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Thread: Best cheap Humbucker upgrades

  1. #1
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    Default Best cheap Humbucker upgrades

    Yes in a perfect world i'd go out and buy a brand new set of rio grandes.

    but it's an imperfect world and i want to get a set of good cheap pickups for my focus 2000, because what's in there just sounds terrible in comparison to mmk 45's in an old vantage and even to the stockers in my old roadstar.

    i've heard good things about the GFS VEH sets, and they're about 70 for a set, which is in the ball park.

    keep in mind that it is a 2000 so i need a neck and a bridge, 70 is the price range, and i do believe in F spaced voodoo. and yeah looking for that brown sound black magic too.
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  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by da5hcharl View Post
    Yes in a perfect world i'd go out and buy a brand new set of rio grandes.

    but it's an imperfect world and i want to get a set of good cheap pickups for my focus 2000, because what's in there just sounds terrible in comparison to mmk 45's in an old vantage and even to the stockers in my old roadstar.

    i've heard good things about the GFS VEH sets, and they're about 70 for a set, which is in the ball park.

    keep in mind that it is a 2000 so i need a neck and a bridge, 70 is the price range, and i do believe in F spaced voodoo. and yeah looking for that brown sound black magic too.
    Nothing wrong with GFS....but for another fitty you could make it an Imperial with a JB & a Jazz
    I havent tried the VEH, but I have used the Power Rails bridge in a Focus 6000 & the Crunchy Rails bridge with desireable results

  3. #3
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    Arrow

    my 1st guitar was a beak head Focus 2000. putting a set of Duncans in there is the way to go. JB and Jazz is grovvy, but I dig a JB and '59 neck. all are pretty common on ebay, especially TB-spaced JBs. if you don't want to do a set all at once, start with the JB and go from there.

    a good cheap option to upgrade a JB is to swap the mag. if it's a newer JB, putting a roughcast Alnico 5 mag in there will make it sound more like the JBJs that were going in Kramers back in the 80s. mags are less than $5 a pop.

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  4. #4
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    Mitchel from Mean Street guitars is making one hell of a humbucker

    Check at his site
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  5. #5
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    if you don't mind used pu's, sometimes if you wait you can get two sd's for around $70.
    bridge

    ~IAG~

  6. #6
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    You want brown you say?

    Get a second hand Dimarzio Super Distortion and then get a Plexi and run the whole thing dimed through a 4x12.

  7. #7
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    yes, i agree with looking for used pickups.

    if your budget is 70 bucks thats pretty tight for two pickups you're not going to get much quality going on.

    if you're not into getting a used pickup (and i dont know why you wouldnt be) then just replace the bridge.

    the bridge - that's really where you need balls on a weak guitar. from seymour duncan i'd go with a JB, a duncan distortion, invader. something with high output like over 12k.

    other brands i don't know so well.. but dimarzio evo's and breed, seem to be the right choice. lots of people trade those over at jemsite for cheap!
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  8. #8
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    I've found GFS pups to be great. Can't complain one bit about any of them I've used. That said, I've bought some great used pups for cheap or a fair price. Just bought a used TZ. Can't wait to toss it in!
    .....

  9. #9
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    i'm a big fan of used, but yeah i've been penny pinching recently.

    I might go used from ebay.

    I'm usually a dimarzio guy, but i have to admit i do very much enjoy seymour duncan screamin demons.


    there's an older worn looking used JB up i might snag.

    I also need to check the wiring as the previous owner installed a switch that does... something... and the volume pot doesn't go all the way down to silence.

    maybe it's just a case of a bad mod and solder jockey.
    FIREMAN Ibanez FRM-100...
    Doc Brown (schaller floyd + mighty mite single hum body + hosono USA neck) For sale or trade, PM me.
    The Beast (1989 Ibanez RG 560 w/paul gilbert injectors at neck and middle, tone zone at bridge
    (Not named yet) 2013? Fender Modern Player Jazzmaster
    I sold my focus 2k... sorry guys.

    Good KF deals with: pointyheadstock, moku

  10. #10
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    If you're into new pickups, Tonerider sets are in the 70-100 range and they sound very very good

    This is their Alnico IV PAF-type set, which is my favourite, but they make a JB clone too - called the Generator.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Tonerider-Al...item4d0008cd64
    Bolt on necks are cool because you can take them off and use them as swords to fight your friends with. Wait, actually, bad idea. Unless you have a shield (Hint hint: the body)

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by moku View Post
    if you don't mind used pu's, sometimes if you wait you can get two sd's for around $70.
    +1

    I'd go used... good deals out there

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by pbiava View Post
    yes, i agree with looking for used pickups.

    if your budget is 70 bucks thats pretty tight for two pickups you're not going to get much quality going on.

    if you're not into getting a used pickup (and i dont know why you wouldnt be) then just replace the bridge.

    the bridge - that's really where you need balls on a weak guitar. from seymour duncan i'd go with a JB, a duncan distortion, invader. something with high output like over 12k.

    other brands i don't know so well.. but dimarzio evo's and breed, seem to be the right choice. lots of people trade those over at jemsite for cheap!
    I'd agree, but consider a Bill Lawrence. I put a SD Invader in a Yo Pacer, and it's a perfect fit. You can find the Invaders on ebay for $40 used, if you're patient.

  13. #13
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    GFS VEH are to be considered to get this vintage tone related to the PAF. They works great on my Focus 2000. The output level is not very high. If you plug those in a tube amp, the sound will be great and not aggressive.
    Bill Laurence L500XL are great also but are very different tonaly: High output and aggressive tone. IMO I prefer Bill Laurence to the Invader.
    Used SD or DM will be great with probably more definition than the cheap ones described above.
    We can give advices but the truth is in your ears.
    Gillou

  14. #14
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    I was surprised by the tones I got from the Carvin M22SD ( rated at 14.02 k ohms), which is similar to a Dimarzio Evolution but with more upper mids, better treble response, cleaner bass frequency and more head room, with hint of tonality of Bill Lawrence XL-500.
    The Dragon Fire Screamers ( (N) 8.3k ohms / (B) 16.9k ohms) have the tonality / tendencies of a Seymour Duncan JB pickup, Dimarzio's Super Distortion/ Evolution and X2N. The Dragon Fire Hot Rails ( a stacked Humbucker, rated at 12.43k ohms) has the tonal tendencies of a Bill Lawrence L-250, Dimarzio YJM (now called the HS-4) and Dimarzio Chopper.
    As for GFS, the Lil' Killer (rated at 15.28k ohms) has the bass punch of Dimarzio Fast Track 2, fat lower mids and a nice slice of treble, more than than the Dimarzio Fast Track 2.
    I've been playing guitar for over 30 years and these up and coming companies have some good products to sell. May be Dimarzio and Seymour Duncan will realize they aren't the only Sheriff in town when it come to great tones. I was doing guitar repair on a friend's kid's guitar and after I wired up the guitar with those pick up (since I figured to go cheap in price), I decided to put some in my own. Good / World Class quality stuff.
    Last edited by AJ6stringsting; 04-28-2012 at 01:07 AM.

  15. #15
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    Tonerider Rocksongs are pretty nice, with a little it of luck you can get a pair with your price point.
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kostas Dee View Post
    Mitchel from Mean Street guitars is making one hell of a humbucker

    Check at his site
    I'd go with either that or some used duncans. I had a Meanstreet "Custom" (9.2k, a5) and it was a KILLER sounding humbucker. I'd honestly put it next to my Bareknuckle VHII. Nailed van "brown" sounds in my swamp ash and basswood guitars.
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