What are the best pickups for using with a fuzz?

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by It's Time!, Feb 1, 2012.

  1. It's Time!

    It's Time! Senior Member

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    It seems to me the best pickups would be low output humbuckers.

    With singles you get the hum and with high output pickups you get too much gain.

    Am I right? Am I right?
     
  2. terrapin

    terrapin Member

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    That's a BIG overgeneralization!!! Take the single coild thing and think Eric Johnson. Hear any hum? I use both Muff-type and fuzz face type pedals with my Strats and Teles, and unless I dime the Sustain or Fuzz control it stays very quiet.
     
  3. coralreefer

    coralreefer Senior Member

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    i say ditto--
     
  4. It's Time!

    It's Time! Senior Member

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    Hmmm, interesting.

    Wouldn't you think low output humbuckers would be a perfect match with a Big Muff?
     
  5. cookieshoes

    cookieshoes Member

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    There is no correct answer for this. Different pickups will provide different sounds.

    Think of the classic spaghetti western sounds and the psychedelic sounds from the 60s. Everyone from the Ventures to Jimi Hendrix.

    In the late 60s and through the 70s you had a lot of people using fuzz with single coils (Page on Zep I, Gilmour on Dark Side of the Moon), and people using them with humbuckers too (Jeff Beck Group's Truth, Mick Ronson on Ziggy Stardust).

    In more recent years, you've got the White Stripes (single coil that looks like a humbucker), and of course Smashing Pumpkins (Siamese Dream featured Fender strats with Blue/Silver/Red Lace Sensor single coil pickups, as well as Les Pauls with Humbuckers).

    Through the years, players have tended to riff off the tones made by the players I've listed here. Each player does it differently, and gets different results. There is no perfect formula.
     
  6. wailsound

    wailsound Member

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    This question is like asking whats the best guitar to play. It's all personal choice and perception , I have no idea what you think a good fuzz would sound like. All you can do is look at what other people use as a guide only because as I've discovered with fuzz , it's not just the one element that gives you the sound you want. The circuit alone may work great with one type of pickup or guitar wiring or amp or other types of pedals. I use single coil most the time and I'm happy.
    Good luck in your quest.
     
  7. CE-2 Man

    CE-2 Man Senior Member

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    During the talking parts, Johnsons rig buzzes like a nest of hornets if you ever watch his instructional videos from Hot Licks!
     
  8. It's Time!

    It's Time! Senior Member

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    I use clones of Big Muffs. Like a cross between the White Stripes and the Smashing Pumpkins.
     
  9. sabby

    sabby Member

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    To me it's about the pots. Use 300k or less on the volume for best cleanup.
     
  10. It's Time!

    It's Time! Senior Member

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    Isn't it normally 250k for singlecoils and 500k for humbuckers?
     
  11. It's Time!

    It's Time! Senior Member

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    Cool, thanks for all that good info, but what about Corgan's new DiMarzio humbuckers in the bridge and neck positions?
     
  12. modernp

    modernp Member

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    A hot single coil in the bridge.
     
  13. cookieshoes

    cookieshoes Member

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    They might be fine pickups, but Corgan never used them on any of the original Pumpkins records. The tones on Siamese Dream and Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness were all about the Lace Sensors.

    Corgan used the Big Muff to record Siamese Dream, in addition to other pedals and preamps, and used his SD live touring rig for the recording of MCIS. The SD live rig had no fuzz in it whatsoever. It was all Marshall rack preamp with power amps, Eventide and Digitech effects racks, and an Alesis compressor. Ever since the original Pumpkins days, he's kept his live rig in a similar vein, with rack units, and preamp distortion, not fuzz. His recent use of Dimarzio's may be for the simple reason that Fender doesn't make guitars with Lace Sensors anymore, so he had to pick them when choosing specs for his signature guitar. Or maybe he prefers the sound of the Dimarzios with the rig he's using now. I dunno, but it's kind of here nor there, since the original albums were recorded with the Lace pickups. The Dimarzio's may be able to approximate the SD tones, sure but the Lace Sensors are what was actually used to get them.

    It's funny when artists allow these companies to try and re-write history when they're creating their "signature" instrument. It's similar to the Jimmy Page Les Paul that Gibson issued years ago. That guitar boasts custom wiring and push/pull pots and all of that stuff, when the reality is that Page's #1 didn't have any of those modifications present on it during the recording of any of the famous Zeppelin albums. During the time of Zeppelin II-III-IV-HOTH-PG, his guitar was stock, save for Grover tuners added in 1969, and a bridge pickup replacement in 1972. The wiring and push/pull mods happened long after the Zep albums were recorded, and long past the band's live peak onstage. So, for a real "Jimmy Page" Les Paul, the only truly authentic version would feature standard pickup wiring going to PAF humbuckers. No push/pull on the pots, no phase switching or coil taps. Same goes for a Billy Corgan Strat. A "Siamese Dream" strat would feature a 1957 reissue Stratocaster body with maple neck, American Standard bridge, and Lace Sensor pickups.
     
  14. It's Time!

    It's Time! Senior Member

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    Hi cookieshoes,

    Thanks for all that good information.

    Here's a live video of Billy using his Strat with those DiMarzio's and a Big Muff.

     
  15. cookieshoes

    cookieshoes Member

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    He isn't using a Big Muff there. Just like in his Pumpkins days, he never used the Big Muff live, except for at a handful of shows the band did around the recording of Siamese Dream (we're talking 5-6 shows). They didn't use the Big Muff live because in Corgan's opinion they "lose their dynamic" when used with a loud amp. Once the Pumpkins started properly touring for Siamese Dream, Corgan relied solely on a Marshall JMP-1 rack preamp w/ power amp to give him quick access to various shades of gain via customized presets he could switch on/off with his midi foot controller. For modulation, filtering, phasing, and harmonizer effects he used an Eventide and Digitech rackmount, and a Korg rack delay. So, no pedals whatsoever in Corgan's setup in the 1993-1997 era.

    Also, Butch Vig has since posted on message boards and in interviews that the sound of the guitar tracks on Siamese Dream were the result of heavily EQ'ing and layering several guitar tracks and EQ'd each differently. So, what you hear on the record isn't a "pure" Big Muff sound anyway, which is why so many have a hard time duplicating the sounds from that album. Additionally, Corgan used a Fender Blender, MXR Distortion II, and an EHX Microsynth for many of the lead and over-the-top sounds. So, it wasn't just a Big Muff going on through the whole record.

    Corgan does use some pedals in his rig as of 2011, including an RC Booster, Analogman Chorus, Menatone Blue Collar, MXR EVH Flanger, and Digitech Whammy, but there is still no Big Muff in there. He does have an Analogman Peppermint Fuzz in his rack, unplugged, but it's highly unlikely that pedal is there for reproducing any of the original Pumpkins record sounds anyway.
     

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