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Which humbucker for that ZZ Top growl??

jimmyohio75

Member
Messages
5,538
Besides a Pearly Gates, which humbucker will give me the "Just Got Paid" and "Jesus Just Left Chicago" thick, raw sound?
 

Rhomco

Making UPS, FEDEX and USPS richer every day!
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,888
he recorded "Jesus" using a tele ;)
Rob
 

Guinness Lad

Senior Member
Messages
15,860
LaGrange was a hardtail strat. I believe back then lots of tunes were recorded using a 100 watt Marshall, not all but many.
 

jimmyohio75

Member
Messages
5,538
Someone told me to check out a Rio Grande BBQ pickup. It supposedly is real thick and rude!! Anyone heard of these?
 

jtm622

Member
Messages
9,303
It's more than just a "pickup"... It's the amp and many other considerations. Remember - Gibbons' sound in the studio with a hardtail thru a Fender Twin may not be the same as what you'd get on that rig in a different "acoustical" situation...
 

buddastrat

Member
Messages
14,690
You're kidding? He must have been using one hell of an amp to get those single coils to grind!!

You gotta try a nocaster sometime. It's Gibson chunk with Fender clarity. A good tele can sound amazing doing even full on metal, so it'll do classic growl without even trying. Tele's are animals. Single coils are meaner/ruder sounding so for a ZZ top or even a lot of old Halen, it just sounds perfect. Fender clarity.

I hate teles (ugly, uncomfortable), but I can't find a better sounding guitar so I keep it.
 
Last edited:

gtrfinder

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
3,672
You're kidding? He must have been using one hell of an amp to get those single coils to grind!!
Actually I think that the leads in "Jesus Just Left Chicago" are pretty nasally sounding and quite frankly kind of piercing. It works for the song, however. And it sure sounds like an Esquire/Tele of some sort, back pickup with the tone knob on 10, etc...
Not sure if the rhythm guitars are the same guitar or not, but he could have changed pickup positions.

To answer your question with regard to pickup choice for a humbucker: I'd stick with something fairly ordinary (Billy has used Seymour Duncans for years in many of his guitars), and get the gain and grind from a distortion box of some sort.
 

dazco

Member
Messages
14,821
Like someone said, it's way more than the pickup. in fact, you could use all the right gear and the wrong pickup and get far closer to BG than you would with the wrong amp and guitar and his exact pickup in your guitar. And thats just the beginning....the studio is a huge factor. Go to youtube and watch some of his live videos. Even billy doesn't sound very close to the records. Pickups mainly do 2 things....give you the amount of signal strength you want, and attenuate or boost ceratin frequencies, the latter which is generally a way to remove or add highs mids or lows but doesn't change the voice of the rig. Thats mainly a product of the guitar's wood and design and the amp. The right guitar and amp will get you close. The right pickup won't do much at all by itself. Like i said, take the very guitar billy used to record a certain song and rip out the pickup and stick it in your guitar and you won't even get close unles the guitar and amp are right for that tone. Then theres his hands...
 

MCG

Member
Messages
380
Try a Duncan Seth Lover set. I have used both the Seth and a Pearly Gates, and while both are good pickups the Seth Lover is much closer to the tone Gibbons has on the early records.

MCG
 

Mark Ray

The RockTrain
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
5,302
I have the Rio Grande BBQ/Texas set in Thorn #29. There are plenty of Billyesque tones to be had. Having said that, you have to summon some Billy mojo to really sound like Billy.

Mark
 

Kingbeegtrs

Senior Member
Messages
1,926
If you email Seymour Duncan he'll personally make the EVH bucker for you - it doesn't get any "browner" than that.

however,

A big part of billy's tone is that he uses 8's
 




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