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Taming Muddy Sounding Pickups


gearhead
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Well, it certainly did the trick. You could wire in a switch so that you can enable/disable the high pass filter when ever you want.

 

Just for the record, I preferred your sound with no mod on, clean and dirty. Especially the dirty, it sounded low and mean and growly with out the extra capacitor B) . But that's just my opinion and it's based on an mp3 recording played back through my laptop connected to the aux input of my site radio.

 

I wonder if this discovery could be used to stop the sound getting slightly muted when the volume control is down low?

 

edit: I'll have a proper listen later on the desk top PC which is connected to a decent HI-FI

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Hope this helps...

One clip, 3 Gearhead files.

1. Clean (no mods) 2. Clean .047 cap used as filter 3. Clean .01 cap used as filter

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/21424628/Clean%20mix.mp3

 

The only alterations I made were to zero out the DC offset and normalize the volumes to equal settings.

Sorry Gearhead, I didn't have time to do the "dirty" clips.

 

I wonder if this discovery could be used to stop the sound getting slightly muted when the volume control is down low?

Bigneil,

I don't think so. (not positive) For that you need to add a resistor into the normal cap path (kills your cut in a live band situation) IMO

or...

Convert to 50s wiring scheme.

 

Willy

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Just for the record, I preferred your sound with no mod on, clean and dirty.

 

+1, I'm not sure if there's a specific "sound" you're going for, but for general use, I prefer the non-mod version. The 3rd clean clip sounds downright funny to me. Can't put my finger on it but I don't like it. Do you by any chance play "heavy" music Gearhead? Are you tuned to Eb or D?

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+1, I'm not sure if there's a specific "sound" you're going for, but for general use, I prefer the non-mod version. The 3rd clean clip sounds downright funny to me. Can't put my finger on it but I don't like it. Do you by any chance play "heavy" music Gearhead? Are you tuned to Eb or D?

 

 

Ok first, the only thing I had to use to record with was a $10 pc mic, so the quality isn't good (was just trying to get "sound" to compare the different mods). I don't have my other pc set up as a studio unit yet, working on it though.

That guitar is (was) muddy sounding compared to my other guitars, on my amp, in person, with the same settings!

Yes I play heavy music and yes that guitar is tuned 1/2 step low! GOOD EAR!

 

Also, I used cheap Radio Shack 2 for $1.49 caps. The .047uf unit is a polyester-film cap, and the .01uf cap was a ceramic! (May have made a difference in the sound.)

DON'T USE CERAMIC ONES! That was all they had in that value, but it worked for the comparison!

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And Willy, thanks for hooking those clips together! Don't worry about the distortion ones, you can hear the difference better from the clean ones! [thumbup]

 

But I'm sure you can tell that it DID cut some low frequencies from the sound!

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And bigneil, I liked the idea you posted about different caps on a rotary switch. That could be an interesting mod!

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  • 1 year later...
  • 7 years later...

A little more info to add:

I have an Ibanez SZ720  that I installed some SD "Detonator" (HB108 N/B) pickups in. The Duncan Performer Series Detonator is a Duncan Distortion with caps screws, (no retainer under the coils for the normal adjustable pole pieces to screw into) . They look very much like the Invader series pickups. And sound close too. The Invader has 3 ceramic magnets, while the Detonator has one double thick ceramic magnet. And they both have the large headed cap screws on both coils. The cap screws give them a "darker" sound because of the extended magnetic field. That being said, the pickups were very bass oriented in this particular guitar, so I decided to try some mods to see how it affected the tone.

First I tried changing magnets, went to Alnico 5's and 3"s. Really didn't have much effect on tone, they were still very bassy. So I decided to try swapping the cap screws for slug pole pieces. The diameter of the screws are .1875" (3/16"), which is standard size for solid slugs. (These pickups have no retainer under the coils for regular adjustable pole pieces to screw into) I tried swapping only one coil, then both coils (with the Alnico magnets). It seemed to make more difference on the neck unit than the bridge unit. So I left the neck unit with the Alnico mags and solid slugs. I tried the bridge unit with the Alnico and ceramic mags, still pretty bass oriented with any of the magnets. I then decided to take out the 500K volume pot for the bridge PU and installed a 1Meg pot. Now that definitely gave the pickup more bright top end. And I experimented with soldering different resistors across the pot to lower the resistance slightly and see how it affected the tone. Different resistor values gave different results, but basically with a large resistance pot like a 1 Meg, less high frequencies are filtered to ground. That is why Fender single coils use 250K pots, because it cuts a lot of the highs, and Gibson humbuckers use 500K pots, so more highs get to the amp. In the end, I used the 1 Meg pot (with no mods to it), the original ceramic magnet, and one row of solid slugs and one row of cap screws in the bridge pickup. So as you can see, there are a LOT of different modifications that can be made to change the tone (and output) of pickups. If you buy a set of pickups, and they are too bright, or too bassy, you can do some cheap mods to adjust the tone, if you have some soldering skills and the time to do it.

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