Overpotted Pickups?

Discussion in 'Gibson SG' started by 06SG, Apr 13, 2013.

  1. 06SG

    06SG Member

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    Hey guys. I need some help identifying a potential issue with my super distortion bridge pickup.

    Today I brought my SG standard to a well respected tech and guitar builder in our area. My bro in law came with us, and brought his Dean Z time capsule with him as well.

    Both are Gibson scaled guitars, both have super distortion pickups in the bridge.

    My SG standard had pickup rings installed over the pickguard because I was getting a buzzing sound from the pickups - touching the sides of the pickguard cutout.

    The SG, despite sounding very good, has this chuck chuck hollow sound when you play in the bridge position - it seems slightly dulled, or less detailed sounding than the Dean's DP100. Even the luthier we brought it to today noticed it, and was pretty much convinced that my DP100 could be "over-potted" - that getting a new DP100 and having it installed could remedy the issue - not WILL remedy it, but could. The bitch is, that if the same chuck chuck sound is still there, the store that stocks the DP100 wants a 50% restocking fee if I return it.

    Is it possible that pickup cavity's hollowness could be imparting that to the strings - and then the DP100 is picking that up? — Thanks.
     
  2. Zeppelin Rules

    Zeppelin Rules Active Member

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    I have never heard of 'over potting'. The purpose of potting is to fill all the empty spaces in the pickup to prevent it from vibrating and feeding back at high volume. I don't think you can overdo it.

    The same pickup can sound quite different in different guitars, especially the super distortion. I have a vintage one and I hated it in my superstrat, but it works pretty well in my SG. It definitely does have a bit of hollowness to it, but that's just the pickup.

    The Dean has a different body and (I'm assuming) maple cap. The maple especially is going to give you some more brightness which may account for the differences you're hearing.

    The Dean probably also weighs more which would contribute to a fuller sound.
     
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  3. nbeersiii

    nbeersiii Well-Known Member

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    I dont understand how your pickguard would have ever caused a buzzing sound cause its plastic it doesnt conduct. Pickup rings are doing the exact same thing the pickguard did hold the pickup in place. That makes no since to me.
     
  4. nbeersiii

    nbeersiii Well-Known Member

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    Could be the pickup rings mounted ontop of the pickguard making the pickup act weird. Pickup rings mounted on top of the pickguard is like putting hub caps over a set of nice rims.
     
  5. rocknme

    rocknme Member

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    The problem appears to be that you are comparing guitars, not pickups. As suggested above, the SG isn't going to sound similar to a more massive guitar with a maple cap. The best bet would be to compare your guitar to another SG with a super distortion in the bridge to see if your pickup is defective.
     
  6. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

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    "My SG standard had pickup rings installed over the pickguard because I was getting a buzzing sound from the pickups - touching the sides of the pickguard cutout"
    WTF?
    The first problem is the pickup ring/pickguard nonsense . No idea where you live, but I'd find another tech . If someone hasn't screwed up your pickguard beyond redemption, do a proper remount of your pickups . Once you have remounted them correctly, see if the "buzz" returns and diagnose the real source, it isn't "the pickups - touching the sides of the pickguard cutout", unless you've got a metal pickguard .
    Biddlin ;>)/
     
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  7. 06SG

    06SG Member

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    nbeersiii & Zeppelin Rules

    Zeppelin Rules:
    — Zepplin, he's a luthier, builder, and has a ton of experience with many types of stringed instruments, and like Wilandovsky (who's a member here at the forum), he believes that despite different woods being used on so many different brands of instruments, maple capped vs non, korina VS mahogany etc, both of these guys are of the school that the scale length, pickups used, fret width, height and crown shape, string guage, nut material, nut slot shape, bridge radius and setup impart the bulk of what we hear. But yes, the Dean Z weighs 10.5 pounds, the SG weighs 7.2 - I'm sure the amount of wood and rigidity, density of that wood imparts a different tone to the Dean. But, SG's are inherently midrangey - which I love, it just seems to have not as much detail or clarity as I'd like.

    It's not that a maple doesn't make a difference, but that the difference is small in comparison to the other things mentioned above. He said that if we're comparing an SG to a tele or a strat with a bolt on neck, then yes, there will be bigger differences. The Dean and the SG are 2 different beasts, but they're not worlds apart.

    Even at soft playing, low volume, low gain, the Dean has a different response from the pickup. The SG has bite, lots, but the way the chords ring out, sound/feel a bit more dulled, rounded, not as detailed or crisp as the Dean's sound. The luthier looked at the Dean's frets and compared them to the SG's frets. The Dean's frets are wider, higher, and the action is very low. The SG's frets are narrower, and closer to the fret board - he believes that imparts a big difference in the response of the strings. I just want to nail down that hollow "chuck" sound. It's not too far off from the Dean sound, they both sound like guitars with DP100's in them, but the Dean has more of a snap, an immediate kind of "POWNK" tone in the strings. It's one of those guitars where you can hit the strings at the bridge with less force, and it yields maximum POWNK tone. The SG, feels like that tone is underneath, but restricted somehow - but almost there. It's odd to me, I've now played more than a handful of higher end Gibson Les Pauls, that have maple caps, are Plekd, and NONE of them have that spank that the Dean has, and if anything, those Les Pauls should be even closer to the Dean. And I wonder, how much of that is inherent to the build of the instrument vs setup, strings, bridge angle, and all that stuff?

    nbeersiii:
    — What I mean by buzzing, is the the actual sides of the pickups, both neck and bridge were making contact with the sides of the pick guard. See attached image. Now with the pickup rings installed on my guitar, it doesn't buzz anymore, but the pickup ring is mounting through the pickguard, and if I tap the edge of the bridge's pickup ring — at the bottom, it makes a kind of hollow cluck sound. I was thinking that maybe this is being transferred to the pickup itself, imparting not as dense or solid of a sound - but I'm not sure. See image.

    My thought was, take off the pickguard, sand the inside of the bridge cavity to bare wood, and glue in a block of rock maple, inside the pickup cavity, to take up some of that hollow space inside. See this:
    http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-B09Xz7UvicY/UN3DRw0NacI/AAAAAAAAJ_8/IMFpe02aTEQ/s1600/sg+pickup+cavity.jpg

    Then, before gluing in the piece, drill a small channel hole to route the pickup wires. This way, the space would be filled, no more hollow cavity, and then the pickup rings could be screwed into wood, and not just the pickguard. Plastic on plastic seems like a bad idea.

    The other thought I had was - and this is marginally insane, but install the block as mentioned above, take off the pickguard, and trace a new pickguard made of rock maple. Score an edge on the SG's body - around the plastic onto the body, tape off and remove the nitro from that pickguard pattern on the guitar body down to the wood, and glue a maple pickguard into place directly onto the body. — lots of work I'm sure, and I'm not even sure if it's worth the effort. But imagine a maple pickguard, glued to the body itself instead of plastic. I wonder if that would accomplish anything. Kind of like a maple cap/pickguard. Is that a dumb idea?
     

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  8. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

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    "Is that a dumb idea?"
    Yes . Unless you never need to work underneath the pickguard again.
     
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  9. nbeersiii

    nbeersiii Well-Known Member

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    Could your pickup be wired out of phase? You can tell by switching to the middle position and the volume drops. Say switch to the neck pickup on full volume then switch to middle still on full volume with the bridge turned down and see if the volume drops. This only works if your guitar is wired for independent volume control though but you may be able to do it if not wired that way just back off the bridge so you can hear the neck good. If there is a volume loss when switching just reverse the wires on the bridge and you should be good to go.
     
  10. nbeersiii

    nbeersiii Well-Known Member

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    Also what value pots and caps do each guitar have and is one wired 50s style or do the both have the same wiring. I mean you are comparing two totaly diffrent guitars by diffrent manufactures. Even if they were both SGs by Gibson they can sound diffrent. No 2 guitars are the same. The bridge and stopbar may be diffrent material too. A zillion diffrent factors. Hell you might even have to tweak the amp to get the same effect. Id check for out of phase first that may be part of the problem. I still dont feel the pickup rings over the pickguard are helping. When you say the pickups were buzzing from the pickguard did you mean from vibration or an electrical hum? Cause the pickguard wouldnt cause an electrical hum maybe one of the height adjustment screws was touching something it shouldnt have and when you raised them up higher with the rings it stopped leading you to think the pickguard was the problem. If by some out of this world chance the pickguard was causing a hum I would have just sheilded the pickup sides with sme black electrical tap and called it good before I mounted rings to the pickguard. I mean you can always get another guard but there had to be another way.
     
  11. 06SG

    06SG Member

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    Biddlin, nbeersiii ...

    Biddlin:

    — This isn't an uncommon thing. The metal covers on the stock pickups were moving latterly inside the pickup cavities - just slightly - all the SG standards I've picked up, do this to some degree. It's not unheard of. When I'd play, depending on how I was sitting, sometimes the side of the metal pickup cover would make contact with the edge of the pick guard - this is acoustical, not electrical. I called Gibson about it after I first got the guitar. I spoke with a tech, and he was well aware of it. — "Oh yeah, a slight vibration, rattle of the 2 materials touching each other". He knew exactly what I was talking about. — Because, there's no buffer between the pickup cover and the side/edges of the pick guard. Those pickups move too much - and they weren't loose, they're just not fixed like a guitar with pickup rings are. Now with the pickup rings installed - it doesn't rattle anymore.

    nbeersiii

    This is an acoustic vibration, a physical contact between the pickup cover, and the inside edges of the pick guard. My pickups aren't wired out of phase. The bridge was only re-wired when the DP100 was installed, and I replaced the bridge volume and tone with 500k CTS pots — with a 50's wiring scheme - which I do like much better. Now when I turn down, I don't lose the treble end. Output yes, but it retains detail and clarity, and just gets quieter.

    The luthier we met said the only real way to identify the differences is to install the DP100 from the into the SG, and or vice versa to see how they respond. Not sure if we can do that, I'd love to, just to see what the outcome is.
     
  12. nbeersiii

    nbeersiii Well-Known Member

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    some foam under the pickup would have stopped any monement and the pickup mounts just the same in the guard taht it does with the ring unless you got it screwed through the ring and guard. was it the lutgier that told you to mount rings?
     
  13. 61SG

    61SG Active Member

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    First, get rid of the pickup mounting ring over the pickguard. That's a bad idea.
    Second, put some foam under the pickup so it rests nice and firmly level.
     
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  14. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

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    +1 on the foam rubber . Sorry, I've been working on 'em almost 40 years, and I've never heard of this problem with the pickups touching the sides of the cut out. Leveling 'em up with foam rubber is common with the full guards, but just to level and stabilize them .
    " This is an acoustic vibration, a physical contact between the pickup cover, and the inside edges of the pick guard."
    The microphonic effect you may be describing would be more indicative of un-potted pickups, like old PAFs .
    Biddlin ;>)/
     
  15. 06SG

    06SG Member

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    Biddlin..

    The pickup ring was an idea I got from a website. Some guy had installed cream pickup rings on his SG Standard, and I thought it looked cool, plus it had the benefit of the keeping the pickup from rattling. — Oh well, all is not lost.

    The only issue is the clucky noise of the pickup ring - being screwed into plastic, and the ring not making contact with solid wood. So earlier today, just as an experiment (and I don't know why this never occurred to me before), but i held the guitar side up to my cheek, so I could pick a string, and have my ear really close and over the bridge pickup.

    I hit the A string open, just over the pickup with my right hand, while holding the outer edge of the body with my left hand, and pressing the other side of the guitar into my left cheek. I struck the A string again, only this time, I pressed my left 2 fingers down - onto the pickup ring, pressing it against the pickguard, and that hollow sound got much tighter sounding, and it actually changed the way the string sounded - which is then transferred to the bridge pickup. I did this acoustically, and then with it plugged in - and it was noticeable.

    I could remove the pickup rings and do the foam rubber thing, but I kind of like the look. What I might end up doing, is trimming the inside edge of the pickguard (it's only a pickguard) so that when the pickup ring is reinstalled, it won't be mounted ONTO the pickguard, but screwed directly into the wood, and the outer edge of the pickup ring won't actually touch the sides of the pickguard, but recessed in between each of the 4 sides. I might do this, or maybe I'll just do the foam rubber deal. I won't sweat it either way. I can always just get another pickguard if I screw it up, or have a stone mason shape me one out of marble or granite. — Kidding.
     
  16. R.A.F.

    R.A.F. Active Member

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    I also like the looks of pickup rings over pickguard.. gives the guitar a more distinct look. screwing the ring into the wood is a nice idea too. :thumb:
     
  17. nbeersiii

    nbeersiii Well-Known Member

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    I have seen the black sg with the cream rings and I think it belonged to a member here but I thought it looked cheap and crappy but we all have diffrent taste.
     
  18. likea45

    likea45 Well-Known Member

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    I have never heard of this issue.....

    Sounds like you should just buy a Dean:dunno:
     
  19. 06SG

    06SG Member

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    nbeersiii, likea45

    nbeersiii:
    Here's mine, I think it looks ok, you can barely notice it, it's black - see image SG Bridge Spacing 2

    likea45:
    That's also in the plans for this year. I definitely want one. But, I do love this SG. It's so damn comfortable to play. I love the neck, it's beefy, mine sounds really good with the Faber tone lock bridge, bone nut. I just think I need to address this plastic on plastic issue, and the DP100, or maybe this particular DP100 isn't the right pickup. I recently tried a Gibson 57 classic in an SG 61 reissue, the setup sucked, too stiff, and I found that pickup a bit too bright in the treble end but it had a great mid/upper mid snarl to it. Maybe that's the pickup I should go with, or one like it that isn't so bright.

    That's what I love about the DP100, the mids are muscled, and the treble end isn't "BLING", I hate that blingy bright thing. But there's not enough snarl in the midrange. But that same pickup in the Dean Z is amazing.
     

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  20. nbeersiii

    nbeersiii Well-Known Member

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    Why dont you try the seymour duncan SH6 distortion. It might me what it is your looking for. Kinda made for chugga chugga music. The new dimarzio steve via pickups are supposed to have the midrange thing going on
     

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