Why so bright? Why less bass?

trapland

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Im trying to figure out this one Les Paul sounds so much different than any and all others Imown or have owned. In the interest of streamlining this, i am going to try to ONLY list pertinent information so as to avoid as many "try my favorite recipe" type responses.

This one LP Standard is a preHistoric, and it is much MUCH brighter than any of the dozens of other LP I have or have had. But it's not just brighter, it also has much MUCH less bass frequency than any of my others. I really like it and would like to extend some of this tone to another guitar.

*** please assume ALL other variables are the same as any other Historic I own or have owned. I'm not a newbie and have been chasing this guitars tone on and off for a long time. I'm willing to entertain other ideas once the electronics have been ruled out.


It is absolutely NOT the pickups. I have had at least 5 sets in this guitar and used the same sets in multiple guitars. Every set is super bright and reduced bass, yet sound normal in every other guitar.

Here's the pots and caps, all are measured.
Bridge volume is 533k, tone is 103k, capacitor is simple ceramic .022.
Neck volume 542, tone 111, cap .21

There is an aluminum diamond plate. Wiring is grey plastic insulator, not braided, except the pickups of course.

There is a jack "can".

Hopefully that is enough info to learn why this guitar sounds so radically different than any other LP I've heard. Thank you in advance.
 

moreles

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What pots/caps are you using in the other LPs to which this one is being compared? If they're the same, (or if you run them on 10 anyway) we can largelyrule them out and look elsewhere, but if they're much different, well...
 

ARandall

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It has a unique wood combination.

But look at the tone pots......at very low K ratings if you have 50's wiring an odd effect takes place.....you have a bass rolloff.
But this effect is much more pronounced as you roll the volume down.....about 2 mins in you can hear the effect but with the volume turned down so it cleans up entirely:

[ame]www.youtube.com/watch?v=YUdq59CRcxk[/ame]
 

trapland

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There's two points I definitely need to clarify. The low bass, super bright thing is with all controls on 10. The wiring is standard wiring.

As much as I would like to say it's the wood, it's WAY to radical for it to be wood. It is after all mahogany with a maple cap. This is more radical of a tonal change than I could account for if it was ash with a maple neck or a total hollow body. Really, I've probably owned easily 30-40 custom shop Les Paul's and I've never even heard of one so different.



The pots are all CTS, but I'm not sure about taper. Taper shouldn't matter when everything is on 10 though should it?

Here's some questions. Can the jack can provide a series capacitance that could roll off bass? Can such a low impedence tone control effect bass roll off?

Again all controls on 10, crazy bass roll off, tons of treble, changing pickups doesn't matter.
 

Jason Taylor

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Is it a light in weight guitar? Im wondering if maybe the reason is because it may be chambered or "weight relieved". The LPs I had that were chambered sounded like you described.

Jason
 

ARandall

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Sherlock Holmes once said that 'Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth'

If all the guitars you have had possess the same pots (can you measure the tone ones again - the 80's did have low K tone pots but I didn't expect them to turn up on a pre-historic)
and they are all in the same position then this eliminates this as a possibility.
If the pickups and hardware is the same, then indeed this eliminates these sections as a possibility......what is left to consider???

Anyway going back to tone pots - if everything is on 10 and the sound is bright, then higher value tone pots would just make the guitar brighter again.

The jack is simply 2 connections.....long leads can add to capacitance, but this makes it darker, and you tend to have to use a lead when comparing guitars anyhow. The can is simply a shield. Production guitars from the late 70's early 80's also had that type of jack, plus an ashtray cover for the electronics in the cavity. But again, this would reduce top-end typically.

I have an almost all maple guitar that is dark toned. Wood is not like the metal used in components - consistent enough in composition and structure to be eliminated as a constant as long as the shape remains the same.
Wood (as I said in the first post) is unique.


Just as a matter of interest.....do you still use the same amp setup you had for those 30 or 40 historics you have owned??? And I am assuming a fair bit of time has passed between owning the very first and now - did the prehistoric get tried against all of them??

Also try putting a typical 50's harness in there - all 500k pots and .022 caps.
That way you can eliminate the wiring once and for all.
 

korus

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This is mechanical, not electrical issue. I hope it is a proper ABR-1 on it, not a NAshville bridge.

1. check is the bushings/anchors for tailpiece studs are carbon steel=magnetic - they should be, you can use fridge magnet. I am sure studs are brass for prehistoric and tailpiece is Zamak(zinc-aluminum)-heavy, also.

2. check if the posts and wheels for ABR-1 are magnetic - they should NOT be, they should be brass

3. check if the notches/slots on saddles of ABR-1 are NOT DEEP ENOUGH and if the color of bare metal in these slots is only white (too much zinc) and not at least a bit yellow (more copper)

4. check if the nut is white Corian or bone - both are, at the same time, brighter than Nylon, and have less lows or have tighter lows

IME lack of lows means you should make slots on ABR-1's saddles deeper but with proper tools - to have proper shape. angle and to be smooth. As a test - try ABR-1 from other Les Paul that has deeper slots - you will hear increase of lows instantly if the slots are not deep enough.

I would also replace nut with Nylon 6/6 (and I always do on my LPs), but solve the saddles' slots first, then evaluate need to go further. Also, carbon steel posts and/or wheels shift tone to higher mids than the same parts made of brass. It might seam like it's there less lows because strong high mids are overpowering other freq ranges in overall tone (relatively quieter lows).

I have an R8 that was ultra bright, and it still lacks mids for a killing vintage sounding reissue, but I've made a bit too deep slots on saddles. It made the whole guitar less punchy and kind of slightly 'deadened' the tone a bit, and not as loud as before but it made it sounding good enough. Before that, it was unbearably bright. It still isn't super mids rich, but it rocks now - as I take it to gigs now.
 

trapland

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Just to be clear, I DO NOT want to change this guitars tone, I want to make my others more like this one. I don't want to "fix it" I want to understand it so I can use this recipe on my others.

It is not chambered, nor is it light. It's pretty much right at 9 lbs.

And ARandall, your Sherlock Holmes reference seems right on. But unlike some people, I don't use faith nor speculation to accept why things are, I need to understand why. So having said thus;

The major difference between this and other LP s I have is its unique pieces of wood and....
It's 100k tone pots.

I have trouble believing the wood can make such a huge difference. Some unique character yes, but this is a radical roll off of lows like I've never heard. So let's for a minute say it's not the wood.

The 100k tone pots. This seems most likely, so if it's so, why does this roll off bass and increase highs?
 

DarrellV

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If you really like this bass starved sound and wish to copy it over to other guitars, may I suggest the easiest thing to do is put a capacitor in series with your output, creating a simple high pass filter. Most likely a higher value (like 470 uf) axial bipolar electrolytic or mylar will get you the mids you need with the highs.

Repeatable, adjustable, reversible, done.

YMMV just my 2 cents....
 

trapland

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If you really like this bass starved sound and wish to copy it over to other guitars, may I suggest the easiest thing to do is put a capacitor in series with your output, creating a simple high pass filter. Most likely a higher value (like 470 uf) axial bipolar electrolytic or mylar will get you the mids you need with the highs.

Repeatable, adjustable, reversible, done.

YMMV just my 2 cents....
I have done this with semi decent results. It seems like I lose a lot of overall output doing this, but I've has good results s well.


Can you see nothing in my setup that could act like a series capacitance?
 

korus

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Ok, now I get it. You love the tone of that 'less lows' LP.

100k tone pots can only 'ground' the treble more than 500k, removing treble from tone. It's exactly like using regular AUDIO taper 500k tone pot set on ~6. It can not remove lows.

- coils of pickups are connected in series not in parallel?
- check if truss rod is not very tight, cause if it is tight it can remove lows, making lows 'too tight' - inhibited

Also as an experiment, take bridge, wheels, tailpiece and studs from this LP and use it on the other LP that is not as bright, at next string change. It is not invasive, it costs nothing, and it will eliminate hardware as a cause of a lows removal.

If it is not hardware (material and setup), then it is a particular matching/pairing of wood pieces used for that guitar filtering out lows from tone in a way that you love.
 

trapland

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Ok, now I get it. You love the tone of that 'less lows' LP.

100k tone pots can only 'ground' the treble more than 500k, removing treble from tone. It's exactly like using regular AUDIO taper 500k tone pot set on ~6. It can not remove lows.

- coils of pickups are connected in series not in parallel?
- check if truss rod is not very tight, cause if it is tight it can remove lows, making lows 'too tight' - inhibited

Also as an experiment, take bridge, wheels, tailpiece and studs from this LP and use it on the other LP that is not as bright, at next string change. It is not invasive, it costs nothing, and it will eliminate hardware as a cause of a lows removal.

If it is not hardware (material and setup), then it is a particular matching/pairing of wood pieces used for that guitar filtering out lows from tone in a way that you love.

Thanks. You do get it, it's not really bass starved, it's more that the pointless subharmonics are reduced. Lots of at home players would hate it because it does not fill as much sonic spectrum. I have found it's one of my best gigging guitars as it stands out in a mix without having to be that loud muddy guitar wank that makes everyone go out for a smoke.

I have already done the experiments you've suggested. Many pickup changes, and I do know how to wire them. ALL hardware has been replaced. Truss rod adjusted seasonally.

When I got it, it was very weak output and dull no lows OR highs. I changed the incorrect hardware, tail, bridge, tuners. Then the stock 300k volume pots to 525k~ and that made it as it is now.

The only thing that significantly changed the tone was the volume pots, which added lots of treble and output. The rolled off bass was always there.

Well as ARandall suggested, the only thing accounting for the bass cut that SEEMS to be left is the wood. It's just that I've had so many LPs that were light/heavy or solid/chambered and not one has ever come close to this.
 

ARandall

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The 100k tone pots. This seems most likely, so if it's so, why does this roll off bass and increase highs?
Well, the only explanation I've had with low values tone pots and what you are experiencing is that one I linked before......where the 50's wiring has the huge bass rolloff with rolling down the volume too.

But yours isn't like that, as you probably have modern wiring and the volume is up......

Are there any other caps than the stock type .022 ones. There is a filter which is a bass cut.....I think Jags might have that as one of the slider switch options, and my 60's Hagstrom also has a bass cut switch. If you wire that up without a switch then its always on.


Just out of interest....what year is this guitar??? I'm guessing its one of those early 80's ones by the pots and your description. Similar to what Knopfler used on Brothers in Arms.
 

trapland

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1987. Inked serial number preHistoric gold top. You can see the flame right through the gold. Shame they didn't burst it. All the pots were original dated to 87 but I replaced the 300k volumes with 525k.
 

grayd8

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3. check if the notches/slots on saddles of ABR-1 are NOT DEEP ENOUGH and if the color of bare metal in these slots is only white (too much zinc) and not at least a bit yellow (more copper)
I would add to this also get a good magnifying glass and compare the saddles, rough surfaces in there can rob a lot of tone and sustain. I recently got a Faber and played a little bit before filing down the saddles and polishing with Mitchell's abrasive chord. It was a very dramatic difference between the before and after. Much more high end and much less harshness.
 

DarrellV

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If you really like this bass starved sound and wish to copy it over to other guitars, may I suggest the easiest thing to do is put a capacitor in series with your output, creating a simple high pass filter. Most likely a higher value (like 470 uf) axial bipolar electrolytic or mylar will get you the mids you need with the highs.

Repeatable, adjustable, reversible, done.

YMMV just my 2 cents....
Also looked into it from the other direction.

A small choke of around 6.8 Mh (they look like a resistor) hooked through maybe a 1 meg pot to ground would work like a reverse tone control.

Essentially a bass sucker circuit.

I ran some numbers through an on-line inductance to frequency calculator, and between 4 and 10 Mh's looked good. 6.8 split the difference and looked like a good starting point.


The choke would generate a higher impedance in the upper frequencies, leaving them pretty much alone. But it would not cause the loss a capacitor would since it's not in series and everything doesn't have to go through it.

You could adjust the amount of 'suck' with the 1 meg pot.

1 meg full off to zero full on.

I haven't had a chance to test it, but as they say, it looks good on paper...
 

jcsk8

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That´s wood nature. Fibers, grain, density, vibration speed, dampening, etc.
Best way to tame it would be trying lower value pots for volume. 300k. If doesn´t work, darker pickups. Can be tricky, anyway. Good luck.
 

drugprowlingwolf

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Is your favorite LP a tele?

Just kidding you - I've had guitars before with very very exaggerated "sonic signatures" - I've finally learned to stop selling them, haha. I'd chalk this one up to being a great guitar for OPs needs. I'm puzzled about the 100k tone pots though.
 


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