What would YOU do? G&L content

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by JKjr, May 23, 2015.

  1. JKjr

    JKjr Member

    Messages:
    780
    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2008
    Location:
    Raleighwood
    I have a Bigsby equipped G&L ASAT with THREE big MFD pickups, T-style controls and a 5 way switch. The wood is exceptional, not just pretty good. Unplugged it's a cannon, it dances in your lap. I'm keeping the guitar.

    The control scheme's pretty good. The in between positions are quacky and stratty, and you can cover a whole lot of ground with one guitar. The problem is the pickups. Overdriven they're great;super clear,harmonically full and ballsy; Sounds surprisingly like "old black"(!) and that would be enough to justify it's existence alone. But that's not where I live. Clean and clean-ish they're flat and hard. No warmth, no richness. no character.

    I've rambled enough. Would YOU:

    1) Stop whining and play it for it's strengths?

    2) Replace the pickups with an aftermarket MFD style with alnico mags? Any suggestions?

    3) Send them to one of the big boys (Fralin, Lollar,etc...)for a rewind/rework?

    4) Replace them with something else entirely? Maybe minihums or P90's? Losing the quack isn't an option/ Again, suggestions?

    I hate being so close and so far away
     
  2. Jon C

    Jon C Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    15,213
    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2002
    Location:
    Mid Atlantic USA
    I've owned at least 3-4 ASAT Specials with the big MFD, though never a 3-pickup version. I happen to love them. They're not typical Tele pickups as you see, but they have some of that character with a lot more punch (they look like P90s but are not).

    I like it clean, too, but haven't had issues with my big MFDs in ASATs. I'd see if you can get to cleaner by backing off the volume when you're playing, that works in many situations and would - I think -- with these -- though perhaps you're posing a different question relating to the character when they're cleaned up. If you mean that played clean with the volume up and no OD on the amp or pedals that they're "flat and hard", that doesn't sound like MFDs I have known, though they're going to be different than Tele or P90 pickups.

    I don't think you're whining so I'll skip the first part of option 1 and go right to perhaps seeing if you can make it work with its strengths.

    That may not work. If not, then I would try to avoid option 3 because I think the MFDs in original condition should have some value both as the original configuration and if you want to sell them.

    I'm not that current on alternative MFD-sized pickups so can't really say about option 2. I know that when I got into G&Ls and MFDs (almost 20 yrs. ago), Rio Grandes were the popular alternative. There may be others now. I assume you know about the G&L Discussion page (gldp) ... that's a good place to post your question, too, and see what ideas you may get.

    Re: Option 4, you'll have to route/cut to put minihums or P90s in AFAIK, so I might stay away from that, too (and I'm not sure what would keep the quack you want).

    My other favorite G&L pickup is the Z-coils in my ASAT Z-3 SH -- a killer guitar. In an A/B with a couple of ASAT Specials we were surprised how close the Z-coils are to the big MFDs. Many complain about the Z-coils as being "sterile". I don't hear that, I hear "hi fi" and a great base for various amps, pedals, etc. (and they definitely quack on the Z-3, though I'm not suggesting going to Zs on your guitar). Perhaps some of that element that crosses over to the big MFDs (which have a bit more mids than the Z-coils) is what you're hearing and remarking on?

    I don't have definitive answers but hope maybe some suggestions here that can help you figure out which way to go. Do check out the GLDP, you'll get even more insight there I think.
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2015
  3. hunter

    hunter Supporting Member

    Messages:
    4,123
    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2002
    How do you have them adjusted? In my experience, the lower the better.

    hunter
     
  4. Jon C

    Jon C Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    15,213
    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2002
    Location:
    Mid Atlantic USA
    Great point, Hunter (one of my MFD-mavens from way back) ... adjustment can be critical and I forgot to mention that.:cool:
     
  5. o0Ampy0o

    o0Ampy0o Member

    Messages:
    2,484
    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2011
    Location:
    Over the Radar
    It took me a while to figure out how to bring out the best in the large MFD's. I find that mine are preferable when dialed back. They tend to blow out, whether tone or volume. I always have reserve if I want to use it to sustain a note.

    I would not alter the guitar and just use it the way it shines. Maybe you will eventually figure out an adjustment to polish the tone you consider dull or maybe it is just your guitar. I do not like the idea of handing it over to a tech to do their thing with, not with a G&L and MFD's. MFD equipped G&L's are their own thing.

    I might have misunderstood you but the quack comes from the position of single coils in relation to the bridge and frets so you are not in danger of losing it unless you remove the middle pickup or switch to standard humbuckers.
     
  6. JKjr

    JKjr Member

    Messages:
    780
    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2008
    Location:
    Raleighwood

    Maybe I am just whining. Since I'm an old guy I've been riding my volume and tone controls for decades (it used to be all we had!). And they do sound better set waay low. Fact of the matter is, flat and hard is really an exaggeration...they sound pretty darn good, it's only when compared to my Lollars,Sliders etc...that I feel they're lacking. It's that last 3%! The wood is just singing away like nobody's business, but I can't get that magic to come through the amp. I've even taped a Fralin in the guardplate, and I hear it then. That's what's frustrating...I love this guitar, I love it's voice, I even LIKE the pickups. If it sounded just like it does but could get that harmonic complexity and sweet wood tone it would be perfect.
     
  7. o0Ampy0o

    o0Ampy0o Member

    Messages:
    2,484
    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2011
    Location:
    Over the Radar
    Okay, you have been able to narrow it down and you might be happier replacing the pickups. It would be really nice if you could bring your amp & guitar to a shop and have different pickup options dropped in and then try when deciding which one to choose. You will need to consider the pickguard and may need to choose from the standards or have one made for you depending on what you select.
     
  8. Jon C

    Jon C Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    15,213
    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2002
    Location:
    Mid Atlantic USA
    I think you're describing the diff between MFDs and other more typical Tele pickups. The MFDs are wonderful in their own way IMO but they have their own voice. Which is why I keep my ASAT Special SH/Bigsby, my Z-3 SH, and my Tele/Esquires. Three related, delicious, but distinct flavors. :YinYang:cool:
     
  9. JKjr

    JKjr Member

    Messages:
    780
    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2008
    Location:
    Raleighwood
    It seems MFDs have their own sound...I was hoping to sound more like the guitar than the flavor of the pickups. Not that it's a bad flavor! In the apparent absence good replacements I'm leaning toward enjoying the guitar as-is and just using it for overdriven sounds where it excels. Thanks to all for the input; sometimes you just have to hear others say what you're already thinking.
     
  10. Tone_Terrific

    Tone_Terrific Member

    Messages:
    25,033
    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2004
    Location:
    Canada-GTA
    A custom made pickguard with the pups of your choice is probably all you need.
     
  11. Jon C

    Jon C Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    15,213
    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2002
    Location:
    Mid Atlantic USA
    I've done that w a G&L - it's an easy way to try another flavor.
     
  12. SouthpawGuy

    SouthpawGuy Member

    Messages:
    2,754
    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2008
    I have several ASAT Specials and a few years ago wanted to make one of them hum free / noiseless. There are a few manufacturers of replacement pups for the large MFDs .... Nordstrand, Rio Grande and Pete Biltoft ( Vintage vibe ).

    Pete Biltoft makes a humbucker replacement that is a direct retrofit for the big MFDs, the other two manufactures make single coil replacements. I never got around to getting new pups though, I just couldn't take the plunge, so they remain stock.

    A shot of the Vintagevibe pups, they weren't on the website at the time ....

    [​IMG]
     

Share This Page