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Iron1
Metal newbie

Joined: Sat Nov 24, 2012 8:04 am
Posts: 73
Location: United States
PostPosted: Tue Dec 25, 2012 8:08 am 
 

Merry Christmas everyone.

I got this as a gift: China made Warlock w/ bolt on neck, BC Rich Pickups, standard bridge & cheap tuners Click to see pic

And, it plays very nice for a cheap BC Rich, but I'm trying to decide where to begin to make it better. I'm pretty certain I'm going to swap out the tuners with a set of Grovers, and see about lowering the action, but I'm not sure if I want to change out the pickups and other electronics.

I figure for a few hundred bucks I can make it play and sound just as nice as the new NJs they're selling at Guitar Center, but would like some experienced advice on where to start, what to replace and what not to.

Ideas?
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ShaolinLambKiller
King Asshole

Joined: Fri Dec 07, 2007 6:10 pm
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Location: United States
PostPosted: Tue Dec 25, 2012 9:41 am 
 

Get an HM-2 pedal and chug out some swedish buzzsaw. No joke they are perfect for that with just the stock everything.
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infinitenexus
Metalhead

Joined: Tue Jan 22, 2008 2:35 am
Posts: 1939
PostPosted: Tue Dec 25, 2012 10:01 am 
 

New Tuners, new pickups, lower the action as much as you can without it buzzing. Maybe swap the nut for a graphite nut, or a bone nut. That's about the best you can do, but that will basically turn it into a new guitar.
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kingnuuuur
Metalhead

Joined: Thu Apr 24, 2008 3:35 pm
Posts: 2124
PostPosted: Tue Dec 25, 2012 10:48 am 
 

What I would do:

1. Adjust the neck tension if it's off, then the action and intonation. Shouldn't be too painful.

2. Check the fretboard to see if there are any irregularities in fret levels and sharp frets.
Do the note bending test: Properly bend every note on the fretboard and see if there are any notes that die off prematurely or that won't sound at all, and see if the strings are bending smoothly. Note where there are problems so that you can take care of them for later.

3. If you don't like the sound of the current pickups, change the electronics to actives like SD Blackouts or EMGs. That way you're changing the pickups and all the innards. However, first make sure that you can fit a 9V battery in the pickup cavity before proceeding. (Note: I personally like the SD solderless system)

4. Change the nut and bridge in case they're causing problems like buzzing, slipping, binding... However, note that sometimes just carefully filing the nut and bridge saddle slots can fix those.

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xpsychoblissx
Metal newbie

Joined: Sat Dec 20, 2008 11:18 am
Posts: 294
Location: Phoenix, AZ
PostPosted: Tue Dec 25, 2012 1:47 pm 
 

infinitenexus wrote:
New Tuners, new pickups, lower the action as much as you can without it buzzing. Maybe swap the nut for a graphite nut, or a bone nut. That's about the best you can do, but that will basically turn it into a new guitar.



+1 on that, man... Those are pretty much the biggest things that affect the quality of a guitar. If you ask my opinion, active pickups take away from the natural sound of the guitar, but in this case that would be a good thing. lol I actually did all of these things with a Hohner Flying V that I had. I swapped out the bridge pickup with a Seymour Duncan Blackout, got a new nut, and set it up the best I could. It was actually a really good metal guitar for about $150 total! lol
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infinitenexus
Metalhead

Joined: Tue Jan 22, 2008 2:35 am
Posts: 1939
PostPosted: Tue Dec 25, 2012 8:35 pm 
 

That's a big debate in metal, passive versus active pickups. I personally prefer passive pickups, but I think the majority of the metal community prefers actives. I have to admit, enhanced output and lower noise is pretty appealing at times, but to me nothing can be the sound of an old Ibanez V5 pickup. Huge output, huge sound. Good luck finding them though, lol. For strictly metal, you can't really go wrong with an EMG or Blackout in the bridge position. Screw the neck pickup, that thing hardly ever gets used anyways, haha.
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somefella
Veteran

Joined: Sat Dec 20, 2008 11:57 pm
Posts: 2508
Location: Singapore
PostPosted: Wed Dec 26, 2012 5:20 am 
 

I personally feel aggressive passives are the very best pickups for metal. Unless you favour the super sterile, zero-dynamic sounds of latter-era Behemoth or the new Dying Fetus album, passive pickups generally sound better because they let the nuances of your playing shine through. Heaviness is not an issue, when recording you layer your guitars so they sound much fatter anyway. Besides, most passive pickups used for metal are fucking heavy anyway with the right setup. Invaders and JBs are awesome for death metal. Lots of people like the X2N too. I personally don't, because I find it a bit too trebly and harsh, but it's a good pickup, no doubt about that.
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Iron1
Metal newbie

Joined: Sat Nov 24, 2012 8:04 am
Posts: 73
Location: United States
PostPosted: Wed Dec 26, 2012 7:07 am 
 

infinitenexus wrote:
New Tuners, new pickups, lower the action as much as you can without it buzzing. Maybe swap the nut for a graphite nut, or a bone nut. That's about the best you can do, but that will basically turn it into a new guitar.


This is what I was thinking of doing, thanks for confirming it.

Looking at a set of Grover tuners they have at Guitar Center, and combing Craig's List for some used guts.

As for the pups, that's a whole other topic. LOL. I got a Dimarzio DP100 for my Ibanez, so that should thicken the sound on that a bit, but when I record, this Warlock is the one I expect to have all the fat, bottom end from. Kinda leaning towards the EMG 81, or the Duncan SH10.

My bass sound is distorted with the classic Peavey presence, so I want the two guitars to build over that with the Warlock holding he middle ground and the Ibanez adding all the crisp crunch.
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xpsychoblissx
Metal newbie

Joined: Sat Dec 20, 2008 11:18 am
Posts: 294
Location: Phoenix, AZ
PostPosted: Wed Dec 26, 2012 1:05 pm 
 

Yea, pickups are definitely a preference thing, but no matter what you buy will almost surely be an improvement over the factory installed pickups. You could always have your two favorite types of pickups on one guitar and just double or triple track your guitars when you record...
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infinitenexus
Metalhead

Joined: Tue Jan 22, 2008 2:35 am
Posts: 1939
PostPosted: Wed Dec 26, 2012 7:35 pm 
 

Oh, and if you're going to get new pickups, I'd like to make a suggestion: Before you take your guitar to a tech to have new ones installed (or before you do it yourself, if you choose to go that route) spend 10 bucks on some copper shielding tape/paper stuff, and use it to line your electronics cavity, the back of your control cavity cover place, and the pickup cavities. That can help lower hum, buzzing, and interference, which is very important when using high output pickups through a high gain amp.
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Iron1
Metal newbie

Joined: Sat Nov 24, 2012 8:04 am
Posts: 73
Location: United States
PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2012 7:15 am 
 

infinitenexus wrote:
Oh, and if you're going to get new pickups, I'd like to make a suggestion: Before you take your guitar to a tech to have new ones installed (or before you do it yourself, if you choose to go that route) spend 10 bucks on some copper shielding tape/paper stuff, and use it to line your electronics cavity, the back of your control cavity cover place, and the pickup cavities. That can help lower hum, buzzing, and interference, which is very important when using high output pickups through a high gain amp.


I just checked and it actually has that on the back of the cover plate already, but not in the cavity itself. It needs new guts, so when I get to that point, I'll definitely line the cavity too. Thanks for the advice.

Dig your OSR disc, BTW. Great job for a OMB.
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Zodijackyl
Lazy Wizard

Joined: Wed Apr 30, 2008 5:39 pm
Posts: 4796
Location: United States
PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2012 4:22 pm 
 

I played a stock Bronze Warlock for many years. My advice is to not change the tuners, pickups, or any other hardware. A new set of pickups could cost as much as the guitar (especially if you don't install them yourself, which you should learn to do). These guitars are pretty good for what they are stock, and you won't see gains proportionate to the price for putting new hardware on it.

You're really lucky to have a string-thru Warlock, the old wrap-around bridges were horrendous and were a full inch off the guitar, which set me back a long way in positioning my wrist and picking properly. Adjust the action, learn everything you need to know about action and intonation before working on it (most importantly, let the neck set for a few minutes every quarter turn of the truss rod if you're not experienced with it). There are plenty of good resources on intonation, action, and setup.

infinitenexus wrote:
Oh, and if you're going to get new pickups, I'd like to make a suggestion: Before you take your guitar to a tech to have new ones installed (or before you do it yourself, if you choose to go that route) spend 10 bucks on some copper shielding tape/paper stuff, and use it to line your electronics cavity, the back of your control cavity cover place, and the pickup cavities. That can help lower hum, buzzing, and interference, which is very important when using high output pickups through a high gain amp.


I recommend this. I also had a grounding wire connected to the bridge to reduce buzz, I forget how I had that set up though.

ShaolinLambKiller wrote:
Get an HM-2 pedal and chug out some swedish buzzsaw. No joke they are perfect for that with just the stock everything.


The best investment you could make to go along with a Warlock, along with an old Peavey Bandit 112 or a Peavey Special 212.

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ShaolinLambKiller
King Asshole

Joined: Fri Dec 07, 2007 6:10 pm
Posts: 11812
Location: United States
PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2012 7:23 pm 
 

Yea I just used a stock Bronze Warlock for Draug's first ep. the two follow ups I used different guitars and I'm not as happy with the results.
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xpsychoblissx
Metal newbie

Joined: Sat Dec 20, 2008 11:18 am
Posts: 294
Location: Phoenix, AZ
PostPosted: Sun Dec 30, 2012 12:16 am 
 

Really? I've spent quite a bit of time with the Bronze level guitars and hated how "mushy" the pickups sounded...even with the amp tone really brightened up. Just not enough clarity.
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ShaolinLambKiller
King Asshole

Joined: Fri Dec 07, 2007 6:10 pm
Posts: 11812
Location: United States
PostPosted: Sun Dec 30, 2012 12:49 am 
 

Yea with the HM-2 pedal it's just right... but I also like shit that's fucking raw as fuck and dirty and diseased sounding.

I wouldn't use it for running through my guitar amp normally cause the pickups and the tone just isn't there at all.
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Kveldulfr
Metalhead

Joined: Thu Feb 16, 2012 12:01 pm
Posts: 2283
Location: Chile
PostPosted: Sun Dec 30, 2012 3:08 am 
 

I had the very same guitar once and I liked it so far, especially for black metal. Get a good distortion pedal and caliber it (usually the pickups comes too low compared to the strings height). It's not a guitar that deserves to waste much money on it, if you feel like it's a bad one, get a better guitar altogether.
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Iron1
Metal newbie

Joined: Sat Nov 24, 2012 8:04 am
Posts: 73
Location: United States
PostPosted: Sun Dec 30, 2012 7:53 am 
 

I love the guitar as it is, but when swapping back and forth between it and my Ibanez, there's definitely a sound integrity difference in them. The Warlock seems to waver in the sound, if that makes sense, like the signal just isn't as strong as the Ibanez. (on the distortion pedal subject, I use a Line 6 floor pod, switching back and forth between the Mesa Boogie treadplate model and the JCM 800 distortion, which both shred.)

What I'm after is to take a guitar I love, that only cost $150 and turn it into something that competes with my $800 Ibanez. It plays just about as well after I lowered the action, but the electronics are weak and it doesn't stay in tune quite as well, which is why I was figuring on putting new tuners, pickups and guts in it. It does sound beefy and brutal as it is, but I figure for a little more money it could really rip.

I can get the Grover tuners for less than $50, and pickups & guts for less than $150 (craigslist), which I figure makes the total investment less that $400 for a guitar that will rival my Ibanez. Just figured everyone one here would have some great advice for doing it, which y'all have.

Zodijackyl wrote:

You're really lucky to have a string-thru Warlock, the old wrap-around bridges were horrendous and were a full inch off the guitar, which set me back a long way in positioning my wrist and picking properly.

The best investment you could make to go along with a Warlock, along with an old Peavey Bandit 112 or a Peavey Special 212.


I specifically was looking for a string thru, glad to know that was the better choice. Those warp-arounds just looked like cheap crap. I used to have a Peavy Butcher head back in the 90s and hated how inconsistent it was. One day it was the best sound ever, the next it would blow chunks. I remember we recorded a 3-song demo over the course of two weeks based on how that amp sounded on any given day. "Dude, come to the studio, the butcher sounds brutal today!" Traded the butcher off for a JCM 900 and never looked back.
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xpsychoblissx
Metal newbie

Joined: Sat Dec 20, 2008 11:18 am
Posts: 294
Location: Phoenix, AZ
PostPosted: Sun Dec 30, 2012 12:55 pm 
 

The good thing about getting higher output pickups (passive or active), is that you can dial in a tone that's more like lower output pickups if you wanted to. The same can't be said about the factory pickups--you can't dial in a good high output tone (with good clarity and punch) with crappy pickups.
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Zodijackyl
Lazy Wizard

Joined: Wed Apr 30, 2008 5:39 pm
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Location: United States
PostPosted: Sun Dec 30, 2012 2:22 pm 
 

Iron1 wrote:
I used to have a Peavy Butcher head back in the 90s and hated how inconsistent it was. One day it was the best sound ever, the next it would blow chunks. I remember we recorded a 3-song demo over the course of two weeks based on how that amp sounded on any given day. "Dude, come to the studio, the butcher sounds brutal today!" Traded the butcher off for a JCM 900 and never looked back.


Sounds like a blown tube, I could've helped you if I knew you in the 90s! :P

xpsychoblissx wrote:
The good thing about getting higher output pickups (passive or active), is that you can dial in a tone that's more like lower output pickups if you wanted to. The same can't be said about the factory pickups--you can't dial in a good high output tone (with good clarity and punch) with crappy pickups.


A bit of preamp gain will fix that. Peavey's combo amps with two inputs have hi and lo - hi adds +6db, great for passive pickups like those, while lo works great for EMGs when they're already really high gain. You can also find cheap preamps if you look around - I have a little RadioShack box from the 80s that I found in a thrift store for a few dollars that can do the same thing.

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ShaolinLambKiller
King Asshole

Joined: Fri Dec 07, 2007 6:10 pm
Posts: 11812
Location: United States
PostPosted: Sun Dec 30, 2012 2:29 pm 
 

This makes me want to go fuck around with my old black warlock that I haven't played in probably a decade. I think it's still at my mom's house with like 2 strings on it. haha.
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Voorvader
Metal newbie

Joined: Thu Jan 03, 2013 11:30 am
Posts: 41
Location: United States
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2013 11:21 am 
 

All I'm going to say about this whole passive vs. active pickup thing is that my Jackson King V, the professional level guitar that Dave Mustaine used at one point, has PASSIVE pickups! It all depends what your rig is like; active pickups can muddy up your entire tone, while passive pickups can leave your tone flat. Try both out with your rig before spending the money.
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Iron1
Metal newbie

Joined: Sat Nov 24, 2012 8:04 am
Posts: 73
Location: United States
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2013 11:52 am 
 

Zodijackyl wrote:
Iron1 wrote:
I used to have a Peavy Butcher head back in the 90s and hated how inconsistent it was. One day it was the best sound ever, the next it would blow chunks. I remember we recorded a 3-song demo over the course of two weeks based on how that amp sounded on any given day. "Dude, come to the studio, the butcher sounds brutal today!" Traded the butcher off for a JCM 900 and never looked back.


Sounds like a blown tube, I could've helped you if I knew you in the 90s! :P


That woulda been awesome, but the MoshAll blew the Butcher away. Image
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