Does it ever end?

Discussion in 'Tonefreaks' started by Dilver, Sep 27, 2017.

  1. Dilver

    Dilver Senior Member

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    I'm a perpetual tinkerer. I don't think I've ever left any guitar 100% stock. I'm a player first, collector second, and I've got good tech skills having worked on my own guitars for many, many years. I can cut nuts & bridge saddles, level/crown/polish frets, and handle rewiring myself. As some of you know, I recently got a 2017 Reissue - out of the box, it's already pretty killer. I'm in love with how it plays.

    But things can always be a little better, right? So, I swap out the bridge, which is pretty darn good to start, with a Faber. To my ears, it sounds a little better, and gives me a touch more sustain. That's great because this guitar is SUPER resonant, and the Faber brings out that quality even more. I also just happen to have a Pigtail lightweight aluminum tailpiece in my parts drawer, so I stick that on there. No tonal difference, but it looks cool.

    Next up, I swap out the volume pots for RS Superpots. Some people don't buy into it, but I dig 'em. Slower taper, and smoother feel. Oh, and I know those fake Gibson Bumblebees are functionally fine, but just the idea bugs me, so I swap them out for some PIO caps. Done.

    I change out the Custombucker pickups because to me, they sound good, but the set I got sound more like a "modern" Les Paul vs. vintage and the neck pickup isn't as clear as I like. In go an OX4 neck (7.3k) and a Peter Florance Voodoo '59 bridge (8.3k). The OX4 is nice and bright and the Voodoo is just killer. Crisp, dry and woody. Roll back the tone a little and it's honkin'. Love this thing. Problem is, the middle position is kinda "confused" regardless of how much I tinker with pickup heights and amp settings. It isn't that Dickey Betts tone that I dig. Hmmmm.

    Fast forward to yesterday, when I come across a set of OX4 medium winds (Bridge=8.45k, Neck =7.59k) for sale at a great price. Since I liked both the OX4 neck and the Voodoo bridge pickups, I had contemplated matching my pickups (i.e. having OX4 in both positions OR Voodoo in both positions) in the hopes that the middle position issue would be resolved.

    So now, I'm going to pull out the pickups I have, swap in the OX4s and hope *fingers crossed* that I dig the tone in all positions and that I like the bridge tone just as much or better than the Voodoo. If I don't.... I'm going to have to try to find a Voodoo neck pickup and go full Voodoo in both positions.

    Sorry for the long post, but has anyone else gone through several pickup swaps to land on "the one"? And by odd chance, anyone have experience with both OX4's and Florance Voodoo?
     
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  2. yamariv

    yamariv Senior Member

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    Pickup swaps are definitely worth it and noticeable with the right ones. Don't stop until you're happy with them, after all they are your guitars!

    I've been honing my tinkering and wiring skills lately and have modded pretty much all my guitars and I love it. At first I was scared to work on them and set them up but now I'm always thinking on things I want to change on them to make them more playable and better sounding for me. Who cares about resale, I keep my guitars and love to acquire more.

    Right now I'm contemplating yanking out my Standar's PCB board and doing a full rewire with PIO Russian caps and better CTS pots. Let the modding continue!!
     
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  3. Dick Banks

    Dick Banks Senior Member

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    Part of the fun of being an electric guitar player IMO....
     
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  4. GitFiddle

    GitFiddle Premium Member

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  5. Dolebludger

    Dolebludger Premium Member

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    I am not one who is constantly modding his guitars. But, because I like ultra low action without buzz, I'm constantly re-setting up my guitars, as things change one them with changing weather. I've felt for sometime that players need to be taught basic set-up right along with the actual playing.
     
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  6. Bobby Mahogany

    Bobby Mahogany Senior Member

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    It's good to be a believer.
     
  7. GuitarMechanic

    GuitarMechanic Senior Member

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    Tinkering is fun yes ;)
     
  8. freefrog

    freefrog Senior Member

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    Yes. Sometimes stock pickups do the job. Or all they need is a different wiring or another magnet/ keeper bar/set of pole pieces. Sometimes their voicing doesn't cooperate with the necessarily unique resonance due to necessarily unique bits of woods and several trials are required to find the "sound in our head".

    It's not as if we were the only ones to be in such quests:

    http://www.woodytone.com/2011/08/30/great-tidbits-from-the-entire-78-evh-interview/

    Just an add: it might appear counter intuitive but if you experiment with pickups coming from different sets, keep in mind their mutual influence... A different or modified neck pickup can alter the sound of a bridge transducer, even when the bridge model is played alone (and conversely). It's a question of magnetic fields.

    IME and FWIW.

    Good luck in your experiments!
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2017
  9. Dilver

    Dilver Senior Member

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    Whoa. Had not considered this... So by this line of thinking, if my neck OX4 sounds good right now, if I change the bridge pickup, it may alter it's tone? I'd ask how much of this is perceptible, but I have pretty good ears and a discerning/judgemental temperment :eek2:
     
  10. ARandall

    ARandall Senior Member

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    You would find it more likely for 3 pickup guitars to have influence than 2.
    Neck pickups I think do certain things mainly due to the ability of the magnet to pull the string more due to the greater string excursion.

    Just from the little I know about typical alnico bars I would think the interaction of magnetic fields with the typical LP spacing would be very minimal.....and then perhaps only on the extremes where there is no signal being picked up.
     
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  11. freefrog

    freefrog Senior Member

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    I reply during coffee time, at work.

    A few weeks ago, I've changed a neck pickup in a Flying V: the initial A5 machine wound PU has been pulled out for a hand guided model with UOA5.
    I did know for a fact that the U0A5 used had a "special" magnetic "signature" (I had tested it with the lab teslameter that we have where I work).
    Once the neck PU changed (and set at the same height than the previous one), the bridge one (left strictly untouched) has started to sound differently. So differently that I've recorded a track to check what happened. I'll post a screenshot translating this test if time permits. All I can say in the meantime is that the difference was absolutely obvious.

    Now, I've never said that it happens often: reason why I've used words like "might" and "can" in my previous post. :)
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2017
  12. ant_riv

    ant_riv Senior Member

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    While I appreciate those who love to tinker and swap parts, I am not one of them.

    All of my tinkering is done when I purchase the guitar and is typically optimizing the setup for my preferences.

    I started playing years before parts were available and back then it was customary to make the guitar work for you by exploring its capabilities.

    I have experimented with parts swapping, but the minute (or large) differences are just that (to me). Different.

    We are in a fantastic era, with so many options available!
     
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  13. grayd8

    grayd8 Senior Member

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    Not trying to bash Mark Stow, but to me Ox4’s have a good vintage tone until you get to about 8 on the volume knob, then they start to get modern sounding, which could be a good or a bad thing depending on what you are looking for.

    I think of them as what the PAF should sound like today if Gibson hadn’t lost the original Coke formula.

    I think Wizz premium clones lean more towards the vintage sound. I have both and love both.
     
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  14. alnico59

    alnico59 Premium Member

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    Slightly microphonic is the key ingredient. At least to my ears.
     
  15. hamerfan

    hamerfan Senior Member

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    Two experiences from my time as active tinkerer. A guitar with no neck pickups sounds clearer and more free on the bridge pickup. The middle position sounds best if the neck and bridge pickup is (nearly) identical e.g. two T-Tops.
     
  16. Kaicho8888

    Kaicho8888 Senior Member

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    Tinker till the "end"!
     
  17. kiko

    kiko Senior Member

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    Tinkering is ok but too much is...I'd rather spend my time playing.
     
  18. CheopisIV

    CheopisIV Copper Slinger MLP Vendor

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    You'll get there when you hear the right sound. It can be a long journey but there's definitely an end. Just have to find it!
     
  19. Dolebludger

    Dolebludger Premium Member

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    Actually, to get "your tone", perhaps at a point, you need to quit messing with the guitar and concentrate on your amp instead. And beyond it, the speaker(s). and maybe even get a graphic EQ.
     
  20. Hatefulsob

    Hatefulsob Senior Member

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    I can see making your guitar "yours", tweaking/changing a few things(have done it myself). What I don't understand is why one would need to do this to 5 LP's, 5 strats and 5 tele's? I also admit that I just don't get $500- $600 pickup sets. Perhaps that's because pickups consist of a magnet, plastic bobbin and some wire, and the ones that some people shit their pants over were made in factories 60 years ago?
     

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