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What do you consider the ultimate passive bridge pickup for a Soloist HSS?

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  • What do you consider the ultimate passive bridge pickup for a Soloist HSS?

    For someone who starts with '80s NWOBHM and Bay Area Bangers thrash, and goes all the way to modern prog metal (well, as modern as it can be tuned to Eb I suppose ). I have no interest in downtuning below Drop Db or djent. My soul is from the '80s and I use mostly my Mark series Boogies and occasionally hotrodded Marshalls or derivatives. I am not into the megafizz amps of today, although I do like intense high gain of the '80s variety.

    My standard go to passive pickup has been the Duncan Distortion, although it recent years I have gained major appreciation for the Wilde L500XL and Bareknuckle Nailbomb. I need tight/stout low end, ample (not overly scooped! ) mids and razor sharp top end attack with great clarity.

    The bridge pickup will need to work on my HSS Soloist and upcoming HH Soloist, which includes being able to split well for cleans. I am somewhat decided on the Black Winter set for my heavy-focused HH guitar (which I understand has generous mids, opposite of the JB), but what about the bridge for my more versatile HSS? Will probably have a Hot Rails neck and Cool Rails middle or something comparable, so the bridge pickup should be on the toasty side to stay ahead of them.

    Leading candidates right now include:

    Suhr Aldridge Hot
    Duncan Black Winter, Pegasus, or Custom
    DiMarzio Illuminator
    Bareknuckle Blackhawk, Nailbomb
    or ??

    What does JCF say???
    '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

  • #2
    It's not interesting or internet-cool, but I still like the JB...
    Popular is not the same as good
    Rare is not the same as valuable
    Worth is what someone will pay, not what you want to get

    Comment


    • #3
      really depends on what sounds good to you...i have a variety of pickups in my guitars...i tend to favor the gravity storms for a good beefy midrange rock sound, but i have evos in my jem which can be a little harsh and i have an ancient juarez wound duncan distortion that just screams as well as a duncan custom in another which has pretty much the aggression of the distortion but a little fuller in the bass dept...d.m.
      http://www.mp3unsigned.com/Devane.ASP

      http://www.mp3unsigned.com/Torquestra.ASP

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Black Shadow View Post
        I am somewhat decided on the Black Winter set for my heavy-focused HH guitar (which I understand has generous mids, opposite of the JB)
        Huh? Since when does the JB not have mids? It's pretty much all high mids with some flubby/loose bass, especially with a 500k pot. I prefer to warm it up with a 250k pot. The Nazgul will be pretty good for what you need, too.
        I feel my soul go cold... only the dead are smiling.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by neilli View Post
          It's not interesting or internet-cool, but I still like the JB...
          I'm a JB fan in Les Pauls, but less so in Superstrats. I've already got 2 such guitars with JBs, so that one is definitely out. From reading about the Nazgul, that might be over the top for what I'm after, and the Pegasus not quite enough....
          '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

          Comment


          • #6
            The JB actually has more output than the Nazgul. The info about the Nazgul makes it seem more over-the-top than it really is. Though, you really can't go wrong with a basic Custom.
            I feel my soul go cold... only the dead are smiling.

            Comment


            • #7
              You are old school like me. Your pickups should be too.

              Duncan Custom
              Super Distortion
              Custom Custom works great in a bright super strat for getting Priest tones
              Maybe an Invader
              X2N has impressed me lately.

              The general rule of thumb is that actives work better with Mesa and passives with Marshalls.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by DonP View Post
                You are old school like me. Your pickups should be too.

                Duncan Custom
                Super Distortion
                Custom Custom works great in a bright super strat for getting Priest tones
                Maybe an Invader
                X2N has impressed me lately.

                The general rule of thumb is that actives work better with Mesa and passives with Marshalls.
                Yes all of these are classics, but there have been a bazllion new pickups made in the last 10 years (yes, some splitting hairs and marketing hype), so I'm inclined to try something new.

                My Soloist currently has the stock J50BC, which I LOVE for solos, although it's a bit pear-shaped for aggressive crunch. My very first Charvel had the J90C, which was still only medium hot by today's standards, but more edgy than the 50. Still, I haven't played a 90C in many years. Can anyone vouch for J80C vs J50BC, is the 80C just a mildly warmed up version of the same sound or it is more edgy?

                I have no real limits on budget, although I haven't drunk the bootique Kool-Aid that makes some people spend hundreds of dollars on a single pickup! I don't think it's necessary. Bareknuckle would be the upper limit for sure.
                Last edited by Black Shadow; 05-17-2019, 03:03 PM.
                '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

                Comment


                • #9
                  Newer isn't always better. Re-reading your first post again
                  "I need tight/stout low end, ample (not overly scooped! ) mids and razor sharp top end attack with great clarity."

                  I'd say give the X2N a shot.



                  I have the J50BC, the J80C and J90C. Unfortunately My J80C's are in a Model 4 and Model 6, where I rebuilt the active electronics, so I'm not 100% sure how they'd sound without the buffer effect of the active preamp.

                  I love the J50BC in a 1980s Jackson firecrackle I have. Nails EVH tones with the DSL. My unboosted J90C is in a Charvel Fusion Deluxe and has plenty of balls.

                  I think you could score a J80C cheap so why not try one out.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I have a soft spot for the X2N from DiMarzio, I've had it in several guitars and still have it in my Chuck Schuldiner stealth tribute (as it should be). I have had a distortion in a few guitars (model 6 and a DXMG) and haven't been a huge fan of the highs. Lately I've fallen in love the the Ultrasonic Reference 6 humbucker, but good luck finding any. They are super rare being made only a few years. Otherwise my go to pickup has been the ToneZone from DiMarzio for clarity and not as much gain as an X2N. L500XL in my USA soloist is great as well so I could recommend that too.

                    Everyone's ears are going to be a bit different for pickups so you'll need to listen to lots of samples and maybe even try guitars with similar pickups in them already - knowing however that your guitars tone woods will change the tone slightly.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      emg81 with the battery unplugged

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I have Duncan Custom in my CS SL1 and Kramer Stagemaster Deluxe and both are HSS and neck through, well HSH since both have singlecoil sized humbuckers in neck.
                        Custom is awesome! If you're looking for a very tight, aggressive but open sound, it is for you. I was after Akira Takasaki- Nuno Bettencourt sort of super tight and bright, open tone
                        that doesn't hurt your ears and Custom did just that. In Bolt on guitars I tend to prefer Custom Custom or JB.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Whats up BlackShadow! Do u got recordings of all of your pickups so you can compare what u like? What's the difference between the L500xl and the one dimebag used?
                          And yea, Mozze I saw the ESP USA put mostly the Duncan Customs in for a few yr straight then they switched.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by DanzoStrife View Post
                            Whats up BlackShadow! Do u got recordings of all of your pickups so you can compare what u like? What's the difference between the L500xl and the one dimebag used?
                            And yea, Mozze I saw the ESP USA put mostly the Duncan Customs in for a few yr straight then they switched.
                            You have to order the original pickup from www.wildepickups.com. There is a pale imitation called "Bill Lawrence USA" for about half the price, but it's not the one that comes in Nuno and Dime guitars. I love the tone of the L500XL, although it is a bit more squeal prone that my other high output pickups, so I have to adjust the treble settings to use it. It's great in my natural ash Charvel San Dimas (which I bought it for specifically to create a Nunoesque setup), although I'm looking to try something I've never had before for the Soloist.....just for fun.

                            I love the Akira Takasaki sound! His '80s to early '90s tone is one of my inspirations, especially on Soldier of Fortune. I know he used Metaltronix amps on that album, but I wonder which pickups?
                            '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

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Ah, so it's very sensitive? Is the Wilde pick up the same more of the Dime that you have is what I'm asking.
                              I like smooth highs for lead work (Herman Li sound, Vai) But Ideally one would have multiple guitars for squeal and smooth

                              Have u tried Fishman fluence? Everyone and their mom is talking how great they are. I guess they are more modern and defined sounding. A definite opposite of the Duncan TB4. Even singer of Trivium claimed on interview that he wasn't able to play on time with the EMGs but with the Fishman there's less delay and he's always on time. That sounds pretty outrageous but just an FYI.
                              No chance I once heard Slayer or Tallica being even a ms offbeat with their Emg 81 haha.

                              As said before, I had the TB5 in the Jackson Kelly. I'm really not sure if it was a bad setup but it was so piercing high it was absolutely horrible to listen to. If no one else has the same complaint I can call that a dud. I mean TB5 might be another thing to put on your bucket list.


                              Originally posted by Black Shadow View Post

                              You have to order the original pickup from www.wildepickups.com. There is a pale imitation called "Bill Lawrence USA" for about half the price, but it's not the one that comes in Nuno and Dime guitars. I love the tone of the L500XL, although it is a bit more squeal prone that my other high output pickups, so I have to adjust the treble settings to use it. It's great in my natural ash Charvel San Dimas (which I bought it for specifically to create a Nunoesque setup), although I'm looking to try something I've never had before for the Soloist.....just for fun.

                              I love the Akira Takasaki sound! His '80s to early '90s tone is one of my inspirations, especially on Soldier of Fortune. I know he used Metaltronix amps on that album, but I wonder which pickups?

                              Comment

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