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coldsummer

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 2, 2012
Messages
610
Location
Gloucestershire UK
Some of you will know that I was fortunate enough to snag Keith's gorgeous Bali blue Luke III recently. It is a fantastic guitar with stunning looks but tbh I'm struggling to gel with the Transition pick-ups even though I really want to like them.

I find them quite bright and unforgiving, with an almost digital edge like active EMGs which is ironic. I'm not saying they are bad, just a personal preference thing.

I play through a digital preamp (AxeFX II) and am wondering if the Transitions are more suited to a proper amp? I've adjusted the active preamp gain and in-between balance with the trim pots and this doesn't seem to make much difference.

I know I'm in the minority as most of you are blown away by them, and like I said I really want to like them but in a direct comparison with my AL HH they seem to lack character and body.

I'd be interested to hear some other opinions.
 

DrewH

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Joined
May 23, 2012
Messages
176
The ONLY way to know the true character of a pickup and the guitar its in is to use a simple tube amp minus all of this digital stuff.

That being said, I find the Transition pickups to be very versatile above average pickups. They don't have the clarity in the low end for heavier staccato metal riffing but for straight up rock, blues, jazzy stuff, etc they can do it all with good results. They do have a cutting upper register but I think thats more so because these pickups have a scooped (at least my ears) EQ. I had the Bali Burst L3 but decided to return that and get the alder bodied version. Even in that, I don't find them overly bright.
 

DrKev

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Jul 8, 2006
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Somewhere between Paris and Buffalo
I find them quite bright and unforgiving, with an almost digital edge like active EMGs

I tried a Bali Blue burst LIII a few weeks back. I didn't get to try any other guitars (in fact I had not even picked up a guitar in two weeks) and was using an unfamiliar amp. So I just dialed in a tone I could work with. EMGs have a extended high end which is what people don't like. Personally, I never once thought of EMGs when trying the LIII. I loved the transition pickups and thought they sounded fabulous. Lots of clarity but with a bark when you dig in like a good vintage humbucker should. In fact that's the best way I can describe them - imagine making a high output humbucker that retains low-output vintage-style brightness and responsiveness rather than ending up with a heavy, darker sounding distortion-oriented device. The clean sounds were fabulous. Sparkle is there if you want and wonderful jazz and blues tones too. They were a little grittier than I expected with distortion. The neck pickup particulary surprised me with the texture and grit it had with overdrive. Not a smooth and creamy pickup at all! I can understand if some people don't like that sound. Could that be what you're hearing too?
 

coldsummer

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 2, 2012
Messages
610
Location
Gloucestershire UK
They were a little grittier than I expected with distortion. The neck pickup particulary surprised me with the texture and grit it had with overdrive. Not a smooth and creamy pickup at all! I can understand if some people don't like that sound. Could that be what you're hearing too?

Yes, I think that is a very good description Dr Kev. Maybe I'm just so happy with the AL HH that the Transitions are bit wide of my comfort zone. I guess I am more surprised than anything by just how different they are to the AL and Axis/25th pick ups, I was expecting them to be more similar, don't know why.

Thanks for the feedback, I find it really interesting to hear other player's perspectives. I'm going to dig out my Laney Lionheart amp as Drew suggested and see how they sound through that.
 
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