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Pickup upgrade questions. Cover or open face?


I.C.Graves

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OK, I just realized that I previously posted in the wrong section. Now, how do you delete a topic?

 

Hello. I just purchased an Epiphone Les Paul Custom Silverburst. After receiving it I found the strings were buzzing like crazy (I tune down 1 step). I adjusted the truss rod and bridge to my satisfaction and now the feel of the guitar is good. Although it feels as if the strings are .9's, which seems odd since I was told that Epi's are supposed to come equipped with .10's, which is what I normally play. The pickups/sound on the other hand leave something to be desired. They are screaming and squealing.

 

To be honest I bought the guitar because of the overall feel and look. I assumed that I could replace the pickups and pots (if absolutely necessary) without much trouble. Well, I'm already running into trouble. The recommendations that I've been getting seem to lean toward Gibson 496R and 500T pickups. My concern is that I want nickel/chrome covered pickups but I was told that I would still get nasty feedback if I chose covered pickups over open faced.

 

Can anyone tell me if this is true? Does it make that much difference between covered and open pickups?

 

Here's my deal: I play through either a full or half stack (both 4x12) with either a Peavey Supreme 160 SS head or a Peavey Deuce (tube preamp) head using various pedals including a distortion pedal for overdrive (used 99% of the time). I tune down 1 whole step and play pretty damn loud. I'm looking to upgrade the pickups to something that isn't going to scream like a banshee and that isn't going to get muddy on me but I would prefer chrome/nickel covered pickups.

 

Can you help me??

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Musikron is absolutely right! ALL pickups will get feedback, covered or not, depending on amp settings, volume, distance from speakers etc. I would research the different pickups to see which ones will give you the sound you're looking for before you purchase any.

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If I've got my facts straight, I believe that open-coil hb's may be a little hotter sounding or have a little more presence than covered hb's. However, I understand that wax potting helps to eliminate excessive feedback. I prefer covered pups because open ones tend to get dusty and dirty and the fabric wrapping can come off, among other things. I stand to be corrected if I am wrong...

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The screaming/squealing is called microphonic feedback. Covered pups tend to be more prone to it IF they haven't been properly wax-potted to eliminate pockets of air that sound can resonate in. If you go for covered, you need to make sure they are wax-potted. That will minimise it, but may not prevent it completely.

You may find it helps to get more distortion from your amp settings (or a pre-amp) rather than permanent use of an OD pedal to get your sound. You may also find that the sound difference between stock Epi pups and the more expensive Gibson pups is pretty indistinguishable once you add all that gain and distortion. I've got those Gibson ceramics on an Epi LP but I'm playing clean 40% of the time, slight crunch 40%, and high gain 20% of the time. On the high gain setting there's little difference.

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Thanks for the help. I will check back to see if there are any other posts. I'm hip on wax potting and microphonic feedback. Every pup option that I've looked into claim to be wax potted, as do the original Epi pickups from the factory. From what I can gather, the stock Epi pups are based on the Gibson classic '57's. If that's the case then I would imagine the Gibson's won't do me any favors either.

 

As far as amp settings go, I'm pretty much sticking with what I have. I don't want to get the OD from the amp because I like to have a completely clean sound when i switch off the distortion pedal. I have absolutely no problem in this area (feedback) with my Warlock with stock pickups nor did I when I had a Bich with EMG's. Even my G-310, with stock open coils, can be tamed just enough to be on the edge of squeal but this LP has to be brought down in volume considerably to get rid of the noise.

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