Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

 #120939  by cmc64
 Tue Nov 13, 2012 7:52 am
So i am about to do some relatively basic mods to my backup Strat. Ash body, maple neck/fretboard. All single-coil guitar.OBEL, Waldo buffer, mil-spec 250k tone pots and 25k volume pot with .022uf ceramic caps - the usual stuff. I am putting a DiMarzio SDS-1 in the neck position, Scott Walker of Scott Walker Guitars is converting a DiMarzio Super II into a single-coil for the middle position so now I need a bridge pickup. I know I should probably rout out the guitar and stick a humbucker in there but for the time being I want to keep this one a single coil guitar. Now Mr. Walker recommended a DiMarzio single-coil sized blade humbucker - the Super Distortion S (DP218) in particular. Check it out here.

So, any thoughts on that particular pickup (I have no experience with blade-style pickups) or suggestions for any other one that would match well with the neck and middle pups?
 #120943  by Utah Joe
 Tue Nov 13, 2012 8:56 am
At the risk of stating the obvious, it really depends on the tone you're going for. Scott is a great guy and you can't go wrong following his advice (he's building a guitar for me right now in fact). In addition to DiMarzio you may want to consider the D Allen JohnnyBlades ( I haven't tried them myself but all of the reviews I've read for D Allen products are glowing testimonials. For my build I'm leaning toward a D Allen Voodoo Blues single-coil in the neck position, split SD II in the middle, and Lollar Imperial bridge.
 #120971  by cmc64
 Tue Nov 13, 2012 11:18 pm
I had considered the D Allens - I was unaware of the Johnny Blades. As far as tone eras; go - this guitar is just a screw around guitar so I am not going for a "specific" era but my general favorites are Fall 1977 -> June 1980. Quite a bit of ground to cover in respect to pickups used (DualSounds), guitars (Wolf, tiger) and electronics (Blaster and UGB) - so if I come up with something that will generally get me into that area I'll be happy. Until I add a McIntosh into the mix the rig consists of the obvious effects, a Mesa Mark IIA and a JBL K-120 2x12.

Thanks for the tips!

Keep 'em coming!
 #121917  by cmc64
 Mon Dec 10, 2012 12:45 pm
I wanted to bump this thread as I received my Scott Walker Single Coil Super II - just beautiful workmanship. anyway, I just got off the phone with Scott discussing pickups, what wiring to use to avoid phase issues and rotation of the bar magnets on the pickup to address possible polarity issues.

The D Allens mentioned in this thread do sound great but at this point I am sort of leaning towards keeping it all DiMarzio - well, at least for the time being. This is a bit of a trial and error process but I wanted to throw this out after what Scott had told me about a project he was just working on with Barry Sless. Apparently Mr. Sless is using one of Scott's Single Super II's in tandem with some SDS-1's. He said something to the effect of Barry liking the SDS-1's in his neck-through, but not at all in his hollowbody (but I might have that reversed). Point being is that the way these pickups sounds can be very guitar dependent.

So, after listening to sound samples of the SDS-1 in different guitars/positions (and seeing that Moriarty is using three SDS01's in their bare-bones Wolf) - I have found that it seems the SDS-1 sounds pretty good in all three positions in a neck through - I heard one in the neck of a Strat-style Ibanez that sounded very good.

At this point I am leaning towards either an SDS-1 in the neck and bridge and the Single Super II in the middle, or the Single Super II in the neck and middle and SDS-1 in the bridge. The guitar is a MIM Strat, ash body, maple neck/fretboard, OBEL and Waldo buffer, .022uf Ceramic Caps and mil-spec pots (coming for Leo at ScarletFire Guitars - great guy, BTW). Just a basic Jerry-ish single coil Strat.

Thoughts, comments, other (better) ideas?