Help on my Seth Lover pickup quest!

Hydra19

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So I finally got a Les Paul with Seth Lovers, I've had lots of SD's but never Seth Lovers, and wow!
It may not be the best sounding pickup (although I think it is) but it is certainly the most interesting pickup I've tried. It has something about the sound that I cannot put into words exactly, but I will do my best to describe what I hear and what I want.

With the Seth Lovers, I get an awesome neck tone, I think I hit the sweet spot as there is a dual sort of tone when I play a note, like a hollow note that blooms into harmonic feedback and helps the note sustain, bloom and blossom. Even with the tone rolled all the way off, there is something about it that is quite present. I'm happy with that sound and very impressed by this hollow tone. In between tone is great too.

But I had trouble with the bridge. I think it's just the A2 magnet. I tried everything height wise and pole piece wise but something is missing. It sounds very good on its own but while playing along with music, it's missing some presence and treble cut. It is bright, but not bright enough and I think an A5 magnet might do the trick. I do have a 59b that I can put it, but it would be a shame to lose the magic of these seth lovers. I had a 59' before and I remember it being quite alright, but nothing special either. It certainly had the cut I'm looking for though. I used to also have an Antiquity bridge, that I swapped magnets in. I settled on a roughcast A5 in that until I sold it and put the degaussed A2 back in.

I was playing along with Ragged Glory by Neil Young and could not get the bridge to be bright and powerful enough. Then I realised this is my only guitar with A2's. I have a SD set of A5 P90's that sound glorious and a A5 riff raff by bare knuckle in my SG and a JB in the Les Paul Custom. Both the 59 and the JB are wound by Marcela Juarez

So, should I change the Seth Lover in the bridge for a A5 magnet, or just try the SD 59'?
Is there anything else i can do to wake the bridge Seth Lover up? I've had it set from 2.5mm height and up to 1mm and everywhere in between. I would really like to keep this set in the guitar, and am worried if I mess with the bridge, I might want to change the neck tone too.

Thank you
 

cybermgk

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Seth Lover Bridge is known by a lot, as being thin.

I suggest just putting something else in there, that fits your bill.

If you replace the magnet, and don't like it, you have diminished the resale value of the SL pup, and have to put it back.

Just get a Bridge pup you like.
 

Dilver

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I learned a while ago that I prefer the tone of bridge position humbuckers with A5 magnets and didn’t like the tone of the Custombucker (A3) in my R8. While it’s different for everyone, the tone in my head for a Les Paul bridge pickup has some bite and chew to it. I found my ideal tone in a set of Florance VooDoo PAFs (A5 bridge/A3 neck)
I’d try the A5 mag in the Seth to start.
 

cooljuk

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Seth Lovers and 59s are the Duncans that I recommend most to people, because they are decent and cheap. …but they are just Duncans.

They suffer from the common problems of most modern gear of being either bright and harsh or warm and mushy. They have a limited frequency response and dynamic range and are overall more congested and far less open than other options. Still, better than most other pickups out there in their price range, better than Duncan’s own Antiquities, and far better than the other mass-manufactured pickups.

You’re right that you will brighten up that pickup with an A5. The downside is that it will also get very scooped in the mids and boomy in the bass. Also, the extra treble you get will not be the “beyond-presence upper frequency open and breathy smooth clarity” type but a sharp bump in the pick attack that often comes across as harsh, especially in the bridge spot. More of a sharp narrow boost in the lower treble or far-upper mids.

It’s a cheap swap and a learning experience, though, so I still recommend it. In fact, grab yourself a handful of magnets and make an afternoon of it. You’ll walk away with valuable knowledge and experience about voicing a guitar with a common and inexpensive pickup.
 

Hydra19

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I did experiment with the Antiquity and had UOA5, roughcast A5, roughcast A2, etc. I did enjoy what the A5 did to it for a while and also enjoyed some other qualities of the other magnets, but in the end, I had an a full strength A2 in there for the longest while. I also had a Wolfetone Marshallhead with an A2 magnet that sounded very good.
In a way, I am looking for non-smooth and beautiful. I am going for that Neil Young fuzzish tone (which is not just the pickups), but I'm not afraid of boomy or such adjectives given to A5. When I had that 59' I didn't want to like it, because i read all the negative reviews, etc, but once I put a cover on it, it was tamed a bit. Most of all, I found myself liking its clean sound, and with gain, I was playing some classic rock n roll, and overall I thought it was great sounding pickup but a bit scooped. I do like the bare knuckle riff raff, and will probably go for that again, if I don't end up liking the 59' in the bridge.

On another note, didn't Seth Lover original notes specify a A5?
 

jbash

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If you feel the need to keep the Seth, I'd put an UOA5 in the bridge, definitely not a standard oriented A5. UOA5 will keep some midrange chew, add a little bite in the treble, and firm up the bass (but not strident hard bass like in the 59 bridge). I prefer the UOA5 in modern duncan 59s as they don't sound the same as old ones from the late 70s through mid 80s did (which were worlds better). I never bothered mag swapping in my Seth sets, but I would do the same if I ever got another one- UOA5.
 

cmjohnson

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Just tossing in my 2 cents worth.

The Seth Lovers are fairly low output. If a high gain rock sound is your sound, you may need a booster pedal to get your sound with those pickups. In this case I would recommend...what else...?...a Seymour Duncan Pickup Booster pedal.

I'm usually happy with a Duncan 59N in the neck and I have a Duncan JB in the bridge of more of my guitars than any other type. While I do find that when played clean, the JB is a bit midrange focused to the point of being quacky, I keep it in the guitar because the overdrive tone it creates is very much to my liking AND the combination of the 59N and the JB bridge when played clean and in the middle position (or even overdriven, if I'm plugged into a Superlead) is a beautiful thing, and as I have discovered, replacing the JB with a different bridge pickup (such as a 59 bridge version) messes with that magical tone that comes from both pickups being on at the same time. The JB bridge and 59N combination sounds way better than the combination of two 59s.

The point I'm making here, besides the level issue, is that changing out one pickup affects the tone combination you get when you use both pickups.

I ended up putting the JB back into my guitar after experimenting with the 59 in the bridge. It didn't take 5 minutes of playing for me to realize that the middle tone that was so absolutely magical, which had been lost, was more important to me than making the bridge pickup alone a bit less quacky.

If I can find a combination that gives me a less quacky bridge pickup while preserving that special two pickup tone, I'd surely go for it. But it'll take a lot of experimentation and besides, that particular guitar has the biggest tone I swear I've ever heard. Beating it will be a challenge.
 

Hydra19

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I do like the JBJ but I have a 59BJ (bridge) in the neck of my Les Paul Custom. The in between position is great, you can clearly hear something from both pickups. The 59BJ sounds great in the neck but I wondered if an actual neck will get it to sing more. Either way, once I raised the pole pieces it improved and now I really like all 3 positions, and none overlap so 3 useable positions. I'd like something more vintagey than a JB, and I think the 59 is it. I've ordered a Jazz neck to try in the les paul custom and then I can move that 59BJ to the bridge of my standard, I guess I will keep the Seth in the neck for now.
 

JohnnyN

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I have an Epi LPC with Seth Lovers. I replaced the magnets with roughcast A3 in the neck and roughcast A2 in the bridge.
Not much (if any) difference in the bridge, but it made balancing easier.
I can recommend trying an A4 magnet. Unoriernted A5 as @jbash is also a good alternative.
 

KStopper65

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I suggest a pickup with a hotter wind, but using an Alnico 2 magnet. There seem to be quite few of these, and are mostly aimed at EVH fans. The rest are extremely hot, wound to about 14k. I like the sound of Alnico 2 and that is why I went with the Tonerider rocksongs.
 

VictorB

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IMO, anyone looking for high gain tones, overdriven tones, etc, should look for that in the amp they use, not the pickups in their guitar.

I set my amp up where when my guitar’s volume is on 10, it’s fairly overdriven. I turn the guitar’s volume down to clean up the tone. I’ll step on a clean boost, treble boost, or fuzz to push things a little further, depending on the solo I’m after.

High output pickups are great if you’re a metal guy, but to run the spectrum of clean to fully overdriven/gained out tones, they simply do not work for me.

Just my 2 cents.
 

Hydra19

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Man, do I feel stupid....so I tried again to setup the bridge pickup and it wasn't happening so I got everything ready to swap magnets. Then i decided to quickly check the DC resistance, 15.5k, that can't be right, right? So I take the pickup out and it says JB on it!
I was all set to have it sounding better but why swap magnets on a JB for the same one. I then yanked the bridge 59'BJ I had in the neck of my custom and wired it. I just got it working and will set it up a little later.
Now instead of getting another 59' I think I'll get a seth bridge and see what it sounds like first.
 

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