De-muddying the neck pickup

spitfire

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While moding an LP studio to use a single volume and tone, I used one of the left over controls with a rotary switch to switch in several different cap values in series (like the OP), and of course none at all.

It definitely removes low end which can be a nice change. In my case switching multiple values was over kill. Though I would still want to be able to switch it in or out.
 

edguidry

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While moding an LP studio to use a single volume and tone, I used one of the left over controls with a rotary switch to switch in several different cap values in series (like the OP), and of course none at all.

It definitely removes low end which can be a nice change. In my case switching multiple values was over kill. Though I would still want to be able to switch it in or out.
I re-wired my epi LP and anticipating new pickups, I put push-pull dpdt pots for the tone controls. So I have options to switch in a cap while coil tapping. But I'm thinking, if this is effective enough in reducing mud, maybe coil tapping isn't the answer?

I know Reverend guitars have a bass contour knob, which allows one to dial in the amount of bass. I understand people really like this feature, and I understand why now.
 

Chadd

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I usually find that dropping the pickup and raising the pole pieces on the plain strings usually works just fine for me.
 

ARandall

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^ Sometimes thats just not enough. The de-mud mod is a godsend in those cases.
 

truckermde

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Doesn't anybody adjust their amplifier? Mine works fine.

If you lower the pickup, raise the poles a touch, and it still sounds muddy, maybe you should turn down the bass knob on your amp.

I do love foolin' around with my wiring, and I've got lots of different types and values of caps, so maybe I'll give it a go, for fun...
 

Classicplayer

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I usually find that dropping the pickup and raising the pole pieces on the plain strings usually works just fine for me.
If you were to sight across the pole pieces on your neck pickup after doing this, would the the e,b, and g poles be visibly higher than the other 3 poles?

I experience some loss of the highs, but I've traced it to my amp....a Blackstar HT1R. It only has a mid sweep control and no separate bass and treble. Once the amp warms up fully, it loses some highs. I did try raising the poles of the top 3 strings and while balancing the tone better, it did not solve the issue. Right now I use an e.q. pedal to restore what my amp "stole".

Classicplayer
 

Batman

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I did this mod on an Epi Goth SG a year or two ago on the stock Epi pickups. I tried all of the normal routes before I made this mod. I upgraded the full wiring harness to Switchcraft jack and switch, CTS 550K Pots, .022 caps (.047 were stock) and braided wiring. I lowered the pickup and raised the pole pieces and I EQ'd my amp for the neck pickup. While all of these changes yielded better sound, the stock pickup was just too bassy and muddy.

The addition of the .047 uF cap in series did make the pickup useable and I played it in this configuration for almost two years before I upgraded to better pickups. With better quality pickups (much lower output) and a swap to an A4 magnet, I have no need for the series cap filter any longer.

This is a useful mod if you have exhausted your other options and do not have the budget to upgrade your pickups.
 

Batman

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If you were to sight across the pole pieces on your neck pickup after doing this, would the the e,b, and g poles be visibly higher than the other 3 poles?

Classicplayer
With mine, I angle the pickup so that the High E side is closer to the strings than low E side. I do this by ear; playing open chords and adjusting until I have the balance of highs and lows that I am after.

When I adjust my pole pieces I do much the same; looking for even volume balance and clear tone. I find that my G and high E strings are the highest and the rest are mostly uniform at approx. 1mm above the cover.
 

Chadd

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If you were to sight across the pole pieces on your neck pickup after doing this, would the the e,b, and g poles be visibly higher than the other 3 poles?

I experience some loss of the highs, but I've traced it to my amp....a Blackstar HT1R. It only has a mid sweep control and no separate bass and treble. Once the amp warms up fully, it loses some highs. I did try raising the poles of the top 3 strings and while balancing the tone better, it did not solve the issue. Right now I use an e.q. pedal to restore what my amp "stole".

Classicplayer
Yes, they are significantly higher. I haven't had a chance to measure but I would guess 1/16" or more. I have started using my EQ as more of a cut than a boost, I didn't like the noise that came along with the boosted frequencies.
 

Classicplayer

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Yes, they are significantly higher. I haven't had a chance to measure but I would guess 1/16" or more. I have started using my EQ as more of a cut than a boost, I didn't like the noise that came along with the boosted frequencies.
I think I've discovered the loss of highs from my neck Duncan '59. I will put in a separate post after this one.

Yes, I've been using an e.q. Just to slightly boost the highs on my neck pickup and also a very slight volume boost too. It seems to work nicely, although I'm not a frequent pedal user.

Classicplayer
 

Classicplayer

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It seems that that I've accidentally discovered the probable reason for the disappearing highs from my neck pickup. I have its' pole pieces adjusted for a balanced volume from string to string and the pickup height is angled just right for a balanced sound. The little Blackstar 1-watt does not have very muchhead room due to its' low power and I read that in a review some months ago. So I think that once the amp warms up completely and I try to bump up the neck volume control, the highs just are not there. If I roll the volume back down, even slightly, the highs re-emerge. This has to be due to the amp's lack of "headroom".

Could it be that the headroom aspect of amplification is causing some of us to reason that our neck pickups are "muddy"?

Classicplayer
 

edguidry

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Could it be that the headroom aspect of amplification is causing some of us reason that our neck pickups are "muddy"?

Classicplayer
Absolutely. I used to design and breadboard different distortion and fuzz circuits. I helped design a circuit called the BSIAB. And capacitors at the input of these circuits made a huge difference. Let too much bass in, you run out of headroom and get the farting "blocking" distortion. Trim back the bass, and it sounds more defined.

Last night I soldered a .0047 cap on the neck pickup. Haven't tried it with volume yet but so far it is sounding somewhat P90-ish. Tight bass response. But still sounds fat.
I agree that a well-designed neck pickup will probably not need as drastic trimming. But this is a cool, simple mod that is really effective and another trick in a good tone arsenal.
 

Batman

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Absolutely. I used to design and breadboard different distortion and fuzz circuits. I helped design a circuit called the BSIAB. And capacitors at the input of these circuits made a huge difference. Let too much bass in, you run out of headroom and get the farting "blocking" distortion. Trim back the bass, and it sounds more defined.

Last night I soldered a .0047 cap on the neck pickup. Haven't tried it with volume yet but so far it is sounding somewhat P90-ish. Tight bass response. But still sounds fat.
I agree that a well-designed neck pickup will probably not need as drastic trimming. But this is a cool, simple mod that is really effective and another trick in a good tone arsenal.
Oh, cool! :thumb:

That is one very cool sounding pedal! I breadboarded your design a while back but never got around to building it in a pedal.
 

Classicplayer

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Last night I soldered a .0047 cap on the neck pickup. Haven't tried it with volume yet but so far it is sounding somewhat P90-ish. Tight bass response. But still sounds fat.
How do I go about doing that piece of soldering? We are talking about .0047 and not .047; correct?

Classicplayer
 

edguidry

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Right where the pickups hot wire goes to that tab on the volume pot. Put a cap in between. That link I originally posted will clear it up for you.

I used an .0047 but my pickup was originally for the neck and was muddy as hell. I'd try different values.
 

Classicplayer

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Thanks Ed. I originally thought that a speaker upgrade for the Blackstar was the way to solve the muddy sounding neck pickup. Now I'm rethinking that course. If an amp does not have much headroom, does it follow that a more efficient speaker would increase that headroom? I read of one Blackstar owner of the same HT1R claim that putting in a Celestion Super Eight 8" speaker did increase the amp's headroom a tad. At least that's what the author detected from his speaker swap.

Classicplayer
 

edguidry

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If an amp does not have much headroom, does it follow that a more efficient speaker would increase that headroom?
It depends. A very efficient speaker will get more volume at a lower knob setting. Usually celestions are not very efficient. I have an Eminence Ragin Cajun which is very loud and efficient.
 

eddie_bowers

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I have one of mine wired this way. Its a great solution. It still sounds like a neck pickup but not muddy when you set your amp for the bridge pickup. A muddy neck pickup is such a common issue and this an easy and effective fix.
 




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