Replacement Pickups For Lithiums

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WickedFuzz
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Replacement Pickups For Lithiums

Postby WickedFuzz » Thu Sep 20, 2018 10:50 am

I have a DC600 with a mahogany neck, ebony fretboard, and mahogany body all in satin matte finish.

I cannot get a sound that I like from the Lithium pickups. They are extremely harsh, bright and out of control. I've tried messing with the tone and volume knobs. Also, tried through a few different amps and cabs. I just can't make them sound good.

I play hard rock and groove metal. I also like a good solo tone, too. I like a neck pickup that provides a liquid round soloing tone. Bridge pickup should provide crushing power chords.

I usually like Dimarzio stuff, but am open to all suggestions.

What do you guys think would be a good set of pickups for replacement?

Thanks!

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Re: Replacement Pickups For Lithiums

Postby HarlowTheFish » Thu Sep 20, 2018 11:59 am

WickedFuzz wrote:I have a DC600 with a mahogany neck, ebony fretboard, and mahogany body all in satin matte finish.

I cannot get a sound that I like from the Lithium pickups. They are extremely harsh, bright and out of control. I've tried messing with the tone and volume knobs. Also, tried through a few different amps and cabs. I just can't make them sound good.

I play hard rock and groove metal. I also like a good solo tone, too. I like a neck pickup that provides a liquid round soloing tone. Bridge pickup should provide crushing power chords.

I usually like Dimarzio stuff, but am open to all suggestions.

What do you guys think would be a good set of pickups for replacement?

Thanks!

I've got a couple of maybe left-field options:
If you want a more modern sound, I HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend the Guitarmory Peacekeeper set. It's a take on the EMG 81/85 tone, but very very passive, medium output, and really really good at tracking your playing. Play tight, they keep up, play loose, they can do that too.
If you want more vintage, I really like the Duncan Custom/59 Hybrid in the bridge and the Screamin' Demon in the neck. It's pretty bright, but really organic feeling. These aren't super hot or anything, but they have a tonal profile that's really good for heavy stuff, and they sound killer with a boost to bring them up to high-output level and balance the high end to your rig.

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Re: Replacement Pickups For Lithiums

Postby WickedFuzz » Thu Sep 20, 2018 2:38 pm

HarlowTheFish wrote:I've got a couple of maybe left-field options:
If you want a more modern sound, I HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend the Guitarmory Peacekeeper set. It's a take on the EMG 81/85 tone, but very very passive, medium output, and really really good at tracking your playing. Play tight, they keep up, play loose, they can do that too.
If you want more vintage, I really like the Duncan Custom/59 Hybrid in the bridge and the Screamin' Demon in the neck. It's pretty bright, but really organic feeling. These aren't super hot or anything, but they have a tonal profile that's really good for heavy stuff, and they sound killer with a boost to bring them up to high-output level and balance the high end to your rig.

Thanks! I'll look into those suggestions. You said that the Duncan's are pretty bright, so I probably won't like them. That's the problem with the Lithiums; they're too bright. I'll check them out, though.

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Re: Replacement Pickups For Lithiums

Postby HarlowTheFish » Thu Sep 20, 2018 3:20 pm

WickedFuzz wrote:
HarlowTheFish wrote:I've got a couple of maybe left-field options:
If you want a more modern sound, I HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend the Guitarmory Peacekeeper set. It's a take on the EMG 81/85 tone, but very very passive, medium output, and really really good at tracking your playing. Play tight, they keep up, play loose, they can do that too.
If you want more vintage, I really like the Duncan Custom/59 Hybrid in the bridge and the Screamin' Demon in the neck. It's pretty bright, but really organic feeling. These aren't super hot or anything, but they have a tonal profile that's really good for heavy stuff, and they sound killer with a boost to bring them up to high-output level and balance the high end to your rig.

Thanks! I'll look into those suggestions. You said that the Duncan's are pretty bright, so I probably won't like them. That's the problem with the Lithiums; they're too bright. I'll check them out, though.

The Duncan's are bright, but in the midrange instead of the high end like the lithiums. Think presence vs. treble on a Marshall kinda thing. Since they're also really uncompressed and lower output, running then into a tube screamer or compressor lets you cut the treble, keep the awesome mids, and boost them up. You also get the benefit of pickups that are really dynamic for leads and versatile for other stuff.

Also, since I was just reading up on these: if you're not scared of actives, the Fishman Keith Merrow set sounds killer in demos.

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Re: Replacement Pickups For Lithiums

Postby WickedFuzz » Thu Sep 20, 2018 5:21 pm

HarlowTheFish wrote:The Duncan's are bright, but in the midrange instead of the high end like the lithiums. Think presence vs. treble on a Marshall kinda thing. Since they're also really uncompressed and lower output, running then into a tube screamer or compressor lets you cut the treble, keep the awesome mids, and boost them up. You also get the benefit of pickups that are really dynamic for leads and versatile for other stuff.

Also, since I was just reading up on these: if you're not scared of actives, the Fishman Keith Merrow set sounds killer in demos.

Thanks for the description. I'll check YouTube for some clips of the Duncan's and Fishman KM's. :)

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Re: Replacement Pickups For Lithiums

Postby Doctor Doug » Thu Sep 20, 2018 5:29 pm

I'm a huge fan of the Suhr Aldrich set. A also have a set of Bareknuckle Rebel Yells in one of my CS6s that have been treating me well.

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Re: Replacement Pickups For Lithiums

Postby UnexplodedCow » Fri Sep 21, 2018 6:12 am

Two options in my mind:

First would be an EQ pedal, something like the MXR 10-band. Tweak the 1.5 Khz range down about 3-5 dB, and then drop the 3 Khz range a bit, and that should mellow out the Lithium sound.

Second option would be new pickups, and I'll step up to suggest an M22N/SD set for your purposes.

The N is will be plenty "round" and has enough treble for a neck pickup. Splits well. The SD is kind of like a Dimarzio Super Distortion or Evolution. Plenty of treble, but easily tamed. Tons of bass, but can also be dialed back at the amp. I prefer the M22V for clear solo and chording stuff, but for a classic hard rock, M22N/SD is my first choice.

Alternatively to that would be an L500R and XL in the neck and bridge respectively. They'll work surprisingly well, and are responsive to the tone control.

If you like a Duncan JB, but want better clarity, and just "more" the Railhammer Anvil will do that without question.

All the above pickups work quite well with 500k pots, though the L500XL and Anvil can get even meaner with 1M volume pots. It's not necessary, but another option.

I tend to lean more toward DiMarzio, but am honestly unfamiliar with their pickup line. I'm not a Duncan fan, and can't find one of their pickups that I like every time. The JB comes closest to my ear, but there are times I dislike it, soooooo, I steer clear.

If you want something completely left field, lower output, and very clear and even sounding, Filtertrons (blacktops are cheaper) will do that, but be prepared to crank up the gain a bit, and to spend some time making them fit (trimming pickup ears, primarily).
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Re: Replacement Pickups For Lithiums

Postby Doctor Turn » Fri Sep 21, 2018 10:59 am

UnexplodedCow wrote:Second option would be new pickups, and I'll step up to suggest an M22N/SD set for your purposes.

The N is will be plenty "round" and has enough treble for a neck pickup. Splits well. The SD is kind of like a Dimarzio Super Distortion or Evolution. Plenty of treble, but easily tamed. Tons of bass, but can also be dialed back at the amp. I prefer the M22V for clear solo and chording stuff, but for a classic hard rock, M22N/SD is my first choice.

Well delineated. Simple yet good communication of the diffs. I had finally gotten to play a V around a year ago or so (pretty sure I'd played it before then over at Parson's Jazz school, but couldn't positively say so with authority). The V is definitely the prettier of the two, when clean and intimate. It sparkles more--yet with unexpected bottom.

The N is jazzier, splits better, and is more authoritative and kicks harder in a rock (or fusion) context.

They're both superb neck pups. It's pretty much a statistical tie in the Love dept... depends what your purposes are. But the M line remains the most lyrical, versatile, and well tuned of all of Kiesel's humbuckers to my ears. They do vintage, PAF, and modern all equally convincing.. from Rock to jazz to country.

And if you think I'm lyin on the latter, check out the great Roy Clark playing an 80's DC200K with an M22N/T (I'm guessing it's not an SD but one never knows) (and a Kahler woop woot.. EDIT at second look that might be one of those Schaller all-in-ones), and his bandmate is playing a DN with M22's as well.

We all knew he endorsed the SH225 with the M22's, but here he is.. out there with his band, loaded for bear playing completely authentic classic country music with M22's up and down the line.

https://youtu.be/i2tkp0-DuRU
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1985 100 Watt X Amp 2 x 12 combo (XV212) upgraded w/ 2 Vintage 30's
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https://soundcloud.com/the_heavy_clouds

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Re: Replacement Pickups For Lithiums

Postby WickedFuzz » Fri Sep 21, 2018 12:31 pm

UnexplodedCow wrote:First would be an EQ pedal, something like the MXR 10-band. Tweak the 1.5 Khz range down about 3-5 dB, and then drop the 3 Khz range a bit, and that should mellow out the Lithium sound.

So, I borrowed my buddy's MXR pedal to give your suggestion a go. It definitely made the Lithiums play nice with my amps, but you won't believe the EQ moves I had to make. For reference, I was going back and forth between the Kiesel and a couple of my other mahogany bodied guitars. Here were my settings on the MXR:
    31Hz 0
    62Hz -1
    125Hz +4
    250Hz +2.5
    500Hz -1.5
    1kHz -2.5
    2kHZ -3.5
    4kHz -6.5
    8kHz -6
    16kHz -5.5

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Re: Replacement Pickups For Lithiums

Postby UnexplodedCow » Fri Sep 21, 2018 12:36 pm

You, sir, would almost universally love an M22N/SD pickup set with that EQ setup.

But...you're in that 3-5 dB window for the 1.5 Khz are, since it falls between the 1 and 2 sliders (which do affect 1.5Kz themselves, but less than their center frequencies).

I probably should've added "further" for the 3khz range, but, you're still kind of in the ballpark.

The slight bump in the 250 Hz area is where the M series has it. So, yeah, I'd suggest an M22N/SD pair, which would run about $100, since they're not very expensive (about the same as the ten band EQ pedal).
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Re: Replacement Pickups For Lithiums

Postby Doctor Turn » Fri Sep 21, 2018 12:49 pm

With that degree of necessary tweaking on a high detail EQ like this to put your guitar somewhere near your desired sound, the pachyderm in the room is screaming "Fly up to 35,000 feet, unscrew your pickups from your guitar, cut the solder connections... and throw them out over Dubuque."

For me, the guitar should come to me in such a way that the amp can sit with all tone controls on 5, the guitar should plug directly in skipping all pedals... and with the selector switch in the neck alone and the bridge alone, the tone pot should sit between 7 and 10.. and that has GOT to be what I consider at least ONE of "my sounds...." if not, and I can't quickly toggle in to a simple sound like that with no work at all, and I need all this audio pedal/tweak-surgery to get me near "functional" the pups would be immediately jettisoned.

M22's will set you right!
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

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Re: Replacement Pickups For Lithiums

Postby WickedFuzz » Fri Sep 21, 2018 2:48 pm

UnexplodedCow wrote:You, sir, would almost universally love an M22N/SD pickup set with that EQ setup.

I would've done this earlier today, but not now. I'll never buy from Kiesel again. Called customer service to get a little more info straight from the horses mouth and was basically told, "Sorry. You're on your own. We're not a pickup company and we're not gonna help."

So, forget it! Now, I gotta find an equivalent of the M22 from another manufacturer. I'm sure if I call DiMarzio up, they'd gladly walk me through my options. Oh, well. :think:

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Re: Replacement Pickups For Lithiums

Postby UnexplodedCow » Fri Sep 21, 2018 3:06 pm

I don't know if they sell many pickups aftermarket, and inquiring about the M pickups may be weird to them, as they are end of life. You could always go used, and not give them your money, while still getting solid pickups.
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Re: Replacement Pickups For Lithiums

Postby dbone » Sat Sep 22, 2018 11:29 am

Ugh I would hate to think you are leaving based on that one conversation you had. I have been doing business with this company for a long time and there’s good people there. I think you should call back on monday and ask for Chris Hong in Sales. He is super nice and very knowledgeable. He collects both vintage and modern Carvin/Kiesel guitars and is well versed in all their pickup series. He can help you find what you are looking for.
Last edited by dbone on Sat Sep 22, 2018 2:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Replacement Pickups For Lithiums

Postby Cynical » Sat Sep 22, 2018 11:45 am

UnexplodedCow wrote:I tend to lean more toward DiMarzio, but am honestly unfamiliar with their pickup line. I'm not a Duncan fan, and can't find one of their pickups that I like every time. The JB comes closest to my ear, but there are times I dislike it, soooooo, I steer clear

Not even a fan of the Duncan Distortion? It's pretty close to the M22SD or Evo, IMO. A bit less bass than the M22SD, but similar upper-mid and treble punch; similar bass to the Evo, but brighter in the mids and less sharp in the treble. Also, a slightly softer attack than either the M22SD or Evo.

@OP, based on your EQ settings, I'm thinking DiMarzio SuperD or Super 3, probably leaning towards Super 3. The M22SD probably is more high-mids than you want; it's got a strong bottom-bass, but it's definitely a bright pickup overall.

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Re: Replacement Pickups For Lithiums

Postby UnexplodedCow » Sat Sep 22, 2018 2:59 pm

Cynical wrote:
UnexplodedCow wrote:I tend to lean more toward DiMarzio, but am honestly unfamiliar with their pickup line. I'm not a Duncan fan, and can't find one of their pickups that I like every time. The JB comes closest to my ear, but there are times I dislike it, soooooo, I steer clear

Not even a fan of the Duncan Distortion? It's pretty close to the M22SD or Evo, IMO. A bit less bass than the M22SD, but similar upper-mid and treble punch; similar bass to the Evo, but brighter in the mids and less sharp in the treble. Also, a slightly softer attack than either the M22SD or Evo.

@OP, based on your EQ settings, I'm thinking DiMarzio SuperD or Super 3, probably leaning towards Super 3. The M22SD probably is more high-mids than you want; it's got a strong bottom-bass, but it's definitely a bright pickup overall.


Even the Distortion....just not my bag. It's similar, but different. I just don't care for the Q of the mids for almost all of Duncan's stuff. I know the Dimebucker is a copy of the L500XL, but it's also just a hair different (and yes, I've heard the video comparisons of it). At the end of the day, though, it doesn't matter if I don't care for one brand's offering; there are a whole bunch of others that sound great to me. The affordable pricing of some are going away, though, and that makes me sad.
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Re: Replacement Pickups For Lithiums

Postby Cynical » Sat Sep 22, 2018 3:10 pm

The Dimebucker is only a copy of the L500XL in terms of the magnetic circuit; the wind is totally different (44AWG wire, for one thing). The Dimebucker is significantly lower inductance and much brighter as a result, and the thinner wire naturally gives it a much narrower resonant peak.

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Re: Replacement Pickups For Lithiums

Postby WickedFuzz » Sat Sep 22, 2018 5:03 pm

Cynical wrote:@OP, based on your EQ settings, I'm thinking DiMarzio SuperD or Super 3, probably leaning towards Super 3. The M22SD probably is more high-mids than you want; it's got a strong bottom-bass, but it's definitely a bright pickup overall.

So, I have Dimarzio in all my guitars except my PRS. I compared the Lithium to my Les Paul with EJ Customs, which are the brightest pup Dimarzio has. They were surprisingly very similar. The EJ was a tad brighter in the presence region, but still didn't have that 1.5kHz spike like the Lithium. The EJ was also just a slight bit more in the 125Hz area. So, after crunching the numbers, I was gonna get the Satura8, but it's only available in F-spacing. The Super 3 seems like it would have too much low-mid for my taste. After looking at them all. I think I'm gonna go with the Illuminator. I think that's a pretty safe choice.

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Re: Replacement Pickups For Lithiums

Postby HarlowTheFish » Sat Sep 22, 2018 5:07 pm

WickedFuzz wrote:
Cynical wrote:@OP, based on your EQ settings, I'm thinking DiMarzio SuperD or Super 3, probably leaning towards Super 3. The M22SD probably is more high-mids than you want; it's got a strong bottom-bass, but it's definitely a bright pickup overall.

So, I have Dimarzio in all my guitars except my PRS. I compared the Lithium to my Les Paul with EJ Customs, which are the brightest pup Dimarzio has. They were surprisingly very similar. The EJ was a tad brighter in the presence region, but still didn't have that 1.5kHz spike like the Lithium. The EJ was also just a slight bit more in the 125Hz area. So, after crunching the numbers, I was gonna get the Satura8, but it's only available in F-spacing. The Super 3 seems like it would have too much low-mid for my taste. After looking at them all. I think I'm gonna go with the Illuminator. I think that's a pretty safe choice.

If you want fat, consider the Sonic Ecstasy as well (if you can get them without that hideous cover, that is). It was made as a fatter illuminator for the JP16. Still tight, but much more wall of sound kinda vibe and nicer compression imo.

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Re: Replacement Pickups For Lithiums

Postby WickedFuzz » Sun Sep 23, 2018 7:57 am

HarlowTheFish wrote:If you want fat, consider the Sonic Ecstasy as well (if you can get them without that hideous cover, that is). It was made as a fatter illuminator for the JP16. Still tight, but much more wall of sound kinda vibe and nicer compression imo.

Nope. They only come in F-spaced and with that ugly pickup cover.


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