Pickups for bright guitar

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Offline effectsman

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Pickups for bright guitar
« on: December 04, 2016, 06:44:39 PM »
I have a Tele with HH in it. It is an alder body (a bit on the heavy side), maple neck and pau ferro fingerboard. It has a stop tail through bridge with 6 individual saddles. The pickups in there at present are PAF style.

I find when playing distorted chords, the top 3 or 4 strings sound a bit sharp or dissonant to me in their overtones. I've tried EQing out the problem, or rolling down the tone control to 2 which helps. So I'm looking for a pickup which de-emphasises these frequencies. To make the guitar sound closer to a Les Paul the way the chords sound a bit more mellow than the longer scale guitars do.

What can everyone recommend?

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Offline KH Guitar Freak

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Re: Pickups for bright guitar
« Reply #1 on: December 05, 2016, 03:40:18 AM »
First of all, what are those pickups you have installed?

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Offline darkbluemurder

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Re: Pickups for bright guitar
« Reply #2 on: December 05, 2016, 03:54:38 AM »
I have a telecaster style guitar with the exact same wood combination as yours. That guitar has an AT-1 in the bridge and a Bluesbucker in the neck. Both pickups can be split by the push-pull switch in the tone control. That pickup combo does everything I want it to. The AT-1 fills the midrange of this guitar nicely - no more thin plain strings.

If you are not looking for a hyped midrange but rather for a beefed up PAF tone, Duncan Custom 5 is good for that.

But before changing any pickups I would make sure that the pickups are not set too close to the strings - otherwise the magnetic pull could drag the strings and cause dissonant overtones.   

Cheers Stephan
Area 67, Area 58, Area 61, VV Pro 54, Injectors, VV HB2, Virtual Solo, SDS-1, Area T, Area Hot T, Area T 615, Virtual Hot T, Chopper T, Bluesbucker, Breed set, Air Norton, Super Distortion, DLX+, DLX-90, DP240, DP198, DP168, VHPAF, AT-1, Norton

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Offline effectsman

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Re: Pickups for bright guitar
« Reply #3 on: December 22, 2016, 05:55:57 PM »
First of all, what are those pickups you have installed?

They came in the guitar and are not an aftermarket brand. All I can find out is they have Alnico II magnets, 42AWG wire and are described as Vintage PAF style with bass/middle/treble output of 7/6/6 and a relative output of 6 out of 10.

I guess one way of describing what I'm looking for is when I play a full G major barre chord on the 3rd fret, I want to hear less treble content from the top three strings and have more emphasis from the bass and mids.

Trying to shift the guitar towards a Les Paul style tone, which is more mellow and has more bass and mids content due to the scale length and woods. I know I can't do the impossible and make a maple alder 25.5" scale guitar sound like a LP, but just to shift it in that direction.

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Offline KH Guitar Freak

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Re: Pickups for bright guitar
« Reply #4 on: December 22, 2016, 09:33:58 PM »
Maybe the Tone Zone might be what you want

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Offline darkbluemurder

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Re: Pickups for bright guitar
« Reply #5 on: December 23, 2016, 02:55:16 AM »
I'd be vary of the Tone Zone if the problem is weird overtones due to its sizzle in the high frequencies.

An alternative to the AT-1 I mentioned earlier would be the Breed bridge - similar in the lower and mid ranges to the Tone Zone but smoother in the highs. However, I cannot give a direct comparison between those two as I did not try them in the same guitar.

Cheers Stephan
Area 67, Area 58, Area 61, VV Pro 54, Injectors, VV HB2, Virtual Solo, SDS-1, Area T, Area Hot T, Area T 615, Virtual Hot T, Chopper T, Bluesbucker, Breed set, Air Norton, Super Distortion, DLX+, DLX-90, DP240, DP198, DP168, VHPAF, AT-1, Norton

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Offline effectsman

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Re: Pickups for bright guitar
« Reply #6 on: December 24, 2016, 01:39:15 AM »
I'd be vary of the Tone Zone if the problem is weird overtones due to its sizzle in the high frequencies.

An alternative to the AT-1 I mentioned earlier would be the Breed bridge - similar in the lower and mid ranges to the Tone Zone but smoother in the highs. However, I cannot give a direct comparison between those two as I did not try them in the same guitar.

Cheers Stephan

Maybe the Tone Zone might be what you want

Thanks guys. I'll do some research.

When I use the pickup picker using

Gain - Vintage or Modern
Style - Classic Rock
Wood - Alder
Bridge - Stop tail
Construction - Solid
Problem - Warmer /fatter

I get for neck
1. Gravity Storm
2. PAF 36 Ann Bridge
3. Liquifire

For bridge I get
1. Super Distortion
2. The Tone Zone
3. AT-1

What do you guys think of these combinations? Any stand out as tried and tested pairs?

I was also wondering about the Transitions pickups, but am a bit wary of the ceramic magnets in them. Apparently there are quite powerful and dynamic with very little compression in the pick up compared to alnico.

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Offline KH Guitar Freak

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Re: Pickups for bright guitar
« Reply #7 on: December 24, 2016, 02:26:40 AM »
Haven't had any of those pickups in a set before. However, I've tried a few in different guitar within a different set. The 36th anniversary PAF neck might just seal the deal for you. If you want something even more fat than that, then try the Air Norton, Liquifire, or even the Breed neck. As for the bridge, those three will probably do the trick. It really depends on the output, feel, etc. that you want out of a bridge pickup. The Super Distortion is great if you are looking out for a high gain PAF type of sound. I love the Tone Zone. It's a fat sounding pickup, whilst having that string separation and top end that just sings. The AT-1 IMO is somewhat similar, but with lower output, and some might say, better control with that in mind

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Offline redhabu

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Re: Pickups for bright guitar
« Reply #8 on: January 26, 2017, 04:55:30 PM »
The gravity storm bridge is amazing and no harsh highs. If you want more classic metal/rock a super distortion would work. If you need darker in the neck then AN , liquifire, breed. I don't like dark neck pups because I like more attack and punch, just not an c
Ice pick. I like Pac joe, gravity storm  neck, both have nice balance and are musical.

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Offline effectsman

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Re: Pickups for bright guitar
« Reply #9 on: March 25, 2021, 08:43:35 PM »
I need to update this old thread as I did change the pickups from the Alnico II low output humbuckers that were in my HH Tele to Thornbuckers. I got the Thornbucker neck which is A5 magnets ~ 8kOhm and the Thornbucker + bridge which is A4 magnet and ~ 9kOhm.

I like the neck sound which is fairly clear and clean, although the A5 still has a bit too much low end on the wound strings for my liking. I think I would like a A2 (as long as its not muddy) or an A5 with air gap, or one that has not much low end.

I don't like the A4 bridge at all. My guitar is bright and the A4 attack and thinness just doesn't suit this position. So I'm wondering whether to go for an A5 magnet in this position where the extra bass from this magnet will be welcomed in this position. I was wondering whether to go hotter though than 9kOhm and go for something like the Air Zone, Norton, Gravity Storm or Mo Joe?

The Dimarzio pickup selector says for my wood and what I'm looking for to try the Air Classic neck and the Air Zone or AT-1 bridge.

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Offline darkbluemurder

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Re: Pickups for bright guitar
« Reply #10 on: March 26, 2021, 03:57:38 AM »
I still vote for AT-1 in the bridge. A magnet swap would likely not get you far enough in the direction you want.

For the neck pickup I would consider a magnet swap to A4 or unoriented A5.

Cheers Stephan
Area 67, Area 58, Area 61, VV Pro 54, Injectors, VV HB2, Virtual Solo, SDS-1, Area T, Area Hot T, Area T 615, Virtual Hot T, Chopper T, Bluesbucker, Breed set, Air Norton, Super Distortion, DLX+, DLX-90, DP240, DP198, DP168, VHPAF, AT-1, Norton