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I don't like the sound of the stock active pickups on my Ibanez (ART-320 - Les Paul like body), so I'd like to change them.
I really love the sound of the passive pickups I have on my other guitar (Seymour Duncans SH6N, SHR1N, TB6) so I'm thinking to change my pickups to passive SDs.

But after spending some time on their website, I'm a little confused as pickups are a quite expensive and I don't want to mess up... Once installed the pickups won't probably sound like they sound in the site demos: my guitar is different, the strings & tuning are different (tuned in C with Ernie Ball "Not even slinky" 12-56).

Is there a way to anticipate how they will really sound ?
Do you have any advice on how to choose new pickups without being too surprised by their sound once bought & installed ?

Bonus question : is there any issue with replacing active pickups by passive ones ?

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2 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

If you search on youtube the type and model of the pickup, there are videos people posted with their guitar and sound, which probably are closer than what you get on official site demo. May be that will give you a start.

I would go to a large local guitar stores to try out guitars installed with different pickups. Of course, nothing can replace actually trying them on your guitar.

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The best way to anticipate how they will sound is to conduct a comparison. If you can find a music shop with guitars matching your current and proposed setup that would be ideal, however that may be tricky with an esoteric setup so you might just need to see what is closest.

You might also be able to find videos online demonstrating the sounds.

Doing that should mean no surprises.

Even the site demos will help, don't worry too much about your tuning.

There are issues with the differences between pickups - mostly around output signal level, sustain and signal to noise ratio - but it is very easy to replace pickups if you have a little electronics experience.

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