Cleaning up the muddy tone in my Les Paul Supreme? [SOLVED]

Arf

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Muddy sounding neck pickup? Try Seymour’s quick tech fix
Posted on November 15, 2010 on the Official Seymour Duncan Blog

By Seymour Duncan Tech Guru Scott Miller

People often call and ask how to fix a muddy sounding neck pickup. Some years ago, Seymour taught me a cool trick to fix this exact problem. If you connect a .047 capacitor in series (directly in-line) with the hot output wire from your neck pickup, it will filter out the excess low-end, and clean up the muddy tone. Most of the time, this solution is perfect. And, it is an easy mod that most people can do themselves.

View attachment 499481
Looks like a cheap fix until you get a proper pickup. Might be interesting on a pull pot.
 

Arf

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That’s exactly what’s putting me off changing them, it’s a bit of a pain to do so. I actually like the set in most other guitars I had them in but the supreme seems to add a little more darkness to the sound, I was surprised by this considering the sheer amount of maple on the thing.
Yes, I was wondering about that. Do you undo the output jack and pull them up to the pickup hole? of course there's the string ground. Don't want to break that.
 

Kaicho8888

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I've been through this with all my 490R 498T... lowered pickup and up with the pole screws... still not to my liking.

Then, I exchanged the magnets between the bridge and neck pickups... wow, much better! You EQ to the neck pickup to your taste and the bridge is not as ear piercing bright (lower tone a little) when you toggle. Now the 490R has alnico V, and bridge mellowed al little with alnico II.

Best of all... it's almost stock and no out of pocket expense... have fun with that Supreme, I love mine with enough blings!
 

dspelman

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Muddy sounding neck pickup? Try Seymour’s quick tech fix
Posted on November 15, 2010 on the Official Seymour Duncan Blog

By Seymour Duncan Tech Guru Scott Miller

People often call and ask how to fix a muddy sounding neck pickup. Some years ago, Seymour taught me a cool trick to fix this exact problem. If you connect a .047 capacitor in series (directly in-line) with the hot output wire from your neck pickup, it will filter out the excess low-end, and clean up the muddy tone. Most of the time, this solution is perfect. And, it is an easy mod that most people can do themselves.

View attachment 499481
I think this solution has appeared on various Gibsons since the early '70's. The fourth position on the six-position L6S pickup selector is both pickups, parallel out of phase, with the neck pickup's bass response restricted through a series capacitor. It's also worth noting that the L6S has a mids rolloff in addition to the treble rolloff (normal "tone" control) that makes the neck pickup less muddy, and the reissue of the L6S (mid-2000's) replaced that with a bass rolloff and used a single-coil mode rather than parallel.

Neal Schon's Sig guitar used a single coil size (but very hot) DiMarzio pickup in the neck position, but also sported a sweepable frequency passive mids cut (fixed amount of cut).

The early 90s M-III Standard included a position on the pickup selector that included an inductor (capacitor) that tamed the neck pickup when coupled with the bridge pickup.

Rather than wire the capacitor into the circuit from the neck position permanently, however, it was always able to be switched out of the pickup selection when you really didn't want/need it.
 

Michael Matyas

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Hey guys, I have for the last 6 months or so been absolutely crazy obsessed with my Les Paul Supreme, one small issue though, the 490r & 498T get muddy the second you add drive to this thing.

I normally don’t mind these pickups that much but in this case I feel they sort of take away from the rest of the guitar.

Anyone else out there have a supreme? What pickups do you find that brightens it up a little?


Is the whole tone range muddy or just the low end? View attachment 499083
Is the whole spectrum
Hey guys, I have for the last 6 months or so been absolutely crazy obsessed with my Les Paul Supreme, one small issue though, the 490r & 498T get muddy the second you add drive to this thing.

I normally don’t mind these pickups that much but in this case I feel they sort of take away from the rest of the guitar.

Anyone else out there have a supreme? What pickups do you find that brightens it up a little?


View attachment 499083
Is the whole tonal range muddy or just the low end? If the highs are ok and you just want to tighten up the low end you could try stainless steel wound strings. They are brighter than regular nickel plated steel strings. Also, if you play a lot in the middle switch position you could slightly lower the bass side of the neck pickup. That will give you a tighter low end when playing through both pickups. If the sound is ok when the guitar volume is on full, but gets blurry when you lower the volume, then you could try adding a treble bleed network to your volume controls. This is a simple passive circuit mod that consists of a resistor and capacitor wired in parallel. It is dirt cheap and not very difficult to install. Best of luck!
 

jimmy G

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Hey guys, I have for the last 6 months or so been absolutely crazy obsessed with my Les Paul Supreme, one small issue though, the 490r & 498T get muddy the second you add drive to this thing.

I normally don’t mind these pickups that much but in this case I feel they sort of take away from the rest of the guitar.

Anyone else out there have a supreme? What pickups do you find that brightens it up a little?


View attachment 499083
I have used Dimarzio 36th anniversary PAFs and love them. Maybe you won’t get the aftermarket pickup snob appeal but you will have more cash in your jeans.
When I put in my first pair about five years ago, I was absolutely stunned plugging in WOW. The neck pickup was so airy and full, the bridge pickup cranks to where you want cranking to be... and still have some Geets left for buying dinner!
 

TriSarahPloop

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I have used Dimarzio 36th anniversary PAFs and love them. Maybe you won’t get the aftermarket pickup snob appeal but you will have more cash in your jeans.
When I put in my first pair about five years ago, I was absolutely stunned plugging in WOW. The neck pickup was so airy and full, the bridge pickup cranks to where you want cranking to be... and still have some Geets left for buying dinner!
I actually was looking at those Dimarzios the other day! They are very much on my radar but for a different guitar entirely.
 

rfrizz

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There is a ton of misinformation out there about music stuff--most people don't really know what they're talking about and repeat the same incorrect stuff. I'm glad that it helped, and like I said, in the vast majority of cases with good, well-designed guitars from major manufacturers, you can solve the problems with a correct setup. Why they don't come from the factory like this anymore is a mystery to me.
$$$

It is always the $$$.

If you have not heard of Daisy Rock, it is/was a "girl guitar" company. Not positive, but I think Schecter made the guitars. Regardless, they made terrific instruments which were priced a little under the lowest Fender Strat, but easily as good or better than a mid-level Fender Strat.

But the kicker? Their motto, "Set up and ready to play!" was true. The guitars came with broken-in D'Addario 9-46 strings.
 

TriSarahPloop

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$$$

It is always the $$$.

If you have not heard of Daisy Rock, it is/was a "girl guitar" company. Not positive, but I think Schecter made the guitars. Regardless, they made terrific instruments which were priced a little under the lowest Fender Strat, but easily as good or better than a mid-level Fender Strat.

But the kicker? Their motto, "Set up and ready to play!" was true. The guitars came with broken-in D'Addario 9-46 strings.
Never understood the whole pointlessly gendered guitar thing, I never seen the guitar as a masculine exclusive instrument :rofl: sure it's mostly guys who play it but look at people like Yvette Young.
 

Christosterone

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I actually was looking at those Dimarzios the other day! They are very much on my radar but for a different guitar entirely.
my warmoth “les Paul” is all dimarzios...they can each be split too...
they exceeded my expectations in every way
and I’m a gibson pup guy thru and thru

554408F4-05D3-4D92-97E1-268DD0D553DE.jpeg
 

Christosterone

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Ok that is awesome!! Never had a warmoth build but that thing looks fantastic!
Thank you...it was [for me] a massive labor of love
Here’s the “build” thread
 

TriSarahPloop

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Thank you...it was [for me] a massive labor of love
Here’s the “build” thread
I really enjoyed looking through that post, the back of the neck in particular is beautiful! Great job putting together a very unique and interesting LP!
 

Christosterone

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I really enjoyed looking through that post, the back of the neck in particular is beautiful! Great job putting together a very unique and interesting LP!
what did u decide on ur supreme...
u should send it to me and let me test out pups for a few years to give the best recommendation I can :h5:

supremes are my dream....yours rocks!

-chris
 

truckermde

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I have been following closely this current theory I tried to get in contact with Gibson about it but go figure I get radio silence the second I mention the model in the emails :rolleyes: I have decided to keep it as is thanks to the suggestion of adjusting the pole pieces I have managed to get it in the ball park of where I want it.
Glad you got it dialed in better.

Thinking about swapping electronics out on that Supreme is a bit daunting, to me anyway...

:cheers2:
 

E.T.

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Had a few Gibson LPs with humbuckers, the ones with the most bite and punch had ceramic magnets in the pickups (LP Classic, '90s "The Paul"). The neck pickups especially of the others with AlNiCo magnets all sounded muddy. Ceramic magnets hold a stronger field which means higher output which means better treble response, basically. More coil windings (so higher DC resistance and impedance) will also mean the same. In my humble opinion the best humbuckers I have ever played were in that '90s "Paul", which I realise makes me a terrible peasant but there you go :cool2:
 

thefees

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When Guitar Center had their high end Les Paul sale, they brought all of the 5 grand wonders down on the floor on a display island. Finally, you got a chance to compare them all. So I asked my assistant manager buddy to show me the models with the different pickups because I wanted to upgrade my 1995 Epi LP. I tried them all side by side. I chose the 490's and bought them. They are a classic set that goes way back. They had this deep warm tone that I loved. If you are looking for a lot more brightness the Classic 57's are for you. To me they had an Elvis Presley kind of sound which isn't what I was looking for. In a band, or should I say in a mix the additional treble will help in the Classic 57's to make you stand out.
Typically a higher output pickup will make the guitar sound muddy on clean tones, but make the pedals come alive. A good combination in that regard is split coil. Even on my 490's I have the Seymour Duncan Triple Shot pickup rings which gives me the option of being able to single coil either leg of each pickup. Yes there is a difference in tone on each leg. That brightens the tone up a lot, and also gives you the ability to blend that single coil with the other pickup in either mode series or split coil. Makes for a full palette of sounds.
See the little dip switches on the pickup rings. Having a 4 conductor wire set of pickups like the 490's is required. I'm trying to upload the photo but I don't see it. Simply Google Seymour Duncan Triple Shot pickup rings to see what I mean. .
 

Kitsune

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This makes a shocking difference! I had adjusted pole pieces before but I was doing it wrong, thanks so much for this! The difference in note clarity is crazy!

You may have saved me from a pickup change:applause:
Well, well, well... seems I was right all along from the first answer to this 5 pages thread! :rofl:
 

MyGuitar

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Overwound pickups are sounding duller, 498T is such overwound 14+k dc pickup. Use 500+k log (Audio or A) taper Volume pots, or even 1meg log pot for 498T pickup. Use 500k log "no-load" for the Tone pots. Use serial ~820pF ~240k "treble bleed" circuits on Volume pots. Use ~12nF Tone cap for the ~7.7k dc 490R Neck pickup and ~8.2nF Tone cap for the 14+k dc 498T Bridge pickup. The best would be to replace bridge pickup on ~8.5k dc Alnico magnet model, for example, 57 Plus or BurstBucker 3. Std log pots are ~10% tapers. Putting pot in the mid position and measuring resistance from the mid to sides there is approx. 10% / 90% proportion, for example - in case of 500k pots - 50k / 450k. But the best audio taper for guitar pots is ~20% (100k / 400k). I mean such "semi-log" taper, closer to the linear taper. Not easy to find such pots...
 
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Macaz

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Check pots and caps, as has been mentioned.

I'm generally of the opinion that you can fix this issue on any guitar with a proper setup and don't have to resort to changing anything. Lower the pckups significantly, I really do mean a ton compared to factory setup on many Les Pauls. You will also probably want the bass side of the pickup lower than the treble side.

Mess with the pole piece height to get good string-to-string volume, which means that you will want your treble side pole pieces higher than the bass side ones. Remember that the loudest string on your guitar is actually the G-string (with most string sets), then I think the low E-string. The two strings with the least output are the D and high E strings. This is because it's actually just the solid core of the string that gets magnetized, not the windings, so on most string sets the G-string is actually the one with the thickest core. Regarding pole piece height, you most likely want it to go roughly (read from EADGBE strings) lower than flush, flush with the top of the pickup, higher than flush, lower than flush, flush, higher than flush.

Getting that set correctly can work wonders, and almost no-one knows how to set pole pieces correctly. Many videos out there about guitar setup have it all wrong, recommending that you follow the curvature of the neck, but absolutely do not do that.
Thank you so much for this information. It seems obvious now but I was totally unaware. I have set up all my LP’s this way now and what a difference!! I did a basic set up in the way that you mentioned then I tweaked each pole piece a fraction to fine balance them. Wished I’d know years ago. Fab
 


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