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New humbuckers for my Ibanez
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heshanj
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#1
8th October 2013
Old 8th October 2013
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New humbuckers for my Ibanez

Hi guys
I've been planning to upgrade the pickups on my dual-humbucker Ibanez S320 for a while now . I love this guitar - it was my first, and it deserves better pickups for sure!

My current choice of brands are Dimarzio and Seymour Duncan, as they're the best bang for the buck, and I can't afford more on pickups. A friend of mine deals with Dimarzios, and can get me a great price on them, so I'm leaning towards those. Question is, which to pick?

I'm a huge Petrucci fan, and am almost decided on the Crunch Lab for the bridge. Then again, I don't play much of that kind of music, although I do mess around with metal a bit; but I need this guitar to be pretty versatile, really. I'd like to get these metal/hard rock tones, along with some more classic rock tones - I've lately been into the vintage Santana sound, and his 70s Les Paul (?) sound. I also will be playing both clean and heavy, rather equally!

With the same thing in mind, I'm less decided on the neck pickup. I'm liking the sound of the PAF Pro, though - but I'm also wondering if I should look at the more 'vintage' type of Dimarzios out there. I'm worried that the vintage output of these might not go too well with the high output Crunch Lab, if I go for that, but I'm not sure

Anyway, what do you guys think? I hope I've given enough info on what I will use guitar this for: classic rock, some alt rock, a lot of clean and heavy playing, and a bit of metal here n there too. Santana to Satch to Petrucci - and I'd also be thinking getting some single coil sounds by splitting these

Anyway, Duncan or Dimarzio, let me know your choice if you were me - and if you would go with the pickups I'm thinking of

Thanks for your time, guys!
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8th October 2013
Old 8th October 2013
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My favorite humbucker combination is the Duncan JB (bridge) and Jazz (neck). Installed with a set of Triple Shot rings, you've got one hell of a versatile guitar.
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8th October 2013
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I never cared for the whiney sound of Dimarzios

I thought about upgrading the HB's and the pots on my 2005 Ibanez AF105NT, but it's just not a priority.

If I did so, I'd be looking at Lollars or Fralins.
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8th October 2013
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I also am not of fan of Dimarzio's, Between that and Duncans I'd get Duncans , but my preference is Fralins these days. I have an Ibanez PL2550 that I have some fralins in that I like a lot.
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8th October 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frodebro View Post
My favorite humbucker combination is the Duncan JB (bridge) and Jazz (neck).
This combination works well. Especially the Jazz in the neck position. I've used the JB in the bridge position in several guitars and some worked better than others, meaning in some guitars it sounded muddy and in others nice and creamy.

I also like the Duncan Antiquities.

Also the Lollar Imperials, my current favorite.
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8th October 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank_Case View Post
This combination works well. Especially the Jazz in the neck position. I've used the JB in the bridge position in several guitars and some worked better than others, meaning in some guitars it sounded muddy and in others nice and creamy.

I also like the Duncan Antiquities.

Also the Lollar Imperials, my current favorite.
I have another PL2550 that has a Duncan JB in the bridge, it's pretty good, but I like the Fralins better. I have another guitar, a 48th St Custom with a Jb in the bridge and a 59 in the neck that sounds pretty good. I have an EPI Sheraton with a set of Duncan Antiquities it's a decent fit for that guitar but I think the op is looking for a more Hi Gain pickup. And I suspect Lollars are way out of his price range.
heshanj
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9th October 2013
Old 9th October 2013
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Thanks for the replies, guys! Wow, no love for Dimarzio! Haha. I'd love to get a set of Lollars, Fralins, or Bareknuckle, there are so many options when I up the budget, but seeing that I can get a set of Dimarzios for the price of one Lollar/Fralin etc, that's why I'm deciding between these two brands. I'll look more closely at the Duncans recommended here before making my decision; thanks again!
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9th October 2013
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I was checking out the Duncan site just now, n came across the P Rails pickups, and got rather excited. I've been wanting to try out P90s for my guitar, but didn't want to get rid of humbuckers entirely - this SOUNDS like a fantastic option, but is it too good to be true? Does it actually work like it claims i.e. humbucker, P90, single coil?

Apart from that, the JB in the bridge and either the Jazz/'59 in the neck seems very nice too

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frodebro View Post
My favorite humbucker combination is the Duncan JB (bridge) and Jazz (neck). Installed with a set of Triple Shot rings, you've got one hell of a versatile guitar.
I didn't know what Triple Shot rings were until now - and wow, that seems perfect! :D Thanks!
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9th October 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by heshanj View Post
I was checking out the Duncan site just now, n came across the P Rails pickups, and got rather excited. I've been wanting to try out P90s for my guitar, but didn't want to get rid of humbuckers entirely - this SOUNDS like a fantastic option, but is it too good to be true? Does it actually work like it claims i.e. humbucker, P90, single coil?

Apart from that, the JB in the bridge and either the Jazz/'59 in the neck seems very nice too



I didn't know what Triple Shot rings were until now - and wow, that seems perfect! :D Thanks!
The P-Rails are really cool, I've had the chance to hear them. You really need the Triple Shots to get the most out of them, though.
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9th October 2013
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The Fralin UnBuckers wired with a single coil tap, sound Great!
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10th October 2013
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Thanks guys. The P Rail pair is something I'm definitely interested in. But even if I decide to go with more traditional humbuckers, the Triple Shots seem really useful to me. I'm looking closely at some Duncan pickups now, but just to know - will the Triple Shots work with any other humbuckers too i.e. Dimarzios?
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10th October 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by heshanj View Post
Thanks guys. The P Rail pair is something I'm definitely interested in. But even if I decide to go with more traditional humbuckers, the Triple Shots seem really useful to me. I'm looking closely at some Duncan pickups now, but just to know - will the Triple Shots work with any other humbuckers too i.e. Dimarzios?
The Triple Shots will work with any four-conductor humbucker, they have five small solder points for the four humbucker leads and a ground lead. You just have to be careful, because they are clearly marked for Duncan's color scheme for wiring, and there (unfortunately) isn't a standard (even though most everybody uses red, white, black, and green, they aren't all tied to the same points on the individual coils).
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10th October 2013
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Duncan 59 in the neck and Custom Custom in the bridge. I did not like the JB for rhythm. For lead work it was fine but too midrange honk for other stuff. The custom custom has good output but more balanced than the JB.
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heshanj
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11th October 2013
Old 11th October 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frodebro View Post
The Triple Shots will work with any four-conductor humbucker, they have five small solder points for the four humbucker leads and a ground lead. You just have to be careful, because they are clearly marked for Duncan's color scheme for wiring, and there (unfortunately) isn't a standard (even though most everybody uses red, white, black, and green, they aren't all tied to the same points on the individual coils).
Ahh I see. Yeah, I read on the Duncan site that they're suppoesd to work with almost all other humbuckers too - and I clearly noted most Dimarzios are 'four conductor' humbuckers. But I knew there was a catch, haha

Has anybody tried installing other brand pickups with Triple Shot rings? I'm very interested in some of the Duncans recommended here, but the switching system that the Triple Shots offer is what I'm most excited about - and I'd like to keep other pickup options open too, for now! Thanks
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11th October 2013
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I've wired the Triple Shot with Duncans and it works fine.
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12th October 2013
Old 12th October 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KRStudio View Post
I've wired the Triple Shot with Duncans and it works fine.
Thanks, KR - but I was wondering if anyone managed to wire any other brand, other than Duncan, to the Triple Shot rings? Just in case I remain stubborn and stupid and go against the great advice I've got here, and get a set of Dimarzios? :P

Seriously though, the JB/Jazz or 59 combo is what I'm very much leaning towards right now - but just to keep my options open, I'm wondering if it's fairly easy to wire Dimarzios to the Triple Shots
Thanks!
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12th October 2013
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I'm a big Dimarzio fan and, while it may be cliche, the CrunchLab/Liquifire combo is one of the best pickup combos I've played. Unfortunately, the only way you will really find out what works is by buying the pickups and installing them. But for what you are playing, I think the CL/LF combo would be perfect. If you were playing all classic rock I would suggest something else.
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12th October 2013
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I think I would actually prefer to stay with my stock Ibanez '58s than switch to Dimarzio.

I remember how much I hated that whiney Dimarzio tone,
after the rhythm guitarist changed out the stock pickups in his early
Epiphone Double Neck SG.

The guitar actually sounded better with the stock milder pickups.
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12th October 2013
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All you need to do for another wire scheme is look at both brands and how to hook up a three way toggle switch. This will help you decode the hot and cold of each loop. There are 2 loops on each pickup. Easy stuff. Any 4 conductor can be used as long as you can get that info.
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12th October 2013
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Lower Ibanez S models are 2D and thin sounding guitars due to cheap mahogany and light body. So don't buy picky/trebly JB or Paf Pro - try Dimarzio Super Distortion. It's universal and BIG sounding pickup.
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12th October 2013
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FWIW, I think it's important to look at what other Ibanez owner's are saying. The Ibanez guitars are just different IMO and it takes an Ibanez owner/player to give good advice on those guitars.

Having said that, I'll say this; I've never been a big fan of DiMarzio pickups. I rolled in a pair of Super distortions once to a solid mahogany '79 Epiphone Genesis and was severely disappointed. But, the Genesis is a very dense/heavy mahogany, had a mahogany neck, and weighed like 9 lbs. It was heavier than the M-16 I traded it for, LOL.

I can also say the Duncan '59 pickup is Huzzah all the way. Really nice output, very nice PAF sound without being over-edgy like a Dirty Fingers pickup.

For the money (and tone) you might also consider the low price (but Fralin quality of Bill Lawrence's L-500's. Nuno Bettencourt kinda made them famous. The shape of his N4 is very similar to the Ibanez S series and loaded with Bill's L-500's.

Just food for thought.
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12th October 2013
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I've been dropping pickups in guitars for 30 years. They are all easy as hell to do. My opinion on DiMarzio vs Duncan is easy to follow. DiMarzio in a guitar you get the sound of the pickup. Duncan is more clear so you hear more of the amp. Which do you want to hear more of? I don't say one is better than the other, just know what is more in line with your needs.
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12th October 2013
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I walked away from DiMarzio entirely when I found out about their double cream humbucker trademark. That was something like thirty years ago, and I haven't given their company a penny in all of that time.
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13th October 2013
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Ah, lots of new replies, thanks guys. I don't know about the Ibanez pickups you guys are talking about, but my low-end S series comes with Infinity pickups, which are alright, but I'm sure my guitar (even though it's a cheap-ish one) can sound quite a bit better with other pickups.

I was very much thinking of putting a Duncan JB in the bridge, but CroMag above mentioned that the S series body of my guitar might not sound very good with these pickups. Ah, confusing - haha

Thanks for the tip about the Bill Lawrence pickups, I'll definitely check those out!

With most of the comments here for Duncan, i'm really leaning towards a combination of the JB & Jazz/'59. Either with the triple shots or with a switch/push-pull pot
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13th October 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KRStudio View Post
I've been dropping pickups in guitars for 30 years. They are all easy as hell to do. My opinion on DiMarzio vs Duncan is easy to follow. DiMarzio in a guitar you get the sound of the pickup. Duncan is more clear so you hear more of the amp. Which do you want to hear more of? I don't say one is better than the other, just know what is more in line with your needs.
My experience with Bill Lawrence pickups is that they allow you to hear the guitar itself and the qualities of the guitar. With certain amps, especially all tube antiquated gear and amps, you can hear the qualities of the amp better as well. But I notice more of the qualities of my Strat.

@ the OP, I'm of the opinion that your stock Infinity pickups sport Alnico V magnets, meaning they didn't skimp when designing them and the tracks I've heard using the Infinity series pups are pretty nice in the hands of a competent player; that's not to say an upgrade wouldn't help you achieve a more desirable tone for you. I'm just saying I don't feel your stock pickups are cheap.
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13th October 2013
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The only issue I really have with the electronics on my Ibanez AF105NT is the quality of the pots.

Because upgrading a hollow body or semi-hollow is somewhat tedious, I'm not going to bother until I can afford a serious upgrade, or none at all.
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13th October 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by therock View Post

JB is an extremely hot pickup. something like 17k. It is a good 70s stoner rock pickup. if you are looking for a pickup that cuts through JB does not work well. It is a very muddy pickup especially with high gain amps. JB is a good pup for Bad company tone where you use an old style non master volume amp. It is a good pup if you plug into an old hiwatt and amps that are cleaner and don't breakup quickly like many new amps. You can overload the input with the JB, but by contrast if you use a high gain amp with a jb in the bridge it would overload to the point that it will sound like you switched to your neck pup. You know, that sort of bassy warm, perhaps muddy (depending on point of view) Slash sweet child tone?? or sunshine of your love, sweet lief tone.
Ouch! JB is still mounted in many, many modern guitars for metalheads, as 7string version also. Because it CUTS THROUGH. It will work not only for stoner and will work very well with modern high gain amps. You can hear it on the Arch Enemy, Avenged Sevenfold etc. albums. Yes, it has warm/round bass and palm mutings made by begginers or lite handed guitarists can appear as flabby/boomy. JB sounds very good as a metal pickup in tonally balanced instruments for sure. But for cheap bolt-on as Ibanez s320 there are better, FAT sounding options.
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13th October 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CroMag View Post
Ouch! JB is still mounted in many, many modern guitars for metalheads, as 7string version also. Because it CUTS THROUGH. It will work not only for stoner and will work very well with modern high gain amps. You can hear it on the Arch Enemy, Avenged Sevenfold etc. albums. Yes, it has warm/round bass and palm mutings made by begginers or lite handed guitarists can appear as flabby/boomy. JB sounds very good as a metal pickup in tonally balanced instruments for sure.

+1

And I don't get how Dimarzio's are "whiney", but I guess it's subjective. In general their buckers are more compressed than SD's imo, depending on the pup, but I like that in some cases.

I've used many from both companies and find it's nice to have both choices and that it sometimes comes down to finding which one matches the particular guitar and objective best.
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14th October 2013
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Thanks for all the replies again Too many to reply individually, so I'll just reply in general

Sure, my stock Infinity's are not bad at all. I've done a lot of work, recording etc. with the Infinity pickups and they sound good. But I want something a bit different - I really find my current neck pickup too muddy and just not right for me, and I'm basically just using the bridge pickup for all my playing

As for my "1" sound, I'm kinda struggling to define that at the moment coz I'm going through a bit of a transition. I used to play a lot of metal etc. and that's why I got this guitar a couple of years back; but lately, I've gone a different musical direction, really, more towards alt rock/experimental sort of sounds...and I'm getting a Telecaster for that sort of thing. So this is really going to be my secondary guitar, for the moments I really want a humbucker guitar, maybe to get my classic/hard rock sounds or if I ever want to just play some metal somewhere down the line. It was my first guitar so I plan on keeping it forever. Haha

My amp is a Vox AD15. It's a small one, I use it for practice. Planning on upgrading to another Vox soon, probably the new AC30. I also record a lot through my Line 6 interface

So basically I want some good quality pickups that will cut through, definitely - which is why I was thinking of the JB that many recommended here. Or the Dimarzio Crunch Lab. And something kinda more vintage in the neck. Like the Duncan Jazz/'59 or the Dimarzio PAF Pro in the neck

But I really don't know much about tone charts etc to determine which pickup would sound like what, nor can I tell which would match my guitar. But if you had to choose a set of pickups for the (cheap) Ibanez S320 - maple neck, rosewood board, mahogany body - what would you go for? Based on what I've written above?

Doesn't need to be specific - I know it's based a lot on many other factors - but just go for it, let me know what you'd pick! Thanks
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14th October 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by therock View Post
You should research tone charts and how different outputs and style magnets match with certain amps, since no one here is capable of determining your sound better than yourself. Pups all have different tone curves and output.

Assumptions can be made but when it comes to gear recommendations, 99 times out of 100 people just ramble off whatever they think sounds good or what they own. The chances that would work for you is slim to none, unfortunately.

Pickups are a tricky thing. You have to keep in mind the first boutique pickups were made because amps back then had no balls and few controls. So many of the pickup makers made hot pups since guys wanted more sustain in the 60s. Today it's different, you have amps with master volumes, multiple gain stages and 1000s of pedals and extensive equalizers.

So really pickups don't matter as much. Since you can just adjust your amp or pedals to get the majority of your tone differences. Unless you have an amp that has no master volume, no eq or no presence, pretty much any pickup will be able to get your sound by dialing in the amp correctly/accordingly.

Guitar players are tone chasers, This is why pickups are big business. I'm not implying it's a scam but it gets to the point where with differences are so minimal compared to adjusting your amp. Especially if you don't know anything about pickups you will just be rolling the dice.

In other words keep your stock pickups. IMO Ibanez makes pups as good as Dimarzio or semyour despite boutique folklore

For Instance one pup may have a high output, 7treble, 5 mid 5, bass. Another pup may have lower output 5treble, 5mid 5 bass. Well you could take the first pup and just back off the gain and treble on your amp and it will essentially match the second pup. See how much of a waste all this is? But it's essential you know what your pups are doing by default. As like knowing how to tuneup. Magnets and pickup materials can affect the sound too. It's not as easy as saying "buy a dimarzio" or "Buy a bartolini"
Wow, that's actually really really helpful. i've been playing guitar for quite a while now but i don't really a lot about this sort of thing (yet). i'll definitely research on tone charts etc. n try to get the best match for my guitar somehow - if i decide to change

but your last paragraph there makes a lot of sense to me. thanks for all the help!
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