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Thread: Axis Sport HSS Replacement Pickup Set

  1. #1

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    Axis Sport HSS Replacement Pickup Set

    I hate to ask this but my research comes up so muddled and confused I thought I'd try this route. I have an older Axis Sport that came to me wired as a Tele. I have a newer dual humbucker Axis SS that is teh first guitar that I have had no desire to change anything on and that makes me happy. 99.9% of the time I use either humbucker alone (pos 1?) and the mid/split hum (pos 2?) and that covers all my needs. All of my live presets are built around those and sound great. I had a couple new pickguards made and want to load the HSS version with something as close to the original MM pickups, or my current ASS bridge pickup and close to original mid and neck pickups. Since I can't buy MM pickups what would you suggest for my needs? I have read the AT-1 is close as a humbucker, the Area model X, Y or Z, True Velvet, etc for the single coil slots. But I am lost. Again looking to replicate what was original or what I a currently using so that these two guitars are easily interchangeable live. I have watches Dr. Kev's video on wiring options for output balance so that could be helpful for final wiring once a set is selected.


    Thank you
    2016 Axis Super Sport Trans Gold w/ Maple Neck
    1997 Axis Sport HSS Kandy Lime w/ Maple Neck

  2. #2

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    The AT-1 is pretty close. I put one into a friends ASS a while back (he didn't have the stock pickups either). Sounded amazing.

    What do you want out of the singles? A more meaty single-coil sound that matches the humbucker? Or more strat quack?

    In the former case, you could do the whole Andy Timmons thing- Cruiser bridge in the neck & middle. (I have these in an Albert Lee, with a Tone Zone S.) They sound great. But they don't really quack.

    For the latter, the Areas are closer to the typical vintage strat thing. More chime, quack well, they just don't mate as well with the bridge pickup.

    There are so many noiseless singles on the market, you have a ton of choices.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by beej View Post
    The AT-1 is pretty close. I put one into a friends ASS a while back (he didn't have the stock pickups either). Sounded amazing.

    What do you want out of the singles? A more meaty single-coil sound that matches the humbucker? Or more strat quack?

    In the former case, you could do the whole Andy Timmons thing- Cruiser bridge in the neck & middle. (I have these in an Albert Lee, with a Tone Zone S.) They sound great. But they don't really quack.

    For the latter, the Areas are closer to the typical vintage strat thing. More chime, quack well, they just don't mate as well with the bridge pickup.

    There are so many noiseless singles on the market, you have a ton of choices.
    Good to know on the AT-1. From the info I can find they're close in output and tone profile to the OEM, A5 magnets vs whatever the originals were. On the singles my initial thought would be to also have them as close to whatever the originals were, with their output and tone profile but I do not know what that was. But as a preference I guess I'd lean more chime than quack. The blade style of the Cruiser pickups may put me off. I know that's silly but I'll have to think on that.
    2016 Axis Super Sport Trans Gold w/ Maple Neck
    1997 Axis Sport HSS Kandy Lime w/ Maple Neck

  4. #4

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    Hi nervous,

    I have a 1997 red AS HSS as well. Bought it used several years ago and it came sans the silent circuit and with some Bill Lawrence blade pickups.
    I exchanged them for AT-1 - Fast Track 1 - Pro Track. Was a very good and versatile combo, but it was never the real deal, when compared to real humbuckers.
    About a year ago I got a used pair of Dimarzio Customs and I thought, why not converting back to somewhat sock-ish?
    So I put the bridge humbucker in, because that seems to be THE sound, this guitar was intended to be.
    In the middle I have a True Velvet, which should be pretty close to the original. In the neck I have one of the Virtual Vintage noiseless stacked single coils, I think it is a louder model, maybe the Heavy Blues 2.
    The guitar is wired i.o. tog et the following combinations:
    Bridge
    Bridge south + middle
    Bridge south + neck split
    Middle + neck split
    Neck with its dummy coil
    This is as close as you might get to the original without the silent circuit, except for the loud neck single coil, which you might use the Area 61 for.
    The AT-1 sounds real close, but feels different, a bit looser maybe softer but in a good way. I had times, when I preferred the sound of the AT-1 over the Custom's. But my taste changed in the last few years :-)
    2001 Axis Sport HH hardtail maple fretboard burnt apple
    2001 Axis SuperSport HH hardtail maple fretboard translucent gold
    1997 Axis Sport HSS hardtail maple fretboard translucent red
    2002 AL MM90 hardtail maple fretboard honeyburst converted to AL 2H

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by beej View Post
    For the latter, the Areas are closer to the typical vintage strat thing. More chime, quack well, they just don't mate as well with the bridge pickup.
    I do like the Areas in my Silhouette Special but they are bright and low output and I personally think they will work best with a bright and low output humbucker (like the Virtual PAF that's stock on teh Silhouettes). On an axis with a big meaty humbucker? I wouldn't go there.
    Silhouette Special (2005 Buttercream Limited Edition)
    Cutlass HSS (2018 Roasted Special, Ivory White)

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  6. #6

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    Kev, the Axis humbuckers are screwed directly into the wood, thus having a larger distance to the strings. This makes them - yes, still louder than, say, the Virtual PAF in Silhouettes, but not as loud as you'd expect. But I agree, that for some the combination would not work, that's also, why I put a louder single coil in the neck :-)
    But the guitar as it came stock had the lower output single's.
    2001 Axis Sport HH hardtail maple fretboard burnt apple
    2001 Axis SuperSport HH hardtail maple fretboard translucent gold
    1997 Axis Sport HSS hardtail maple fretboard translucent red
    2002 AL MM90 hardtail maple fretboard honeyburst converted to AL 2H

  7. #7

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    Thanks everyone, great info. I am most likely going with the AT-1 given this discussion and the sound clips I have heard. Certainly a tone that suits me. Now for the mating single coil selections...

    500k pots?

    Will a standard Strat 5-way switch fit and work in the Axis Sport or does it need to be OEM EBMM?

    I did see that there is the Silent Circuit part in the control cavity. Disconnected and snipped snort but there if I want or need it. Leaning not if I go hum cancelling singles.
    2016 Axis Super Sport Trans Gold w/ Maple Neck
    1997 Axis Sport HSS Kandy Lime w/ Maple Neck

  8. #8

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    500k pots are great for the AT-1, but might not suit the single coils depending on what you pick. You do have a few other options though- 500k volume, 250k tone is a good compromise for both, or you could use a resistor to drop the load when switching to singles (if you use something more vintage).

    If you're doing basic switching, any 5-way is ok, provided the lever is long enough to get through the body (some are too short). If you're doing something fancy you might need multiple poles. Fwiw, MM will sell you the switches they use which have long levers and 4 sets of poles, to do just about anything.

    Very cool about the Silent Circuit. You can just solder some extra wire to lengthen it as needed if you're using real singles (or for a coil split, etc.).

    I love these kinds of projects

  9. #9

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    Listening to more clips and reading reviews the Area 58 and /or 61 seem like solid choices to mate with the AT-1 as well.
    2016 Axis Super Sport Trans Gold w/ Maple Neck
    1997 Axis Sport HSS Kandy Lime w/ Maple Neck

  10. #10

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    I agree with Dr Kev that the Areas are pretty low in output by comparison. But if you're heading in that direction and want more balance, the Injectors are like Areas but with more output.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by beej View Post
    I agree with Dr Kev that the Areas are pretty low in output by comparison. But if you're heading in that direction and want more balance, the Injectors are like Areas but with more output.
    Hmm. I’ll give those a look. Thank you

    Are all non Floyd bridge pickups F spaced as well, hard tail and/or vintage term?


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    2016 Axis Super Sport Trans Gold w/ Maple Neck
    1997 Axis Sport HSS Kandy Lime w/ Maple Neck

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by beej View Post
    I agree with Dr Kev that the Areas are pretty low in output by comparison. But if you're heading in that direction and want more balance, the Injectors are like Areas but with more output.
    Sooo... listening to the Injectors and they sound fine. In your scenario, would you do them in both the neck and middle position? Neck Injector obviously in the Neck, but them what middle? Some videos paired them with an Area middle. Middle pickup is probably the second most important as most of my clean sounds are built around the split hum bridge and split hum neck on my ASS dual humbucker version, position 2, inner coils parallel. I rarely, if ever find my way to the neck pickup alone.
    Last edited by nervous; 01-08-2019 at 05:55 PM.
    2016 Axis Super Sport Trans Gold w/ Maple Neck
    1997 Axis Sport HSS Kandy Lime w/ Maple Neck

  13. #13

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    Probably the Injector neck in the middle, since it has more output. So Injector Neck/Injector Neck/AT-1. (But again, there are a zillion pickups you could choose and someone else might give you completely different advice.)

    On splitting the bridge- keep in mind it'll pick up hum when you do this. What I usually do is make use of the Silent Circuit for the coil split - where you'd normally wire the split point to ground, wire it to the Silent Circuit instead. (Since you have one sitting around anyway, you might as well make use of it.)

    Btw, Dimarzio has an exchange policy, so if you don't like the Injector in there you can always swap it for something else.

  14. #14

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    Since you have the silent circuit why not just go with the DiMarzio Velvet single coils? Should be as close to stock as you can get. I have a Silhouette Special stock and love it, and I have a strat with Area 58s and a 36th PAF and love it. I love both equally so I doubt you'll go wrong either way.

  15. #15

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    You might also deactivate the dummy coil for the neck when combinig it with the split bridge pickup, so you'll get a little bit of hum reduction.
    I had to fiddle with polarity as far as I remember to get it work without being out of phase.
    2001 Axis Sport HH hardtail maple fretboard burnt apple
    2001 Axis SuperSport HH hardtail maple fretboard translucent gold
    1997 Axis Sport HSS hardtail maple fretboard translucent red
    2002 AL MM90 hardtail maple fretboard honeyburst converted to AL 2H

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