Separate names with a comma.
Discussion in 'Pickups' started by DarrellV, Dec 27, 2017.
Great work, and the result appears to be sweet! Enjoy
Many thanks all around! Feels almost like a NGD in a way...
NOw the next step is adjusting to the sound of the new pickups, and getting my intonation back in step! That could take weeks!
Maybe you SHOULD do coke while intonating a guitar to speed up the process!
I'm very impressed at how detailed you were in describing the sounds you heard and wanted. I can tell if I like a sound or not, but I have a hard time pinpinting which things I like and dislike. Thankfully, I have received a lot of good tips on MLP (@Rich was particularly helpful yesterday) and I've got my Strat sounding nice. I'm using less gain, doing more with the volume knob, and I lowered my pickups quite a bit. They were at the Fender factory spec of 5/64 bass side and 4/64 treble side. They're all at 3.5mm bass side and 3mm treble side now. (I used a metric ruler). Sounds a lot better to me now.
Edit: I also ordered some speed knobs so it will be easier to adjust volume quickly. I have a hard time with the tiny Fender knobs.
That's funny! I didn't even KNOW there was a factory spec for something like this.
But then I rarely need an owners manual either. If I need one, it's not built as good as it could be. Or its really complicated because it does so much that I need to get pointers along the way, but seriously.
Stuff like pickup height, string gauge, amp and knob levels are all there for the tweaking. That's what they are designed for. To help a factory mass produced product meet the needs of hundreds of thousands of different people and their likes.
FWIW Strats are made for and really like low pickups. The single coils use rod magnets or a powerful ceramic underneath that creates a very intense magnetic field.
This pull is concentrated on a very small spot on the string. This has the unpleasant effect of producing a phenomenon called Stratitis...
From the Seymore Duncan site:
What is “Strat-itis”?
Posted on June 12, 2015 by sltwtr
“Strat-itis” is often caused when the height of the pickup is adjusted close to the strings and dissonant overtones are heard as you play further up the frets. It is really noticeable as you play on the bass strings way up the fingerboard. The overtones are due to each pickup having the same polarity (3 South or 3 North Polarity). The string acts like a keeper but is magnetized in three locations. As the magnetic field from the center pickup travels down the string, the magnetic field is repelled by the two outside pickups. As the like poles repel each other down the string, the overtones become very distorted sound wise.
The Strat-itis can be reduced by lowering the pickups on the bass side of the pickups. Also reversing the magnetic polarity in the center pickup will help reduce magnetic repulsion in the string. The notes will have a clearer sound as you play up the frets. The string can have several magnetic fields that react with the pickup’s magnetic field.
You can Google the specs. Fender has factory specs posted on their website with recommended heights for all their pickups.
That's interesting. I don't know the science, but I'm definitely liking the lower pickups.
Has to do with the amount of pull, as I mentioned. They are very powerful and don't need to be right up next to the string.
They are also usually pretty bright. Moving them away will mellow them a tad and also reduce the pick attack or 'bite' when you hit the strings.
It's a lot less like an ice pick on the bridge with it lowered. I don't know why I didn't bother messing with pickup height before.
Thank you! then you're gonna LOVE these!
IIRC @JohnnyN was saying he would like the covers on too... Well, here ya go!
Sorry about the indoor lighting, its still winter in NY...
IMG_9274 by DarrellV posted Jan 25, 2018 at 11:27 AM
IMG_9278 by DarrellV posted Jan 25, 2018 at 11:02 AM
IMG_9285 by DarrellV posted Jan 25, 2018 at 9:55 AM
IMG_9284 by DarrellV posted Jan 25, 2018 at 10:01 AM
IMG_9282 by DarrellV posted Jan 25, 2018 at 10:12 AM
IMG_9287 by DarrellV posted Jan 12, 2018 at 9:08 PM
IMG_9288-1 by DarrellV posted Jan 25, 2018 at 10:08 AM
IMG_9280 by DarrellV posted Jan 25, 2018 at 10:15 AM
IMG_9279 by DarrellV posted Jan 25, 2018 at 10:21 AM
IMG_9277 by DarrellV posted Jan 25, 2018 at 11:11 AM
G G G G G GOoooooLLLD!
Damn man, those covers make her classy! This thread is great entertainment and I agree it's as exciting as any NGD thread out there. Keep the pics coming!
And well done
Yes! Well done!
Don't you go tooo far away young man! There will be more calls of duty we'll need your expertise on!
For experience and sheer awesome factor me next to Kris be like....
IMG_9290 by DarrellV posted Jan 25, 2018 at 9:33 AM
IMG_9292 by DarrellV posted Jan 25, 2018 at 9:06 AM
IMG_9293 by DarrellV posted Jan 25, 2018 at 9:01 AM
IMG_9294 by DarrellV posted Jan 24, 2018 at 1:53 PM
IMG_9295 by DarrellV posted Jan 24, 2018 at 1:49 PM
IMG_9296 by DarrellV posted Jan 24, 2018 at 1:41 PM
IMG_9297 by DarrellV posted Jan 24, 2018 at 1:36 PM
IMG_9298 by DarrellV posted Jan 24, 2018 at 1:33 PM
IMG_9299 by DarrellV posted Jan 24, 2018 at 1:26 PM
IMG_9300 by DarrellV posted Jan 24, 2018 at 1:18 PM
Sound Check..... Testing 1....2....3
So the part Dave has been waiting for...
Everything went together pretty good except for the noted difficulties.
My first sound check was without the covers on.
20180110_214648 by DarrellV posted Jan 25, 2018 at 12:07 PM
I really like the sound of the Shaw in my Mexicaster uncovered so I was hoping for a similar experience with the Neck Shaw in the Lester.
20180101_140219 by DarrellV posted Jan 1, 2018 at 2:20 PM
Nope, they were completely different.
Blame it on the different scale length and pickup placement, or the fact one hangs from a plastic face-plate and the other is sunk into solid wood, whatever the reason..... They sound nothing alike.
I was hoping for a similar airy haunting sound I got from the Mexicaster.
Instead I got the thicker more sinewy Les Paul neck sound. Well, DUH!
Heavy on the fundamental without as much air, so it seemed at first...BUT! And understand I am not complaining, just observing... it did NOT sound like the flat brick bell like tone as before.
It DOES sound different in that when it is driven with gain it has a thick sine wave flutey kind of sound that runs very deep and full. It is not anemic and it is not muddy at all! It is a very usable sound. Slash would be proud, LOL!
20180110_214601 by DarrellV posted Jan 25, 2018 at 12:14 PM
Cleaned up it sounds very plain with a rolled off high end. Very little sparkle.... but no ice picky edge either!
The Notta Shaw on the other hand!
53mm Not-Shaw by DarrellV posted Dec 28, 2017 at 1:40 PM
Wow! That one took some getting used to as far as setup and tone balance. Yeah. it's nice and responsive like I wanted..
It's an animal!!!
It took me a bit to figure out how high to place it in the rings for best sound. I was used to the anemic Shaw in the bridge before so I started off with this one at near the same height.
Boy was I wrong!
That thing was LOUD and full of midrange. It seemed to have no lows and though the highs were not overpowering, the middle was HUGE!
Viewer Discretion Advised
Remember, I am telling this tale from the beginning... Nothing is setup yet and we are in the setup process of 'ringing out' the guitar like a sound-man would a room. None of this should be taken as a reflection of Dave's work.
If I only got the Shaw for my Strat to sound like it does, I'm happy! It's that amazing!
So I have faith that what I'm hearing initially will work itself out with time and testing, and that it is not the pickup's fault.
I ask the reader to do the same in reserving judgement on the winder...
Happily Ever After?
Once I got my head around what the Notta Shaw was doing the answer was simple. Just lower it down away from the strings.
Once it was moved down to about only halfway up it became much more manageable sound wise. In fact, I have done very little pole tweaking as it is balanced enough as it is.
It was my fault just not being used to a pickup that has some power to it. I had it set up like the old anemic Shaw!
Now back to the neck pickup it does sound nice, but cleaned up it does seem a little, well, blah in its response. Kinda plain vanilla-ish.
Everything is there, it just seems to be lacking a 'sweet spot' that makes me love it.... So more pole tweaking and height fiddling and of course the intoning that goes along with any guitar disassembly.
I should also mention here that if your guitar isn't intoned properly, it's not going to help your pickups sound their best either.
I played through my standard tone songs to give it a final rundown and everything sound a bit thinner and clearer than I was used to.
I have a little Vox amp that I have stored some presets in that I like so that helps me to compare what I remember hearing to what I'm hearing now.
Yeah, everything is crisper. I did also change the pots and caps too, to be fair! I found rolling the tone off a bit helped.
So I was resigned to learn to like the new sound I have. I knew it would be different, but had no idea in what ways....
It wasn't totally obnoxious or unpleasant in that I hated it, I just didn't BOND with it right out of the gate like I thought I would.
And again, that could be another of those 'happily ever after' fairy tales and it could be my expectations weren't in line with what I was perceiving. I had to allow for that too.
Tomorrow would tell.... Ears would be fresh!
Why the Cover-Up?
After the initial sound test I posted the pictures above sans covers.
My initial impression of things being stated above I was resigned to learn to like it.
I had yet to actually play it live through my pedal too, so there was that..
Then I got thinking about the covers.....
I liked the zebra look so much, and there was the sound of the uncovered Shaw in my Mexicaster that I hadn't really considered using them.
It was you guys that made me put them on! You and your insatiable need for !!
I figured it would be necessary to post at least a couple pics with the covers on or I wouldn't hear the end of it!
Then I reasoned that I also owed it to myself to hear what it sounded like with the covers on, for better or worse.
So on they went! Pole screws and heights adjusted accordingly and....well... WOW!
IMG_9300 by DarrellV posted Jan 24, 2018 at 1:18 PM
These pups were made for covers apparently! It rounded and mellowed them both nicely! Took the bark out of the Notta-Shaw and Sculpted the sound of the Neck into a more focused and articulate tone center. Less all around vanilla...
The Notta -Shaw, because of where it resides in a Les Paul sounds very flat and neutral when dry. However, that's not what I intended to use it for.
IMG_9282 by DarrellV posted Jan 25, 2018 at 10:12 AM
I called it ashes for when I crank up the crunch, and that flat response and beefier mid range really sounds nice when cranked. Not spiky or boomy, nor anemic. The mid bump and flat response fill in a LOT of sonic space. It makes a statement! Isn't that what Les Pauls are known for?
I also noticed that for the first time I could hear the string separation inside the crunch. I could never hear the strings speaking in the old pickups, just a solid sound.
IMG_9276 by DarrellV posted Jan 25, 2018 at 11:22 AM
The Path less Traveled
I have read on here that many users don't even use the middle position. And some have said they hear little to no difference.
Some have said they find no usable toanz there.
All's I can say is my experience is the complete opposite!
In the middle position with everything setup properly and balanced this Lester produces an almost birdlike chirp and a chime that's just about impossible to describe. Like a Rickenbacker, but without the jangle. Not at all like a Fender, not glassy.
Rolling either tone or volume pot on either pickup changes and molds the sound and changes the chirp response to something else that's also very usable.
Very small adjustments are needed to hear results. This is why I put the pointers on my speed knobs.
20180110_212333 by DarrellV posted Jan 11, 2018 at 7:23 AM
I already liked to use the middle toanz, but now!
I would like to post sound clips for your tonal pleasure but I don't have a YouTube account or anything like it.
It would be nice if the forum allowed uploads of mp3s or something.....