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Don't be so quick to mod your pickups; it might be your amp

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As I read through the forum I note that a lot of you guys are unsatisfied with the sound of the pickups on you

Epiphone guitars. With that you've gone and mod'ed your guitars with various and sundry pickups looking for

that right sound or tone. I just made an interesting discovery this past week. Before I used to have one of

those solid state Fender amplifiers (they've now been discontinued...now I can see why:-k ). I could never get

the sound I wanted. I recently played out with a friend of mine from another band and he was using a

VOX AC30CC2 (only his has the one with the separate head). He has a Gretch Country Gentleman guitar like

George Harrison played when he was with the Beatles in the early days. Anyway, he tells me after he got his

VOX AC30CC amp it sounded so much better and people would even comment on that about his playing. Enough

said...I decided to put it to the test. I went to my local music store (Alto Music in Middletown, NY) and brought

my Epiphone Sheraton II to play through it. On the first chord I knew it was true. Each note rang clear. Single

notes sustained nicely without having to have added gain through a pedal of some sort (I'm not saying I don't use

a Distortion or Fuzz pedal when playing when the occasion calls for it, though). I'm telling you, my

Sheraton sounded so different throught the VOX AC30CC2. It still has the stock pickups in it as well as my

Epiphone Les Paul Standard, and that also sounds great through this amp. Man am I glad I was able to switch

back to a "Tube" guitar amplifier. The amp weights 70lbs, but man is it worth it for the sound. So don't be so hasty

to go out and buy new pickups for your guitar without checking them through a good amplifier first to see if that's

why they don't sound so good (and I'm not saying the OEM pickups aren't good...I'm just saying don't dis your

guitars stock pickups without checking the amp you're using first). You may wind up spending a lot of extra money

on new pickups only to find they still sound not as great with the s**ty amp you still have. Just something to think about.

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I've seen so many guys post about how they want to ugrade the pickups in their guitars...... but then they have a little solid state practice amp.

 

It doesn't make any sense!!!!

 

I like the stock pickups that come with Epiphones. Through my Marshall JCM 800 my Epis sound AMAZING!!!!!

 

No upgrades necessary.

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I've seen so many guys post about how they want to ugrade the pickups in their guitars...... but then they have a little solid state practice amp.

 

It doesn't make any sense!!!!

 

I like the stock pickups that come with Epiphones. Through my Marshall JCM 800 my Epis sound AMAZING!!!!!

 

No upgrades necessary.

 

That's what I'm saying. So I agree with you 100%. If you have a good tube amp the stock Epiphone pickups

sound great.

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I have to admit i have changed my pickups and i fully enjoy the SD's that i have added. I do like the sound of the stock Epi pickups and i still have them in case something happens. I do 100% agree with that all of you guys are saying. I had 2 different Line 6 amps. The digital modeling sounded sterile to me and i could not get a tone that i liked. having said this i now have a 15 watt Marshall microstack and I do like the tone. yea i know this is just a practice amp but i live in a 1 bedroom apartment and i do not wish to piss off the other people in the building. I G.A.S. for a real Marshall microstack and/or a VOX. I did go through many different amps before i chose to replace the pickups. I would support a player replacing their pickups but only after they have plugged their guitar into many different amps.

 

P.S. dcooper830 wrote: I like the stock pickups that come with Epiphones. Through my Marshall JCM 800 my Epis sound AMAZING!!!!!

 

Hey man you truly do make the stock pickups sing. I really like the Rag time that you do on the Zakk you have. Amazing!

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I wholeheartedly agree with this. I don't have a tube amp but likewise don't want to change my stock epi pick ups because I regularly play through marshall and fender tube amps with my guitar and they always sound great.

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It seems to me that unless you're making an obvious change in pickups -

 

Humbuckers to P90s (or vice versa)

Vintage output to overwound (or vice versa)

Passive to active (or vice versa)

 

that the change will yield limited, if any, improvement.

 

Amp (and speakers) is a bigger deal.

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Outside of your skill level the biggest factor in your sound is the Amp. A lesser quality amp will make the best guitar sound horrible but a cheap guitar will sound pretty good though a high quality amp. I love that Middletown Alto Music, it's the best store there is! I bought most of my gear there and the prices are just so far below what MF and Sam Ash and all those places want. Some of my guitars cost 1k+ less than what MF or Sam Ash wanted!

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BTW I live in Rockland County about an hour from you' date=' Alto is a great music store! [-( We have one down here in Monsey... [/quote']

 

The Monsey location doesn't compare to the Middletown one at all! Visit the MT one if you have not Axe, it puts the Guitar Center in Paramus and the Sam Ash in White Plains to shame in both selection and pricing.

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The amp makes the biggest difference to your sound. Pickups will make a big difference too though, but moving from a bad amp to a good amp will make a bigger difference from switching out bad pickups for good pickups. If you have killer pickups in your guitar that's great, but your amp has the final say.

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I had a similar take on this thought... I used to play through a Behringer V-Amp (in parallel to a bass V-Amp, runing one on the Mesa model and one on the Marshall model, emulating the way a Line 6 Vetta will allow you to run two amp models in parallel) into a power amp pushing two 4x12 Behringer cabinets. All said and done, it was about a $900 rig. I was able to get pretty decent tones from it, considering what it was... and through that rig, my stock Epi pickups were perfectly acceptable. When I decided to upgrade to a real Mesa Dual Rectifier and matching Mesa 4x12 cabinet, I immediately noticed how much clearer and "real" sounding the amp was. The second thing I noticed was that I was no longer happy with the pickups in my Epi. I swapped them out for Duncans, and that was better, by a large degree. Changing my cords from the cheap Live Wire cables I was using to the top of the line, $56 per 25 footer Mogami cables also made a huge difference in my tone. Then ,when I got a Gibson Les Paul Studio, it sounded even better than the upgraded Epi. The funny thing was that through the Behringer rig, the Epi pretty much sounded identical to the Gibson, as did my other guitarist's Schechter C1+. The high dollar cords also didn't make much (if any) difference through the low end modelling amp setup either. I guess my final point on the matter is that before you run out and spend hundreds of dollars on a set of new pickups and pots and wiring and all that mumbo-jumbo, you may want to consider saving for a decent tube amp to replace the little modelling practice amp. Or, if the practice amp is the best your situation requires, (i.e. apartment dwelling, non-gigging guitarists, for instance,) perhaps save the money on expensive upgrades and just buy another guitar. I can almost guarantee that through any sort of digital solid state "tube modelling" amp, you will hear more tonal difference between a stock epi les paul and a stock epi dot than you will between a stock epi les paul and the same les paul with $300 worth of upgraded pups, pots, caps, and wires in it. Not to mention, a different style guitar may inspire you to write or play differently. New guitars always provide me with fresh inspiration, far moreso than swapping pickups in an existing guitar.

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Now that you mention it...there are alotta pickup changers on here.

 

I've noticed an inordinant amount of them are new hollow-body or semi-hollow buyers who bought the axe for it's looks and don't seem to know the hallmark traits (muddier tone, feedback when driven).

 

Not exactly the ideal axe for punk, pop, or metal.

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It seems to me that unless you're making an obvious change in pickups -

 

Humbuckers to P90s (or vice versa)

Vintage output to overwound (or vice versa)

Passive to active (or vice versa)

 

that the change will yield limited' date=' if any, improvement.

 

Amp (and speakers) is a bigger deal.[/quote']

 

I agree Ron. And I would like to add that changing PU can effectively yield the same change in tone for a whole lot less than a new amp, so in this respect it sorta makes sense people opting for a PU-change first.

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I had a similar take on this thought... I used to play through a Behringer V-Amp (in parallel to a bass V-Amp' date=' runing one on the Mesa model and one on the Marshall model, emulating the way a Line 6 Vetta will allow you to run two amp models in parallel) into a power amp pushing two 4x12 Behringer cabinets. All said and done, it was about a $900 rig. I was able to get pretty decent tones from it, considering what it was... and through that rig, my stock Epi pickups were perfectly acceptable. When I decided to upgrade to a real Mesa Dual Rectifier and matching Mesa 4x12 cabinet, I immediately noticed how much clearer and "real" sounding the amp was. The second thing I noticed was that I was no longer happy with the pickups in my Epi. I swapped them out for Duncans, and that was better, by a large degree. Changing my cords from the cheap Live Wire cables I was using to the top of the line, $56 per 25 footer Mogami cables also made a huge difference in my tone. Then ,when I got a Gibson Les Paul Studio, it sounded even better than the upgraded Epi. The funny thing was that through the Behringer rig, the Epi pretty much sounded identical to the Gibson, as did my other guitarist's Schechter C1+. The high dollar cords also didn't make much (if any) difference through the low end modelling amp setup either. I guess my final point on the matter is that before you run out and spend hundreds of dollars on a set of new pickups and pots and wiring and all that mumbo-jumbo, you may want to consider saving for a decent tube amp to replace the little modelling practice amp. Or, if the practice amp is the best your situation requires, (i.e. apartment dwelling, non-gigging guitarists, for instance,) perhaps save the money on expensive upgrades and just buy another guitar. I can almost guarantee that through any sort of digital solid state "tube modelling" amp, you will hear more tonal difference between a stock epi les paul and a stock epi dot than you will between a stock epi les paul and the same les paul with $300 worth of upgraded pups, pots, caps, and wires in it. Not to mention, a different style guitar may inspire you to write or play differently. New guitars always provide me with fresh inspiration, far moreso than swapping pickups in an existing guitar. had a similar take on this thought... I used to play through a Behringer V-Amp (in parallel to a bass V-Amp, runing one on the Mesa model and one on the Marshall model, emulating the way a Line 6 Vetta will allow you to run two amp models in parallel) into a power amp pushing two 4x12 Behringer cabinets. All said and done, it was about a $900 rig. I was able to get pretty decent tones from it, considering what it was... and through that rig, my stock Epi pickups were perfectly acceptable. When I decided to upgrade to a real Mesa Dual Rectifier and matching Mesa 4x12 cabinet, I immediately noticed how much clearer and "real" sounding the amp was. The second thing I noticed was that I was no longer happy with the pickups in my Epi. I swapped them out for Duncans, and that was better, by a large degree. Changing my cords from the cheap Live Wire cables I was using to the top of the line, $56 per 25 footer Mogami cables also made a huge difference in my tone. Then ,when I got a Gibson Les Paul Studio, it sounded even better than the upgraded Epi. The funny thing was that through the Behringer rig, the Epi pretty much sounded identical to the Gibson, as did my other guitarist's Schechter C1+. The high dollar cords also didn't make much (if any) difference through the low end modelling amp setup either. I guess my final point on the matter is that before you run out and spend hundreds of dollars on a set of new pickups and pots and wiring and all that mumbo-jumbo, you may want to consider saving for a decent tube amp to replace the little modelling practice amp. Or, if the practice amp is the best your situation requires, (i.e. apartment dwelling, non-gigging guitarists, for instance,) perhaps save the money on expensive upgrades and just buy another guitar. I can almost guarantee that through any sort of digital solid state "tube modelling" amp, you will hear more tonal difference between a stock epi les paul and a stock epi dot than you will between a stock epi les paul and the same les paul with $300 worth of upgraded pups, pots, caps, and wires in it. Not to mention, a different style guitar may inspire you to write or play differently. New guitars always provide me with fresh inspiration, far moreso than swapping pickups in an existing guitar. had a similar take on this thought... I used to play through a Behringer V-Amp (in parallel to a bass V-Amp, runing one on the Mesa model and one on the Marshall model, emulating the way a Line 6 Vetta will allow you to run two amp models in parallel) into a power amp pushing two 4x12 Behringer cabinets. All said and done, it was about a $900 rig. I was able to get pretty decent tones from it, considering what it was... and through that rig, my stock Epi pickups were perfectly acceptable. When I decided to upgrade to a real Mesa Dual Rectifier and matching Mesa 4x12 cabinet, I immediately noticed how much clearer and "real" sounding the amp was. The second thing I noticed was that I was no longer happy with the pickups in my Epi. I swapped them out for Duncans, and that was better, by a large degree. Changing my cords from the cheap Live Wire cables I was using to the top of the line, $56 per 25 footer Mogami cables also made a huge difference in my tone. Then ,when I got a Gibson Les Paul Studio, it sounded even better than the upgraded Epi. The funny thing was that through the Behringer rig, the Epi pretty much sounded identical to the Gibson, as did my other guitarist's Schechter C1+. The high dollar cords also didn't make much (if any) difference through the low end modelling amp setup either. I guess my final point on the matter is that before you run out and spend hundreds of dollars on a set of new pickups and pots and wiring and all that mumbo-jumbo, you may want to consider saving for a decent tube amp to replace the little modelling practice amp. Or, if the practice amp is the best your situation requires, (i.e. apartment dwelling, non-gigging guitarists, for instance,) perhaps save the money on expensive upgrades and just buy another guitar. I can almost guarantee that through any sort of digital solid state "tube modelling" amp, you will hear more tonal difference between a stock epi les paul and a stock epi dot than you will between a stock epi les paul and the same les paul with $300 worth of upgraded pups, pots, caps, and wires in it. Not to mention, a different style guitar may inspire you to write or play differently. New guitars always provide me with fresh inspiration, far moreso than swapping pickups in an existing guitar. had a similar take on this thought... I used to play through a Behringer V-Amp (in parallel to a bass V-Amp, runing one on the Mesa model and one on the Marshall model, emulating the way a Line 6 Vetta will allow you to run two amp models in parallel) into a power amp pushing two 4x12 Behringer cabinets. All said and done, it was about a $900 rig. I was able to get pretty decent tones from it, considering what it was... and through that rig, my stock Epi pickups were perfectly acceptable. When I decided to upgrade to a real Mesa Dual Rectifier and matching Mesa 4x12 cabinet, I immediately noticed how much clearer and "real" sounding the amp was. The second thing I noticed was that I was no longer happy with the pickups in my Epi. I swapped them out for Duncans, and that was better, by a large degree. Changing my cords from the cheap Live Wire cables I was using to the top of the line, $56 per 25 footer Mogami cables also made a huge difference in my tone. Then ,when I got a Gibson Les Paul Studio, it sounded even better than the upgraded Epi. The funny thing was that through the Behringer rig, the Epi pretty much sounded identical to the Gibson, as did my other guitarist's Schechter C1+. The high dollar cords also didn't make much (if any) difference through the low end modelling amp setup either. I guess my final point on the matter is that before you run out and spend hundreds of dollars on a set of new pickups and pots and wiring and all that mumbo-jumbo, you may want to consider saving for a decent tube amp to replace the little modelling practice amp. Or, if the practice amp is the best your situation requires, (i.e. apartment dwelling, non-gigging guitarists, for instance,) perhaps save the money on expensive upgrades and just buy another guitar. I can almost guarantee that through any sort of digital solid state "tube modelling" amp, you will hear more tonal difference between a stock epi les paul and a stock epi dot than you will between a stock epi les paul and the same les paul with $300 worth of upgraded pups, pots, caps, and wires in it. Not to mention, a different style guitar may inspire you to write or play differently. New guitars always provide me with fresh inspiration, far moreso than swapping pickups in an existing guitar.[/quote']

 

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Quality pups do make a difference, I don't care what type of rig you're playing out of......

 

I've had some top dollar guitar rigs, and I could easily notice a guitar that had pups I didnt feel comfortable with. And if you record, you can really hear the difference.

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This is an interesting thread to me...

I currently have a Fender Twin that is not working to it's potential(working on finding the chance to get it to the tech!)

I can still play through the amp though it's only so long before the crackling drives me out of my mind!!

I do use a tiny Marshall just for practice and well, I'm not trying to make anything sound good through that

 

It kind of seems like....In buying an Epiphone the instant reaction is "MOD EVERYTHING!!!"(i'm guilty of this too) but, half of what's stock is really ok. Grover Tuners are fine - granted I'm getting some keystone pegs for mine - I've swapped V+C knobs too..

 

Point is, I thought about pick up upgrades.But, until i get my amp fixed and spend some time adjusting pick up levels I won't know what the stock jawns can really do...

Some folks have the neck pick up sunk down super low and the bridge is super high -

So this creates a question...Does that higher placing make it "higher output"? or just louder?

I know there's a difference.

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Hate to say it but the amp I want costs around $1300.

Don't see that happening too soon.

But yea, I might be inclined to throw $120 worth of pickups in a guitar first,

but at least by that time when I get the new JCM 2000 with the cab I'll have the guitar all sorted out.

Then when I take the guitar in to try out the amp I'll be buying I'll no longer have to wonder how the new pickups would sound before they were even installed.

Anyhow if you have a certain sound you want then that is the real reason for a pickup swap

not just for the sake of 'Epiphone pickups suck' because really

THEY DON"T SUCK

and they are getting better each year it seems.

I just have a certain sound I'm going for and in all honesty needed someting hotter with better clarity in some spots that I just couldn't achieve with the stock Epi pickups.

I really did give them a fair shake

and the SG Custom '57's were damn good. I just didn't care for the two LP/335's in the neck and mid.

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I've changed the pups in my Gibby faded SG to the dimarzio super D's...... The stock pups are nice but they don't have the attack I'm looking for.

 

I'm also considering changing out my pups in my 80 Gibby LPC once I get it back from my Luthier. I just have to find the right pole position pups for the covers.... I think they are F-spaced... I'll have to ask Spud.

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