Please suggest some lock-in tuners and pickups for my Chapman ML1

I think my next round of GAS will be about replacing pickups and tuners in my Chapman ML1:


It is S-S-H with coil tap, the available options with the stock wiring are a bit weird but I like them (given by a 3-position switch and a coil tap):

(S= single coil or coil split bridge, H = humbucker)

Tap off:

  • 1 neck S
  • 2 neck S + bridge H
  • 3 bridge H

Tap on:

  • 1 neck S + middle S
  • 2 neck S + middle S + bridge S
  • 3 middle S + bridge S

I think I’d like to go for passive pickups. Strat-style for the single coils, but perhaps with a little less treble than your usual Fender. For the bridge HB I have no idea, but I generally like more warm sounds VS “cutting” ones. Anyway, I’m curious to hear any suggestions.

For the lock-in tuners, just fire away any suggestions you might have!

Thanks all,

Tuners: I think that they come in various sizes,

I’d determine the hole size on your guitar and get some locking tuners, they’re wonderful. When I have a neck made at Warmoth I always choose Sperzel, but I’m not sure why.

1 Like

Regarding pickups, I have a question: For a given type/location of pickup, can one be turned into another via EQ? If so, is it worth swapping out pickups? (In other words, if you decide to have a S pickup at a given location, does one brand equal another plus EQ?)

I never tried different pickups, but I use EMG because I want an opamp right there to send out a strong signal.

1 Like

I don’t know! But it would suspect it’s very hard to cancel out excess noise - so I’d guess you might be able to simulate only lower quality pickups via EQ.

For the bridge I would get his one, it’s perfect for your style and taste.

and for the single coils I would look into the used market for some USA made Fender pickups.

1 Like

I think that there are two major paths for you to go down here. One is to change the architecture of your pickup, and the other is just change the pickup, preserving its architecture.

If you keep the architecture (e.g., S from other manufacturer), I don’t think that you’ll get any significant reduction in noise, as I can’t see how quality of materials impacts noise, and I suspect that EQ will turn one brand into another, but I’m not sure.

If you change the architecture of the pickup (for example, Troy seems to be using one of these ?), then the noise should change much more significantly.

One architectural change that I was unfamiliar with is mini-humbucker (, it seems very interesting.

Also keep in mind that if you want to keep a particular architecture (say S) and dramatically reduce noise, active pickups are pretty awesome, because opamps are cheap miracle chips.

Good luck with your hunt! :smile:

1 Like

Sperzel and Grover both make good locking tuners, but check the size of your existing peg holes before selecting. It’s possible to ream the holes larger if you want, but I’d avoid that unless absolutely necessary.

For pickups, unless you know exactly what you want, maybe try a few different cheap pickups from guitarfetish or equivalent? For the price of one SD or DiMarzio, you could try several different guitarfetish pickups and decide which (if any) you like. I’d use that process to find a humbucker I liked, then once I narrowed in on the humbucker, repeat the process for the single coils to find ones that complement the humbucker I picked.

1 Like

Counterpoint to myself:

Identify the biggest-selling aftermarket pickups in the world from the big name manufacturers. Whittle down to a “top 5” or so that seem generally compatible with the type of sound you want. Try to audition your “top 5” as factory equipment on guitars in a store, ideally on the exact same amp, in the same room, on the same day. Choose one of them.

Chances are, if you ever need a backup guitar in a pinch, it will be relatively easy to find one equipped with the name-brand pickup you’ve selected. It’s also highly unlikely that a long-time big seller will ever get discontinued, so if your guitar is lost/stolen/destroyed, availability of nearly-identical replacement pickups is almost guaranteed.

1 Like

I was reflecting: I think that the bass guys are far more advanced than the guitar guys in terms of hardware, as the bass guys use active pickups and parametric EQ on their bass, so they can really sculpt the tone. EMG has some active tone knobs that are pretty interesting, and they’re also available for guitar, and that might be something worthy of consideration, or another such product:

1 Like

Probably the best known guitarist like this is Uli Roth. There’s a gear interview where he talks a lot about the active tone circuitry on his guitar, and how often he adjusts it. Can’t help but wonder how the sound guys he works with feel about it.

Edit: On the parametric EQ front, I think that’s what the “tone matching” feature on gear like the Axe-Fx is all about.

1 Like

I recall watching a Rig Rundown (Premier Guitar) about ZZ Top, and each guitar that Billy Gibbons plays in a show has a unique ID number that is used to lookup a precomputed and stored EQ that makes it roughly match his benchmark guitar, Mistress Pearly Gates. They didn’t really explain why, but I assume it is to keep his tone reasonably consistent but still have visual interest.

1 Like