Routing a Middle Pickup Affect the Sound?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by bogmonster, Jan 29, 2012.

  1. bogmonster

    bogmonster Member

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    I have an incredibly nice semi-hollow gibson (with a balsa block). It's beat up - but the sounds are incredible for jazz, retro, and some forms of country. THe best I've heard. I would very much like, though, for this to be my main guitar and want to add some variety to it - so I'm thinking of routing in a middle pickup - a texas special fender (wired to bridge sounds) so that the configuration is humbucker-single-humbucker.

    I have been told a couple of times that the routing PROBABLY shouldn't affect the other pickups or materially affect the guitar's structure as it relates to sound. I don't really care about collectability, long-term value, aesthetics or anything like that. Just don't want to ruin the sounds of the other pickups. I'd be eager to hear your thoughts if routing in a middle pickup affects the sound of the other pickups substantially? THanks for any advice.
     
  2. dconeill

    dconeill Member

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    It's a tool. It's your tool. Do whatever you want to it.
     
  3. Drew68

    Drew68 Supporting Member

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    Works for Alvin Lee.

    [​IMG]
     
  4. Bhodie

    Bhodie Member

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    Just remember, it is not just the block you are altering, but the top as well. Don't know if it matters, just something to consider.
     
  5. Whiskeyrebel

    Whiskeyrebel Member

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    Is there enough space under the strings for a low profile surface mount pickup, like a jazz floater?
     
  6. bogmonster

    bogmonster Member

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    Thanks for the answers! There is probably space for a floater, but not really the sound I'm going for. My only real worry is that routing would hurt the guitar structure, change the top and block, and therefore affect things like sustain or even tone on the other pickups. And yeah- especially worry about affecting the top - but don't really know if any of this matters or if it's primarily just a cosmetic consideration - and I don't really care how the guitar looks too much.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2012
  7. Chiba

    Chiba Gold Supporting Member

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    Paul Reed Smith once said (and may continue to do so for all I know) that "everything affects everything" when it comes to a guitar.

    Putting on different tuning machines can change the tone.

    Routing a hole in the top of your guitar is going to change the tone of the instrument. Whether that change is a positive one or a negative one is entirely up to you!

    I had a Gibson Firebird once that I had a middle pickup put into. I really loved the tonal difference that change brought to the instrument.
     
  8. EADGBE

    EADGBE Member

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    It will probably change the sound. Whether it's good or bad you'll have to decide. Personally I wouldn't do it.
     
  9. robertkoa

    robertkoa Member

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    That's funny you mentioned this because I'm thinking of having it done to a Carvin Carved Top or an ES339 or possibly a type of LP.

    I've done it ( by factory on a BC Rich Mockingbird long ago ) and it worked great- on a Solidbody the extra routing is only a plus IMO, because you get a little bit more air resonance from the extra rout, subtle but it's there( kind of like the rout under the Strat pickguard does ). You won't hear it( the routing) on the Bridge Pickup IMO and IF you can hear it on the neck pickup it's very subtle.

    BUT- on a semi- hollow I think it will SOUND great- but I think you may have to keep it as small as possible to not weaken the center block etc.

    But as one pointed out - the ultra rare Alvin Lee Sig has it- so if you have it done like that by a Pro- should be fine.

    How many Alvin Lee Signature Guitars do you guys think Gibson has sold ? 6 ? 3? 9?

    Don't get me wrong I would LOVE one of these with a 5 way and coil cut switches- just that they are expensive but more than that- I don't think people "get it" or want one- I'll bet you could get some great , unique tones this way though.

    I was shocked when I priced the *Alvin Lee Model- and I'd still have to get it rewired.............

    Funny that it's Alvin Lee and not Jay Graydon, Lee Ritenour, or one of the Steely Dan Studio Guys etc. who have an H-S-H Sig 335.

    Alvin Lee did play his ass off way back in 66-67-68 on those Ten Years After albums- he even did "Woodchoppers Ball"- a Jazz Tune but still......
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2012
  10. p.j.

    p.j. Member

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    You might think about just adding series/parallel and phase options to the p/u's you already have. Any competent tech. could hook you up and it would be minimally invasive if you used push/pull or push/push pots to activate the extra options.

    PJ
     
  11. bogmonster

    bogmonster Member

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    Robertkoa - that's interesting that it gave more "air" to the tone. That would be welcome - but did it affect the top's ability to vibrate? I thought it might actually get the sound a little more dulled or less sustained?
     
  12. bogmonster

    bogmonster Member

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    And series- parallel- phase is not an option with the pickups in there right now, but I think they make the exact same ones with four conductor, so might be able to achieve that at a high-cost long-term if that's the only good answer. Not really a huge fan of most split-coil sounds I've heard, but might be an option of last resort. I appreciate the suggestion - it might be the way to go.
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2012
  13. bogmonster

    bogmonster Member

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    The consensus seems to be that you shouldn't dig into your guitar's center block if you are worried about affecting the sound. SO - I just spoke with Seymour Duncan's custom shop, and they believe they can configure a lipstick tube pickup that can be top-mounted - without digging into the guitar (Johnny Smith Style)- and made to sound kind of "tele broadcaster-like". Should be unique - whatever happens. I will let everyone know the results when they arrive. Thanks for all the help and advisement!
     
  14. vortexxxx

    vortexxxx Member

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    I usually don't make irreversible mods to my guitars, but if you really want to do it... why not?
     
  15. hollowbodyhead

    hollowbodyhead Member

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    I installed a middle humbucker in my Epi Dot. No structural issues at all. The only change in tone was for the better. The guitar sounds great. Duncan 59's..... Do it. (carefully)
     
  16. cowboytim

    cowboytim Member

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    Enjoy the planning part of of the job all the different possibilities!! Nothing I like better,... the dreaming and planning part of the operation.
    R&S can be not only a good source of electronics but also a source for "how to" knowledge.
    Personally I'd rewire the entire guitar, much easier.
    50s Wire?
    Vintage Caps?
    New quality Pots?
    New finish?
    Enjoy the process.
     

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