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Thread: New Silhouette Special Owner - what pickups would you choose?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
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    Lake Charles, LA
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    New Silhouette Special Owner - what pickups would you choose?

    I just bought a Silo Special HSS. The pickups are little on the weak side. Please share your experiences with changes you've made. Which pickups do you like best in this guitar? I play a mixture of Classic Rock, Blues, and some country. Need something versatile.
    Thanks,
    Al

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
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    Hi there and welcome! Congrats on your new Silo Special! They are awesome guitars. I sold mine unfortunately earlier this year, and wish I kept it. I had really good experience with an Air Zone in the bridge. It gave me a really fat crunchy tone, but also great for lead work. Very dynamic pickup. I kind of went for that one to achieve the Andy Timmons tone...but now I would just get the AT1 in the bridge. I also had Fast Track 1s in there to get a little heavier and fatter single coil tone like Vinnie Moore used to have when he used to play Silo Specials. However I also really really like Suhr pickups! I dont think you can go wrong with the ML Single coils and for the classic rock growl in sort of a PAF style you can get the SSV+ in the bridge.
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  3. #3
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    I suggest living with it for a while in order to appreciate what it has to offer. I love the Silo Sp single coils. Having said that I did eventually replace the bridge HB in mine with a Dimarzio Air Zone. I really like that pickup; it is very warm which suits my playing style and tastes.
    "The more of our stuff you have the more awesomely freaky you become." -- BP

  4. #4
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    Aug 2005
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    Yep. what a guitar!!! The DiMarzio Norton (not air) is also a great choice, in my opinion, for the songs you mentioned.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    311
    I hated my Silo Special HSS until I swapped pups..........I'm glad I wasn't the only one that thought the stock ones just weren't cutting it.

    I put a DP Area 58 in the neck, love it. Actually have the Silo Special middle pickup in the same position now, and I put a DP212 EJ in the Bridge, also love it. I thought the 5 way position switching was different than it actually is, guitar shop showed me the schematic,.......position 1 is full neck, and 5 is full bridge,.....1,2 and 5 are straight awesome. 3 is pretty good, 4 is OK...... lower output, very telecaster like. I think it is the DP212, which is brighter than most pups that is doing it, but it actually works for me pretty well..........I honestly don't use positions 3 and 4 very much anyway.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
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    I have an HSH Silo which I really like but I've noticed the pick ups can appear weaker compared to my Axis or JP although I think they have a good tone, just not so in yer face maybe? Anyway I really wanted an SSS Silo so I've just ordered a new scratchplate and a Dimarzio FS-1 for the bridge and a pair of True velvets for the middle and neck positions. Not sure what it will sound like but hopefully will be great!

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Oddly enough, I love the stock pickups and compared to most strats, they are anything but underpowered (and besides, isn't there a volume control on most amps?) The bridge pickup is a thing of beauty, warm yet clear and complex and the more gain you give it the more it sings. The versatility of the neck pickup is amazing - a fabulous rhythm pickup, for solos it will bite and bark when you need it to, yet just roll off the tone control a little and you get wonderful jazz tones. The middle position is actually neck and one bridge coil in parallel, is an incredible classic funk and soul selection, almost tele-like with the tone wide open but roll off a little tone to get into a sound that's not far off a twin humbucker middle position sound. Think Doobie bros or funky meters.

    My biggest issue is the volume drop in the 2 and 3 positions. But that's just the physics of parallel coils, particularly when one comes from a humbucker (and is weaker than the single coil to begin with). Changing pickups won't change that.

    So my question to Al is "what kind of tone are you after"? Remember, the stock pickups were chosen for their vintage vibe. They are not very modern sounding pickups.

    I love Roubster's suggestion of the Suhr pickups. Michael Landau gets some of the most beautiful tones ever recorded, IMHO and those pickups are half the tone.

    And by the way, welcome to the forum, Al!
    An Irishman in Paris...
    Silhouette Special (2005 Buttercream Limited Edition)
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  8. #8
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    Thank you all for your input. This is very helpful!

  9. #9
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    Aug 2004
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    East Freetown, Massachusetts, United States
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    I replaced my SS Bridge HB with a Dimarzio Norton. Good pickup, although its output doesn't match up as well with the stock single coils. I still have the oe HB and will probably end up having it reinstalled.
    1994 EBMM EVH (Trans Gold)
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  10. #10
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    Hi. I'm new here. Just about to post about this matter & was thinking about air zone on the bridge. Thank you for the answer!

  11. #11
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    Try Dimazrio Areas. I use them on all my single-coil guitars and I'm absolutely happy with them. Many different models to suit different tonal preferences. All sound great.
    Silhouette Special (HT, SSS)
    Silhouette Special (Tr, SSS)
    Axis Sport (Tr, SSH)

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Zoom View Post
    Try Dimazrio Areas. I use them on all my single-coil guitars and I'm absolutely happy with them. Many different models to suit different tonal preferences. All sound great.
    Has anyone tried a Suhr Thornbucker or Thornbucker+? I wonder how they compare to the SSV/SSV+ as well...

    I want something with a bit more gain/output and fullness than the stock pickup. I replaced the single coils with Lindy Fralin years ago, but they also sound kind of thin (like the stock)....but right now can only afford to upgrade the bridge again.

    ** What size pickup do i need, i see 50mm vs 53mm, and some say F Spacing....??

  13. #13
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    Bridge pickup is F-spaced (trembucker if Seymour Duncan).

    FWIW, I now have a DiMarzio Area singles in there, '61 in the neck and '58 in the middle. Not thin but bright ion a good way! I'll post my review in the appropriate thread one of these days. If I replace the stock Virtual PAF, it'll be a 36th Anniversary PAF or newer PAF '59.
    An Irishman in Paris...
    Silhouette Special (2005 Buttercream Limited Edition)
    Cutlass HSS (2018 Roasted Special, Ivory White)

    Forum Rules and Useful MM Guitar Info

    Required reading - Forum Decorum

    Ernie Ball Customer Service
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    I do not work for EBMM. I'm just a moderator.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
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    Have you played around with the pickup height? I thought mine were weak at first but after playing around with them I found them to be very versatile. They aren’t the hottest pickups but they do sound great.


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  15. #15
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    A new amp maybe? Lol
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