How to Use the Controls on a Les Paul

Discussion in 'Tonefreaks' started by Splattle101, Jun 12, 2009.

  1. Splattle101

    Splattle101 V.I.P. Member

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    Glad it's of some use. :thumb:

    Post a link to the 'other' forum while you're at it. Information is power and it should be free and all that... :D
     
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  2. rikko

    rikko Senior Member

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    Being a junior member on a friggin' ipad, I haven't quite got the jist on the "thanks" feature on this forum. So THANKS!!!
    I'm gonna try this out soon!
     
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  3. CRAZYokiSKATER

    CRAZYokiSKATER Senior Member

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    You will get the hang of it.
     
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  4. CherryBurstChaser

    CherryBurstChaser Senior Member

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    Wow! This thread is packed with thorough, tremendously useful info. Thanks so much to OP and all contributors.:dude:
     
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  5. PJV

    PJV Banned

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    I just read this and am stuck at work for 4 more hours!

    I can not wait to get home and try this out! Never thought of setting my amp for a good sound on the neck pickup, and adjusting the tone on my bridge to even everything up!

    It all makes so much sense!:thumb:

    Thank you for posting this!
     
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  6. wblakesx

    wblakesx Junior Member

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    The bit about 50's circuitry and:

    "What I meant by 'good soloing tone' is that it has enough treble and high mids to be heard through the mix. Like the sound Gary Moore uses for Still Got the Blues. The beginning and a fair bit of the solo are neck pickup sounds. So what I am getting at is that your neck pup is darker than the bridge. The sound you get with the bridge vol and tone at 10 is the brightest sound you can extract from your guitar. If you EQ your amp so the brightest possible sound you can get sounds balanced, the neck pup will be muddy. This is problem a lot of people complain about, which is why I wrote this.

    "With the tone control you can cut the treble. But you can't add it if it's not already there. So...

    "EQ your amp so it's as bright as you need it to be on the neck pup. Then your bridge will seem too bright and harsh, but you can tame that with the tone control for the bridge. That's what I meant when I said you can cut the treble, but you can't add it if it's not there.

    "So in its simplest terms, EQ your amp bright enough for your neck to sound good, then turn down the tone on your bridge. The rest will follow from there.

    Is great advice and gets to the core.

    I'm still working at getting better but let me add that in the early/mid 70's, with my new Carvin SS 100 amp and Univox LP I found the Br pup best w/tone rolled off and the amp treble up. It gave that paper ripping sound i like so much and the Br pup was otherwise rather useless; the neck pu worked well at 10/10. But this was about distorted tone. Some amps respond well to a setup like this and other well but not as well.

    Mud is at one end of the tone controls and knife attacks at the other. In between there are some good tones. The modern LP setup makes mud control more difficult. Play with different amps to get one this technique is really good with, since on some it is very impressive. I think what I like about the LP is the neck, otherwise Teles are terrific.
    Best of luck.
     
  7. TColumbia37

    TColumbia37 Member

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    I'm definitely going to try this next time I get a chance. I feel that many people would have some trouble doing so if they have stock electronics, though. They seem to be less sensitive and responsive to slight changes than nicer pots. However, I got some DiMarzio custom taper split shafts in my newest Paul, and have been itching for a way to incorporate their sensitivity into my playing.
     
  8. Splattle101

    Splattle101 V.I.P. Member

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    For the record, I first 'discovered' this technique while playing a old Norlin Les Paul with stock wiring, including 300 k pots and the old tea kettle shield. In retrospect, it was probably the crappy usability of the controls on that instrument that prompted me to experiment to try to get more than one good sound out that guitar.

    Of course, all I was 'discovering' was the technique used by most of the old classic players.
     
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  9. TomSativa

    TomSativa Member

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    Bookmarked this, soon it will help me very very much! Thanks Splat!
     
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  10. tazzboy

    tazzboy V.I.P. Member

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    Yeah I try Modern wiring with this and it just doesn't do it for me.
     
  11. HeartString

    HeartString Senior Member Premium Member

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    Thank you for putting this together and making it a sticky!! Awesome!!
     
  12. Noremad

    Noremad Junior Member

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    This is an awesome post!!
     
  13. QReuCk

    QReuCk Senior Member

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    I've read this a longtime ago and did have some usefull results at that time, but that's just recently that I did totally understand it. My setup is not the typical Les Paul one as it's an "independent" volume setup (stock on my guitar which is obviously not a Gibson).
    To fully benefit of that piece of advice, I think you must really EQ for Neck Pickup, which with some amps (Trademark 120 in my case) and guitars (we all know the reputation of independant volumes) will put the EQ knobs in some wierd positions.
    Cable wise, I have a GE7 10feet from the guitar so it's 10ft of cable into a buffer. Most of my rythm playing is with the GE7 not activated. It just goes in when I need a slight gain boost associated with some EQ curve between a frown curve and a ramp up (which tends to add clarity, sustain and power).

    It should be noted that I start my setting routine with every volume on 7 and tones on 10, EQ not activated.

    I had trouble to get a crisp and clear sound from the neck pickup alone (the independant volume thing might be an explanation, but I kinda grew liking it anyway). I got some encourraging results by setting the pickup height and pole screws height, but no cigar yet until recently.
    Solution 1: just pull back the bass on the EQ. On some setting, this will become "boxy", "Middy" whatever you want to call it. Reflex will be to try to dial the correct amount of bass to be neither muddy nor middy. WRONG! In some cases it is just not possible to obtain the desired tone. What I discovered later is that you should reduce the bass until it is no longer muddy, then if it's a bit too middy, just increase the trebble until it is no longer boxy. On neck pickup, this shouldn't be too bright, even if you end up with bass on 3, mid on 5 and trebble on 7 (example, really rig dependant - trust your ears not your eyes).
    Then you switch to your bridge pick up and try with only the bridge tone knob to avoid the ear-piercing-ice-picky stuff. You should end up with somewhere in the usable range of your tone pot. In my experience, reducing the bridge tone pot doesn't turn the whole sound into something boxy.

    Now what you have is:
    Bridge only: if you need some more piercing tone for a phrase, just increase the bridge tone. Set the distortion level with volume knob.
    Neck only: a tone that you can use for leads, riffs, and rythm as well. Set the distortion level with volume knob. Give more room in the mix to your bandmates by lowering a bit the tone.
    Both pickups: just add or remove a bit of one pickup to obtain more of the bass body (without mud cause there's no longer any mud in your neck PUp) or more brittle (without ear piercing stuff cause...). You can also fine tune the overall sound by acting on whatever tone knob you want (they work as two master tones in parallel in this position).

    Pretty similar method to the OP I guess but I would like to insist on the fact that you musn't be affraid of setting the EQ knobs in positions that are very different from what you were used too when you were setting your EQ for the brisge pickup with tone on 10.
     
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  14. alhaales

    alhaales Junior Member

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    Nice post dude thanks; I´ll try to ride the pots on my Lp!
     
  15. alhaales

    alhaales Junior Member

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    I´m asking to myself (and to anyone who´s want be helpful) if the marshall class 5 might be an amp good enough to try this very thoughful tips, on my Lp.
     
  16. QReuCk

    QReuCk Senior Member

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    I don't have experience with the Class5, but any amp I tried did benefit a whole lot from this approach. I don't think it would be any different with your Marshall and even more, this one being a non MV it should be all about using the guitar controls. Have fun tweaking your knobs!
     
  17. Splattle101

    Splattle101 V.I.P. Member

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    Yes, the basic technique will work with any amp. It works better with non master volume amps (i.e., amps that just have a single volume or loudness control, and no separate gain or distortion control).

    The whole point of this technique is to use the guitar to control the sound, primarily the loudness, the amount of distortion, and the amount of treble. It's not for everybody: many players prefer to use pedals and only use their volume control to turn the guitar off in between songs. That's a perfectly legit way to play, but I prefer to use the guitar because it leaves me free to move around the stage and - in my view - gives me greater freedom to get whatever sound I'm aiming for in any given instant without having to worry about whether there's a pedal currently set up to give me that sound.

    It is not the point of this technique to eliminate pedals, or to argue that anybody who uses them is somehow 'cheating' or a deficient player, or lacking in tonal purity and sanctity. Bugger that.:rolleyes: In fact, I frequently use this technique with a boost or fuzz pedal turned on, and I still vary and control the sound from the guitar.

    The idea is to squeeze everything you can from the instrument. The instrument starts where your fingertips end, and it finishes where the speakers move the air, and it includes everything in between. This technique is another part of the puzzle to get more from your instrument.:thumb:
     
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  18. Barabus

    Barabus Senior Member

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  19. 1981 LPC

    1981 LPC Senior Member

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    Here's a good demonstration. Made in Germany and thus thorough.

    (No jokes about wolume pots, please :D)

    [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RPxI7ySrtvE]Gibson Les Paul Tone & Volume Control - YouTube[/ame]
     
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  20. bigsnaketex

    bigsnaketex Senior Member

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    I tried this last night with my Fender Super Reverb. . . . and even though I think I do a good job using all the knobs on my guitars. . . this technique enabled me to get to some new sonic territory and I'd like to thank you so very much for this.

    Quite frankly this is just the best reason for being a member of this forum.
     
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