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Not loving the tone of my Gibson Goldtop '57 VOS - what can I do?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by everglass, May 24, 2011.

  1. everglass

    everglass Member

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    Hi all,

    So I'm not loving the tone of my Gibson Goldtop '57 VOS (all stock, including the Burstbuckers). Musically, I love U2/Coldplay/Fleetwood Mac etc so most of the times I'm on Strats/Teles, but the occasional LP would be nice!

    My Goldtop sounds very honky (yes, I know it's supposed to be somewhat honky). But wondering if there are any options in terms of alternate pick ups, playing around with the pickup height to change the tone.... any one had a similar experience?

    I'm going into a JMI 30/6 (essentially an AC30). Sounds so good with my strats, but not so with the Goldtop.

    Wondering if it's a case of "wrong guitar for me" and I might be better off with a LP Custom, or I just haven't hit on the right setup yet for my Goldtop (including amp - although it works for the Edge).

    What do you guys think....?
     
  2. mhuxtable

    mhuxtable Member

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    What do you want it to sound like
     
  3. Rexfordbridge

    Rexfordbridge Member

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    I think mhuxtable makes a valid point. What type of sounds are you trying to dial in? Amp, speaker, and Pickups are going to play a big factor into that equation.
     
  4. mhuxtable

    mhuxtable Member

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    PAFs are going to be much more clear and articulate....that seems to be the sound you prefer
     
  5. everglass

    everglass Member

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  6. Rotten

    Rotten Silver Supporting Member

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    It took me about a year to learn how to play a Les Paul. First of all, the stock pickups, mine are BB 1 and 2, are going to be much more powerful than a single coil. Second, a Les Paul has a tone more midrange. Consequently, it's going to ram the front end of your amp a ton more than your other guitars. I've found that a Les Paul breathes much better if you lighten your touch rather than spank it like you would a Tele. If all that doesn't work, you might try some low wind PUs; Lollar has some nice ones. If that doesn't work, you might try a 335, which will have typically lower wind PUs and more of a carved out midrange. If that doesn't work, then you are likely more of a Fender guy. Give it some time, though -- I did.
     
  7. jimlp

    jimlp Member

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    Low compression. Sounds like A2 mags. Antiquities, Seth Lovers or A2Pro would be my choices for production pickups. If you have a bit of cash WCR pickups like the Bet Set, Moore/Green set, or the Darkburst set could get you where you need to go. Jim from WCR is A great guy to deal with and winds pickups to order, delivery is usually about 5 days which is really quick for wound to order pickups. WCR's come stock with an A5 mag, specify A2 mags if that is what you want. www.wcrguitar.com. There are many other pickup winders out there but I only have experience with WCR, I have played some Lindy Fralins that were great but his turn around time is longer.
     
  8. Steeltoe

    Steeltoe Member

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    Lollar Low Wind Imperials may do it for you. I've got them in my Grosh Set Neck.
    Don't give up on your lp.
     
  9. XKnight

    XKnight Member

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    I'd try it through a different style amp before doing anything too drastic with the guitar.
     
  10. everglass

    everglass Member

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    Guys, thanks so much for your input.

    I'm not really that versed on pickups. So when you say lower wound, what do I have now with my burstbuckers? Higher wound?

    What are the tonal differences I could expect to hear by swapping to Lower Wound Pickups that are leading you to make these suggestions? (so I can learn what you guys are taking about)!

    Thanks so much!
     
  11. straightblues

    straightblues Member

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    That U2 clip has so many effects you can barely hear the guitars tone. There are plenty of great pickups on the market along with great clips. Go listen to a bunch of clips and find a pure tone that you like. Then people can give you comments and suggestions on those type of pickups. The Seymour Duncan site has a lot of information and clips. It is a good place to start.

    Burstbuckers are between 7.5 around 8k I believe. The lower the K, the less wire they have on them and the thinner they sound. The more the K the more wire and the warmer they sound.
     
  12. mhuxtable

    mhuxtable Member

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    Lower wind pickups basically means they have less output, and therefore are clearer sounding with more high end.

    Hotter pickups (like your Burstbuckers) have more winds of wire, and have more output. The higher output also causes less high end, which means a warmer sound.

    If you're a Fender guy, you're used to that high end clarity. A humbucker can deliver that, but with more beef. But you'll want a lower output PAF style pickup. I like Alnico II magnets the best.

    If you want to spend some coin, Lollar Imperial Low Winds are great as are Seymour Duncan Antiquities.

    But you don't need to.....buy some Seymour Duncan Seth Lovers and you'll get that same clear sound for less coin. They made my Les Paul sound ideal, and I go for a similar sound to the sound you prefer.
     
  13. dougk

    dougk Silver Supporting Member

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    lower output. IMO the hotter you go more honk you'll get.

    Lots of great choices Wolfetone, Klein, Lollar, Fralin ect ect. My favorites Wolfe, call him and tell him what you want. (imo, you want an underwound Legend Neck and a normal Legend bridge).
     
  14. paulscape

    paulscape Member

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    The burstbuckers are an A5 magnet too. An A2 magnet will be less powerful and may give you more clarity, particularly in the top end. There is another variable which is how the pickup is actually wound (random layering, how tightly they are wound, hand wound versus machine wound etc). I think the BB's are asymetrically wound (uneven) which tends to give a more 3D shimmer but they are not low wound (and with A5 mag) have more output. Great for led zep. I have a stock VOS '57 GT and love it but haven't got around to trying any other pickups. Another LP I own has Seth lovers and it is a far brighter and less honky guitar and I have a vintage lawsuit japanese LP with a seymour duncan custom custom I also like...but its hard comparing pickups in different guitars. Motorcity also make some cool humbuckers with degaused mag's.

    You could also try using an EQ pedal (like an MXR 10 band) to shape the sound before wild guessing pickup choices.
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2011
  15. everglass

    everglass Member

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    Thanks guys - a huge help.

    That is totally the problem, the guitar sounds too warm and honky. I'm looking for that high end clarity.

    So now, the lower wound pick up search begins......
     
  16. paulscape

    paulscape Member

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    You might also try Gibson 57's - I have them in my SG and they sound totally different to my VOS '57 and a much bigger difference between neck and bridge. My VOS 57 LP doesn't have a big difference between neck and bridge. Very warm guitar though so know what you mean. They are beautiful guitars though - don't sell it!
     
  17. everglass

    everglass Member

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    Yes Paul, it is a beautiful guitar and it sounds amazing acoustically (if you know what I mean) so I know it's all there.

    Funny you should recommend the Gibson 57 Classic Pups. A friend just suggested the exact same thing.....
     
  18. musicofanatic5

    musicofanatic5 Member

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    "...playing around with the pickup height to change the tone..."

    Have you tried this? If you have a small screwdriver adjust the p.u.s up and down and listen.

    That said, I prefer 57's to BB's.
     
  19. Phoenix59

    Phoenix59 Member

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    Quite true. If you haven't watched "It Might Get Loud," you should. There is one bit where The Edge demonstrates what he's playing on a certain song -- I think it was "Where The Streets Have No Name" -- and turns off all his effects, revealing that what he's actually playing is a terribly simple little figure, but when he applies all the FX to it -- chorusing, echo, and about a half dozen other things -- it turns into this amazing sounding thing.
     

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