Duncan JB lacks clarity that Gibson 490 has. Ideas?

Discussion in 'Pickups' started by sazista, Aug 20, 2017.

  1. sazista

    sazista Active Member

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    Hi y'all expert pup switchers.
    I recently put in a Jazz/JB in my G310, which was a huge compliment in sound quality. Though I don't like my Gibson Faded very much, and tired of playing it, I have always appreciated the clarity and cleanness of the 490s, although they are a bit shrill when playing heavy stuff. Now with the pickups swapped, the Epi wails, BUT, when I compare the JB in the Epi and the 490 in the Gibson, I notice that the notes are not completely clean from the Seymours - harboring a slight tint of distortion, or in the clean channel, a lack of 100% clarity. They are also a bit darker. My question:
    is the pup difference due to the plain difference in the pups themselves, or is it due to the fact that the 490's output is about 8.5, and the JB is like 16.5; or a combination of the both? I am thinking that a Pearly Gates with an output similar to the 490s would "possibly" render a cleaner, more trebly note distinction without the slight hint of breakup where it shouldn't be. I play very diverse styles (clean, to dirty, to heavy), but I like to hear the notes ring in a chord and not come out like mush, as happened a times with the stock Epi pickups.
    Look forward to hearing from anyone that has had experience with these beasts.
    I won't be able to go out and buy just any pickups at any time. I searched for a year until the JB/Jazz came up used. They're way to expensive here in Chile. I have heard great things about Bareknuckles, but the price would be about 3-fold what I paid for the Seymours.
    Along with the Seymour upgrades, the Epi has 2 push/pulls, 500k pots and new capacitors and is wired for in Series//Parallel (Which is way cool, and has more flavor than coil tapped pups).
    Thanks folks.
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2017
  2. DrBGood

    DrBGood Well-Known Member

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    16.5 !!! There's your shrillness.
    How close to the strings is it ? Try lowering it, it should help cleaning it up.
     
  3. syscokid

    syscokid Well-Known Member

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    Sticking with the Seymour Camp, I like the JB bridge pup, but not if it was on my one and only guitar. I'm personally familiar with Seymour Duncans, (PAF style) 59's and their 59/Custom Hybrid, too. The difference is the 59/Custom Hybrid has a hotter screw-coil which should give you more output if you want to coil tap it for single coilness, and just a slightly hotter hummer than the "vintage-output" '59, which is way more scoopier. Both of these SD's are going to give you more rounded clean tones and not as upper mid-rangy as the JB.
     
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  4. kiko

    kiko Active Member

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    Try rolling down the volume knob a bit, that will somewhat tame the JB.
     
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  5. Westernrider

    Westernrider Active Member

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    How do you like the Jazz pickup in the neck?
    In my old SG, it has a flatter / smoother response with a touch of brightness.

    Seems to me that SG’s pushes upper mids. This is why I believe the SD 59 is a great bridge pickup for SG’s – it lacks some mids and makes an SG sounds like a champ. This might be a problem with the JB as it pushes upper mids and gives the JB the “sitting on a thumb tack feeling or chalk on the old fashioned black board squeal.” I learned the hard way. My JB found visited four guitars till it found a permanent home and it sure as hell was NOT a SG.


    I just don’t like the tone of JB’s in SG’s. I would have considered a pair of 59’ [A5 magnets], Pearly Gates [A2 magnets], Jazz pickups, Seths, and my favorites - the Whole Lotta Humbuckers. There are also some good pickups from Dimarzio – I prefer the lower powered ones like the 36 Anniversary and the PAF Masters.


    SG Firebrand Jazz Neck – Custom Hybrid – bridge This pickup was designed by a SD user and it is an underappreciated and awesome pickup. It has a 59 coil and a SH5 Custom coil. Think full sounding 59 with great harmonics.
    SG1 Pair of WLH’ers
    SG2 36 Anniversary
    SG3 PAF Masters [the set that Paul Gilbert promoted in a video]


    Seriously, I learned the hard way. And you are faced with a problem known as a JB in a SG. Short of replacing it, I would suggest becoming best of friends with a small screwdriver. Start with lowering the treble side a couple of turns and then play awhile. If that isn’t right, try lowering the screws a turn or two.


    Maybe rebalancing the tone controls on your amp might help a bit.



    Yeah, this is long winded and I hope you and the JB work things out. I've been overseas a couple of times, but I don't know what its really like to live another country. I get used to taking things for granted. So have many of my fellow citizens. We have a "I must have it now" and get annoyed or worse when we are denied our immediate wish.

    Rather than trying to shove other pickups down your throat, I'd like to suggest giving them your consideration if they come available in your market. Also many folks here really like the Gibson 57's in SG's.



    Best Wishes



     
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  6. syscokid

    syscokid Well-Known Member

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    This is a very underrated technique. I'm sure many gifted guitarists with great tone know how to use the volume tone to sweeten the top end whether the pup is a SD JB or whatever combination of guitar > pickup> amp. It's like you have to get past the stigma that everything has to be maxed out to get a great tone.

    I've read this fact many times. I don't know if I'll ever get a chance to try an SG with Classic 57s, but I'll vouched for them in my '05 R9 LP... Piano tones when clean: check! Articulate when overdriven: check!
     
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  7. jvin248

    jvin248 Active Member

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    .

    -lower the pickups. There is a youtube video series of Joe Walsh at GibsonUK doing a guitar setup, find #5 and #6 focused on pickup height settings. He transforms a bland '$3,000' instrument into something magical.

    -series cap on the JB, try 0.047uF first - this cuts the pickup's internal capacitance which is high from the big machine wound bobbin. Lift the pickup hot lead from the switch and put one leg of the cap on the switch and the other leg gets the pickup hot lead. You can try other values but this is a great starting point.

    -higher kohm volume pot. Measure the actual kohms of the current pot, find one that measures actual at the other higher end of the range. Pots have 20% max-min tolerance band as their acceptable factory spec and it alters the tone of the pickup. You might measure the neck volume pot and find it's the much higher kohms so move one to the other and you might fix it. I bought a pack of pots before and found they ranged from 485kohms to 525kohms.

    -use modern not 50s wiring (you're probably using modern but just check; if the tone cap connects from the tone pot to the volume pot then you've got 50s).

    -use a treble bleed cap so turning down only drops the volume not raises the mud.

    .
     
  8. sazista

    sazista Active Member

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    It just had a professional set up by the same guy who installed the pickups and changed the pots, etc. They are pretty low, but you have a valid point and I should try lowering them a tad. NOTE: the p/u rings were added and placed directly on top of the pickguard, so I guess they pups are still high. I just don't want them to disappear below the ring, which would look pretty strange. I attached some pics. I'll lower the pups and get back to you. If this doesn't give me the sound quality i'm after, I'll look into Pearly Gates. Brian Baker from Bad Religion supposedly uses them, as opposed to higher output pups.
    Thanks a bunch for your helpful comments!
    PS. The shrillness that I was referring to was from the Gibson 490s, that have an 8.5 output level. They are really trebly (but clean). Why don't I take the 490s out of the Gibson and put them in the Epi?, you might ask. It's because I'm trying to sell the Gibson and I thought the Seymours would solve my problem.
     

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  9. sazista

    sazista Active Member

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    I posted some pics just because some of you are guitar pornographers and love to see the inner bits of the guitars. I am amazed that Epi chose to put those rounded edges in the back taking up precious work space around the parts. Gibson leaves a large crater to work around in.
    I lowered the pickup even more than what you see in the picture flush with the ring. The result: lower volume, as expected, and a "very slight" difference" in distortion/clean ratio. What it didn't change was the "darkness/or even muddiness' of the tone. SOOOO, i jacked i will live with it until I find another pickup that is lower output and as clean as the 490. If I find a used 490, I'll put it in! End of story. I have so much to work on with my album in production for the last 200 years, that I can't get too worried about it. Thanks for your input folks. You guys are great!
    PS. With the middle position, and the tone pots pulled up (IN PARALLEL) and tone turned down, i get a very cool, though dark, 'wha" effect tone. Anyone experience that?
     

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  10. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

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    If you had just asked me, I would have told you to leave it in, in the first place.:naughty: i have done a bunch of pickup swapping, sometimes going for a particular tone, other times just filling holes in guitars, but almost never does the "upgrade" equal or surpass the original. Makes us repairmen and techs and nice bit of brass, thank you very much.:rofl:
     
  11. sazista

    sazista Active Member

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    I think I'm confusing people with too much info. My Epi pups were swapped for Duncans = Big improvement!!!
    I THEN compared the upgraded Epi to my Gibson 490s and noticed the difference. So there was a nice post effect for the Epi, which I favor over my Gibson (for reasons I have already beat to death). But yes, I agree that certain upgrades may not bring you to the bliss that you're looking for. Thanks man!
     
  12. sazista

    sazista Active Member

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    Verdict: live with it or change pups again! I lowered the volume knobs on the Epi with The Jazz/JB and the pull up the knobs to in Parallel and the sound is more similar to the 490s in the Gibson, though still darker. The other big difference in these two guitars is the finish. The Faded is like a resonant cutting board that sounds out nicely, even unplugged. The Epi has probably 3 pints of glossy laquer.... who knows? As i have mentioned in other posts , i need to play and create more and worry less. Sooooo. The JB stays put until i run into a Pearly Gates or similar and get it used. The 490s in Gibson will be used as a guide to find a cleaner tone for my Epi) Thanks for the input guys, it really helped.
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2017
  13. DCCable

    DCCable Active Member

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    For a given style of pickup, like a humbucker with alnico magnets, the higher the DC resistance of the windings the lower the pickup's resonant frequency. Above resonance a pickup's output rolls off at a rate of 12 db per octave. The SD website lists the RF of the JB at 5.5khz (this is without any internal wiring in the guitar or the guitar cord) and the Pearly Gates at 6.5Khz for the bridge pickup. That's why the JB is darker.
     

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