Tone zone on Ibanez Rg (bridge)
Got this for a basswood bodied Ibanez Rg Prestige for the bridge position.
It replaced a Super Distortion pickup I had for a while. So some of the observations that i made are in comparison with the SD pickup.
I was a bit worried since on paper it has slightly less output than the S.D. Plus the S.D is a legendary pickup for a good reason, so the tone zone had very big shoes to fill. In reality though the difference in output is minuscule and this babe can rock just as hard.
But that's where the pickups part ways. In every other respect they are different. Unlike the the "in yer face" sound of the S.D this pickup has a very sophisticated tone. I didn't think that such an intricate tone was possible on a v high output pickup, i thought you cant have your cake and eat it too, but apparently you can.
The T.Z is very open sounding, playing hard or soft on your pick will make a ton of difference. It is also very sensitive to how and where you choose to pick. It does this equally well for interpreting your fingering hand, you can have your legatos just as pronounced and loud (though tonally different) as picked notes, or have them legatos subtly whimper in that bluesy kind of way.
This results in a very expressive pickup. Play it smooth and soft and it will sound sweet, ritch and heartwarming , get aggressive and hit it hard, it will sear off the top of your scalp/set hair on fire. On these aspects I give the pickup a solid 5/5.
Rhythm: while the volume and tone are at 10, and keeping the amp settings fixed, I can go from that subtle yet colorful "pro" background rhythm tone, the one that doesn't drown out but rather compliments the bass and other instruments, all the way to something that reminds me of Slayer Raining Blood. On this aspect I also award it 5/5
I tried it on clean channel with reverb for classical music (Bach and Chopin). It can get a little too hot in full humbucking mode, you can pluck hard with no issues , but if you just smack/brutalize the strings it actually gets even louder, it feels like your ears will get pierced. This is not necessarily a bad thing because if you want to express something THAT epically, you actually can, but i dont do that in clean only on distortion so its not for me. In coil split mode however, perfection. It really sounds like a legit single coil, sweet, bright and chimy, transparent, simply amazing. In my experience most humbuckers fail miserably once you coild split them, just a few sounded half decent and this is the only one that actually sounded great in coild split mode (even in high gain). On this aspect i give it 5/5.
So why the 4.5 stars? For me personally the Fender American Stratocaster rules the world when it comes to clean sound (and everything else). So it would be illogical to give 5 stars, because then how would I score an equally nice pickup on a STRAT? there is no 6 star rating...