How can we make any affordable guitar sound even better? Well, a good place to start is with the pickups! For the beginner and intermediate guitarist, the quality and choice of instruments available today have never been better. Seymour Duncan is a name synonymous with guitar pickups since its inception in the mid-70s – the JB, the Invader, the Antiquity, and the Quarter Pound are all well-known for their incredible tones. Recently, Seymour Duncan released the Psychedelic and the Scooped strat sets. These are a great set of quality pick-ups that can hot rod an entry-level guitar into a tone monster! In this video, we try out the Seymour Duncan Psychedelic and the Scooped strat sets on the affordable Ibanez AZES series guitars and show how upgrading your guitar with these pick-ups can transform your guitar tone!
The Psychedelic set is somewhat like the 60’s strat tone – a little brighter with slightly less output – and is designed to be similar to your favourite fuzz-drenched, wah-into-Marshall-stack psychedelic solo tones (no prizes for guessing who this is a nod to). The Scooped set, on the other hand, brings out the highs and lows of the pickup, with a touch more output, getting you tonally in the ballpark of a certain Texas native’s tube-screamer-into-fender-amp blues tone. Both sound excellent, though I have to say I preferred the Scooped set just a little more (personal preference).
After playing with both the Psychedelic and the Scooped sets on the Ibanez AZES guitars, we were suitably impressed with the quality of the tones we were getting. What we quickly discovered, is that we had in our hands an absolute monster of a guitar, with a great feeling neck and all the beautiful appointments of a high-quality yet affordable instrument and the sort of tone that anyone could go and gig and record with and not think twice about with our new Seymour Duncan pickups. And for a third of the price (no quotation marks needed here… this measurement is true) when if you consider the Prestige line of Ibanez AZ guitars will set you back around $4000 AUD.
If you’re looking for a new guitar, or you have a guitar that you already love to play that needs a bit of an upgrade, before rushing out and spending more than you need to I encourage you to think about changing out the pickups. An entry-level Ibanez, Fender, PRS (anything really) can be truly transformed with some new pickups such as those from Seymour Duncan, Lollar, Fralin or others. Try it out today and you might be surprised at just how good that not-so-good entry-level guitar you have in your hands actually is!