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Les Paul Sanity Check....

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by utahgimme2, May 21, 2011.

  1. utahgimme2

    utahgimme2 Supporting Member

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    I wanted to get a TGP sanity check to see if I am chasing a tone from my Les Paul that I will never find. Here's my situation....

    I have an '88 Les Paul Custom ("Black Beauty"). I had my guitar guy do an amazing fret job and replace the stock pickups with a Seymour Duncan Pearly Gates (bridge) and a '59 sh-1 (neck).

    I play through a Fender combo and drive the amp with pedals to get a really nice overdriven sounds with my LP.

    My issue is the clean tone! I really need a super clean sparkly tone for funk type sounds and early 70's Grateful Dead type sounds.

    I was thinking about swapping the SD's out for some new pickups to help with the clean tones. Thinking either Lollar Imperials or some WRC DarkBursts.

    I guess my question is....is a Les Paul a good choice for clean tones? Should I continue to invest in trying to get my LP to sound like what I think it should sound like or should I sell and buy another guitar?

    Any ideas are appreciated or if anyone has killer clean tones from a LP - any tips would really help. Thanks.
     
  2. bluesjuke

    bluesjuke Disrespected Elder

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    I would look towards the amp.
    What exactly are you using?
     
  3. utahgimme2

    utahgimme2 Supporting Member

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    ^^ I am using a Fender Blues DeVille 410 (i think it's a '94). It sounds amazing with my Strat so I am not sure it is the amp.
     
  4. paintguy

    paintguy Long Hair Hippy Freak Silver Supporting Member

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    How how about some coil taps?

    Darkbursts would probably be an improvement as well.
     
  5. grateful.ed

    grateful.ed Member

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    Early 70's Jerry played a Strat, Bobby played a 335
     
  6. Balok

    Balok Member

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    Coil taps will add a great deal of sparkle. I put variable taps (disabling the tone control) on any guitar I own before I even play it. I usually leave mine almost all single coil, but not quite, for a much more open, livelier sound than full on buckers.
     
  7. utahgimme2

    utahgimme2 Supporting Member

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    I just did some reading on coil taps. This might be something I would consider. Thanks for the suggestion.
     
  8. mhuxtable

    mhuxtable Member

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    The amp is fine....drop a Seymour Duncan Seth Lover in that LP and you will find beautiful cleans. I did!
     
  9. Pietro

    Pietro 2-Voice Guitar Junkie and All-Around Awesome Guy

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    Try lowering your pickups first... seriously...
     
  10. smolder

    smolder Gold Supporting Member

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    I have spent the last couple of months chasing/studying Jerry's tone from the mid to late seventies. Have a tone of recordings and his tone with the jerry garcia band is remarkably better than with the dead (though I kind of prefer the dead's music overall). You can skip some of the hardcore years with Hopkins on keys. The band is built around his stuff and his tone. Here is what I've found...

    I have two LP guitars. The first is an R8 with jmrolph 58's or 59's. The second is a mohagany top agile with a maple neck and lollar low winds. Either works. What you need is a relatively low output humbucker with crystal clear chording. Both of these combinations work for me... if...

    With nearly any silverface fender amp (except maybe a bassman), put jbl's with it. E110 or E120's are best as they are what he used. If you can have two, do that. Run one more clean than the other, and the cleaner one with a healthy dose of reverb. Since you are going to stay on the neck pick up... volume between 3-5 (attenuate as you need), treble near 10 and bass nearly to zero. Use a boost or overdrive if you need to get that lead tone, but use the volume knob on the guitar to really clean up those rhythm parts... with a bit of an edge of course.

    I have this working pretty well with a BMR and 2 e110's along with a vibrolux reverb with weber vintage speakers. I am also working to get a pair of princeton/princeton reverbs in the same range for low wattage. Touch with the pick is huge. Have fun... that is some seriously great tone and good playin.
     
  11. DGTCrazy

    DGTCrazy Moderator de Emporio Staff Member

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    Why not back all of your Bass and most mids off the amp, then use your tone (back it off about 1/4) control to fatten the tone up? I should sparkle real nice after that.
     
  12. smolder

    smolder Gold Supporting Member

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    +1..
     
  13. Pietro

    Pietro 2-Voice Guitar Junkie and All-Around Awesome Guy

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    Btw... Les Pauls aren't known for "sparkle" anyway...

    You need a strat... (in addition, not instead... of course... this is TGP... "more gear" is always the solution...)
     
  14. smolder

    smolder Gold Supporting Member

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    I respectfully disagree. Garcia used two humbuckers, in the middle and bridge position, and a single coil in the neck. Since that era many winders are getting really great chord clarity out of the neck position. Don't just imitate what Jerry was doing with somewhat limited pickups 10-20 years ago. If you prefer playing a strat, cool... you can probably find a way to get that tone.
     
  15. utahgimme2

    utahgimme2 Supporting Member

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    Glad to hear people are getting good cleans out of their LP's. Thanks for the advice.

    I think I am going to get a set of low wind Lollar Imperials and look into coil tapping.
     
  16. jp1977

    jp1977 Member

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    learn to use your guitars volume knob
     

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