Ernie Ball MM Axis Pickup Orientation

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by Wolf Static, Jan 19, 2005.

  1. Wolf Static

    Wolf Static Member

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    I have an Ernie Ball MusicMan Axis, furnished with DiMarzios (Neck : Humbucker From Hell / Bridge : PAF). Now, a friend of mine RIGHT before he moved to Vegas installed and oriented the pick-ups 180-degrees off from the stock configuration just to see if I'd like the sound. Well, the answer's a resounding NO, because it seems like the guitar has become waaaaay too bright, particularly on the bridge pickup. Now, is this because of the orientation of the pickups, or just the very nature of the pickups themselves? (i.e. will re-orienting them to normal make a noticable difference + get rid of the excessive highs?)

    Now, I do love the Humbucker from Hell because of its 'single coil'-like tonal qualities as compared to most other neck humbuckers. This definitely adds dimension and versatility to a former-pure rock guitar. Any suggestions on a good complimentary bridge pick-up to go with it would also be great! (was considering the Screamin' Demon by SD but I'd like to first see if I can salvage anything from my existing pick-ups. I also have the stocks somewhere).

    Any feedback would be appreciated!

    Wolf
     
  2. Jim Collins

    Jim Collins Member

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    The orientation of a humbucker will make a difference only if there is a difference in the two coils. A traditional humbucker does incorporate a difference: one coil has slug pole pieces and one coil has adjustable pole pieces. Typically, the adjustable pole pieces are somewhat higher than the slugs, but that can be changed.

    The Humbucker from Hell features adjustable pole pieces on each of the two coils. Unless the coils have some other characteristic that distinguishes one from the other -- say, the number of turns or the type of wire used -- the orientation of the HfH shouldn't make any difference.

    The bridge pickup is the one with adjustable pole pieces. If there were going to be any difference in brightness due to the orientation of the pickup, I'd expect the pickup to be brighter if the adjustable pole pieces pointed toward the bridge. But, I wouldn't expect the difference to be so great as to change the essential nature of the pickup.

    You might try tinkering with the height of the bridge pickup. It may be too high.
     
  3. Wolf Static

    Wolf Static Member

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    Jim - thanks for replying! Oddly enough, the bridge pick-up is maxed out height-wise, and still seems a little 'lower' in output compared to the neck on balance. Is it possible that the slugs are now closer to the bridge which accounts for the excessive treble, and doing a 180 might fix that? From a sense of things does it look to you that I'll have to get a darker, slightly higher output pickup in the back, given the current circumstances?
     
  4. Clorenzo

    Clorenzo Member

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    According to DiMarzio's page, the HfH output is 226 mV while the PAF is 203. If you also consider that string vibration is smaller closer to the bridge, so even the same pickup will always be louder at the neck position, it's no wonder that you can't get those pickups to balance ok. I guess an Air Norton (270 mV) or a Screamin' Demon (not far from the Norton in resistance and with the same type of magnet) would work better than the PAF. Compare also the "Tone Guide" for the PAF and Norton and see what you can expect treble-wise.
     
  5. John Phillips

    John Phillips Member

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    Bear in mind that if it's the usual Axis with direct-mounted pickups (no mounting rings), you're stuck with DiMarzios unless you want to rout the guitar. The pickups have small triangular screw lugs, not the larger rectangular ones on Duncans etc.

    (No, you can't swap Duncan coils onto the DiMarzio baseplates... the polepiece screw spacing isn't quite the same... I thought of that too. :()
     
  6. Wolf Static

    Wolf Static Member

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    Thanks guys - that makes a LOT of sense! I'll check out the tone guides for alternatives to the PAF (which I originally said 'huh?' to when it was originally suggested, due to my belief that it was generally used as a neck pickup). Anyway - It looks like it'll have to be a DiMarzio according to the last post. A Screamin' Demon would've been nice, however I'll definitely check out the Air zone. -- I'm essentially looking for the CHUNK and GROWL usually associated with Mids and Bass on my bridge pickup. The stock bridge pickup I was told is very similar to the Tone Zone, but it's just a little too hot and trebly for my liking. I know there's tons of chunk n' growl bridge pickups out there, but this one's gotta match the HFH in the neck for a good balance.

    Thanks again!
     
  7. Clorenzo

    Clorenzo Member

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    I don't think there are sound clips of the Air Norton and Air Zone on DiMarzio's page, but you can listen to them in my friend Harry Jacobson's page: http://www.harryj.net/gear_page.html , the Godin Flat Five has the Air Norton and the Godin Artisan TC has the Air Zone, both bridge.
     
  8. Wolf Static

    Wolf Static Member

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    JohnP - Got a chance to check out your band page - very cool... I liked "Locked In" the best, definitely has a very original sound to it! What kind of stuff are you running?


    Carlos - Awsome clips! Nice work + I think your buddy's a great player. I believe that DiMarzio have a 30-day return policy on their pick ups, so it really won't hurt to try out a couple of the aforementioned combinations until I dial in the sound I'm after. I just wish I was proficient enough with soldering so I wouldn't have to keep hitting up my friend Chris for his services!
     
  9. John Phillips

    John Phillips Member

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    Thanks!

    You're going to like this... :)

    Me: PRS Standard, Frantone Cream Puff (heavy fuzz/distortion), Boss Octaver, Roger Mayer Voodoo-Vibe (set to tremolo) and Mesa DC-5 (clean channel).

    Bass: Aria CTB, Boss Bass Overdrive, Bass Synthesizer and BF-2 Flanger, old Trace Elliot amp

    Vocals: Kazooka electric kazoo DI'd through a Fulltone '69 fuzz :D


    Loads of other stuff on the other tracks... I should get around to having a 'gear list' on the website somewhere ;).

    (edit: Gear list done! I should point out that I didn't own all of that stuff concurrently... not quite, anyway! :))
     
  10. Wolf Static

    Wolf Static Member

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    Right on! Look forward to hearing the rest of the tunes properly - The Cream Puff is a great pedal and it sounds really sweet on the track! I'm planning on overhauling the sound clips on my page as they're really ancient and use the POD + Vetta... I'm really getting some neat results mic'ing up my SM-58 to my Bogner Cab. I can't wait to get my Top Hat (this stuff's so freakin' expensive!) and get some crazy Fender / Vox type action going!

    www.soundclick.com/wolfstatic

    Take it easy!
     

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