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Single coils with too much top end - caps? Pots?

JB Eckl

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,158
I have a Gibson S-1 with these funky original Bill Lawrence pickups in it. They're not bad at approximating a Strat sound, which is what they were meant to do... but the top end just seems extreme to me.

I thought about putting regular strat pickups in the guitar, but I'd rather try some other ideas first - wiring, pots, caps etc. Any expert advice out there?
 

shane8

Member
Messages
31,624
regular strat pu also have an extreme amount of top end > one way or another you'll have to turn the treb down either on the guitar or amp
 

GM Reszel

Member
Messages
1,126
If they're standard single coil size you might try some of the rail style pickups that are much warmer and more powerful if that's what you're into. I've seen these Artec pickups on eBay that can be had for under $20, and they're a moderate output, warmer sounding pickup.
 

OlAndrew

Member
Messages
2,345
Try a lower value pot, or for a real Harley fix that I've used with success, a cap from pickup hot to ground. Try something like .002 mfd to start, go up or down from there.
 

Jef Bardsley

Member
Messages
2,951
regular strat pu also have an extreme amount of top end > one way or another you'll have to turn the treb down either on the guitar or amp
+1

Strat style pickups have a really high resonant peak, usually around 8K or so, almost an octave above most Gibson pickups. This peak is the result of the combined load of the pots. Luckily, you have control over this load - your tone pot. If turning it down doesn't yield a tone that works with the resonance of the wood, then it's probably time for new pickups. The only other trick that might work is a .001 (roughly) cap straight to ground. This will roll off some highs and move the resonance a bit lower.

Hmmm.... I was about to say I find the tiny cap trick mostly useful for taming ceramic magnets when I remembered Mr. Lawrence was really fond of ceramics..... maybe that will do it. Worth a try.
 

JimLamme

Member
Messages
121
You could try using some crap speaker cables that because its cheap, use lower quality material and have a high capacitance, and therefore when used will make it sound less bright.

If you are already doing that then try a lower value pot or using a different speaker or another bigger value capacitor.
 

Tone_Terrific

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
34,420
Or just jumper in a variety of resistors to ground from the hot side to load the pup more and see/hear what you get. That seems, to me, to be a slightly different sound than the tone control rolloff.
 

Hugo Da Rosa

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
2,387
The two things I would look at first are your pot and cap values. I don't know about your line of guitars, but a lot of recent MIM Fender Strats have been loaded with 500k pots. Whether it's a tone or volume pot, a lot of strat players will tell you 500k in general is a bit too high. If any of the pots are 500k, try switching over to a 250k pot. That was one of the first mods I did to my Deluxe Players strat and instantly warmed up my tone and brought down some of the highs.

The next thing to look at would be the caps. Likewise, don't know much about your guitar but a lot of strats are loaded with .022uF caps. For single coils, .022uF is pretty low so you get tons of treble passed through. A simple mod to this would be to swap that out with higher cap values. .033uF and .047uF caps will reduce the brightness/treble but won't kill it.
 






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