Mellowing out Air Norton neck in Charvel So-Cal?

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Offline Speeddemon

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Mellowing out Air Norton neck in Charvel So-Cal?
« on: October 31, 2022, 01:08:08 PM »
So the Air Norton is one of my favourite neck pickups; it's in an Ibanez S540FM, in a Burny Les Paul Standard and in a 2010 MIJ Charvel So-Cal Pro Mod.

And while I love its split-tones, in the Charvel I've come to find it too 'plingy' and bright in the top end when playing distorted leads (in a Maiden tribute, where it's my "Adrian Smith" guitar).
The guitar has an alder body, maple neck, maple fretboard, Floyd Rose with an FU big brass block and a DiMarzio Norton in the bridge. 1x 500k push/pull volume, no tone pot.
Originally it came with an Evo neck and ToneZone bridge, but I went through numerous pickup changes to come to the Air Norton/Norton combo.

Is there a way to mellow out/thicken the Air Norton (even if it means slightly mellowing/thickening) without lowering the output? So I'm not looking to lower the pickup height.

Would a 300k pot help here?
In use: 13x DiMarzio (7 gtrs), 7x Duncan (3 gtrs).
Got preference? ;)

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Offline darkbluemurder

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Re: Mellowing out Air Norton neck in Charvel So-Cal?
« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2022, 05:14:47 AM »
The Air Norton is already very smooth in the neck. If it is not smooth enough, there are the following options:

- use a cap and resistor in series to simulate the non-existing tone pot. The downside is that this will affect the bridge pickup as well.
- put a 1 meg resistor from the switch terminal where the neck pickup is connected to ground. This will let the neck pickup and the both pickup selections "see" a 330k load but leave the bridge pickup at 500k.

Both easy to try and easy to reverse if you don't like it.

Good luck,
Stephan

Area 67, Area 58, Area 61, VV Pro 54, Injectors, VV HB2, Virtual Solo, SDS-1, Area T, Area T 615, Virtual Hot T, Chopper T, Bluesbucker, Breed set, Air Norton, Super Distortion, DLX+ set, DLX-90, DP240, DP198, DP168, VPAF b, AT-1, Mo' Joe, FRED, Super 2; GS b

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Offline Speeddemon

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Re: Mellowing out Air Norton neck in Charvel So-Cal?
« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2022, 08:58:14 AM »
Thanks man, I'll try the 1 MOhm resistor, see how that flies.  :D
In use: 13x DiMarzio (7 gtrs), 7x Duncan (3 gtrs).
Got preference? ;)

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Offline darkbluemurder

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Re: Mellowing out Air Norton neck in Charvel So-Cal?
« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2022, 05:11:51 AM »
The standard resistor values would give the following loads (approx) with a 500k pot:

470k - 235k
1meg - 330k
1.5meg - 365k
1.65meg (i.e. 2 x 3.3meg in parallel) - 385k
2.2meg - 410k

Good luck,
Stephan
Area 67, Area 58, Area 61, VV Pro 54, Injectors, VV HB2, Virtual Solo, SDS-1, Area T, Area T 615, Virtual Hot T, Chopper T, Bluesbucker, Breed set, Air Norton, Super Distortion, DLX+ set, DLX-90, DP240, DP198, DP168, VPAF b, AT-1, Mo' Joe, FRED, Super 2; GS b

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Offline frankencat

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Re: Mellowing out Air Norton neck in Charvel So-Cal?
« Reply #4 on: December 31, 2022, 11:40:19 AM »
Honestly, lowering the pickup should take away some of the top end and "mellow it out" a little bit. It's a cheap mod to try. ;)
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Offline greenlion

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Re: Mellowing out Air Norton neck in Charvel So-Cal?
« Reply #5 on: January 01, 2023, 09:55:25 PM »
You want to mellow-out the Air Norton in the neck because it is too bright???
You want to play bass guitar then. Put down the guitar and start playing bass.

I can't think of any neck pickup I have ever played that was less bright and less mellow than the Air Norton.
The only thing I can think that could do to round off a tiny bit of high end is to wire it in parallel That would shave off a tiny bit of output too, but not much.

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Offline darkbluemurder

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Re: Mellowing out Air Norton neck in Charvel So-Cal?
« Reply #6 on: January 02, 2023, 04:12:55 AM »
Wiring the coils in parallel instead of series would make it brighter, not less bright.
Area 67, Area 58, Area 61, VV Pro 54, Injectors, VV HB2, Virtual Solo, SDS-1, Area T, Area T 615, Virtual Hot T, Chopper T, Bluesbucker, Breed set, Air Norton, Super Distortion, DLX+ set, DLX-90, DP240, DP198, DP168, VPAF b, AT-1, Mo' Joe, FRED, Super 2; GS b

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Offline Speeddemon

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Re: Mellowing out Air Norton neck in Charvel So-Cal?
« Reply #7 on: November 04, 2023, 05:41:12 AM »
Wiring the coils in parallel instead of series would make it brighter, not less bright.
Yeah, at the time I figured the push-pull pot should do parallel switching, but thinking back, maybe I should've done a coil split, since it has a tad more output.

@greenlion, you'd think so yes, but this is quite a bright guitar. I had a Breed Neck in there and while it had a bigger low-end/low-mids than the Air Norton, it was also a tad brighter, or jangly in the highs, to the point where I didn't like it. I guess I want some sort of beefy PAF tone from that guitar, but maybe I'm wishing for the impossible; to have a bright, alder bodied, maple neck+maple fb, Floyd-Rose equipped Superstrat behave like a Les Paul in that regard...  :-\ ;)
In use: 13x DiMarzio (7 gtrs), 7x Duncan (3 gtrs).
Got preference? ;)

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Offline gregr

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Re: Mellowing out Air Norton neck in Charvel So-Cal?
« Reply #8 on: November 04, 2023, 12:08:24 PM »
If you want a beefy PAF in the neck position you might go with a Duncan Whole Lotta Humbucker or a PAF style pickup made for the bridge position like a Duncan 59B or a 30th bridge. If you dare, try the bridge version of the Whole Lotta Humbucker.

I’ve only used the Breed Neck in the bridge with a PAF Pro in the neck. I don’t find it to be overly bright. I’ve also used an Air Norton in the bridge and found it to be very bright, although the guitar itself is quite bright, but that pickup doesn’t seem to have much oomph in the low end.
Area 58, 61, 67 & Hot T; VVB, 54P & HB2; InjN. FT 1 & 2, Satch Track.
BNIB, PAF Pro, HFH, Air Norton, LiquiFire, EJ Neck. V Mini N & B. Corgan & Timmons sets.
Duncan SSL-2 & 6T, Lil Demon, JBJrN, HotRailN. 59, Jazz/APH & Full Shred sets. JB, Custom 2, 5 & Ceramic, Seymourizer II, Screamin’ Demon

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Offline Schneidas

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Re: Mellowing out Air Norton neck in Charvel So-Cal?
« Reply #9 on: November 06, 2023, 07:03:52 AM »
Have you tried flipping the Air Norton?
When I had one, I found flipping it made a serious difference in tone.

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Offline gregr

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Re: Mellowing out Air Norton neck in Charvel So-Cal?
« Reply #10 on: November 06, 2023, 10:31:06 AM »
The next time I put it in a guitar I’ll make sure to try that. Thanks!
Area 58, 61, 67 & Hot T; VVB, 54P & HB2; InjN. FT 1 & 2, Satch Track.
BNIB, PAF Pro, HFH, Air Norton, LiquiFire, EJ Neck. V Mini N & B. Corgan & Timmons sets.
Duncan SSL-2 & 6T, Lil Demon, JBJrN, HotRailN. 59, Jazz/APH & Full Shred sets. JB, Custom 2, 5 & Ceramic, Seymourizer II, Screamin’ Demon

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Offline darkbluemurder

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Re: Mellowing out Air Norton neck in Charvel So-Cal?
« Reply #11 on: November 10, 2023, 03:24:24 AM »
I also flipped it while I had it in the neck position of one guitar. It made a difference which was clearly audible but it was not night and day to my ears (which may be old by now :))
Area 67, Area 58, Area 61, VV Pro 54, Injectors, VV HB2, Virtual Solo, SDS-1, Area T, Area T 615, Virtual Hot T, Chopper T, Bluesbucker, Breed set, Air Norton, Super Distortion, DLX+ set, DLX-90, DP240, DP198, DP168, VPAF b, AT-1, Mo' Joe, FRED, Super 2; GS b

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Offline Schneidas

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Re: Mellowing out Air Norton neck in Charvel So-Cal?
« Reply #12 on: November 17, 2023, 09:39:00 AM »
Funny enough, back then I found that flipping it brought it from "well, I guess it sounds ok" to "ok, now we're talking!" territory!

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Offline Speeddemon

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Re: Mellowing out Air Norton neck in Charvel So-Cal?
« Reply #13 on: November 18, 2023, 09:45:27 AM »
@Schneidas,
I made sure of flipping it in the 'right' or darker direction; screw poles towards the neck.

In two other, warmer sounding guitars loaded with Air Nortons in their neck positions, I purposely put the screw poles towards the bridge, just like a bridge pickup.
I also found it made quite a noticable difference.
In use: 13x DiMarzio (7 gtrs), 7x Duncan (3 gtrs).
Got preference? ;)

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Offline gregr

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Re: Mellowing out Air Norton neck in Charvel So-Cal?
« Reply #14 on: November 18, 2023, 10:47:20 AM »
FWIW, the Air Norton wasn’t necessarily intended to be a neck pickup. Rather, it became popular to use in the neck position after a certain someone paired it with a Steve’s Special.
« Last Edit: November 18, 2023, 12:38:26 PM by gregr »
Area 58, 61, 67 & Hot T; VVB, 54P & HB2; InjN. FT 1 & 2, Satch Track.
BNIB, PAF Pro, HFH, Air Norton, LiquiFire, EJ Neck. V Mini N & B. Corgan & Timmons sets.
Duncan SSL-2 & 6T, Lil Demon, JBJrN, HotRailN. 59, Jazz/APH & Full Shred sets. JB, Custom 2, 5 & Ceramic, Seymourizer II, Screamin’ Demon