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Opinions+guidance required for pickup swap


Jab9000
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Aight so as the title implies, I'm after some suggestions for pickups to slap up inside one of my guitars. I'll consider any brand and any price, as this particular guitar is one of my favourites and probably the one I use most. It's the one I always come back to, and it's been a reliable workhorse for over a decade. 

The guitar in question is a 2004 Ibanez RG370DX in silver (I'll add pictures to this thread if I find any), and it's all original. I haven't changed anything on it. And actually, if I may digress for a moment, I have an issue with the machineheads. One of the little plastic washers has cracked, and I've done a temporary fix with a little rubber o ring which is holding for now. Just wondering if that could be a permanent solution and I can change all the others to match, or if I should just throw the baby out with the bathwater and get new heads, which I am prepared to do. Like I said, I love this guitar and where it's concerned, price is no object. 

Back to pickups. According to the original spec sheet, it's fitted with Ibanez PowerSound humbuckers. Can't remember what the middle single is. I'm willing to change them all (and maybe put a single sized humbucker in there. Got one in the mid position on a custom Strat and it sounds great), but the priority is the humbuckers. They sound alright, but they're a bit... Dull? They're not as bright as I'd like. It's kinda like if you didn't change the strings for a year, but regardless of whether the strings are old or new. I'm after a bit more bite and better definition of tones. Closer to a single coil/single sized humbucker, I guess. 

Leaning towards DiMarzio/Seymour Duncan/EMG territory, but any and all suggestions are welcome. The weird thing is that I have an RG320 from 1998 with the same pickups, and they sound much better. I'm assuming it's down to a difference in how they're each built, as there are minor differences between them. 

TIA guys! As always, you're the best. PS: Enjoy a photo of all 3 of my Ibanez axes, as it's the only one I could find! 

IMG_20210214_165116.jpg

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have you considered changing the value of the bleed cap? Too high a value can suck the hi-end off leaving you with a muffled tone. Maybe compare the value to the one in your other guitar with the same p-ups.:wave:

as to tuners...just replace them. If one cracked, then the others likely will as well eventually.

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On 6/25/2021 at 4:20 AM, mrbrown49 said:

One of these little guys?

GP092.jpg

 

https://www.guitarpartsresource.com/tuners_partsbushings.htm

 

The also have the little spring washers.

 

THANK YOU! Seriously, that's exactly what I was after. It's irritating as I'm a mechanic and my workshop has washers and o rings of all shapes, sizes and materials, but nothing I would deem a suitable substitute for those plastic ones. I mean, the o rings are doing the job, but for how long, y'know? 

Anyway. Again, thank you so much for your help. That is the ideal solution. No bodging and no attempting to justify a set of expensive Gotohs. You, sir, are a diamond. 

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On 6/25/2021 at 7:01 AM, Grant Harding said:

If you haven't already I'd mess around with the pickup heights first. Most guitars I come across have them adjusted too close to the strings.

Any specific recommendation will be based on the type of music you play. 😎

Excuse me for a moment while I slap myself for being an idiot. That's the first thing I should have tried! Is it possible that I have too many guitars to keep track of? Setups are done on an as needed basis, and since they're all on a sort of rotation (so they all get played regularly) some of them are occasionally overlooked. 

This one in particular is generally used for metal and hard rock, and kept in either E or D standard depending on what gauge strings end up on it. Usually 10-52 or 9-46, and it's just about due a restring. I'll have a play around with the pickup height beforehand. Thanks a million for the suggestion. If I can get the sound I'm after out of this one, that'd be ideal. It's not like the pickups are bad as I'm sure they've sounded great in the past, so you're probably right and it's just the setup. Actually got a set of anodised pickup rings to go on anyway, so that works out pretty well. 

Thanks again, man. Your wisdom and guidance are much appreciated! 

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On 6/24/2021 at 11:53 PM, daddymack said:

have you considered changing the value of the bleed cap? Too high a value can suck the hi-end off leaving you with a muffled tone. Maybe compare the value to the one in your other guitar with the same p-ups.:wave:

as to tuners...just replace them. If one cracked, then the others likely will as well eventually.

That is an excellent suggestion, thanks! You could very well be right. I may be overthinking it and overcomplicating the issue, but I guess it makes sense for a guitar designed for metal to go for a midscoop. And with a 6 year gap between my two, it's definitely possible that there are differences in the parts. After all, they have different trems and noticeably different neck profiles, so different pots and caps isn't beyond the realms of possibility. 

In any case, along with all the other excellent suggestions, I'll crack them both open and have a look. They're both due a bit of work. Thanks so much for your help. I'm almost embarrassed to admit that I wouldn't have thought of that, or at least not until I'd torn the thing apart and come up with nothing. 

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