cap in when I took the EMGs out - is there something else I should try in there to boost the lows a little?

    Thanks!

  • #2
    did you try the EMG-85 in the bridge position before you rewired it?

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    • #3
      Originally posted by metalhobo View Post
      did you try the EMG-85 in the bridge position before you rewired it?
      No, but I pretty much just lifted out the active harness and put in a passive one, it'd be 15 minutes to change back. Worth trying?

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      • #4
        Originally posted by KHUSRO View Post
        No, but I pretty much just lifted out the active harness and put in a passive one, it'd be 15 minutes to change back. Worth trying?
        I wouldn't expect night and day, but it will definitely have more bass and lower mids. I'd say it's worth a shot.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mASGmXrnn10
        Last edited by metalhobo; 07-17-2018, 07:03 PM.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by metalhobo View Post
          I wouldn't expect night and day, but it will definitely have more bass and lower mids. I'd say it's worth a shot.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mASGmXrnn10
          I should have posted this months ago - that was the ticket, man. 85 in the bridge is just better all round, much more even frequency range with a useful tone knob, and since I started boosting my 800 with a GEQ-7 instead of a tubescreamer I got all kinds of options there...

          Thanks for the tip!

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          • #6
            Originally posted by KHUSRO View Post
            No, but I pretty much just lifted out the active harness and put in a passive one, it'd be 15 minutes to change back. Worth trying?
            Absolutely! The 85 is my favorite EMG bridge pickup. And the secret is to add the SPC mid boost to replace your tone knob. You can dial in just the right amount of musical mids any time you want them. This combo sounds HUGE yet clear!
            '95 Charvel San Dimas USA Model I Koa - BKP
            '91 Charvel 650 Custom - EMG 85/SLV/SLV+SPC
            '92 Jackson Soloist Pro MIJ
            '91 Charvel 475 Exotic Cherry Sunburst - Duncan PATB set
            '90 Charvel 475 XL
            '10 Charvel San Dimas MIJ Style 1 2H - JB/'59
            Mesa Boogie Quad Preamp/Stereo Simul-Class 2:90
            Mesa Boogie MkIII+ Simul-Class & MkIVb with Mark Series stack
            Marshall JVM410H

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            • #7
              Try a set of active Seymour Duncan Blackouts. They blow EMG's away. Night/day difference. Way more clarity and punch

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