335 Pickup

Discussion in 'Other Guitars, other instruments' started by Breezecookie, Jun 9, 2019.

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  1. Breezecookie

    Breezecookie Tele-Meister

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    First world problem here: I bought a gorgeous 335 back when Chicago Music Exchange had their Gibson Memphis blowout (a year ago? two years?). Love the way it looks, feels, and plays; cannot for the life of me love humbuckers. Thinking of a replacement for the neck only, as I don't play the bridge often and with two volume pots I can match levels if the new pickup is an output mismatch. What don't I like? I just can't get the sweetness I want- I've eq'd at the amp, lowered pickups, lowered volume, etc., and I can get SOMEthing okay, but as soon as I go back to one of my other guitars, there's just a sigh of relief! I have looked into possibilities, an I know there are Big Singles, Phat Cats, P100's etc. These sound good in demos, but demos get me every time- Mike Hermans could put a pair of sneakers in a dryer and record it and I would buy that dryer! And sneakers! I play almost completely clean and my favorites are a good tele neck pickup, or a Lollar gold foil, or maybe even a strat if some of the highs are rolled off. I like P90s in theory, but I've never played one.

    Okay hive mind- what have you got for me? I have a good luthier, but I don't want any cutting. Thanks in advance!
     
  2. telepraise

    telepraise Tele-Meister

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    Does you 335 have classic '57s in it (I think it does)? If so, that pickup is a great match for the guitar (just ask Larry Carlton). If it has Gibson's burstbuckers, you may want a more classic PAF pickup. A classic '57 or a SD jazz may get you there. If you're looking for the old classic archtop sound, then one of the P series single coils is the ticket, but be advised: 1. you'll likely need to change part of the wire harness (not fun when it has to be fished out through the f-hole) and 2. p90s sound fabulous IMO, but there is an unavoidable amount of hum that's inherent in their design.

    What kind of amp are you running through? A thinline with HBs is a very different beast from your tele. Others that picked up that series of guitar have given glowing reports. Perhaps check out some the forums focused on those types of guitars. SD has a very active forum where lot's of users have experimented with picku-ps and mods. Here's a consideration:

    https://www.seymourduncan.com/blog/the-tone-garage/mod-squad-muddy-sounding-neck-pickup
     
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  3. Mark the Moose

    Mark the Moose Tele-Meister

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    DiMarzio EJ custom in the neck. No mud, very clear and articulate.
     
  4. AJBaker

    AJBaker Friend of Leo's

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    A nice PAF style pickup can be a thing of beauty.
    I've got a German Leosounds humbucker with A2 magnets, no wax potting and fairly low output (I think about 7.7k). It has plenty of snap and clarity along with the humbucker sizzle.
     
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  5. JL_LI

    JL_LI Friend of Leo's

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    I had the same feeling about the buckers in my SG until I followed some advice I picked up here. I dropped the pickups as low as they would go. Stupid me. I dropped the neck HB far enough that it fell into the route. I couldn’t get the spring back so I used a small piece of foamed polyethylene between the screw and the cover in place of the spring. I raised the pole pieces. This makes the screw coil louder relative to the slug coil. I adjusted the pole pieces to balance the strings. I set the pole pieces on the bridge HB to match the neck and raised it to balance volume between bridge and neck pickups. That’s the bucker tone I’d been looking for. I have amazing clarity and the foam seems to damp microphonics better than potting. The tone isn’t single coil and it isn’t dark. The tone is pretty close to the high end PRS coil split tone, which isn’t really split coils at all. I’d give it a try before installing pickups that may or may not help. PM me if you’d like a piece of PE foam. I have plenty of it at home. It’s used as protective packaging for some of the lasers I work with.
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2019
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  6. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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    .

    Lower your neck pickup level with the pickup ring. Lowering more than that and you risk it falling off the screw and then removing strings to retrieve the situation, lol.

    Raise the screw poles 1/8th to 1/4inch. On neck pickups I like to use the Strat Stagger pattern as it sounds more like a Strat neck. Bridge pickups I'll keep the screws level to each other for more of a Tele/P90 bridge tone. This is all reversible so make a change and try it for a couple of days. Make another change.

    If that still does not get you where you want, then swap tone caps for 0.033uF, volume pots for higher end of the 500k spec or even 1Meg if you are fighting a lot. And if that doesn't work and the pickup is still too muddy, I use the 0.047uF tone cap you took off to put in series with the pickup hot lead at the switch or where convenient. That cuts the pickup's internal capacitance just like a fancy boutique hand-wound pickup will, trade off is if you put a meter on the guitar the pickup shows as open (because the capacitor blocks DC from the meter and while it passes AC from playing the string).

    They make humbucker sized panels with Strat/Tele single coil holes in them so that's another option to try, but you'll probably want a 250kohm volume pot for it. If you can, find one that is punched out toward one side and you can get more mellow tones closer to the neck.

    I have also wired neck pickups as a single coil, disconnecting the second coil. Easy to do if you have a 4-wire pickup, more challenging (but where I usually start) with a 2-wire and some surgery to convert to a 4-wire.


    .
     
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  7. JayFreddy

    JayFreddy Poster Extraordinaire

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    Adjust the height and pole piece screws.

    It's highly likely those are Classic 57s.

    If you can't get a good 335 sound with Classic 57s, either the instrument is defective or it's user error.

    If you're new to humbuckers, chances are good that it's user error.

    Throwing more money at it isn't the answer. It will sound great if you can dial it in.

    It sounds to me that your pickups are too close to the strings.
     
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  8. Breezecookie

    Breezecookie Tele-Meister

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    Well, the pickups are burst buckers (it's a 2016, but just before MHS pickups). I have lowered them pretty far down and done some pole-piece raising. I'll do more of that. I'm not sure that my complaint is muddiness- I have them sounding reasonably clear. It's more that it's something about where the mid-range sits that is a little ear-fatiguing or something. I'm running through an Ethos II Clean preamp with cab sim straight to PA. I'm thinking of getting a Mooer Radar IR/power amp sim. More thoughts?
     
  9. Obsessed

    Obsessed Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I concur with most above that I'd try adjusting the humbuckers first. The sweet cleans are what I was after for years and ended up getting the lowest possible output Almico IIs that I could find. 7.5 ohm output or lower should do the trick for you. I bought some cheap ones to try and they sound sweet throughout the range at a fraction of the cost of Gibby PAFs. I have never looked back since then.

    Good luck.
     
  10. Recce

    Recce Tele-Afflicted

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    If you have burstbuckers I agree you might want to try the Classic 57s. I have a Les Paul with Burstbuckers and an SG with Classic 57s. The 57s are easier to dial in.
     
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  11. Erdowonge

    Erdowonge TDPRI Member

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    Tonerider AC2s are lovely humbuckers .I got em in an SG .Also low output.The description on their website is spot on imo
     
  12. Paul in Colorado

    Paul in Colorado Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I like the Lollar Humbuckers if the adjustments don't work out.
     
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  13. HockeyPop98

    HockeyPop98 Tele-Holic

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    David Allen pickups are really nice. I put a set in my last really special build 3 years ago with the intent to sell it, and as soon as my son played it, I knew he would never let it go. He uses it for 95% of all his playing, whether worship, blues, or rock.

    And David Allen was really great to work with, assuring me if I didn't get the sound I wanted, I could send them back.

    Sent from my SM-G965U using Tapatalk
     
  14. Hobs

    Hobs Tele-Meister

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    I've not had my hands on any Burstbuckers. Are they 4 wire connected? If so, you could try wiring them in parallel instead of series. That will make a pretty dramatic change in the direction of more clarity and less peaky mid-range.
     
  15. LeicaBoss

    LeicaBoss Tele-Holic Gold Supporter

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    I got a CME 335. It had Burstbuckers in it and I really didn't like them one bit. Lacked all the air/clarity/top-end I enjoy.

    Total wet blanket.

    My other ES had unpotted "MHS" pickups. Also PAF style but night and day. Sweet, open, great presence. Even in the neck.
     
  16. BB

    BB Poster Extraordinaire

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    Some excellent suggestions above. As Paul said, if the adjustments don't work, try a Lollar Low Wind Imperial. I have one in the neck of my tele and it's simply lovely. Also had great luck with a Duncan Seth Lover. I've also had a few Zhangbuckers, a pure handwound and a custom wind he did for me that were splendid. The custom wind was a low wind with mis-matched coils and it was very single coilish (P90) in nature.

    The Tonerider suggestion was also spot on. The A2's are great, but my fav's are the A4's. Great in a semi.
     
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  17. Andy B

    Andy B Tele-Afflicted Gold Supporter

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    Duncan SH-2 Jazz Neck pickup replaced the muddy 57 Classic in my Les Paul. Made the guitar playable.
     
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  18. augustwest

    augustwest Tele-Meister

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  19. ahiddentableau

    ahiddentableau Tele-Meister

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    I'm also a relatively new-to-335 player dealing with the same thing. I found the neck pickup too dark and kind of dead--curiously unresponsive (my guitar has a SD Alnico II Pro in the neck slot). I ended up spending a long time with a screwdriver in front on the amp raising the pole pieces made a pretty significant difference. Certainly a bigger difference than just lowering the pickup. I ended up taking my pole pieces up so high I was afraid I was gonna pull the screw clear out of the pickup! Wax from the potting leaking all over the damn place. But it really helped. Brightened things up and made the pickup come alive. I still find it a bit too dark, but I'm much, much happier.

    I agree with the people who say you might be happier with a lower output pickup. I'm pretty sure that'd be the case for me and I've already got a fairly low output pup. When you're used to playing Fenders like most of us are I'd have to think that is to be expected.
     
  20. Mincer

    Mincer Tele-Meister

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    I would pick a Seth Lover. It is like putting a stick of butter underneath the strings.
     
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