Middle position on Gibsons

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by slyzspyz, Feb 22, 2009.

  1. slyzspyz

    slyzspyz Member

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    Can anyone point me to some great/classic tones (or players known for using) the middle position on Gibsons, particularly on 335's? Especially if said player favours that setting all the time, or a song has a unique tone as a result.
    I've always found it harder to get a distinctive sound with that selection, tends (to my ear) sound a bit nondescript or lifeless.
     
  2. benjammin420

    benjammin420 Member

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    jimmy page ("the ocean" "since ive been loving you"- check out live recordings)
    BB King ("the thrill is gone" "how blue can you get")
     
  3. benjammin420

    benjammin420 Member

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    for me personally, it took alot of experiementing, but eventually you can manipulate the volumes into getting an inbetween tone that you like. I started hearing it more in other players once i figured it out for myself.
     
  4. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    that's one of my favorite tones on any electric, which is why i play pauls and teles, rather than strats.

    the secret with gibsons is to make sure the pots aren't dulling down the tone to the point that middle setting loses its "jangle".

    replacing the stock 300k volumes they usually ship with to 500k audio taper volumes will bring that clarity up.

    for me, the trick was to mod the guitar to only have one volume, then customize my 3-way switch to disconnect both tone knobs when the switch is in the middle. now with only one 500k pot loading that middle setting instead of all four pots, it has all kinds of chime and sparkle, especially when i turn that one volume down a little to clean up my amp.
     
  5. Tone_Terrific

    Tone_Terrific Supporting Member

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    But you have thrown away the honky blends that can be generated using the combined vol and tone pots. Although, I admit they are difficult to hit on the fly.
     
  6. trisonic

    trisonic Member

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    It's a useful position if you are running one or more 100 watt NMV Marshalls flat out.......dunno why but it makes them more controllable, set either the Neck (preferably) or Bridge pick up volume back a tad (then back a little more for non-solos).
    "Guitarist" reckons Eric used this for the "Crossroads" sound. I wasn't there so I cannot comment.

    Best, Pete.
     
  7. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    right, that's the trade-off for my clearer and more easily adjusted middle setting. the distinctions between "neck at 6 1/2 + bridge at 5 3/4" vs. "neck at 5 7/8 + bridge at 6 1/4" were just too hard to hear (and to find in the middle of a song) for me.

    oh, and "honky blends"?

    sounds like some brand of trailer trash cigarettes :p
     
  8. benjammin420

    benjammin420 Member

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    i wish theyd make gibsons that have individual pickup volume and tone controls, and a master volume control. so you could adjust the overall volume without compromising the sweet spot dialed in between the 2 pickups
     
  9. Rock Johnson

    Rock Johnson Member

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    There's a wiring mod on Deaf Eddies' site to do exactly that. You can easily do it by either replacing one tone control or by using concentric pots.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2009
  10. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    the trouble is, now you've got 5 pots loading down the pickups, and an even duller tone.
     
  11. arthur rotfeld

    arthur rotfeld Member

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    Though he plays an Ibanez, the concept is there......Scofield uses that middle position a lot. I think it's his default.
     
  12. Tone_Terrific

    Tone_Terrific Supporting Member

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    How does one do that on a Gibson? Special switch?
     
  13. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    yeah, i took a stock gibson 3-way and added 2 extra leaves from another 3-way, turning it into a DPDT switch.

    the two inside leaves (which touch the larger output leaves when the switch is in the middle) are from the pickups, and the two new leaves (which sit outside the output leaves and don't touch the output leaves unless the toggle is thrown one way or the other) are to each tone pot.
     
  14. slyzspyz

    slyzspyz Member

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    OP here, have been away awhile.
    Thanks for the suggestions, some interesting reading there. Now that I think of it, I don't use the middle position on my ASAT much either, and that's single coils, one volume and tone. So I don't know if it's all to do with the load on the pots as Walter suggested, that is, to my ears' preference.
    Could it be the wide spacing between pickups? I haven't played a strat in years, but occasionally go for a similar sound with the ASAT and it doesn't have the same percussive quality of the strat; I end up using just one pickup, which could be either neck or bridge. Sounds funkier to me that way
     
  15. Chris Rice

    Chris Rice Member

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    Cool trick! :JAM
     
  16. esoteric pete

    esoteric pete Supporting Member

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  17. Bo Faulkner

    Bo Faulkner Member

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    Dickies solo on Stormy monday sounds middle to me..
     
  18. Bob V

    Bob V Member

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    In Clapton's biography he talks about the"woman tone" in the context of his Bluesbreaker era use of a Les Paul, and the term is certainly used to describe his Cream days when he played an ES335, so the Wikipedia description limiting it to the SG is all wet. Also, in the passage in his biography, Clapton talked about using the bridge pickup with, as he put it, the bass turned up - I think he meant the tone knob turned down.
     

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