Warm, rich tones from a bridge PU? Suggestions needed!

Discussion in 'Gibson SG' started by Vall, May 21, 2019.

  1. Vall

    Vall New Member

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    Thinking for a long time now about changing the 57 classic Bridge PU for something warmer, darker, richer, creamier sounding. I never play the Bridge PU, because of its thin, harsh character, so i want to explore some new sound dimensions! :smile: Any Suggestions or experience?

    My playingstyle is always at the neck PU with clean, jazzy sounds and a lot of fingerpicking. Since some weeks a litte bit of soul rings out of my beloved SG!

    Whats about P90? Are they pointing into the right direction soundwise?
     
  2. Fumble fingers

    Fumble fingers Member

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    What amp or amps are you using with your 57’s ?
     
  3. Norton

    Norton Well-Known Member

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    Stew Mac parsons street A2 are really good on the cheap. Darker and softer in the bridge than most. No mud. Really good sounding.

    I’ve also found the Kent Armstrong “paf flavored” pickups to be really good sounding and still softer and darker than what most folks are making.
     
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  4. cerebral gasket

    cerebral gasket Well-Known Member

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    I have 57 Classics, 490's, P-90's, zero-hum P-90's.

    57 Classics sound brittle to my ears when the tone control is set to 10. My solution to that is to roll the tone control back to 7 or 8 and all is good. I am the oddball that favors 490's over 57 Classics.

    My favorite pickup configuration is a P-90 at the neck for cleans and a zero-hum P-90 at the bridge for high gain.
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2019
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  5. DrBGood

    DrBGood Well-Known Member

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    Have you really tried everything ? Lowering that bridge pickup could do wonders if you put your mind to it.
     
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  6. Norton

    Norton Well-Known Member

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    I’ve tried all those things. Lowering the pole screws, lowering the pickups. Turning the treble down.

    On a bright spikey pickup those things all can calm those spikes down, but they don’t solve the “problem”.

    A magnet swap would probably be a good option. Cheaper than a pickup swap.
     
  7. Dale

    Dale Well-Known Member

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    I set the amp up when the bridge is rolled back 1/2 way volume and tone. This gets me there with most pickups.
     
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  8. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    My favorite SG has the Gibson '57 classic in the neck position, and the
    '57 Classic plus in the bridge position. The classic plus is a bit hotter than
    the regular classic. I like both. I also like to play clean mostly, and use
    a Boss Blues driver to add boost, sustain and grit to a solo. I don't play
    jazz, but I'm a folkie, so we share some of the same ideas about tone.

    I'll say one thing: Bridge hum buckers don't render what I consider to be
    "Jazz Tone." So if you're a Jazz musician, you're perfectly right to stay
    with the neck pickup. That's where the classic Jazz guitar had its one p'up.
    And for many Jazz musicians, one is enough, when it does the right thing.
    Great Jazz tone from a '57 classic in the neck... or a 490R.

    The bridge pickup is always more trebly than the neck pickup, simply because of the distance to the bridge... this alters the tone of the string. The pickup just
    picks it up, and sends it to the amp. For Rock or Country, the trebly tone is
    fine for solos, and cuts through the mix quite well.

    You can see that I don't believe you need a new pickup. You just have to
    experiment, until you dial in the one you have.

    Use your tone controls, on your guitar and on your amp... It's a lot cheaper
    than surgery...and it's what all the guitarists of the past always did.
    The '57 classic is one of the best pickups
    Gibson has designed in recent times. There is no reason for it to sound
    thin, or brittle. That's all just EQ. The pickups themselves are accurate.

    The simplest way to modify your tone is by putting an EQ pedal in your
    signal chain. You get complete control over seven bands of EQ, likely
    enough to alter the warmth or the treble. You can get a used one for a third
    of the price of a new pickup. I use mine as a clean boost as well. So you
    can flip to the bridge pickup for a solo, and boost it with the pedal.

    This is true whether you use Gibson pickups, or Seymour Duncan,
    or Lollar, or the humble Golden Age overwound pickups, which also
    accurate, but hotter than the regular '57s. Golden Age pickups render
    excellent tone for a number of genres of music.
    Controls on the guitar and/or the amp will give you more warmth,
    or less. Mine do. An EQ pedal is more of everything

    Clean boost works great, using this. I like Overdrive too, for some songs.
    Hence the Blues driver. Turn it on for more crunch, turn it off at will.
    Blaming your pickups for your lack of EQ seems silly to me.
    Like setting your tone control to ten and then telling people that your
    pickups sound brittle. Don't do that. Set your tone control at three.
    Then rock that sucker. Or play the blues. Works for me.
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2019
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  9. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    oh yeah... one more thing I didn't say:

    You should be playing the middle position! Use both for the combination
    of warmth and presence. I like to set my neck pickup at about Volume 8
    and Tone 8, and run my bridge pickup wide open Volume 11, Tone at 3.

    Then flip to the middle position to use both... plenty of warmth in the neck
    '57, and plenty of presence in the bridge 57 plus. See if you don't think I'm
    right. Add warmth by turning up the neck p'up. Or turning down the bridge.
    Utilize the combination.
     
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  10. Semla

    Semla Member

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    DiMarzio super distortion and the amp set for rather clean or slight breakup. All treble gone, very bold sounding. I quite like it even with non high gain setups!
     
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  11. donepearce

    donepearce Well-Known Member

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    Suggestion? Neck pickup. That's what makes the warm rich tones. Bridge pickups are for the brighter, edgy tones.
     
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  12. Satellitedog

    Satellitedog Active Member

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    Thanks for the thread, Vall!

    I'm looking for something similar, on the search for a new pair of humbucker sized pickups for my Greco SG standard (the one in the refinish thread). Problem is, I don't quite know what would suit the bridge position best.

    I have two other SG-s the black Edwards, with Duncan SH1 and SH4 buckers, which are warm and growly blues-rocky, and the white Tokai, that has PAF style pups, crystalline and classy. So I figured I should try something very different with the rejuvenated Greco, and have some custom pups made in the UK.

    I always loved P90s and remember loving Dynasonics too (albeit only tried them in a hollowbody), but I want a warm, cleanish, and super deep tone, which I could get with a P90 in the neck, but it would be nice to have something weird and wonderful in the bridge, that does the "ocean deep" sound well. Is it a futile search for the bridge position? Should I look for some other specialised tone in the bridge position? Has anyone heard a Dynasonic style pickup in an SG? Any recommendations?
     
  13. papagayo

    papagayo Well-Known Member

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    Gibson 498T or Gibson 498T ...

    :dude:
     
  14. cerebral gasket

    cerebral gasket Well-Known Member

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    The thread title is an oxymoron.

    As others have already stated, the neck pickup is where it’s at for warmer Jazz tones and the bridge pickup is better suited for edgier tones with more treble that cut through the mix.

    Simply use the correct pickup position for its intended purpose.
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2019
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  15. Vall

    Vall New Member

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    Thank you guys!

    1. My Amp: It´s from an austrian brand "Nepomuk Amplification". Heres the link... very warm sounding and the reverb is heaven! :) Its my gigging amp: Light as a feather an loooooouuuuuudd!
    https://www.nepomuk-amps.com/en/products/pico/

    2. I mostly read something about rolling tone down, or even lowering the bridge PU. Maybe you all are right... Col Mustards 57 Plus ist maybe the exact thing I´m looking for! Because blending neck and bridge is indeed a stunning sound experience, BUT the bridge pickup is just to silent to really blend 50/50 with the neck PU... What remains is a warm neck sound, and some high frequency spikes from the bridge. So today I´ll try to set the action of the PU first, then doing some "blending-experiments"... Just the bridge is rather boring sounding without distortion for my kind of music.

    3. It´s time for me to get a P90 SG. Maybe a Classic or Junior. Would be so interested how this stuff feels! :)

    Thank you all!
     
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  16. Norton

    Norton Well-Known Member

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    If warm and Rich is what you’re looking for you’ll hate dynasonics and pretty much anything in the gretsch family.

    All of those pickups are voiced on the brighter side of things. They’re interesting, soft attack but very focused. Kind of scooped in the mids and lower output.

    The super d clean idea is a good one. I was surprised how good those sound clean.
     
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  17. DrBGood

    DrBGood Well-Known Member

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    I can see a problem right here. If in middle position neck pickup is overwhelming, maybe your pickup heights aren't balanced.


    Here’s how I do it.

    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.
     
  18. gball

    gball Well-Known Member

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    "Thin" and "Harsh" are not words I would ever choose to describe a '57 Classic Bridge. I find them to be quite polite-sounding pickups, but also very full. A bit round and definitely able to get mellow when called on.

    As others have mentioned, it's likely all in the pickup height/balance and controlling things with the volume and tone. I never, never have the volume all the way up on any alnico pickup, that's when they tend to get harsh and uncontrollable.
     
  19. Dale

    Dale Well-Known Member

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    It is not a Jazz tone but these were humbucker (57) bridge. These are about as warm as I get.





    Mini humbucker bridge
     
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  20. HackeIommi

    HackeIommi Active Member

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    Maybe you can try to change the capacitor of bridge pickup for a higher value. Gibson was often using very bad ceramic caps for pots (Idk about last years). A good 0.033 or a 0.047 uf cap can eliminate harshness. Way cheaper than changing pickups. On the other hand, a Seth Lover can be a solution too. Not darker, but can be richer and creamier to your ears.
     

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