Neck pickup stronger than Bridge...should I swap them?

Dazza

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 26, 2009
Messages
846
Reaction score
854
Correct - Conventional aftermarket pickups typically has the hotter bridge pickup. Aftermarket pickups really started with the likes of Dimarzio where 'higher output' was the intention, rather than a tonal difference, commonly replacing the mid 7K T Top. Getting into high output then the neck pickup can become too wooly and dark so having a dedicated wind for each spot made sense. The more recent trend towards lower output vintage type PAF pickups still applies, but is less necessary.

Of course there's the individual guitar and set of ears in each equation, so no 2 results will be equal.

I experimented with PAF types and noted the correlation between bridge and neck when combined. I favour the mid position when the neck is hotter. This was Pages' 70's set up, plus an element of Peter Green's famed out of phase tone.

Daz
 
Last edited:

cooljuk

Transducer Producer
Joined
Mar 11, 2009
Messages
17,574
Reaction score
26,585
Even the early DiMarzio pickups weren't made as "neck" or "bridge" but just "pickups."

They didn't even really have much higher turn counts than PAFs. The higher DCR is because of the wire used and the higher output is because of the ceramic magnets, having very little to do with DCR, at all.

^ Another set of specs/output that has mislead and unknowingly confused musician consumers for decades.
 

brianbzed

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 13, 2008
Messages
2,726
Reaction score
1,877
In my R8, the neck pickup measures stronger than the bridge pickup, 7.88k to 7.09k. Tonewise, the bridge pickup is a bit bright but I don't mind the tone necessarily, even if I do prefer my ES345. Swapping them would theoretically make the guitar sound more balanced, no?

Maybe......I might be in the minority here, but I prefer a little hotter neck for leads......a hotter neck works better for me in "woman tone" or "Allman Bros" mode....IMHO....YMMV....
 

slaptap

Member
Joined
Nov 1, 2013
Messages
42
Reaction score
58
What do you mean with "repurposed"??? :confused:

Let me get this straight: You own the guitar but you don't know what p'ups they're inside because you never looked inside? :confused:

Of course I looked inside, I stated above that they only say "patent applied for" on the bottom, like tons of Gibson's vintage-style reissue pickups. As to what "repurposed" means, I will direct you to this thread - http://www.mylespaul.com/threads/ngd-2017-1958-les-paul-vos.403037/
And as I stated in the original post, the listing on Wildwood's website said they were Custom Buckers, but the fella in that thread insists they are 57 Classics (as the CC29 was).

Pics or shens. Just sayin'.

:photos:

Pics right here, pg. 4 of that thread - http://www.mylespaul.com/threads/ngd-2017-1958-les-paul-vos.403037/page-4
 

slaptap

Member
Joined
Nov 1, 2013
Messages
42
Reaction score
58
I experimented with PAF types and noted the correlation between bridge and neck when combined. I favour the mid position when the neck is hotter. This was Pages' 70's set up, plus an element of Peter Green's famed out of phase tone.
Daz

Good to know! I'm curious though, where is everyone getting their readings for Page/Kossoff/Greeny pickup DCRs?
 

jamman

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 1, 2010
Messages
9,407
Reaction score
7,692
Conventional aftermarket pickup wisdom

IMO , go with what sounds best , 1st . Numbers , sometimes mean nothing ....

Conventional aftermarket pickup wisdom , Nope haven't seen any of that ,anywhere .....

I got what you were referring to about the 345 . IMO, the new 345 RI's even when in the Varitone is in the #1 position is has an effect ,overall ... It's a bypass mode but something ,imo makes it sound different than a normal 335 type setup . I have a 2014(? 15 IDR ) and I hear it . Same Varitone as yours
I wonder if the Varitone was removed , what if any difference , overall ,including volume would be .

I get nit-picking .... I am /was a nitpicker at 1 time ( not so much now)
IMO ,dial in the amp for the bridge pup and use the volume control when using both or the neck pup . IMO it's a easy way to get to the same place .Less all the expense and work to get to the same place . ~ equal output ... BTW , That's 1 reason why they put Volume control on guitars ...
Now if you want new pups, for whatever reason ... Go for it ... It's fun and can always be returned to what you had in a jiffy .
 

mdubya

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2010
Messages
22,602
Reaction score
40,400
Balancing the neck and bridge pickups typically involves dialing in the bridge to sound good and then lowering the neck to balance with that.

I am like a lot of others here, I don't mind the neck being a little louder than the bridge. Also, the neck is typically so much more powerful vs the bridge (due to physics of the guitar), that the neck benefits from being lower than one might think of as optimal. <-- That is not always true, but it often is. Having your neck pickup right up against the strings is not usually going to work very well.

Regarding OP's initial question; not necessarily. But if you don't like what you have, swap them.

I also think the often cited "EQ for the neck" approach is bunko.
 

Dazza

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 26, 2009
Messages
846
Reaction score
854
Good to know! I'm curious though, where is everyone getting their readings for Page/Kossoff/Greeny pickup DCRs?

These stats have been posted by owners or techs who've had them in hand.

Page had a PAF neck and T Top bridge in the 70's which has it's own unique qualities.

It's really surprising sometimes because the numbers don't always relate as we think they do. There's video of Bonamassa's first time seeing/playing the Kossoff with then owner Arthur Ramm. Joe states how loud and powerful the guitar is. Zoom ahead a few years when the pickup readings get posted and they're quite reasonable, not what you'd assume.

Daz
 

slaptap

Member
Joined
Nov 1, 2013
Messages
42
Reaction score
58
These stats have been posted by owners or techs who've had them in hand.

Page had a PAF neck and T Top bridge in the 70's which has it's own unique qualities.

It's really surprising sometimes because the numbers don't always relate as we think they do. There's video of Bonamassa's first time seeing/playing the Kossoff with then owner Arthur Ramm. Joe states how loud and powerful the guitar is. Zoom ahead a few years when the pickup readings get posted and they're quite reasonable, not what you'd assume.

Daz

Very interesting, thanks! Do you happen to have a link to these readings?
 

slaptap

Member
Joined
Nov 1, 2013
Messages
42
Reaction score
58
Conventional aftermarket pickup wisdom
I got what you were referring to about the 345 . IMO, the new 345 RI's even when in the Varitone is in the #1 position is has an effect ,overall ... It's a bypass mode but something ,imo makes it sound different than a normal 335 type setup . I have a 2014(? 15 IDR ) and I hear it . Same Varitone as yours
I wonder if the Varitone was removed , what if any difference , overall ,including volume would be .

The main difference I hear between my 345 and similar 335s is primarily in the nylon saddles. If I switch them for brass, there's little difference to my ears. Probably my favorite Gibson I own.
 

DarthPaul

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 19, 2016
Messages
1,095
Reaction score
3,306
My '17 R8/CC29v has a slightly hotter neck PU. I already knew about the subject before I measured mine and I was actually glad to see it.
They are a well-balanced pairing and I've adjusted them to taste.
 

Dazza

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 26, 2009
Messages
846
Reaction score
854
Very interesting, thanks! Do you happen to have a link to these readings?

Not on hand. Easy google search. I recall the Koss burst has a big 'up close' post in the lespaulforum for one.

Daz
 

Classicplayer

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 6, 2007
Messages
2,953
Reaction score
2,028
Balancing the neck and bridge pickups typically involves dialing in the bridge to sound good and then lowering the neck to balance with that.

I am like a lot of others here, I don't mind the neck being a little louder than the bridge. Also, the neck is typically so much more powerful vs the bridge (due to physics of the guitar), that the neck benefits from being lower than one might think of as optimal. <-- That is not always true, but it often is. Having your neck pickup right up against the strings is not usually going to work very well.

Regarding OP's initial question; not necessarily. But if you don't like what you have, swap them.

I also think the often cited "EQ for the neck" approach is bunko.

I think this is IMO, true. Although I e.q. my amp for my neck on my own Les Paul only because I use that pup more than 50% of my playing, I invariably continue tweaking the amp to get closer to my ideal tone for all three switch positions. It's a compromise, really.

My neck pickup is set low to balance out with the bridge pup when switching to the middle position. But, I make sure the neck pup is not so low that I cannot find that elusive “chirp” that I like hearing in the middle position. That chirp tone usually pops up when the neck pickup is just on the verge of overtaking the bridge pickup in volume. To get this tone may mean some mud creeps into the lower strings, so lowering in micro tweaks to the bass side of each pickup might be in order. I don't mess with the pole pieces.

My goal is achieved when I can sound bright when chording or soloing on the top four strings and
full and distinct string sounds when playing the E, A, D, G strings when played individually or as part
of chord.


Classicplayer
 

Coldacre

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 10, 2013
Messages
1,355
Reaction score
1,390
i’m going to go against the grain and say leave it as it is! it’s not something to be “fixed”. you get a more pleasing middle position, you can do the clean neck / dirty bridge thing more convincingly... it has its benefits.

Very interesting, thanks! Do you happen to have a link to these readings?

most of it has been posted right here on this forum. I’ll save you the trouble of searching for the Page information:

mwv1o9.jpg
 

zoork_1

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 22, 2009
Messages
1,216
Reaction score
555
If you like what you have, let it be. You can always change it for fun, but don't expect too much...
 

slaptap

Member
Joined
Nov 1, 2013
Messages
42
Reaction score
58
Well for anyone possibly wondering, I did make the swap. I had to lengthen the lead for one of the pickups to reach the cavity, but I am pleased with the results. The bridge position is now less pokey/strident, a little more full in the mids. The neck pickup is a little less wooly in the bass and a bit more chimey. I think if the difference wasn't as drastic, I would have let it be. But a 0.8-0.9k difference is pretty big and I think the balance is much more to my tastes now. Thanks everyone for your input. The good thing is that it's an easily reversible modification should my tastes change for some reason.
 

trapland

Senior Member
Joined
May 18, 2015
Messages
486
Reaction score
386
Kossoff's neck pickup was hotter than his bridge. I think he sounded pretty good.

Yes he sounded good. But maybe the OP doesn’t want to sound like that? When the neck is way hotter it’s very difficult to get that chirpy mid-70 Page middle position tone. For myself I can make anything from the same output to a way hotter bridge give me unique neck, middle and bridge tones. A hotter neck and I have to change something.
 

Latest Threads



Top