Pickup suggestions for my trusty DC135 SSH?

USA Custom Shop Acoustic and Electric Guitars

Moderators: Kevio, ElfDude, JesseM, RockCrue, soundchick, ChrisH, peb, Mike Jones, Bundy

axman53
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 6
Joined: Sep 2008
Location: South Florida

Pickup suggestions for my trusty DC135 SSH?

Postby axman53 » Mon Jan 01, 2018 7:05 pm

I just spent the afternoon with a friend of mine who just picked up a Fender Jaguar Vintage Modified, a Squire line guitar. The Jag has two Seymour Duncan designed single coil pickups. This thing has the most amazing chimey, punchy midrange sound and it really got my attention. I had an A/B switch handy so I did a comparison of my guitar and his direct into my amp. In comparison to the Jag, my DC135 sounded like it was completely flat across the frequency spectrum with a little higher output. I don't mean flat as in lifeless, but even across the frequency spectrum with no particular range standing out. Can anyone recommend pickup changes I can make to my DC135 SSH to get to that Jag sound? Thanks in advance.
Carvin DC-135, PRS Mira, American Standard Tele

User avatar
ElfDude
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 10712
Joined: Jan 2007
Location: In and around the lake

Re: Pickup suggestions for my trusty DC135 SSH?

Postby ElfDude » Tue Jan 02, 2018 6:45 am

Mind if I ask what pickups you currently have in your DC135?
Aries A6H, CS6M, SH445, Contour 66, AE185, DC135, CT4M, Bolt, SH225, LB76F, Nomad, VT16 Head, V410, Pro Bass 100
Midlife Crisis on Facebook
The Tri-Chevys on Facebook

axman53
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 6
Joined: Sep 2008
Location: South Florida

Re: Pickup suggestions for my trusty DC135 SSH?

Postby axman53 » Tue Jan 02, 2018 6:59 am

ElfDude wrote:Mind if I ask what pickups you currently have in your DC135?

It came with AP11s in the neck and middle and the C22B in bridge.
Carvin DC-135, PRS Mira, American Standard Tele

User avatar
Doctor Turn
Platinum Carvinite
Platinum Carvinite
Posts: 4799
Joined: Aug 2015
Location: NYC, sans rock clubs and 48th St.
Links/Contact:

Re: Pickup suggestions for my trusty DC135 SSH?

Postby Doctor Turn » Tue Jan 02, 2018 7:49 am

Well obviously you could just buy those SD's (were they the narrow, stratlike single coils or were they the Jazzmaster P90 resembling pickups?), but in addition to that you have a guitar built in an entirely different way. Different bridge, different neck joint, different build style, etc vs your Carvin. Really, those Fenders (even though a Jaguar is a super short scale guitar) are built to pull that specific crystalline sound out of them. The Jaguar is to the Jazzmaster kind of like what the Les Paul Junior 3/4 is to the Custom or Standard. The 135 with it's (post 80's) 25 inch scale, neck thru body is definitely not aiming to replicate the Fender sound, despite the HSS superstrat layout.

And even a Strat doesn't sound quite like the Jazzmaster (25.5") or Jaguar (24"). Neither does a Tele.

I'd say, if you have fallen for those guitars so severely, just buy one. I'd say the closest you could come is to just grab a set of those pickups.
Carvin Weaponry:
1985 DC150K (koa) Stereo, M22N/M22SD w/black hardware.
1985 100 Watt X Amp 2 x 12 combo (XV212) upgraded w/ 2 Vintage 30's
...and other gear.

https://soundcloud.com/the_heavy_clouds

User avatar
UnexplodedCow
Gold Carvinite
Gold Carvinite
Posts: 1400
Joined: Oct 2010
Location: Omnipresence nearly achieved!

Re: Pickup suggestions for my trusty DC135 SSH?

Postby UnexplodedCow » Tue Jan 02, 2018 8:45 am

I have a "special edition" thin line Jaguar. In my experience nothing else will sound like it. The short scale does change how the string vibrates, plus the wonky trem and all its ghost note inducing properties. Depending on the style, the pickups may not be potted, which will add to their character. Jag pickups, for the most part, are overwound Strat pickups, but the shielding claws change the operation. Plus the circuitry is different. You won't get that from a Carvin unless you convert it to have those pickups and circuitry, along with the many other changes.

Jags are an odd duck, and I love them.
We are entitled to our own, wrong, opinions.

Guitar theorem: G=X+1 where G= guitars one needs, and X = guitars one has.

Do or do not; there is no understand.

axman53
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 6
Joined: Sep 2008
Location: South Florida

Re: Pickup suggestions for my trusty DC135 SSH?

Postby axman53 » Thu Jan 04, 2018 1:40 pm

Doctor Turn wrote:I'd say, if you have fallen for those guitars so severely, just buy one.

Yeah, true dat. Probably gonna have to do that.
Carvin DC-135, PRS Mira, American Standard Tele

User avatar
TL60 Dude
Carvinite
Carvinite
Posts: 543
Joined: Jun 2007
Location: Irvine CA

Re: Pickup suggestions for my trusty DC135 SSH?

Postby TL60 Dude » Tue Jan 09, 2018 5:38 pm

but what is the consensus 'chimiest' Kiesel pickup? is it the S60A or perhaps the new Lithium Single coil?
I assume the basic Bolt with S60A's is the best Kiesel starting point. I wouldn't want to wish a Fender guitar on our friend here! Maybe a Princeton or Deluxe Reverb but how can one go from a DC135 to a Squier? Yuck
2015 SCB6M WW, BC, 404, PSN, SL
2013 Bolt Plus Ash1, TR, RW, S22s,
2007 TL60 133, B, MP, TN
2004 TL60t FTS, BB, 127, AB, TN, MAH, FPH, 402
MTS 3212 BR12's
Vintage 16 Celestion V30

User avatar
2Plus2isChicken
Gold Carvinite
Gold Carvinite
Posts: 1955
Joined: Jan 2009
Location: Nashville, TN

Re: Pickup suggestions for my trusty DC135 SSH?

Postby 2Plus2isChicken » Tue Jan 09, 2018 7:38 pm

I'm not familiar with the Jaguar so I can't say how pickups compare to what's in it. Your DC135 has a humbucker in the bridge position, so for that position I will have to recommend the H22T, which is my favorite pickup I've ever tried. The other positions aren't something I can really help with since I'm not much of a single coil player and really haven't tried that many pickups. The only pickups I have experience with besides Carvin/Kiesel are a DiMarzio Evolution, stock pickups from a Fender MIM Strat and Ibanez V7/S1/V8 pickups, so I am really clueless on this stuff.
Guitars:
2x Carvin Bolt
DC145
AE185
Ibanez RG1570 and Mikro
2x Fender MIM Strat
Ovation Celebrity
PRS SE Custom 24

Amps:
V3M
Legacy 3
VT16
Quilter 101 Mini Head
Peavey JSX Head
Fender Super Champ XD
Carvin Vintage 1 x 12 cab
Carvin Legacy II 2 x 12 cab

User avatar
ElfDude
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 10712
Joined: Jan 2007
Location: In and around the lake

Re: Pickup suggestions for my trusty DC135 SSH?

Postby ElfDude » Wed Jan 10, 2018 9:38 am

For more high end, the Lithium single coils would be my first choice.
Aries A6H, CS6M, SH445, Contour 66, AE185, DC135, CT4M, Bolt, SH225, LB76F, Nomad, VT16 Head, V410, Pro Bass 100
Midlife Crisis on Facebook
The Tri-Chevys on Facebook

User avatar
Doctor Turn
Platinum Carvinite
Platinum Carvinite
Posts: 4799
Joined: Aug 2015
Location: NYC, sans rock clubs and 48th St.
Links/Contact:

Re: Pickup suggestions for my trusty DC135 SSH?

Postby Doctor Turn » Wed Jan 10, 2018 11:42 am

So much of that sound comes from the build of the guitar itself aside from the pickups.
Carvin Weaponry:
1985 DC150K (koa) Stereo, M22N/M22SD w/black hardware.
1985 100 Watt X Amp 2 x 12 combo (XV212) upgraded w/ 2 Vintage 30's
...and other gear.

https://soundcloud.com/the_heavy_clouds

User avatar
UnexplodedCow
Gold Carvinite
Gold Carvinite
Posts: 1400
Joined: Oct 2010
Location: Omnipresence nearly achieved!

Re: Pickup suggestions for my trusty DC135 SSH?

Postby UnexplodedCow » Wed Jan 10, 2018 12:33 pm

I agree with Turn; the construction is just waaay different on a Jag. The scale length, pickup locations, and especially the crazy vibrato design (for better or worse) are definitely going to influence sound, not to mention the circuitry; which is an odd beast multiple capacitors (some for damping treble, and one for damping bass). Plus the shielding "claws," cause eddy currents that effect the sound.

The Jag pickups themselves are unremarkable in design. Put them in a Strat and they'll sound like hotter Strat pickups, so either an S60 or AP11 would fit the bill (probably more AP11 since they're similarly voiced to a Strat). However, the rest of the guitar design is totally different.

The closest Carvin/Kiesel model is a Bolt+ type (direct mount pickups to match the Jag), with bigsby vibrato, and the mentioned singles. However, without going with several custom options (circuitry especially) it's not going to sound the same. Believe me, I have tried to get that kind of sound in a less temperamental package, as I loathe how finicky the vibrato can be on a Jag, but it's part of the sound.

If you found a used Bolt model and get some Jag pickups swapped in (with "claws") and a similar circuitry, you'd find a decent amount of the sound; at least the jangle, but it will likely sound more like a cross between Strat and Jazzmaster due to scale length and vibrato, with pickup location also helping that.

Besides that, some people say Jag pickups themselves resemble a P90 in sound. I don't hear it, but there are some similarities in sound (because it's a magnetic pickup). To me, there just is no direct replacement for a Jag. My best suggestion is to find a high quality MIJ model, as they will be cheap enough, and actually have good build quality. My thinline is MIJ, and has as perfect a neck joint as I've ever seen. Finish is flawless, binding too. Fretwork is on par with Carvin/Kiesel, and aside from it having a 7.5" radius (most Jags seem to have this) and tiny frets (another Fender thing I dislike), It plays well after a particular setup and putting larger grooves in the saddles. Low action, again about on par with Carvin/Kiesel. They ran around $800 new when I snagged one, and the solid-body models will be cheaper as they're far more common (plus more comfortable with an arm bevel).

I'm a big fan of Carvin/Kiesel; excellent workmanship, pickups are solid as any "upgrade," and they play so well. But, the Jag-style of sound is missing from their product offering, and pretty much everyone else's. Some P90 style pickups would help considerably with this, I think, and going to that wonky vibrato, but it'd be a niche instrument, I think.
We are entitled to our own, wrong, opinions.

Guitar theorem: G=X+1 where G= guitars one needs, and X = guitars one has.

Do or do not; there is no understand.

User avatar
Doctor Turn
Platinum Carvinite
Platinum Carvinite
Posts: 4799
Joined: Aug 2015
Location: NYC, sans rock clubs and 48th St.
Links/Contact:

Re: Pickup suggestions for my trusty DC135 SSH?

Postby Doctor Turn » Wed Jan 10, 2018 2:30 pm

I have to say that the bridge on those vintage Jazzmaster style guitars are some of the most retarded things, almost purpose built to make the string jump out of the saddle with light bends. My best friend and old drummer But again, if you want to play surf or get that Morricone - Good Bad & Ugly twang, nothing including a Strat or a Tele will really do. The bridge, especially the saddles, in combination with the scale length and the materials used make a highly individual beast.

And like I mentioned above they come with either the Stratty looking narrow-bobbin (I imagine magnetized pole slugs rather than a full plate mag at base) single coils, or the P90-looking (but sound more like AP6 more than a P90) Jazzmaster pups with the wide plate base mag and the regular conductive poles. But if they're the Duncan recreations they're probably the latter widebodies.
Carvin Weaponry:
1985 DC150K (koa) Stereo, M22N/M22SD w/black hardware.
1985 100 Watt X Amp 2 x 12 combo (XV212) upgraded w/ 2 Vintage 30's
...and other gear.

https://soundcloud.com/the_heavy_clouds

User avatar
ElfDude
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 10712
Joined: Jan 2007
Location: In and around the lake

Re: Pickup suggestions for my trusty DC135 SSH?

Postby ElfDude » Wed Jan 10, 2018 5:24 pm

Doctor Turn wrote:So much of that sound comes from the build of the guitar itself aside from the pickups.


Indeed it does. Both my DC135 and my Bolt have maple necks, alder bodies, and AP11 pickups in the center and neck positions. The Bolt has a much snappier attack and more complex overtones than the DC135. From my experience the nature of neck-through solidbodies is smooth dynamics and more focus on the fundamental tones. Both guitars are very cool, but different from each other.
Aries A6H, CS6M, SH445, Contour 66, AE185, DC135, CT4M, Bolt, SH225, LB76F, Nomad, VT16 Head, V410, Pro Bass 100
Midlife Crisis on Facebook
The Tri-Chevys on Facebook

User avatar
Doctor Turn
Platinum Carvinite
Platinum Carvinite
Posts: 4799
Joined: Aug 2015
Location: NYC, sans rock clubs and 48th St.
Links/Contact:

Re: Pickup suggestions for my trusty DC135 SSH?

Postby Doctor Turn » Wed Jan 10, 2018 5:33 pm

Whoops, meant to write, my best friend and drummer is a Jazzmaster fanatic, who is always singing the praises and damning to high hell the qualities of the bridge on those things.

Elf, also I believe that the 135 is just the 3 pup HSS version of the 127, right? So that would make it a 25" scale axe with a warmer rounder (PRS, semi-LP style) sound, whereas the Bolt is 25.5 Fender scale. That 3/4 of an inch makes a huge difference in attack. Difference between a strat and a Les Paul, the long scale has that snappy piano like tone. Gibby has that spongy, slinky sound.

Funny thing about the Jag is it's "student" scale, so it's shorter scale than even a "short scale" Gibson LP. That bridge and the overall build.. it's its own witches brew.
Carvin Weaponry:
1985 DC150K (koa) Stereo, M22N/M22SD w/black hardware.
1985 100 Watt X Amp 2 x 12 combo (XV212) upgraded w/ 2 Vintage 30's
...and other gear.

https://soundcloud.com/the_heavy_clouds

User avatar
ElfDude
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 10712
Joined: Jan 2007
Location: In and around the lake

Re: Pickup suggestions for my trusty DC135 SSH?

Postby ElfDude » Wed Jan 10, 2018 6:27 pm

Doctor Turn wrote:Whoops, meant to write, my best friend and drummer is a Jazzmaster fanatic, who is always singing the praises and damning to high hell the qualities of the bridge on those things.

Elf, also I believe that the 135 is just the 3 pup HSS version of the 127, right? So that would make it a 25" scale axe with a warmer rounder (PRS, semi-LP style) sound, whereas the Bolt is 25.5 Fender scale. That 3/4 of an inch makes a huge difference in attack. Difference between a strat and a Les Paul, the long scale has that snappy piano like tone. Gibby has that spongy, slinky sound.

Funny thing about the Jag is it's "student" scale, so it's shorter scale than even a "short scale" Gibson LP. That bridge and the overall build.. it's its own witches brew.


Correct about the DC having the 25" scale.

I've never tried a Jag or a Jazzmaster. I probably should.
Aries A6H, CS6M, SH445, Contour 66, AE185, DC135, CT4M, Bolt, SH225, LB76F, Nomad, VT16 Head, V410, Pro Bass 100
Midlife Crisis on Facebook
The Tri-Chevys on Facebook

User avatar
UnexplodedCow
Gold Carvinite
Gold Carvinite
Posts: 1400
Joined: Oct 2010
Location: Omnipresence nearly achieved!

Re: Pickup suggestions for my trusty DC135 SSH?

Postby UnexplodedCow » Wed Jan 10, 2018 7:16 pm

Doctor Turn wrote:I have to say that the bridge on those vintage Jazzmaster style guitars are some of the most retarded things, almost purpose built to make the string jump out of the saddle with light bends. My best friend and old drummer But again, if you want to play surf or get that Morricone - Good Bad & Ugly twang, nothing including a Strat or a Tele will really do. The bridge, especially the saddles, in combination with the scale length and the materials used make a highly individual beast.

And like I mentioned above they come with either the Stratty looking narrow-bobbin (I imagine magnetized pole slugs rather than a full plate mag at base) single coils, or the P90-looking (but sound more like AP6 more than a P90) Jazzmaster pups with the wide plate base mag and the regular conductive poles. But if they're the Duncan recreations they're probably the latter widebodies.


It took me a bit of work to get my guitar to what I'd call good. Heavier string gauges (think 2 and up for the 1st string) help with tension and keeping strings where they should be. Next up were staggered locking tuners and deleting the string tree, some lube in the nut, saddles, rocking posts for the bridge, and then I took the vibrato apart, cleaned up the knife edge and lived it, too. Tried some Graphtech saddles but they are too narrow and screw up the already marrow string spacing. I took a needle file and slowly worked each stock saddle to have a considerable groove. Finally, we loctite on the saddle grub screws to prevent them from changing, and a neck shim to tilt it back just enough. Now it plays like it should have, no string buzz or constant fiddling, but it was the most annoying guitar to set up. Give me a double locker any day. Once set up, however, they're about as stable as a new and set up Wilkinson, just not as extreme of pitch bending. The tones aren't bad, either.

About the only shorter scale length I've tried are those mini strats and those are ridiculously fun for wide spanning chords.
We are entitled to our own, wrong, opinions.

Guitar theorem: G=X+1 where G= guitars one needs, and X = guitars one has.

Do or do not; there is no understand.


Return to Kiesel Guitars / Carvin Guitars

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: maxpower and 11 guests