Indecision For Appropriate Bridge Pickup

Classicplayer

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Not that I don't like the bridge pickups in my two Les Pauls, but both guitars' bridge pickups (while being matched to their respective neck pickups) could produce a little more oomph when it comes to pushing my Dark Terror lunchbox amp. One guitar has the Duncan Seth Lovers measuring 7.2k and 8.2 respectively neck and bridge. The other guitar has Gibson BB1 & 2, but I don't their specs; other than both have A2 magnets.
So, I'm on the fence so to speak as to whether it should be a bridge pickup with more output OR do I really need it to be louder than what's currently in both guitars.

Anybody here who tried something similar and for the same reasons? What decision did you arrive at or did
at? Did you decide that perhaps a simple amp volume adjustments compensated for any perceived pickup shortcoming?

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Classicplayer

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If the bridge lacks oomph then turn the amp up and use those volume knobs on the guitar
dc007 always have the most reasonable responses! I tried this earlier this morning, and yes, that is what happened. I could the raise my bridge volume (Burstbucker II) and brought out more fr9m the pickup.......and what's more I can lower neck volume to get the neck clearer and cleaner a bit more.

I'm going to try this also with the Seth Lover bridge, and see if it works the same. I don't know what else to try because the pickup heights are in their “sweet spots” for all switch positions and I don't need to change them.

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ErictheRed

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I've really fallen in love with Bare Knuckle pickups, in my experience they're incredible. I'd try something from the Vintage Hot range. I've had the True Grit and Emerald sets, and really want to try a Black Dog bridge at some point. The True Grit set is really, really good though, I can highly recommend the bridge pickup as a bright, somewhat vintage-style pickup but with a bit more output and tighter bass. The Abraxas might work well for you also, depending on how tight you want the bass to be.

Basically I'm just in love with Bare Knuckle pickups, their Mules are some of my favorite PAF "clones," and the Nailbomb bridge that I currently have in a Suhr Modern is incredible as well. I haven't tried any of their single coil pickups yet. If you do end up wanting to get a higher output pickup, definitely check out Bare Knuckle.
 
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cooljuk

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Maybe it's not your bridge pickups? Try lowering the neck pickups, particularly on the bass sides, and raising the pole pieces on the neck pickups.

On the other hand, the BB1 & BB2 do have a reputation of being harsh in the bridge and dark in the neck. Some of that is the wire, coil patterns, and stainless steels that Gibson uses, which can't be addressed with magnet swaps.

In either guitar, A5s will give you more output in the bridge, but also scoop out the midrange and give you more treble, which makes the bridge sound less full, thinner, and harsher in the treble. A5s in the neck will scoop out the mids and make the pickup thinner and brighter, but also boost the output making an already louder neck pickup even louder.

The "A5 neck, A2 bridge" is the common combo for "bright clean neck, warm chewy bridge" but it also makes the acoustically louder and bass-heavier neck position even louder and the quieter thinner bridge position even quieter. The best way to use that magnet combo is to balance it out with the coil designs and steel selections of each pickup.

I'd mess around with a screwdriver and amp settings a whole lot before messing around with the magnets in those pickups. On those particular pickup sets, magnet swaps are always a compromise. If you can't get there with a screwdriver, you might consider selling the pickups, while the solder is still original on the covers, and getting something else that addresses the sounds you are after in those guitars.
 

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Maybe it's not your bridge pickups? Try lowering the neck pickups, particularly on the bass sides, and raising the pole pieces on the neck pickups.



I'd mess around with a screwdriver and amp settings a whole lot before messing around with the magnets in those pickups. On those particular pickup sets, magnet swaps are always a compromise. If you can't get there with a screwdriver, you might consider selling the pickups, while the solder is still original on the covers, and getting something else that addresses the sounds you are after in those guitars.
You are definitely onto something here. I have tweaked the neck BB 1 neck to a fare-thee-well over a period of time and find that the 6th string side is a 1/16” below the ring and the opposite side is about an 1/8” +- above the ring. The neck works fine with the Dark Terror because the amp is set for a bright and rather thin sound (a'la Page). The bridge is set by “ear“ for a good balance for the middle position tone with variations of it when using guitar volumes. As dc007 recommended, I did tweak amp volume in small increments upwards until the bridge BB 2 sounded like it has the needed girth.

All of the foregoing is what I will try with the Seth Lovers. My tech told me when they went in the guitar 4 years ago that they measured 7.2k for the neck and bridge was 8.2. Those should be OK with my Terror, at least the neck does, it's the bridge that I questioned when it came to giving me enough girth. When my tech finishes with the partial re-fret, I will try this amp and gain tweak to see what that does.

Being a fan of Jimmy Page's type of Les Paul tone means more volume than gain on the amp to get the feeling or spirit of that tone because (for me) it gives me almost a clean pallet to devise my own tone. That's why I chose lower wound pickups and let the amp do the heavy lifting when needed. I think that I have not been letting my amp do just that and I could not figure that aspect out.


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dc007

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Being a fan of Jimmy Page's type of Les Paul tone
If you are looking at the Les Paul tone he had from say mid 70's on then you might possibly want to just swap the neck and bridge pup positions and run that neck pup down below the pickup ring and raise the pole pieces as suggested above or get a T-top clone for the bridge . Those nice middle tone positions can be had with an a lower powered bridge pup.

I think that I have not been letting my amp do just that and I could not figure that aspect out.
yeppers like we said earlier......good luck!!!
 

cooljuk

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If you're really after a Jimmy Page tone (from his #1 Burst in Zeppelin-era), it's a very particular sound to get and his pickups are very specific. It probably sounds counter-productive unless you have the rest of the rig set right and get his technique down, but his neck PAF in #1 was very warm and bold sounding, while the bridge, especially once the T-Top went in, was thin, weak, jangly and bright. He never played the controls on 10. You can here a few times in the live material where he switched over to the neck and it was (accidentally) turned up. It's an absolute assault to the amp. A really bold and warm PAF in the neck.

If you are really chasing that sound, putting in a fatter sounding, higher output bridge pickup is the opposite of what you want. ...but ya gotta have the whole picture of gear and technique to get there.
 

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My problem solved when this morning, I decided that a new bridge pickup for my Traditional's Burstbucker II is not needed. I just decided that the bridge pickup just needed a touch more volume from my Dark Terror. No amp e.q. tweaks were necessary and the missing effort or push from the bridge was revealed. I'm thinking that this discovery will also hold true for the 8.2k Seth Lover bridge pup in my other Les Paul now in the hands of my tech for some fret work. I noted that increasing the amp volume just slightly allows the bridge volume pot to produce the desired amount of grit by tweaking its pot every so slightly.

Thanks to all who put forth their comments. They all were very much appreciated.

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If you do decide to swap out the bridge at any point, check out the Duncan Custom 5. I have it in the bridge position opposite a Duncan Jazz in the neck and they compliment each other beautifully in my opinion, with the neck volume around 5 and the bridge volume around 9 particularly.
 

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If you do decide to swap out the bridge at any point, check out the Duncan Custom 5. I have it in the bridge position opposite a Duncan Jazz in the neck and they compliment each other beautifully in my opinion, with the neck volume around 5 and the bridge volume around 9 particularly.
This has been recommended to me before re: Custom 5, but I don't feel the need now that I've pushed amp volume up a bit. There are four gain stages in the Orange and even a lower wind of a pickup should be able to goose those stages when called upon to do so. I think it would also apply to the A2 Seth’s in my Classic. I'm not married to the high gain thing, but it Is a plus to have high gain options available in an amp and the Dark Terror is usually used for that style. I have been playing it long enough now; so I know how to get a decent cleaner tone coming from that still has halo around it, mostly from the neck pickup.

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The only thing that you might find with the Seth's is that the bass is probably quite loose, at least by modern standards. An A5 magnet usually tightens up the bass a lot, but if you're playing old-school stuff it's not much of an issue. I'm glad that you were able to sort things out with what you have, though.
 

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The only thing that you might find with the Seth's is that the bass is probably quite loose, at least by modern standards. An A5 magnet usually tightens up the bass a lot, but if you're playing old-school stuff it's not much of an issue. I'm glad that you were able to sort things out with what you have, though.
I was not aware of your finding. It does not seem that way with the amp I play the Lester with the Seths through.The Dark Terror goes through a single V30 and there is almost too much bass at times. I like that bass that can be felt through the speaker because it helps give it sort of that 3-D tonal effect. I also like my 6th string to sound out on all my humbuckers and the V30 provides that for sure; for both neck and bridge Seths. This is why I do not like the idea of losing what I now hear if I swapped in an alternate bridge pickup. I learned after 3+ years with the Seth’s that smallest of micro height adjustments can produce quite an audible difference and after much tweaking, I eventually found the right pickup heights.

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Once you get the power tubes cooking a little everything fattens up. It's a wonderful thing. Primarily the reason I play through 5 watt amps most of the time.
 

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I had the same problem. I put a Seymour Duncan Whole Lotta Humbucker in the bridge. Uncovered. It has an A5 magnet and pushes my Marshall perfectly. Make sure the pots are 500K.
 

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I was not aware of your finding. It does not seem that way with the amp I play the Lester with the Seths through.The Dark Terror goes through a single V30 and there is almost too much bass at times. I like that bass that can be felt through the speaker because it helps give it sort of that 3-D tonal effect. I also like my 6th string to sound out on all my humbuckers and the V30 provides that for sure; for both neck and bridge Seths. This is why I do not like the idea of losing what I now hear if I swapped in an alternate bridge pickup. I learned after 3+ years with the Seth’s that smallest of micro height adjustments can produce quite an audible difference and after much tweaking, I eventually found the right pickup heights.

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It’s not your guitar, pickups or amp, it’s your speaker
Replace the V30 with a Greenback and you’ll never look back
 

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Once you get the power tubes cooking a little everything fattens up. It's a wonderful thing. Primarily the reason I play through 5 watt amps most of the time.
I understand why, too. I'm usually on the 7 watt side of 15/7 with this Terror. I do use about 30% of it's volume and nearly 50% of the available gain in use. That seems to be one of the so-called “sweet spots” on the amp when played with a Les Paul. I'm not sure how much of the power tubes (EL84 pair matched) are putting out, but maybe that's what I heard when just boosting amp volume a bit. It seemed to have let the higher treble notes fill out more. The Seth’s and the Burstbuckers 1 & 2 cannot be too far different in their output. The BB pups seem to have a less smooth tone to the Seth’s....a welcome difference.

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dc007

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I understand why, too. I'm usually on the 7 watt side of 15/7 with this Terror. I do use about 30% of it's volume and nearly 50% of the available gain in use. That seems to be one of the so-called “sweet spots” on the amp when played with a Les Paul. I'm not sure how much of the power tubes (EL84 pair matched) are putting out, but maybe that's what I heard when just boosting amp volume a bit. It seemed to have let the higher treble notes fill out more. The Seth’s and the Burstbuckers 1 & 2 cannot be too far different in their output. The BB pups seem to have a less smooth tone to the Seth’s....a welcome difference.

Classicplayer
Factory installed burstbuckers are potted. The Seth's are not
 


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