lower gain pickups in ES 335?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by griff3, Feb 15, 2009.


  1. griff3

    griff3 Member

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    I've had my 335 for a few months now and just don't like the pickups. They are just too high output and a little too muddy on the low end. It must be at least twice the output of my Suhr Classic Strat, and no amp I own can stay clean with the output full up on that guitar.

    I've seen some suggestions for WCR pickups (I think that's what they were called) but I didn't see anyone specifically asking for lower output so I wanted to see if you 335 players would recommend that pickup.

    I play a lot of styles of music so I want a well rounded tone with a little bit more top end than the stock pickups (don't know what they are honestly) and/or a tad less low end, though not much. In fact, with lower output the bottom end will probably take care of itself.

    Thanks in advance for any and all suggestions.
     
  2. bluehugh2

    bluehugh2 Gold Supporting Member

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    Well, I hear ya!!! The thing you want is an early 60s Patent Sticker pickup... HOWEVER... these are rare and expensive... many $$$!!!
    As a commited 335 guy, I also seek the same thing. I really like the Peter Florance "Voodoo" pickups. He has a "60s" set. I would suggest emailing and getting him to custom wind a set with your description. Jason Lollar makes a "Low Wind" set but I haven't tried them. I have had 3 or 4 sets of WCRs and I wouldn't choose them for your purpose. Haussel - German maker - has a low output set that's great, but they are hard to find. Some low output sets are clear but lack punch... I would want clarity and punch in a humbucker... Voodoos have that. You can google them. But do get Peter to make the neck pickup low 7k ...
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2009
  3. oscar100

    oscar100 Supporting Member

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    wcr crossroads with darkburst in bridge or for phatter tone goodwoods:banana
     
  4. bluesjunior

    bluesjunior Member

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    Maybe they are just too high?. Try lowering them way down and see what difference that makes first.
     
  5. bluesjuke

    bluesjuke Disrespected Elder

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    I was going to ask about the height.
    Adjusting them can be like a completely different pickup.
     
  6. Seegs

    Seegs Member

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    kind of on the same journey myself with an 87 335...

    right now I hit the jackpot with a set of Tom Holmes H450s...same pup in the neck and bridge one measures 7.04K and I put that in the neck spot and the other measure 7.20K which is now in the bridge...excellent clarity and articulation...

    the Throbak AL2 SLE-limited set is even clearer than the Holmes but I really like the Holmes in my guitar but also have an R8 that needs pickups so I'm gonna have to see where they end up...

    Rick Norman aka Dr. Vintage also makes a Dot set...specifically made for a 335 and I...finances permitting want to try a set of those...

    Chow,
    Seegs
     
  7. bluehugh2

    bluehugh2 Gold Supporting Member

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    Yes, I was going to add Holmes to the list - if they are low output... his set vary a fair bit. Pickup height makes a difference, but, IMHO, the character of the pickup remains essentially the same. I have had several 335s from 1963 - 1966 and fundamentally, those later Patent sticker pickups (later, meaning mid-sixties) sound articulate and clear as a bell... so now, how to replicate that sound in a new pickup??? In my opinion, the WCRs mentioned - while great pickups - will not "get you there" for that ultra-clear sound... they are really variations on a PAF. I had PAFs in my 1959 ES 345 and they were "wooly" and fat (although they were also "articulate") BUT NOT what we're talking about here! Hey, Seegs, have you tried Haussels? They are made in Germany. I had a set that was 6.8-7k.???
     
  8. Seegs

    Seegs Member

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    I agree...lowering the height makes a diff. but you have to like the character of the pickup in the first place...

    the Holmes do that and so do the Throbaks clean...gained up the Holmes stay articulate yet creamy/buttery smooth while the Throbaks while clear...get a bit sizzly for my taste...I'm gonna try the A5 Throbaks and the RNs when I can...

    yeah BH I've tried his single coil strat pups (blues set) and a bud has one of his humbuckers in the neck of his tele (not sure which model) but in both cases I didn't care for em (not articulate enough) but then again he has a lot of different models...

    Chow,
    Seegs
     
  9. Brien

    Brien Member

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    I do not like alnico 5 pups in 335's. Too bright.
     
  10. KRosser

    KRosser Member

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    Tom Holmes doesn't make pickups anymore, yes?

    I've been wanting to try a set of the Voodoo's in mine. While I use it for all kinds of stuff, a 335 is my default jazz guitar of choice, and getting a nice warm fat neck sound that responds to a light touch is pretty important
     
  11. bluesjuke

    bluesjuke Disrespected Elder

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    Yes, Tom Holmes still makes them.
    Tim White doesn't.
     
  12. thesjkexperienc

    thesjkexperienc ^^^ I made this guitar^^^ Silver Supporting Member

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    I was going to put Duncan Antiquities in mine ('88 dot with ebony board), but then I dont know if I play the guitar enough to justify the expenditure. The '57 classics I have are not bad, but what really needs changing is my 300k pots. I dont have the time to do it myself and it is rather expensive to have someone else do it. I have the guitar for sale, but in 2.5 months have no serious bites. I am only selling through craig's list. I dont want to deal with shipping a Gibson and snapping the neck.
     
  13. griff3

    griff3 Member

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    I'm interested in at least giving the pickup height adjustment a try until I can get a new set of pickups.

    I'll definitely look in to some of these. It's amazing that with as long as I've been playing I've never heard of some of these pickup makers.

    Has anyone found a "sweet spot" as far as the height to lower the output while still retaining a decent tone? I pretty much never do the work on my instruments, so I have no point of reference for where to start and what effects will happen from adjusting the height.
     
  14. bluesjuke

    bluesjuke Disrespected Elder

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    Drop them, especially the neck until you get the clarity you want.
    Sometimes that is found with the pu's flush or slightly higher than the rings.

    Afterwards you can also adjust each pole screw as needed to get a good balance across your strings. Some might be ok where they are.
     
  15. tfunster

    tfunster Gold Supporting Member

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    Hey Seegs, my SLE101 Limited Plus set should be here in a week or so. I'll let you know!
     
  16. Steve Gambrell

    Steve Gambrell Member

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    The '57 Classics are as good as any "boutique" pickup out there, and I was told this by one of the "boutique" makers! I've got 'em in my SG, and I wouldn't trade em for any other new pickup. Got unpotted Alnico II Burstbuckers in my 335, put an RS kit in, and it's wonderful! Gibson CAN make a good pickup.
     
  17. Waxhead

    Waxhead Member

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    You say you want a well rounded PUP - but Classic 57's are legenday for being exactly that. ES-335's were made to couple with Classic 57's and that combo has made the 335 the famous/legendary/overpriced beast it is today. I've played in trad jazz bands & seen many clean players with ES-335's, so I find it quite strange anyone would wanna change em for lower output PUP's in that guitar. The Classic 57's I have in 2 guitars produce great clarity and chimy ring once adjusted correctly - just like every PUP needs to be :)
     
  18. skeeterbuck

    skeeterbuck Member

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    FWIW-In the current issue of Tone Quest Report there is an interview with Tom Holmes where he tells about him developing the 57 Classics for Gibson.
     
  19. Seegs

    Seegs Member

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    keep me posted tf...I took the plunge as well...fwiw my 87 came with 57 classics and the neck pup is very muddy and indistinct...not the case wtih the Holmes pups...

    Chow,
    Seegs
     
  20. 335guy

    335guy Member

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    Besides lowering the pick-up height, there are amp "tricks" that can be done to lower the gain. Many amps have two inputs per channel. The second input is often of a lower value and gain. This can clean up you sound by using the 2cd input instead of input one. Also, if your amp uses 12AX7 tubes in V1, you can try a lower value tube, like a 5751. This reduces the gain to the amp. Of course, you will need to compensate by turning the volume up a little. I play a mid 90's 335 with the Classic 57's and cannot think of better pu's for this guitar. They can be clear when played through a clean amp or growl when playing hard through a more rock amp. I'm happy with mine. I do think the SD 59's ( neck pu ) have a slightly more scooped tone, which sounds like what you are looking for.
     

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