G&L S-500 'icepick in the ear'

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by Bodhisattva, Jan 21, 2008.


  1. Bodhisattva

    Bodhisattva Member

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    Have you ever loved everything about a guitar...except the tone?

    The neck, the finish, the weight, the craftsmanship... but the high-end from this thing literally hurts my ears, even at relatively low volume, and even with the treble pot rolled way back.

    I've changed the stock pickups to Lindy Fralin Woodstock 69s.. still high, today i put in Lollar Blackface (which are pretty sweet) but the guitar's tone is still way too trebley(if it ain't a word it oughta be).

    Obviously it's not the pickups. Can the way the volume/tone/pickup selector is wired contribute THAT much to the frequency response?

    I have a stock fender strat right next to it that sounds great, but doesn't have the quality in my opinion. I'd love to get the G&L to sound more like the strat.

    Anyone had a similar experience? Suggestions?
     
  2. Jon C

    Jon C Silver Supporting Member

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    IMO you've gotta use those 2 tone knobs on that one ... the PTB system is a key factor in G&L having it over Fender IMO. I always dial the treble down by about 20% on any good Tele as well as my S-500. I've had Kinman AvN Blues and Bardens in mine and both sounded terrific (w/ treble dialed down to taste).
     
  3. MjCartney

    MjCartney Neo-Maxi Zoom Dweebie Silver Supporting Member

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    I have an Ash body Strat w/maple board that had the ice-pick effect to it. I just couldn't dial it out, that shrillness was ever present - even with the tone rolled off like you're doing. I put on some Graph-Tech saddles & the problem was solved for me. Now it's good & Stratty.
     
  4. Jon C

    Jon C Silver Supporting Member

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    good point... is this an ash/maple guit? if so, that could be it, mine's alder/maple and I rarely like the ash/maple combo because of that spiky tone.

    jc
     
  5. sega

    sega Member

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    Got also a S-500 and to me it sound great, can never have enough treble :)

    The only thing thta I'm not in love with my G&L is that I might change the
    pick ups to something more Fralin like.

    I will surely change parts of the electronic inside, might have to do
    something with the non fender sound, but then again, mine sounds reaaly good, but we are used to hear the warm Fender sound so like I said let's try Fralins and change a few pots here and there to make it sound less trebly.

    Go on Fralin's web page and read the info on choosing a pick up.

    Anyway, never I will sale this S-500, it is as good or better than a Deluxe and the craftmanship of a Custom,

    cheers
     
  6. John Phillips

    John Phillips Member

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    If the guitar has a tonal resonance or frequency that you don't like, it's going to be very hard to get rid of it. I would probably get rid of the guitar.

    A few years ago I ordered a guitar new and unseen, the only time I've ever done that. It was a vintage reissue Rickenbacker 425, one of a limited run and a guitar I'd always loved the look of. It looked great, played great, fitted me perfectly in every way... except that it had an annoying upper-mid 'clang' that I couldn't dial out. I tried different amps, pedals, three different pickups, and even fitted a Bigsby to try to change the resonance of the whole thing - nothing worked, it was something in the wood I think. Very reluctantly, I sold it. I still miss it in some ways, but I couldn't live with it.


    However, I would say that I find Fralin pickups very clangy and icepicky too (as I do with the original G&Ls), although I haven't tried Lollars... so I wouldn't rule out it still being the pickups just yet. Try something different and preferably not intended to sound like a vintage Strat pickup. You may find that a much hotter and darker pickup - adjusted further from the strings so it's not so overpowering - may work much better.

    Maybe :). I did try that with the Rick too - you can get a Gibson P100 in a Rick cover if you really try ;) - but still no luck :(.
     
  7. Bodhisattva

    Bodhisattva Member

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    Thanks guys, that may be it. I like the sound of it acoustically, but plugged in, i just can't handle that shrill tone, especially when you go for a nice upper fret bend on one of the thinner strings.

    Only problem I have is i dropped this guitar and got a nice ding in it... i real nice ding so i may not get much on resale. But i hear ya John. It's all a process of learning what you really like , and i think i've realized i just prefer stratocasters overall.

    I'll change out the pots/switches and report back if I find anything interested.
     
  8. Bodhisattva

    Bodhisattva Member

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    Oh and to answer your question Jon C and Mcartney , i believe it's Alder. Is' Lake Placid Blue so i believe Alder. I think G&L reserves ash for the 'premier finishes' on thos models.

    Maple neck. All the same stuff i have on my strat, just very different tone.
     
  9. Festus

    Festus Supporting Member

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    You might try rewiring the whole business to Vol, neck tone, bridge tone, with all 250K pots. The PTB system uses a 250k vol, 500K treble roll-off, and 1 Meg bass roll-off. To my ears, the PTB setup has a basic tone that is brighter than using all 250K pots.

    The saddles on your s-500 are chrome-plated brass, so changing those won't do much in reducing high end.

    The body is probably alder, but I've run across some G&L solid color Legacy guitars with ash bodies.
     
  10. reentune

    reentune Supporting Member

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    Man, my S-500 sounds anything but shrill. I'd say it was pretty darn fat.
    Stock pickups and all.
    Sorry to hear the trouble.
     
  11. Jet Age Eric

    Jet Age Eric Member

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  12. Bodhisattva

    Bodhisattva Member

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    Marshall 100 watt (reissue) with the treble and presence rolled back to like 3 (3 on the dial, not 3 o'clock)

    but i've also tried it on a Fender Deluxe Reverb and an AB165 Bassman...

    I know what you mean about a fat tone, it goes have great low end, and that's one of the many things i do like about it, however the high end is so piercing that it hurts my ears. Not just unpleasant sounding but actually hurts.

    Good suggestion on changing out the pots. I've got an old fender pickguard and i may just take out the pickup selector and volume/tone pots and put those in the G&L pickguard, if they will fit.

    The ice pick thing aside, it's a great guitar. The neck, the nut, the frets, neck pocket are all just perfect. It almost makes the strat feel like a toy by comparison... but that strat tone is what keeps me playing.

    Thanks
     
  13. NoahL

    NoahL Member

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    Am I wrong, or would the cheapest possible solution at this point be different caps? In fact, if you can solder, get one of those $20 variable capacitor boxes and try all 20 settings! (Well, three or four.) Is it more effective to remove treble by preventing it with a capacitor or by rolling off the treble? Another potentially obvious answer, but a lot of G&Lers lower those MFD pickups pretty low. They're powerful enough to generate a lot tone even when they're low.
     
  14. sega

    sega Member

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    Yep, I think there might be some solution inside the guitar...
    My G&L S-500 sounds great too.
    There must be something wrong in the wiring.
    By the way, the wiring in this guitar his HELL.

    I would consider going to a Fender configuration.
    Soon, I'll buy Fralins and try them on my S-500 with normal
    Fender wiring diagram.
    Not hte fancy stuff that comes with the S-500.

    That is the only grip about my guitar, fancy wiring that I don't really use.
    Apart from that it beats the hell of Fender, wich I also own, so I know.
    And the S-500 pick ups are quieter than Fenders single coils...

    Great guitar.

    [​IMG]
     
  15. johnnyqb

    johnnyqb Supporting Member

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    My S-500 does not have ice picky tone at all. Sounds like something might be wrong with yours.
     
  16. Lucidology

    Lucidology Member

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    Just because of this post ..
    I intentionally played one in a local store & just LUVED the sound, feel & look of it
    If I had the bucks it would have been a for sure purchase ... what a great guitar!!

    Just goes to show how our ears are all so varied ,,,
     
  17. Bodhisattva

    Bodhisattva Member

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    see there.. i may have inadvertently started an ad campaign for G&L :rolleyes:

    nah that's why i want to much to make it work for me, because I love most aspects of the guitar.

    I think the person who mentioned going to a fender wiring config may be onto something.
     
  18. sega

    sega Member

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    Yep,

    Get a tech to fix it.
    Once I change a pick up for a Jeff Beck single -stack and the way I did
    not really love the tone of it.

    Single coils are richer in harmonics.

    So have the pots and all the wiring by a specialist.The money you will invest is a good move.

    This guitar is really good...hope your is as good as mine.

    What colour is yours by the way?
     
  19. Bodhisattva

    Bodhisattva Member

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    Mine is Lake Placid Blue w/Maple neck

    it came with a a pearl pickguard but i'm going to get a tortoise shell or sort of vintage parchment one to replace it

    Truly quality instruments. I probably should have gone for the Legacy rather than the S-500. You live and learn.
     
  20. guitarplayerpr

    guitarplayerpr Member

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    Old thread, but the situation is very, very simple to explain: the PTB system, on G&L's (BOTH S500 and Legacy), have three different pot values. The volume pot is your standard (for single coils, that is) 250K, the treble control is a 500K pot and the bass control is a 1Meg pot. So you can see that the guitar, at its full capacity, will be a BRIGHT guitar. In order to make it sound less bright, go down on the treble control. You will hear and feel the difference.

    If it didn't have those pots, the PTB system would not make any sense at all.
     

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