Tips on getting good tone from neck p/u on a Les Paul

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Sonic Reducer, Jun 20, 2005.

  1. Sonic Reducer

    Sonic Reducer Member

    Apr 9, 2003
    I've had my R7 for about a year. It sounds very nice when played acoustically. I've always really liked the bridge pickup. My problem was that the tone controls have never worked too well and the neck pickup was a little muddy. Especially on the low strings.

    I just recently had a set of WCR darkbursts and the standard RS premium (pots and caps) kit installed.

    The tone controls are more interactive and clean up a little better now. The bridge pickup is very similar to the burstbucker that was in there before.

    I'm still having the same problem with the neck pickup. Any suggestions? I don't see how it could be the wood because it sounds very resonant acoustically and the bridge pickup sounds great.
  2. mikeyp123

    mikeyp123 Guest

    How high is your pickup set relative to the string, when pressed down at the last fret? I forget the Gibson spec (1/16"??), but that exactly where my Seth Lover is set, and it sounds fantastic.

    I've found that setting pickups too high really makes them muddy. You could also mess with the individual polls, I had to do this with my Burstbukcer equiped Epi Dot.
  3. trisonic

    trisonic Member

    Mar 24, 2003
    NJ out of England
    +1 on too high P'ups.

    Also try backing off the volume a tad between 8 and 9, this also works very well with both P'ups on. Clapton did this a lot in Cream.

    Best, Pete.
  4. Tone_Terrific

    Tone_Terrific Supporting Member

    Dec 26, 2004
    If you are losing top end as you roll back volume install a treble bleed circuit. Try a 1 meg vol pot for further brightening. If really desperate install a bass rolloff. If extremely frustrated rewire to parallel coils. If all else fails replace with hb sized single coils.

    Still not working right?
  5. pirateflynn

    pirateflynn Supporting Member

    Jan 15, 2005
    The River Bottom, CA.
    The Darkbursts w/ the RS kit sound stellar in my '79 Hamer must be something else.
  6. Mr.Hanky

    Mr.Hanky Member

    Jan 25, 2005
    New Joisey
    I have a DB and RS kit in my R7 and have never heard better neck pup sound.
    The WCR's are very sensitive to pup height so (as others have said) play around with that.

    Could be a wiring problem, dead strings or just the guitar.
  7. doc

    doc Supporting Member

    Jan 26, 2005
    Middle Tennessee
    One trick some have used is to turn the neck pickup around so the polepieces are closer to the bridge than to the neck thus emphasizing a different set of harmonics. If that's still not enough, I'd consider adding a passive high pass filter to the neck pickup (just a capacitor and resistor of the appropriate values - look at any basic electronics text). If that doesn't do it maybe Les Pauls aren't really your bag.
  8. HHB

    HHB Member

    Aug 6, 2002
    East Flat Rock NC
    what amp are you using and how are you setting it?
  9. Sonic Reducer

    Sonic Reducer Member

    Apr 9, 2003
    I lowered the neck pickup some and it seems to make a difference. I didn't touch the bridge. If you lower one pickup should you also lower the other?

    I don't know much about setting up a guitar. I had a shop install the electronics and pickups so I'm not sure how it's wired up.

    Here is how the electronics work.

    The two volume controls have a decent taper. When you roll the volume back from 10 to 8, there is a big drop off in volume. From 8-0 it's a little more of a gradual taper.

    The two tone controls are exactly opposite. From 10-5, there is hardly a drop off in tone. From 5-0 there more of a gradual taper.

    Does that sound right?
  10. mikeyp123

    mikeyp123 Guest

    I set my bridge pickup to be just slightly louder than my neck. I'll usually set the bridge to where I like it. Then lower the neck to where it sounds good, then lower the bridge a little more if need be, to balance them... but keeping the bridge just slightly louder. Switch between pickups quickly to check balance.

    Gibson specs, while depressing E string at highest fret.
    Neck: 3/32" (treble and bass sides) -- I was way off on my last post
    Bridge: 1/16" (treble and bass sides)

    I'll start from there and adjust as needed, actually my LP is set exactly to those specs. Stewmac has some great rulers just for this type of measuring. Also, measure from the top of the poll piece to the bottom of the string. When adjusting, go in 1/4 turns, that way it easy to undo what you've done.

    FYI, my tech never gets things dialed in just to where I like them, I'll fidget with my guitar until near insanity.. but eventually find those sweet spots.
  11. Ian Anderson

    Ian Anderson Member

    Nov 6, 2003
    San Diego, California
    Replace the .022 cap on the neck pup with a .01
  12. ArthurS

    ArthurS Member

    Oct 20, 2004

    Exactly what I was going to say. Easy to try, will hardly cost you anything, and is bound to help (especially if you combine it with lowering the pickup a tad).
  13. DestroyAllGuitars

    DestroyAllGuitars Member

    Feb 28, 2002
    North Carolina
    Get rid of the Gibson and buy a Gustavsson or something
    comparable thats built right and will stay in tune. I have been
    through way too many Historics to not have felt cheated at
    this point. Some sounded incredible but there were too many
    issues for a new guitar to be having. Same problem with their
    SGs. A Rossington with terrible neck twists etc.....

    There is not a single Gibson in my studio at this point and I'll
    never have the need for one. There are several far superior
    alternatives. (I very recently sold off all my LPs, 335s, SGs
  14. Lex Luthier

    Lex Luthier Member

    Jan 21, 2004
    3rd stone from the sun
    Fiddle with the PU height, but if that doesn't work find a couple of higher ohmage 500k pots for the neck pickup, like 550-650k, that will add extra high end.

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