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Thread: Any of y'all swap pickups in a St. Vincent HHH?

  1. #1

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    Any of y'all swap pickups in a St. Vincent HHH?

    My St. V is, without a doubt, the best built guitar I've ever owned.

    The Dimarzio Minihumbuckers, however, are not entirely to my taste. I think I see why Annie Clark chose them -- they have great string-to-string definition and hold together under even the highest gain/fuzz or most layers of effects -- but if I strip away most of the processing that she puts on her guitar parts, I'm left with pickups that sound, to my ears, a little flat.

    Not dark, exactly, but largely lacking the chime and harmonics of my favorite guitars.

    Again, this makes sense to me, as my chimey, very harmonically rich guitars tend to go mushy or abrasive under heavy gain. Horses for courses.

    But I'm curious if anyone has played around with alternate pickups in these? I'm tempted to keep this one as-as and grab another one to toy with, but I'm not sure what direction I want to go. Possibly something hotter/darker/chunkier in the bridge, and a couple of MUCH brighter pickups on the middle and neck.

  2. #2

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    Well, which guitars do you like? Mini humbuckers are going to sound like mini hums. They are probably firebird style, so they are definitely a different sound than full size humbuckers or single coils.
    2007 Stingray 5 HS Cherry Burst / Maple FB / Ceramic Pickups
    2012 Stingray 5 H Pearl Blue / Rosewood FB / AlNiCo Pickup
    2012 Steve Morse Morse Blueburst / Rosewood FB
    2012 Luke III SSH Vintage Sunburst / Rosewood Neck
    2021 Stingray RS Pacific Blue Sparkle / Maple FB

  3. #3

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    I don't have the Ernie Ball but the Sterling version which has different pickups. I'm looking at getting the Dimarzio pickups in the St. Vincent and contacted Dimarzio. According to them, the St. Vincent come with the DP-168. According to Dimarzio, these pickups have a thicker and warmer sound than either the DP240 or DP241, although the output levels are similar.

    Did you end up replacing the pickups on the St. Vincent? I currently like the ones on the Sterling but since these are my first guitar with mini hum buckers, I have been curious about either getting the ones on the Ernie Ball or even getting more traditional Firebird pickups. I think all Dimarzio mini buckers are ceramic and I'm not sure why. Would some Alnico mini buckers sound better?

  4. #4

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    They are certainly dark/neutral pickups compared to other mini-hums I've played, including Gibson Firebird V, the Sterling STV, and the new Goldie. I actually had a 500k tone pot installed in my Stealth Black hhh and it opened the tone up quite a bit without totally changing the character. I'd try a pot swap before a pickup swap.

  5. #5

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    Sorry for the late reply. After the first answer was "minibuckers gonna minibucker" (at BEST a meaningless tautology) and "they're Firebird" (incorrect and provably false info) I sort of forgot about this thread.

    Anyway, just yesterday, I finally broke down and ordered a new pickup to try. Even in the relatively uncrowded minibucker size, the options were overwhelming and clips/reviews/notes basically useless. I eventually just had to eeny-meeny it and pull the trigger on a new neck pickup (since it's used in 3 of the settings, it seemed like the place to start).

    In a few weeks, I should have a shiny new Lindy Fralin Firebird pickup to try out. I'll let you know how it goes.

    FWIW, I've played plenty of pickups with ceramic magnets that sounded great, but I've also played pickups with identical winds and different magnets that, I swear, sounded noticeably different.

    Quote Originally Posted by jonathane40 View Post

    Did you end up replacing the pickups on the St. Vincent? I currently like the ones on the Sterling but since these are my first guitar with mini hum buckers, I have been curious about either getting the ones on the Ernie Ball or even getting more traditional Firebird pickups. I think all Dimarzio mini buckers are ceramic and I'm not sure why. Would some Alnico mini buckers sound better?
    Last edited by St_G; 08-28-2021 at 11:01 AM.

  6. #6

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    You’ve chosen well. Fralin or Lollar - ya can’t go wrong with either
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  7. #7

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    Tempting, for sure, if only for the lower parts cost. It was actually your (I think?) video comparing the Goldie to the OG w/500k pots that convinced me that pots wouldn't be enough. I suspect I'll still need to do it IN ADDITION to changing the pickups, but we'll see.

    Now that I've broken the seal, I'm going all-in. This is already the best built, best playing guitar I own. Time for it to be the best sounding too.

    Quote Originally Posted by NickNihil View Post
    I'd try a pot swap before a pickup swap.

  8. #8

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    Hell yes. Looking forward to hearing about the results.

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