I like loud much of the time... and I mean loud... real loud... intolerably loud... as in you put in the CD and almost every metalhead in the room starts begging you to turn it off before their ears and the stereo gets ruined... but I also like versatility. So, I guess you could say, I'm in search of the happy medium.
I'm getting the impression that if I had a "Nuclear Holocaust that Destroys All Life on Earth" humbucker in the bridge and a "Flaming Satan Dungeonmaster Pitchfork Up Your @$$" humbucker in the neck and a "Reamer Screamer Beg-For-Mercy-But-You-Ain't-Gettin'-None" single coil in the mid-position...
...it would only be good for the heavy pukey metally sludge type stuff, and be too... uhhhhhhhh... uncontrollable and chaotic - or "dirty", if you will - for everything and anything else (ethereal goth, jazz, surf rock, rockabilly, 1950s heavy Link Wray blues, etc.). As much as I might dig that kind of dirty and loud, that's not what I want 24/7.
At the same time, I like my "clean" with plenty of "grit." As in, on the fence between clean and dirty: clean enough where the inborn tone of the guitar itself (the wood, the hardware, the strings, etc.) is entirely discernable and will make tone enthusiasts nod with at least some token approval...
...but dirty enough that it's still "ominous", if you will. As in, I give it a strum on the cleanest setting and everyone knows it's not a guitar meant for backing up Michael Bolton or for noodling in a 'smooth jazz' quintet, or for grooving along with Phish or the Grateful Dead on one of their down-key "mellow out, maaaaan" tracks.
As in, they know that with but a flick of a switch, the weaker members of the audience will call up their attorneys within minutes of their having fled the venue, with ear blood having stained the collars of their polo shirts and their own chunkless vomit having covered them from chin to shoe.
(If anybody knew of the Swans, or knows who Merzbow is, they'll know what I mean. About the barfing and the lawsuits, I mean.)
I have read that the Seymour Duncan "Parallel Axis Distortion" humbucker accomplishes this: if played clean it sounds unexpectedly good but has a distinct dirty edge to it. I wonder if the Bareknuckle "Nailbomb" would also accomplish this (the one humbucker I covet most). As in, go from earth shattering to being plenty clean but with a notably jagged edge.
Well, in short, my question is this: to get that "clean with grit" tone I've described, does it matter then what kind of pickups I get? Or not?
And secondly, to get the sort of loudness and distortion I describe; it would really be nothing more than a flick of a switch? As in, whatever pedal(s) or amp (with the right specs) I get would do the job 100%? The pickups need not figure into it? At all?
Or, like... say for whatever reason I had a 3-single-coil guitar (like a normal Strat) and put in "Smooth Cool Groove" jazz pickups in it (something they'd use for smooth jazz, quiet storm, easy listening, etc. or, rather, something that's marketed towards that crowd), would that not work, regardless of pedal/amp setup?
Thanks in advance. I feel I'm getting closer and closer to figuring out what kind of setup I need, thanks largely to y'all. :)