middle position tone

Discussion in 'Epiphone SG' started by Deibitto, Jan 21, 2020.

  1. Deibitto

    Deibitto Member

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2016
    Messages:
    46
    Likes Received:
    7


    I have an sg pro, looks similar to this exact one, struggling with middle position.

    I had a great sounding middle position with neck on full, bridge at half. Sounded like a beast inside my pickups trying to get out. Then I took my guitar into a luthier, paid half the price of the guitar, got it back with the pickups so high that they warbled. I spent a weekend or two adjusting the pickups.

    Bridge - 1.6mm bass and treble side.
    Neck - 2.2mm bass and treble side.

    This way I thought I had 3 distinct tones, but I couldn't find my beastly tone ever again...

    failing that tone I once had, I would settle for the tone in the video. That's the tone I associate with SG sound. Can't get that either...

    Any help would be appreciated. I've spent countless hours messing with pickup heights, currently the sound is just decent, without any major volume difference.
     
    Hola Vibrola likes this.
  2. Trey LePark

    Trey LePark New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2020
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    13
    My bridge pickup is .20" on the 6th string side and .10" on the 1st string (high E) side. My neck pickup is similar. I get a little more bite with that setup. Just keep adjusting them until you get the sound that you want.

    You could have 2 identical guitars setting side by side and they could have the exact same setup and still sound different. There are too many variables to have 2 identical sounding guitars. My point is that a setup that works for someone else probably won't work for you. You can try it but most likely, you'll change it.
     
    Misanthrope and Hola Vibrola like this.
  3. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2009
    Messages:
    7,826
    Likes Received:
    7,771
    Location:
    Tucson AZ
    If your pickups are too close to the strings, the magnets can damp the vibrations of
    the strings. This chokes the tone. I would lower the pickups drastically, and then raise them
    a little at a time until you like the tone.

    Personally, I like to lower the bass side of the neck pickup
    more than the treble side because it can sound a little too woofy IMHO.

    And on one of my SGs, I like to lower the treble side of the bridge p'up
    a turn or two more than the bass side. I just like the sound better.
     
    Relic61 and Misanthrope like this.
  4. DrBGood

    DrBGood Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2015
    Messages:
    6,906
    Likes Received:
    6,473
    Location:
    Sutton Québec
    I wouldn't want two guitars that sound exactly the same.

    This is how I set up most of my humbuckers.

    I set the bridge pickup (pole) height to about two credit card thickness distance from the bottom of the strings (1/8" or ±3cm). If it sounds good, I leave it there. Too hot ? Go ½ turn of each screw at a time to lower it where I want it (counter clockwise for humbucker, clockwise for P90).
    Test clean and with OD.
    Once I have that one at the sweet spot, I go to the neck pup.

    Any neck pickup will sound boomy if adjusted too high.

    Neck tone has to be different from middle position.
    Many people have the neck pup adjusted so it gives the same tonality as middle position. Not good. Neck pup has to be adjusted so middle position gets a quacky tone. You'll know what I mean when you get there. So, I raise the neck pup until it starts to sound boomy. Notes will seem to be overwhelmed with too much bass. Now I lower it a full screw turn and compare it to middle. If it sounds the same, the neck pup is still too high. I go on until I hear three different balanced tones out of the two pup.

    That is a fun thing to do. Take your time and you will find the sweet spot for each pickup.
     
  5. DrBGood

    DrBGood Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2015
    Messages:
    6,906
    Likes Received:
    6,473
    Location:
    Sutton Québec
    This is what my 2 SG look like.

    Alnico 5 in this one.

    2013 G400 pickups height.jpg
    Probuckers in here. It sounds pretty much like the one in the video you posted.

    2015 G400 pickups height.jpg
    His pickups are higher, but how high is the action ?

    Untitled-1.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2020
    Astral Traveler and Misanthrope like this.
  6. Westernrider

    Westernrider Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2014
    Messages:
    309
    Likes Received:
    226
    Location:
    Mid South
    Good advice in the above responses.
    Get your pickups adjusted to your satisfaction.....

    Then onward .....

    And you have one more step for getting the magic middle tone.
    Look at your guitar - it has two volume and two tone controls. These are your secrets to the middle position tone.

    Try starting with:
    middle position selected
    all controls at 8 as this will give you some upward movement ......

    Then roll down the neck pick up volume and volume separately and bring them back up to 8.
    Continue this progressions with the bridge pick up controls.

    Now start adjusting the volume / tone pots to work together. There are some awesome tones hidden in there.
     
  7. Deibitto

    Deibitto Member

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2016
    Messages:
    46
    Likes Received:
    7
    I had another fiddle today.

    I'd bought some mini wrenches that look like those stew mac pickup gauges. They have a bunch of sizes but I lost the box. I'm guessing the treble side is around 4-5/64 and the bass side is around 6-7/64.

    The only way I can judge the sound is by playing something so I play 578x on the dgbe strings to see if the treble side sounds messed up. It rings out nicely now. The bass side I'm looking for a little clarity in its growl.

    I never had an electric and amp before what I have now so, the neck pickup. Is the treble supposed to be very slight and vice versa with the bridge. The current set up has everything sounding nice with elements of good character. The neck is lacking a little treble but sounds worse if I turn it up, the bridge sounding a little quieter than the neck, but a good tone.

    Middle position, turning the neck volume up or down has a more drastic effect than the bridge volume.
     
  8. DrBGood

    DrBGood Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2015
    Messages:
    6,906
    Likes Received:
    6,473
    Location:
    Sutton Québec
    There you go, you're getting it. Patience is the word.

    Now, those are the 4 knobs on your guitar. You have half a dozen or more on your amp to play with. Have fun !
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2020
  9. NMA

    NMA Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2012
    Messages:
    638
    Likes Received:
    661
    That made me laugh.

    I have 12 guitars and I want them all to sound exactly the same. I get mad if my big hollow Gretsch doesn't sound like my Strat. I tinker away at the knobs on the guitar and amp until I get it to sound like my Strat. Same thing with my SG -- I want it to sound like my Strat.

    Sounds like I am joking, but sadly I am not. I realize I wasted my money on eleven of my guitars. My first guitar was a Strat I should have stopped after that. Every guitar I bought after my Strat, I want to sound like my Strat. I wish I could break that feeling, but I can't.
     
    Astral Traveler and Biddlin like this.
  10. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2012
    Messages:
    11,325
    Likes Received:
    9,514
    Location:
    -
    OCD for quack, eh?:rofl:
     
  11. NMA

    NMA Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2012
    Messages:
    638
    Likes Received:
    661
    If quack is another term for treble, then yes.

    I'm also like that with my amps. After years (decades really), I finally got my dream amp - a VOX AC30. Turned it on, played it....and hated it because I couldn't get it to sound like my Fender Princeton amp.
    (I have finally come around to love that VOX amp.)
     
    Biddlin likes this.
  12. Astral Traveler

    Astral Traveler Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2019
    Messages:
    136
    Likes Received:
    111
    fpXxIjftmkk9y.gif
     
    NMA likes this.
  13. DrBGood

    DrBGood Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2015
    Messages:
    6,906
    Likes Received:
    6,473
    Location:
    Sutton Québec
    Sell the 11 guitars that aren't Strat and buy 11 more Strat. Problem solved, you sleep better and can start joking again.
     
    Astral Traveler likes this.
  14. NMA

    NMA Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2012
    Messages:
    638
    Likes Received:
    661
    Nah, I actually found a solution. I now buy guitars that aren't Strats, but sound like Strats.

    The VOX Phantoms were originally built with Fender style single coil pickups in order to sound exactly like a Strat. Well, I bought one and, yup, it sounds like a Strat. (Actually, it sounds like what would happen if a Strat and a Tele had a baby together.)

    [​IMG]


    Yeah, I'm joking a bit, but I really do get mad when my guitars don't give me that clear, bright Strat sound. I play my SG, enjoy it for a while, but then I have to put it down and play my Strat.
     
  15. gip111

    gip111 New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2019
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    3
    You can always put single coils on a SG.
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice