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2014 Traditional - too bright

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I play in a hard rock/progressive rock band and I have been missing my Les Paul Standard hard since I sold it in 2011 for a PRS Custom 24. The problem I had with the Paul back then was the 12lb weight and the fact that no matter what pickups I shoved in it the guitar was muddy and mushy.

 

I had the opportunity due to a recent sale to pickup a beautiful Traditional LP 2014 in Manhattan Midnight. A color I lusted over back in 2008 when I bought my guitar, and I should have bought it, but wanted a '50's neck instead of the 60's neck, and I've regretted buying my Ice Tea ever since. Now I got my LP.

 

This one is lighter, around 8lbs, and for the most part sounds amazing. It has become my main guitar over throwing my PRS CU24, ES335, and RD Custom. Nothing else plays like it! I love it.

 

Now we get to the problem, the guitar is just too stinking bright. Brighter than my '52 Telecaster replica. The tone is near perfect, it's just fatiguing with how sharp the high end is on the bridge pickup. I could EQ it out, but then all my other guitars turn to mush. The neck pickup was solid when driven, but clean it was muddy and flubby.

 

Since I had a Dirty Finger a Burstbucker Pro 2 hanging around in a draw (came from my SG), so I threw those in. Now I'm on the other spectrum when it comes to the bridge. It's flubby, but it does have a nice low end push. No clarity at all. The neck pickup could still use a bit more top end.

 

Second problem, my other guitarist uses a Gibson LP BFG with an Invader a hot-stack P90. With my recent pickup change the two guitars sound very similar together and we end up fighting for the mix.

 

Putting the stock pickups back in, I cut through the mix like a knife, but way to sharply.

 

 

So I'm looking to change the pickups again.

 

My Gibson ES-335 is my best sounding guitar with a Burstbucker 1 in the neck and a 500T in the bridge. I would like to try the 500T in the bridge of the LP, still fear the BB1 in the neck may not be right.

 

I want to retain the sustain and crunch of a Les Paul, but be brighter than the average LP, without blistering the ears... I was looking at the following ideas:

 

pair of Dimarzio Super Distortion

pair of Bare Knuckle Rebel Yell

BKP Rebel Yell neck / 500T Bridge

BKP Rebel Yell neck / BKP Alnico Nailbomb bridge

 

anyone have any other suggestions?

 

Amp is an Orange Rockerverb 50 into a Marshall 412 cabinet w/2 Greenbacks & 2 Vintage 30's

other guitarist is using a Fender Tonemater into a Mesa 410 with Jensens

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I know this is a silly question, but have you tried rolling off the tone knobs a bit?

 

yes, yes I have. the top end cut that hurts the ears stays there until about 6/7, but at that point I loose too much mid range.

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Think the amp is not the problem. Orange Rockerverbs are very flexible and should match any guitar.

 

When comparing my guitars, my LP Traditional 2013 with the '57 Classic/'57 Classic Plus combo is indeed as close to my Fender Telecaster as to her LP Standard sisters in my arsenal. When comparing her to the other guitars of mine with '57s, I have to say that there is lots of difference in woods and construction. Being far from keeping up with sustain, my maple-bodied SG Supra sounds similar to the Trad 2013, but a Custom Shop LP Standard of mine sounds radically different, deep and hollow. My Epiphone LP Tribute Plus is so close to a Gibson LP Standard with Burstbuckers Pro that they are hard to discern for me when listening to recordings of just the guitars in a double blind test.

 

I don't know the Traditional 2014's '59 pickups in person up to now, but reading your descriptions regarding Dirty Fingers and Burstbucker Pro 2 (which should mean BB Pro bridge, i. e. BB 2 coils, AlNiCo 5 instead of AlNiCo 2 magnets, and reverse wound/reverse polarity to BB Pro neck with BB 1 coils) I understand what you mean. However, it is hard to give any recommendations from far. The results are not easily predictable.

 

In my opinion, tweaking amp settings would be best. I do this since decades, and meanwhile I have circa seventy standard settings in my virtual setup, allowing for recalling the desired tones for lots of guitars, pickups, and pickup selector positions.

 

My favourite when practicing is listening to them all as is, purely amped up without EQing or FX through HiFi speakers, magnetic pickups as well as piezos.

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Think the amp is not the problem. Orange Rockerverbs are very flexible and should match any guitar.

 

When comparing my guitars, my LP Traditional 2013 with the '57 Classic/'57 Classic Plus combo is indeed as close to my Fender Telecaster as to her LP Standard sisters in my arsenal. When comparing her to the other guitars of mine with '57s, I have to say that there is lots of difference in woods and construction. Being far from keeping up with sustain, my maple-bodied SG Supra sounds similar to the Trad 2013, but a Custom Shop LP Standard of mine sounds radically different, deep and hollow. My Epiphone LP Tribute Plus is so close to a Gibson LP Standard with Burstbuckers Pro that they are hard to discern for me when listening to recordings of just the guitars in a double blind test.

 

I don't know the Traditional 2014's '59 pickups in person up to now, but reading your descriptions regarding Dirty Fingers and Burstbucker Pro 2 (which should mean BB Pro bridge, i. e. BB 2 coils, AlNiCo 5 instead of AlNiCo 2 magnets, and reverse wound/reverse polarity to BB Pro neck with BB 1 coils) I understand what you mean. However, it is hard to give any recommendations from far. The results are not easily predictable.

 

In my opinion, tweaking amp settings would be best. I do this since decades, and meanwhile I have circa seventy standard settings in my virtual setup, allowing for recalling the desired tones for lots of guitars, pickups, and pickup selector positions.

 

My favourite when practicing is listening to them all as is, purely amped up without EQing or FX through HiFi speakers, magnetic pickups as well as piezos.

 

 

Normally not a problem, I would just adjust the controls and go for it. but I use my PRS a LOT still (we 9 songs, 4 LP, 4 PRS, 1 RD) as the songs are written for each specific guitar. It's hard to do vibrato bombs on the LP. the PRS does not sound good at all when the amp is setup to sound good on the LP.

 

I may try an EQ pedal. might be the easiest way to fix this...

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I think the EQ pedal will be a good solution. You still may have to tweak your amp ever so slightly , but you may not. Let us know how it works out.

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Normally not a problem, I would just adjust the controls and go for it. but I use my PRS a LOT still (we 9 songs, 4 LP, 4 PRS, 1 RD) as the songs are written for each specific guitar. It's hard to do vibrato bombs on the LP. the PRS does not sound good at all when the amp is setup to sound good on the LP.

 

I may try an EQ pedal. might be the easiest way to fix this...

A bandmate of mine had problems to cut through with his PRS Custom 22 through his JCM 800 100 watt master volume amp and 4 x 12 cabinet with G12-80 speakers although these have lots of midrange punch. He ended with trading his PRS and only plays Fender Strats and Teles meanwhile. Humbucker guitars don't seem to be his style...

 

The only very problem of EQ pedals may be increased noise, in particular with subsequent overdrive. Besides other stompboxes e. g. for wah, chorus and delay, I used two EQ pedals with different settings during the 1980s and 1990s but always with a noise gate post all the FX and pre volume pedal.

 

As for vibrato bombs, I do them rarely but am fine with Floyd Rose systems, on the Alex Lifeson Les Paul Axcess as well as my noiseless SSS and partly piezo modded Fender FR Strats, and my Ibanez RG. There's nothing beyond them in tuning stability, not even a single hardtail guitar... [rolleyes]

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Wow, my neck pup is gin clear.

I do run my tone knob around 6-7. Best pups I have. All guitars and tastes are different though.

Good luck with your quest.

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Another stupid suggestion is lowering the pickup a bit to see if that helps any. Good luck!

 

 

I think this is an excellent suggestion. It has merit. Beyond that, look at the ToneZone DP-155; you may like it.

The effect will always depend on amp and FX settings, too, but lowering a pickup should cause a less dense tone. However, depending on the amount of adjustment, the effect might lag even days until becoming solid. The strings have to adapt to the altered magnetic field strength and proportions. This is also the reason why the results of pickup changes will be reached hours or days after pickup swap, in particular when the polarity is reversed. So reverting a humbucking pickup in a guitar will have to cause a tonal change as well as reverting a magnet.

 

Moreover, it typically takes four to five days after restringing on guitars with humbuckers featuring bar magnets, and up to ten days on guitars with single coil pickups featuring rod magnets, until the final tone and intonation are achieved. As I posted months ago, professional German guitar player Gerhard Gmell aka Barny Murphy used 28 (twenty-eight) Fender Stratocasters of same build when touring during the heyday of his band in the 1980s. So he had three or four per show with the broken-in sound of mature but unplayed strings.

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I did adjust the pole pieces and pickup height. dropping the treble side and raising the poles on the bass side a bit, it did help for sure, but that top end is just like a hot knife right into your ear. Like I said, even my Tele doesn't cut like that! It's pretty crazy. I'm picking up aN mxr 6 band EQ today, so I'll give that a whirl with the stock pickups, could just solve everything right there.

 

I was also thinking of changing cap and volume pot values. Maybe a 250k pot instead of a 500k could be the trick there too.

 

As for the neck pickup, I reversed the pickup so the exposed poles are bridge facing. In the process of doing this I forgot which way the "slope" of the pickup ring goes. it slopes downward toward the bridge for the neck right correct? stupidest question ever

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The volume pots should be 300 kOhms linear stock. In my Traditional 2013, other than in any other Gibson of mine, they used the volume pot with the lower value for the bridge pickup. It has circa 260 kOhms, and the '57 Classic Plus is still very bright. That of the neck pickup reads 330 kOhms. Fairly high tolerances though, not common among linear pots, audio tapered ones usually are more troublesome in this respect.

 

I wouldn't change pot values. Tweaking tone control a bit does exactly the same, and you can go back whenever you need it.

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This has got me stumped. I also have a 2014 trad but was the opposite, I didn't think it was bright enough, and I re-soldered the caps 50's style. Now that I think of it, did you get the guitar brand-spanking new, or did someone else have it before you? I only ask because if a previous owner went to 50's wiring, you may just need to put it back to modern style.

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This has got me stumped. I also have a 2014 trad but was the opposite, I didn't think it was bright enough, and I re-soldered the caps 50's style. Now that I think of it, did you get the guitar brand-spanking new, or did someone else have it before you? I only ask because if a previous owner went to 50's wiring, you may just need to put it back to modern style.

 

brand new!

 

13962997890_f7d5fc2bd9_c.jpgLP-1 by LK_335, on Flickr

 

 

I'm trying it out with the stock pickups and MXR 6 band tomorrow to see if it will smooth it out. Now the difference could also be the amp, the Orange RV50 is normally seen as a dark amp however. I did plug it into my Vox Cambridge 30 at home and it seems to be pretty balanced right now... but we will see what happens at volume in the jam space.

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fixed!

 

So I threw the original pickups back in, but the neck pickup has the pole pieces towards the bridge. I found neck pickup a tad wholesome, so I raised it as far as I could without interfering with the strings, dropped the bass side a bit, and raised the poles. The neck pickup is still deep, but it is articulate and doesn't get muddy. which is very nice.

 

The bridge pickup I dropped down a bit, as far as I could to still have a good balance. I lowered the poles on the treble side and raised them on the bass side. This solved most of the top end issues as it balanced the tone out a bit more, still powerful and bright, but not killing your ears bright, clean anyways. when driven it got to icepick again. I changed the strings out from the D'Addario 11-49 to a 11-52 Dean Markly set with a wound third (.022) and now the icepick is gone! Its a little fatter on the bottom, but retains all the definition, I'll probably reset the bridge treble side poles to inch the top end in just a little bit more. But it works wonderfully.

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