Falling in love with the Les Paul nasal tone

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Lately I've become a bit obsessed with the nasal "quack" tone which comes fairly easy on my ES 335, and set up my LP standard (burstbucker 1 & 2) to do the same.

I know that tone isn't for everyone (I'm sure some won't be able to resist letting the whole world know), but I dig having that tone at the ready if I feel like it.

Any other nasal tone fans? I would love to hear more tips on pick up / pole piece observations you might have come across. Such as "Pickup bass side lower than the treble side, funky pole piece heights", etc...you get the idea.
 
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Nick-O

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Post your sound clips when you get a minute. Prefer to hear what you are hearing if possible.
 

freefrog

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I would love to hear more tips on pick up / pole piece observations you might have come across. Such as "Pickup bass side lower than the treble side, funky pole piece heights", etc...you get the idea.

Consider cable capacitance.


Unless there's a buffer to stabilize the tone, cable lenght will affect the sound of passive pickups and it becomes especially noticeable above 6m/20ft (of average wire), where the nasal tone starts to be really obvious (with average wire, once again: as wire capacitance goes from less than 60pF per meter to more than 300pF for the same lenght, all cables are not created equal; see here to get an idea of what I'm saying: https://www.shootoutguitarcables.com/guitar-cables-explained/capacitance-chart.html)

Now, the tonal influence of a long cable can also be emulated by a cheap capacitor from hot to ground on the output jack of a guitar or by other components having the same effect (PRS used a delay line to emulate the long cable used by Santana back in the days).

Also and to do justice of an urban legend: long cables don't only trim the high frequencies. What they do to the mids is explained there: http://zerocapcable.com/?page_id=209
Reason why capacitance can be a major contributor to a "nasal" tone. I've started playing in the 80's with curly cords and I was wondering why my guitar sounded so nasal. I wish someone had explained me cable capacitance...

Since these eartly days, I've learned to "tune" guitar sounds with external LRC components. It's not expensive and can be really efficient - reason why I periodically repeat my stance about it. Sorry for those who have already read me on this subject. ;-P
 

Brek

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I have a radial engineering pedal that has a drag control that is something to do with cable length. Never used it, Suppose I could have a play and see what it does.
 
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Consider cable capacitance.


Unless there's a buffer to stabilize the tone, cable lenght will affect the sound of passive pickups and it becomes especially noticeable above 6m/20ft (of average wire), where the nasal tone starts to be really obvious (with average wire, once again: as wire capacitance goes from less than 60pF per meter to more than 300pF for the same lenght, all cables are not created equal; see here to get an idea of what I'm saying: https://www.shootoutguitarcables.com/guitar-cables-explained/capacitance-chart.html)

Now, the tonal influence of a long cable can also be emulated by a cheap capacitor from hot to ground on the output jack of a guitar or by other components having the same effect (PRS used a delay line to emulate the long cable used by Santana back in the days).

Also and to do justice of an urban legend: long cables don't only trim the high frequencies. What they do to the mids is explained there: http://zerocapcable.com/?page_id=209
Reason why capacitance can be a major contributor to a "nasal" tone. I've started playing in the 80's with curly cords and I was wondering why my guitar sounded so nasal. I wish someone had explained me cable capacitance...

Since these eartly days, I've learned to "tune" guitar sounds with external LRC components. It's not expensive and can be really efficient - reason why I periodically repeat my stance about it. Sorry for those who have already read me on this subject. ;-P
I dialed in the nasal sound via pickup and pole piece adjustments...However, it took about 4 hours to finally get that sound in the neck PU just right, while not having the bridge magnet "tin out" in bridge position.
I will say the time spent was worth it. It's a fun position / sound to break things up a bit.

However, in the future if I ever want to re-adjust my PU heights for some other tone quest, I would like to find a faster way to get that out of phase tone back other than just micro trial and error.
 

freefrog

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I dialed in the nasal sound via pickup and pole piece adjustments...However, it took about 4 hours to finally get that sound in the neck PU just right, while not having the bridge magnet "tin out" in bridge position.
I will say the time spent was worth it. It's a fun position / sound to break things up a bit.

However, in the future if I ever want to re-adjust my PU heights for some other tone quest, I would like to find a faster way to get that out of phase tone back other than just micro trial and error.

So, the nasal tone that you searched was from two pickups out of phase ?...

Or did you simply evoke the "quack" sound accessible when the selector is in center position, putting the two pickups in phase but in parallel with each other (with the related "comb filtering" effect) ? ? ....

Anyway: enjoy with your "new" height settings...

EDIT - in the name of clarity, nevertheless, it would be better to use the "out of phase" stance for pickups which are effectively out of phase (magnetically or electrically) and not for two PU's parallel in phase, as it's the case above or below.
 
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Airplane

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that nasal tone is what it’s all about for me but i never adjusted the pickups for that! i turn the volume up to 8.5-9 and tone down to something between 4 and 6 depending on the guitar, vintage or new. all it takes is good electronics and good (open sounding) pickups. i also have all guitars set up for out of phase in the middle position but that’s a whole other sound.
 

Airplane

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and yeah i use long ass cables even at home
 

GBLEV

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Depending on the pickups you have, you can dial in some quack from a combination of screw height and pickup height adjustment.
 

JLHooker

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Can any pickup adjustments be made to eliminate this nasal tone?
 

GBLEV

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Can any pickup adjustments be made to eliminate this nasal tone?
Sure, just try tweaking them until it's gone, The nasal sound is a frequency that lives in the 1200Hz range. Unfortunately, this is in the heart of the guitar's voice. But by emphasizing other frequencies your guitar has, you can mask some of the ones you don't like. If you can't do it by tweaking the pups, try a different size and type of capacitor. If all else fails, and you love your guitar, then just get an EQ pedal and cut that frequency range out. Good luck!
 

dspelman

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However, in the future if I ever want to re-adjust my PU heights for some other tone quest, I would like to find a faster way to get that out of phase tone back other than just micro trial and error.
Most two-humbucker guitars can have an "out of phase" switch built in that operates when both pickups are selected. I have a couple of guitars that have this option and, instead of the usual quad of controls, have a master volume, master tone and a blend switch that will allow you to roll the pickup emphasis toward the neck or bridge pickups.

I've also got several of the old Chandler ( think) Tone-X setups on a push pull. These are sweepable mids boosts (about 16 dB), meaning that the mids frequency can be adjusted. Think fixed wah. Requires a 9V battery, of course.
 
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Most two-humbucker guitars can have an "out of phase" switch built in that operates when both pickups are selected. I have a couple of guitars that have this option and, instead of the usual quad of controls, have a master volume, master tone and a blend switch that will allow you to roll the pickup emphasis toward the neck or bridge pickups.

I've also got several of the old Chandler ( think) Tone-X setups on a push pull. These are sweepable mids boosts (about 16 dB), meaning that the mids frequency can be adjusted. Think fixed wah. Requires a 9V battery, of course.
Thanks for the suggestion, however I'm more interested in hearing about non modified options with the focus on PU height & pole piece positions, with the goal of seeing if there's any unofficial "outline" to balancing both pick ups for "out of phase" faster.

I will say I got the tone I was looking for the old fashion way, by micro tweaking. It took about 10 hours over the span of two days to get there, but it was worth it. And before most people say "2 days"...it takes time to balance pick ups correctly...you go at it for a while, mark your PU height positions, mark your pole piece positions, then try it a gig volume, and then try it again at low volume...again, and again, and again, all the while turning screws as you go. Not to mention putting the guitar down so your ears re-adjust, because after about 45 min of tweaking, your ears can turn to mush. All in all, It's a fun (and frustrating) process, but when you find what you're looking for, there's no better feeling.
 

dspelman

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Thanks for the suggestion, however I'm more interested in hearing about non modified options with the focus on PU height & pole piece positions, with the goal of seeing if there's any unofficial "outline" to balancing both pick ups for "out of phase" faster.

All in all, It's a fun (and frustrating) process, but when you find what you're looking for, there's no better feeling.
Uh -- I can think of lots of things that might feel better.

But I'm gratified that you achieved your goal. I don't have the patience for such f**kwithage, especially since I'm likely to forget how I got it done and have to do it all over again.
 

Dolebludger

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If you want a nasal tone, find a Mesa Boogie MK III or Nomad amp. They sure do sound nasal! I know ,as I had them and sold them as I do not like nasal guitar tone. But if you like nasal tone, these amps are for you. I have no criticism of you for liking the tone of these amps. Many players much better than me have made great music through them.
 

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