Guitar/pickup tone - HELP NEEDED!!!

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by groovington, Feb 28, 2012.

  1. groovington

    groovington Member

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    This weekend I had my guitar tech install a loaded pickguard from D. Allen pickups ('69 Voodoo's) on my Clapton Strat. My tech took out all the original electronics so all that is in the guitar are the new electronics/pickups and new pickguard. It definitely is an upgrade from the noiseless pickups and gets me closer to the real strat tone, but it's just too muddy. I even have the bass turned all the way down on my amp. Any advice on what to do to tame the muddy/bass tone and bring out more of the highs and mids to get the quack I want to achieve the classic early to mid 70's Clapton tone from 461 Ocean Blvd. and Layla/asst. love songs?
     
  2. SceroGuitars

    SceroGuitars Member

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    Only thing I can think is maybe pickup height . . . Sadly, they may just not be a good match for the guitar. I'm having the same issue with my Strat
     
  3. southpaw66

    southpaw66 Member

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    I can't imagine any strat pickups sounding muddy. I have lollars, bare knuckle, stock fenders from japan, mexico and usa - all are bright, light and quacky.

    Two questions;
    1) which amp are you using
    2) could it possible you have a partial short to ground in one of your cables?
     
  4. groovington

    groovington Member

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    Just adjusted the pickups and its getting closer to what I want. Considerably had to bring up the neck pickup, especially on the bass side so it's basically level. Actually lowered the middle pickup just slightly as I read somewhere that lowering it can help improve the "quack," and left the bridge p/u where it is. The tone got less muddy, especially when clean, but still too much with some overdrive. The thing that is still getting to me is that there is little difference between the tones on some of the pickup selector positions. Also, the neck pickup now is definitely louder than all other 4 positions.
     
  5. groovington

    groovington Member

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    Sorry I missed your post when I replied to the other.

    1) I'm using a Mesa Boogie MkIII, so its not that. I actually was able to get the guitar to sound pretty good on the Mesa yesterday by lowering the bass to 1 and not using the "pull" knob functions that would fatten up the single coil pickups, but the tip-off to me was how bad it sounded in my Fender Champ 600 and Egnater Rebel 20.

    2) I don't think so because I kept switching between the Clapton strat and my California series strat to compare the tones.

    So pickup height was part of it, but I'm still not all the way to the tone I want! Does anyone know if lowering the value of the tone capacitor would help? Or maybe using a treble bypass on the volume knob?
     
  6. Andygee

    Andygee Silver Supporting Member

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    I have similar issues with my Bill Lawrence noiseless p/u set.....muddy only in the bridge/middle and middle/neck positions. Individually they sound just right.
     
  7. robertkoa

    robertkoa Member

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    Sounds like in the muddy positions they may be added together in series rather than the clearer parallel-you might want to check- especially if there is an increase in output in those positions.
     
  8. southpaw66

    southpaw66 Member

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    I just discovered a partial short on my main guitar lead where the only thing keeping the live and shield apart was the oxide on the copper - but it only showed up a problem on one guitar as a sort of tone roll off (acted like a capacitor) due to the angle of the flex . Also I've had problem on jacks where the inner black "plastic" conductive layer touches the live lug for a similar tone roll off effect.

    However, it sounds like a guitar wiring problem; could again be a partial earth short, bad solder, or just connected wrong. It really should sound pretty much like a Strat and muddy is never something I associate with Strats.

    For high gain (you don't say how overdriven) I actually prefer bridge+middle with the tone rolled right off (at 0). Gives a nice tight crunch for high gain.
     
  9. cowboytim

    cowboytim Member

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    I believe it may be your new electronics. What kind of pots and caps did you use?
    I've always been warned by R&S Guitarworks and WCR that the wrong (low quality CT) pots and caps will make a guitar muddy.....I'd start by calling R&S and tell them your complete combo, They may have some suggestions.
     
  10. stratneck

    stratneck Member

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    I would look into the tone capacitor, what the value is...
    Huge differences from one to another, one can make your guitar muddy,other may bring
    the real strat sound, something to look into.
     
  11. burningyen

    burningyen Vendor

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    Take it back to your tech and ask him to go over it again. It shouldn't be too hard to troubleshoot.
     
  12. gillman royce

    gillman royce Member

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    Blackie was a parts caster of three different strats - sorry I don't remember which pups; on Derek he used a tweed Champ going through mARSHALL 4X12
     
  13. groovington

    groovington Member

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    The partscaster comment is why I really don't mind changing the pickups. Especially since I have come to realize that when Fender came to him and made his signature guitar and put those lace and noiseless pickups in the guitar at some point, they really ruined what was his great tone that he had in the 70's.

    I contacted David Allen and he gave me some good advice. I copied this little part of his email to me that explains how/why many think these pickups I ordered sound best almost even with the pickguard.

    "Most of my sets sound better lower then Fender because I use higher quality build wire and higher quality magnets and the have more charge."

    He was right! Once I started lowering them they just sounded better and better. Got it to a point where I liked the neck and middle so much that the bridge was lacking. So I lowered the bridge, and now I have 5, check that 7 pickup positions (elected for the push/pull option to add the neck to the bridge or bridge/middle selections) that really sound different and are all very usable. Gotta say now that I love these pickups, and now I kind of want to try a different set of his pickups to replace the tex mex pickups in my California series strat.
     

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