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Active pickups with Boss GT-100

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  • Active pickups with Boss GT-100

    I had someone drop by today with a Boss GT-100 FX processor. He wants to get a Mick Thomson sound - especially the pinched harmonics on the lower strings. I made the point that technique has to come into it, Mick Thomson doesn't use a GT-100 and..... he isn't Mick Thomson.

    In pursuit of this he was asking about active pickups - in particular the SD Blackouts. I tried my own active guitar through his setup and immediately noticed that there was an extreme harshness and a lot of metallic uncontrollable background noise. Pretty much unplayable with no note separation, articulation or playing dynamic - a bit like gated noise. I switched to a passive guitar and realized there was an extreme amount of gain and excessive levels programmed, and too many gain blocks.

    So we called up some factory presets and it sounded a lot better, mainly because the gain was backed off. Then experimented with passive/active pickups. It seems to me that active pickups wouldn't be my first choice with this unit for distortion. Clean settings are much improved, but the distortions don't sound anywhere near as good as (say) driving an amp directly from an active guitar.