Is every neck pickup muddy???

Ampex456

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It seems like every stock neck pickup I have is terrible!! Just bought a 13 Trad. Redid all the wiring (50s) with nice pots and caps. It plays like a dream and the bridge pickup is on point, BUT the classic 57 in the neck sounds like the tone is rolled off. I've lowered the pup down to the pickup ring and raised the polepieces very high to no avail, it sounds muddy on all my amps. I'd like it to be bright and then have the woman tone peter green thing on tap with the tone knob. Trolling thru MLP has not given me a direct simple answer. Do I need to adjust it or replace it? What am I missing here? Thanks for your time
 

CheopisIV

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[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6g8qF9vC11s]Make Your Humbucker Guitar Sound Like A Telecaster In 2 Minutes By Scott Grove - YouTube[/ame]
 

entresz

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Try what Scott Grove does in the video. I too have had a hard with neck pickups. I like to have a nice warm sound, but I don't like mud. Low notes I want to have a piano like sound - I could achieve this with normal humbuckers (classic 57's in my case); but the top end was shrill and not pleasant.

I am using Bill Lawrence L90s now. They have a PAF like voicing, but a clearer high end and no mud in the low end. In the wrong guitar I think they could potentially be very unforgiving, but in a good guitar, they are wonderful.

Only thing that they don't have going for them is looks. You can't put them in a LP and stick normal covers over the top of them or anything and still have a 'stock' look. I like the look of them though, and I care more for the sound of my guitar anyway.

1275357_10201919790027552_264848760_o.jpg
 

entresz

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There's another pickup that is very good too; it is a low DC resistance humbucker. It's the humbucker that came on the original L6-S guitars. They are very low dc resistance (about 6k average), meaning they sound almost single coil like depending on the amp. Can be found on ebay for cheap. It's almost like a fat tele pickup, but still big and round like a humbucker.
mnLgc8HDjqvEYh_Y-hwXovQ.jpg
 

wildschwein

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Yep all the Wilde by Bill Lawrence stuff is pretty clear. L90s, L500s etc - all have a very defined top end response. I'd love to get some of of the old Super Humbuckers from the 70s but I've found they cost a lot S/H on eBay - see link below for an example. I have a couple of sets of Tonriders though and the necks on those are very clear for regular humbuckers.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/1978-GIBSON-L6-S-L6S-NECK-AND-BRIDGE-TARBACK-HUMBUCKER-PICKUP-SET-/321319094230?pt=Guitar_Accessories&hash=item4ad01c47d6&_uhb=1
 

AngryHatter

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Turn a knob.
Either on your amp, the guitar or your pedals.
Adjust the pickup height - pole pieces.

I don't know what mud is anymore.
 

entresz

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SCOTT Grove?
Worst example of an authority on anything but his own ego.
Next.

I agree to an extent, but he (generally) knows his stuff and I enjoy his videos. He does however, make no effort to flatter anyone!!
 

TeaForTwo

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There's another pickup that is very good too; it is a low DC resistance humbucker. It's the humbucker that came on the original L6-S guitars. They are very low dc resistance (about 6k average), meaning they sound almost single coil like depending on the amp. Can be found on ebay for cheap. It's almost like a fat tele pickup, but still big and round like a humbucker.
mnLgc8HDjqvEYh_Y-hwXovQ.jpg

They can ? Didn't know that. My 1976 L6S was my favorite Gibson ever.
Played it until it was stolen in 2005. The PUs sounded IMHO amazing.
Thank you for that info. May I ask what are they specifically called ?
(OP, sorry for the off topic question).
.
 

entresz

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They were called 'Super Humbuckers'. They use ceramic magnets and a low resistance coil (usually around the 6k/ohm mark). This makes for a much clearer and articulate sounding pickup then a normal PAF style pickup. Due to the strong magnets, the actual output is still strong (comparable to an 8-9k/ohm pickup).They are potted in tar, hence they are often called tarbacks. There was a set on eBay for $200USD IIRC not long ago. I have a 1977 L6-S custom with these in them. It's a wonderful guitar.

I currently don't own a Gibson Les Paul, but if I did get one, my plan would be to put a set of these in it. They are a bit of an undiscovered gem of a pickup I feel.
 

TeaForTwo

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They were called 'Super Humbuckers'. They use ceramic magnets and a low resistance coil (usually around the 6k/ohm mark). This makes for a much clearer and articulate sounding pickup then a normal PAF style pickup. Due to the strong magnets, the actual output is still strong (comparable to an 8-9k/ohm pickup).They are potted in tar, hence they are often called tarbacks. There was a set on eBay for $200USD IIRC not long ago. I have a 1977 L6-S custom with these in them. It's a wonderful guitar.

I currently don't own a Gibson Les Paul, but if I did get one, my plan would be to put a set of these in it. They are a bit of an undiscovered gem of a pickup I feel.

Thank you ever so much entresz. Yes, I love what those PUs do.
And thanks for the techy info....(Love this forum).
 

garybaldy

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There's another pickup that is very good too; it is a low DC resistance humbucker. It's the humbucker that came on the original L6-S guitars. They are very low dc resistance (about 6k average), meaning they sound almost single coil like depending on the amp. Can be found on ebay for cheap. It's almost like a fat tele pickup, but still big and round like a humbucker.
mnLgc8HDjqvEYh_Y-hwXovQ.jpg

They never did it for me (back in the 70's!) - no character
img053.jpg
Try a DiMarzio Humbucker from Hell - strange name but nice in the neck.
Or the DiM Eric Johnson maybe?
 

freefrog

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I have hesitated to post an answer but let's go...

Honestly, none of the boutique PAF clones that I've tried was/is muddy.

The goal of this statement is certainly not to boast and brag nor to do any hidden advertising : it's just a testimonial about my own experience with neck humbuckers (those that I've tried in my guitars or mounted for other people).

With the notable exception of Pat Stick T-Tops, most of the mass produced ones that I've tried were unclear or flat. Each of the low wound PAF replicas coming from small winders that I've got in my hands are/were extremely clear and able to give a single coilish tone once the volume and tone turned back - in 50 wiring, of course.

About Bill Lawrence PU's: I have a L500 in neck position in one of my guitars and as a matter of fact, it has a flat response, giving apparently scooped mids. That said, boutique pickups have the same qualities, with a tad more sparkle due to a lesser inductance. :)

FWIW.
 

Batman

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I have hesitated to post an answer but let's go...

Honestly, none of the boutique PAF clones that I've tried was/is muddy.

The goal of this statement is certainly not to boast and brag nor to do any hidden advertising : it's just a testimonial about my own experience with neck humbuckers (those that I've tried in my guitars or mounted for other people).

With the notable exception of Pat Stick T-Tops, most of the mass produced ones that I've tried were unclear or flat. Each of the low wound PAF replicas coming from small winders that I've got in my hands are/were extremely clear and able to give a single coilish tone once the volume and tone turned back - in 50 wiring, of course.

About Bill Lawrence PU's: I have a L500 in neck position in one of my guitars and as a matter of fact, it has a flat response, giving apparently scooped mids. That said, boutique pickups have the same qualities, with a tad more sparkle due to a lesser inductance. :)

FWIW.

I have no personal experience with Pat Sticker T-Tops or Bill Lawrence PU's but this is also my experience with the PAF replicas I have gotten from the small winders found on this site.
 

spitfire

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When I first started playing (30+ years ago), I thought the same thing about neck pickups. For me the issue was setting up the amp to sound great on the bridge PUP, only inevitably results in a muddy sounding neck only sound.

I now rarely ever use just the bridge PUP. I dial in my amp for a great neck PUP sound, then use the middle switch position to mix neck and bridge to suit whatever I'm doing.

In my case I might wonder do all bridge PUPS sound harsh and brittle. Obviously not, but if you setup your amp to sound full range on just one PUP, it's bound to sound too much one way or the other when using the other PUP.

If there's a trick, I think it is setting your amp so that both PUPs sound good, neck will be darker, but not muddy, bridge will be bright but not harsh. Then use your volume, tone, and middle switch position to cover a wide range of tones.

Also, don't forget regardless of 50's vs modern wiring, in a typical guitar with passive electronics, the volume knob will always alter the tone to some degree, learning to appreciate these subtleties and how this interacts really helps in finding some sweet tones.

I know many tend to just dime the knobs on the guitar (not saying that's what the OP is doing), but when doing this you really are throwing away a huge amount of control.
 

Dougie

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OP just get rid of the 57 classic. Gibson fux0red those up in 2006 anyway.

A few pickups choices would have you drooling over your neck tone, one is a Duncan Antiquity, or a Seth Lover, either one would be out of the box better tone than the stock Gibbo in there.

Another choice would be a pickup from a member here, ECP pickups bill_m makes some of the absolute best there is, and they are surprisingly affordable as far as hand made/machine wound pickups go and there are a LOT to choose from.

Another option which I find hard to replace is a hybrid made from the screw coil of a Duncan SH2N Jazz neck, and the slug coil from a SH1N '59 neck pickup, using an alnico 2 magnet. This is one of the all-time sweetest, bluesiest, clearest, most enjoyably articulate neck pickups I have EVER owned, which includes several sets of original PAFs, and about everything else under the sun except all the boutique winds. I have one of these in the neck of a Flying V and for the life of me it will stay there until the mahogany rots out from under it! It's THAT good sounding of a pickup!
 

8len8

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I've done these things to get a brighter neck pickup:

1- Bright cap: just worked a little
2- Removed the pickup cover: just worked a little
3- Lowered the pole pieces under the G, D, and A strings: worked well
4- Wired the pickup to be single coil: worked the best
5- Wiring the guitar as 50's: worked somewhat

For me, wiring the neck humbucker pickup as single coil resulted in the woodiest and best clean sound when I roll back the volume knob.
 

marvar

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Turn a knob.
Either on your amp, the guitar or your pedals.
Adjust the pickup height - pole pieces.

I don't know what mud is anymore.
+1 and all my guitars save for 1 have 57 classics in the neck, it has a BB1. I've never had a problem with muddy neck pickups, but, I don't spend alot of time on the neck pickup by itself, I do use the two pickups mixed together.
 

8len8

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One thing you haven't mentioned is your amp. What amp, and how do you have it set up? Trying to get a non-mud sound with your neck pickup into a heavily distorted amp might be a chore.

One thing many folks do (I've never tried it) is to EQ your your amp for a good bright sound when you have your neck pickup selected. Then adjust the tone knob on your guitar to get a good bridge pickup sound when you switch to it.
 

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