What Type Of Middle Position Tone Do You Prefer?

Classicplayer

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Being that I am such a Jimmy Page fan, I would say I really go for that middle position he obtained on his #1 Les Paul. I know that I'll never get close with my own Les Paul's, but love the concept of that bright scratchy and thin sounding tone he developed. I have decided to adjust pickup heights to take advantage of both my Classic's low “saxophone-like” resonant tone on the 3 bottom wound strings and the top strings for as bright as I can get them. The bridge is just the opposite. As bright as I can on the unwound and as much twang as possible on the bottom wound strings. It's certainly not Pagey sounding, but versatile in all 3 switch positions.

Now, what is your formula for adjusting your own Les Paul's pickups to take advantage of your Lester's tone qualities or idiosyncrasies?


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smk506

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I find bridge pickups to be a bit harder to dial in generally. I’ll usually shoot for a sound I like out of the bridge, balance the neck to match output wise, then reassess from there.

That gives me 3 usable sounds with a flip of a switch, keeps the volumes close inline with each other and makes it easy to dial in a little more bridge/neck in the middle as I want.
 

Classicplayer

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Sounds like a good plan to me. Did you keep the stock wiring intact?

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Frethead

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Check out the JPPost72 pickups by Rewind if you really want to get that Pagey middle position sound. Those pups nail that sound better than anything else I've come across
 

Michael Matyas

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I like to roll off both tones and volumes to about five for rhythm playing. For solos it's everything on 10, or for a softer sound like Duane Allman on "Dreams," I'd drop the bridge volume to 5 and leave everything else on 10.
 

Saiko

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If I am playing clean, both pickups at the same level. I might be in the minority but I love the middle position in a humbucker-equipped Les Paul for clean tones.

Dirty, I have the volume rolled down about 75% on the neck pickup. So (depending on the amp) if the bridge is at 10, the neck is at 7. Bridge at 7, neck at 5. Etc.

Tone controls vary but I typically have both somewhere in the 6 to 8 range.
 
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ARandall

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James from ReWind does 2 incredible Page sets......but as mentioned the quack from the Post 72 set with the T-top clone in the bridge will just be a bit more pronounced.
 

Classicplayer

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I find that due to one of my Lester's being bright sounding acoustically, I can roll volumes in the middle position down as far as 7 and still get a lot of varied tones. That guitar has Seth Lovers. My Traditional with Burstbucker I and II is more of a midrange-pronoun tone and not as many highs (played acoustically), which means the volumes controls don't give much range. They cannot go much much below 9 on their volume knobs. My amp gets e.q'd differently for each guitar.


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dc007

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I like the middle position for lots of clean rhythm tones. Also I very much like the lead tone you can get in the middle with the bridge pup full volume and neck pup on about 6 or so. Gives off that early Dickey Betts tone or there about
 

jbash

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Knobs need to be wherever they need to be- usually they are full up, or volume down to clean it up. Depends on the individual guitar and pickups.

BB KING, Page single note/lead tones are the big goal. When I can get the Page middle rhythm sounds, that is a bonus., but I live on the bridge pickup for distorted rhythm.
 

dillonbell1991

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Try getting a nice clean tone with the neck pickup. Adjust amp to liking. Then use the tone knob on bridge pickup to your liking... I have a 2011 50s tribute with dimarzio 36th... both neck pickups installed the lower output one in the neck.. you can also try adjusting the pole pieces to the radius of your neck.. on my I have my pickup reversed on the neck to have the pole pieces facing down like the bridge... I can get a nice snap out of it..
 

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Arf

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Being that I am such a Jimmy Page fan, I would say I really go for that middle position he obtained on his #1 Les Paul. I know that I'll never get close with my own Les Paul's, but love the concept of that bright scratchy and thin sounding tone he developed. I have decided to adjust pickup heights to take advantage of both my Classic's low “saxophone-like” resonant tone on the 3 bottom wound strings and the top strings for as bright as I can get them. The bridge is just the opposite. As bright as I can on the unwound and as much twang as possible on the bottom wound strings. It's certainly not Pagey sounding, but versatile in all 3 switch positions.

Now, what is your formula for adjusting your own Les Paul's pickups to take advantage of your Lester's tone qualities or idiosyncrasies?


Classicplayer
Adjusting ou pickup height won't make your pickups brighter or bassier. Just louder or quieter. You sound like you're about to throw your string to string ballance out of whack. My experience has been that humbuckers balance nicely just by looking at them - in other words, if they look even, they'll probably sound even, totally unlike a Fender guitar. Of my five humbucker guitars, the pickups have very little tilt if any.
Another thing and possibly the most important thing separating the tone of your guitar from JP's is that he's said to have set his volumes favoring the neck pickup a bit, and in his Gibson days used the loud bright input on non-master Marshalls, and before a Tele into a Supro or Vox. So that's probably why his tone is so elusive, not so much your guitar.
 

NotScott

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I love the Peter Green tone so I have one Les Paul dedicated to that setup with some Throbaks.

On my other Les Pauls and other dual-humbucker setups, I like the chirpy, almost Stratty middle position when all controls are set to 10.

I also like to set everything to 10 and then just back off the neck volume until I hear that notch. With the gain up on the amp, this produces a more cutting lead tone than just the bridge pup by itself. I can then switch between the bridge for rhythm and the middle for lead.
 

Arf

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Actually my favorite middle sound is that on my two strats - yes, strats. I put in Oak Grigsby Super Switches. I sacrificed he neck/middle combo (always hated that) in favor of the bridge/neck. Once into it I realised it could be done in series. It sounds beautiful - like a Gibson, but with an extra sheen, for lack of a better description. Of course you get an output boost in the bargain too. One of my teles has the four way and I figured out how to do the middle position on a three way tele in series - in my other tele.Don't miss the regular time a bit. Bone simple, sounds fantastic. I might like this better than my gibsons.
 

Classicplayer

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On both of my Les Pauls the neck and bridge do have a slight tilt and using a rule they measure about the same for each pickup for each guitar. I set their heights by what I determine is the best balance as to string volume across the strings, for both pickups. I can dial in a variety of tones in the middle position and choose if I want a thinner or thicker tone. For me to get close to that Page middle tone means my bridge volume is nearly maxed and the neck rolled back about 9 on one guitar, but +- 8 on my other guitar.

I love Page's middle tone, but it’s his and I try and “emulate” it as only a handful of players I've heard actually can duplicate his exact tone. Even today, Page does not sound quite the same as those Zep recordings we all know and have heard, but he gets close.


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