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Help: I love the 335, but it's muddy on low notes

Discussion in 'Other Guitars, other instruments' started by kevarilla, Feb 15, 2020.

  1. kevarilla

    kevarilla TDPRI Member

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    Hi friends!

    Current Strat and Tele owner here - love them for their cleans, and occasionally overdrive them, but I've been looking over my shoulder at Epiphones/Gibson's for years to get an overdriven tone I'd love. I grew up on 90s punk rock, Marshall+Les Paul bright/present/high gain sound. I once had such a set up, but had to sell the rock and roll gear when my kid was born 8 years ago out of financial necessity.

    Well, I've been a good boy and taken care of our finances for a while, so I'm looking at rebuilding my rock gear stash.

    So I've been shopping and watching lots of YouTube reviews, and I'm in *love* with the Epiphone 335 Pro - it sounds fantastic clean or distorted, it's big and airy, it's a beautiful cherry color, and that semi-hollow body style just feels so cool to play - makes me want to buy a suit and play nothing but "That Thing You Do" for an hour. It's already wired for coil tapping (which saves me the pain of rewiring a semi-hollow myself).

    I see folks using 335s overdriven, so, hopefully that means I'm not insane for thinking I can use it that way. If I can get it to work for me it would also be nice in my clean arsenal next to the Fenders.

    But I have one problem with it that I can't over-look: when playing overdriven, it gets muddy and noisy when you hit a power chord below the third fret on the low e string (open e, f, f#). It looses definition/clarity in a way that a Les Paul will retain when you go that low.

    I tried 3 different 335 Pros, different amps - all had the same problem. Tried for a long time to EQ it out by lowering the bass and gain, and fiddling with every other knob/button/setting, but to get to get close to a fix, I had to cut things so far I lost the tone that I liked in the first place.

    Is there any hope for fixing that muddy low sound? Pickups? Tuners? Intonation (which is why I tried 3)?

    ...Or am I asking the 335 to do something it is just not meant to do, and I should just *settle* for a nice Epiphone LP for those solid, compressed driven tones? (They have gold top traditional pro 3's on sale this weekend, and they were very nice....)

    If you have any friendly advice, I'd love to hear it.
     
  2. darkwaters

    darkwaters Friend of Leo's

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  3. Mark the Moose

    Mark the Moose Tele-Afflicted

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    While I didn't every have this problem on the middle or bridge position, I went through a number of neck pickups trying to solve this problem. I landed on a Dimarzio EJ custom which sounds glorious.
     
    Muku likes this.
  4. stratoman1

    stratoman1 Friend of Leo's

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    Another suggestion to lower that side of the pickup a bit
     
    telemnemonics likes this.
  5. jimgchord

    jimgchord Tele-Afflicted

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    Im In kinda the same boat, toss up between the epi 335 or one of the ibanez as series. Im leery of the quality of the epis. Looks like a trip to some local shops is in order.
     
    6stringcowboy likes this.
  6. Old Deaf Roadie

    Old Deaf Roadie Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I commend you on putting the welfare of your family first. I have nothing to offer about tone, but felt a kindred spirit as I had to step away from the entire scene in order to feed my kids. It's good to be back. Good luck with the rabbit holes.
     
    richiek65 likes this.
  7. Cheap Trills

    Cheap Trills Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    Yeah, what others have said, try lowering the bass side of the neck pickup.. but also, have you tried strumming closer to the bridge? It's muddy because the length of string when your fretting that low, vibrates wider, esp if you are strumming right over the neck pickup. Mitigate that by strumming closer to bridge.

    A lot of times it's easy to look up different gear solutions when the best solution is in your hands. :)
     
    RoscoeElegante likes this.
  8. Durtdog

    Durtdog Poster Extraordinaire

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    Deleted. Too far off topic.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2020
    artdecade likes this.
  9. 6stringcowboy

    6stringcowboy Friend of Leo's

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    I did the same thing. Went and played several Epi 335s and 339s. Honestly the fit and finish couldn't even come close to the Ibanez i ended up with. No regerts at al and my AS83 is now my #1
     
  10. kevarilla

    kevarilla TDPRI Member

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    This is what I suspected - I had a similar issue on an old guitar that I solved with new tuners that didn't let the string wobble as much.

    I was hoping for a solution that wouldn't require a different hand position - it may be tricky for me to play closer to the bridge while still doing lots of palm muting, etc (and maybe I'm just not a great player)
     
  11. stnmtthw

    stnmtthw Friend of Leo's

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    I'm going to put in another vote for lowering the bass side of the pickups. I had the same problem on my Les Paul, but I was able to solve it by doing that.
     
  12. cousinpaul

    cousinpaul Friend of Leo's

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    Lots of good advice above. I went through a similar thing with a neck humbucker in my tele. Looking at photos of various pro player's Gibsons, a lot of them have the pickups lowered to the height of the mounting rings.

    I'm wondering what amp, and what will you be using for OD? A Tube Screamer or Boss SD-1 have pretty much the strongest low cut available. A Zen Drive would allow you to dial in the amount of low cut you need via the "voice" control. Even if you're using the amp for OD, you might consider putting a pedal in front of it just for the filtering. Also, I'd probably be using the bridge pick-up for lower register power chords.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2020
  13. braveheart

    braveheart Tele-Afflicted

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    Yes! I have a Epiphone 175 and the stock pus sounded muddy...
    but the dry sound without amp is very good...
    so, a Seymour Duncan '59 set solved the problem...
    Better pus always improve the tone,but if the dry sound is already bad,move on (new guitar)...
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2020
  14. rangercaster

    rangercaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    Have you tried a P90 model ???
     
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  15. Obsessed

    Obsessed Telefied Silver Supporter

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    My solution was putting in a very low output PAF. However, part of the "muddy and noisy" that you hear is perhaps the extra woody sound of the semi-hollow. I use an EQ pedal to make that portion more distinguishable.
     
    3-Chord-Genius and darkwaters like this.
  16. RoscoeElegante

    RoscoeElegante Friend of Leo's

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    Stiff pick + move your hand back toward the bridge to hit those low notes. Upstrokes often have more snap. This Tele's them up nicely.
     
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  17. rangercaster

    rangercaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    Humbuckers are what they are ... A set of vintage PAFs might help ... but they are a bit pricey in today's market ...
     
  18. radiocaster

    radiocaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    They are a bit loose on the low end, and I do prefer solid-bodies for that reason, but I still pick up a semi once in a while.

    Maybe try different amps and (especially) different cabs. Maybe even pedals.
     
  19. ronzhd

    ronzhd Tele-Holic Ad Free Member

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    Nice article, thanks!
     
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  20. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity

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    HB's just get muddy on the lows on the neck position. The problem is, if you make adjustments to pots, height or anything, you then make the lows a hair clearer, but the highs too shrill.
    There's a reason so many players use the bridge pickup a lot playing HB's, because it doesnt happen with the bridge pickup. It's a bit of an art getting them in the zone.
    But, A cranked 335 can be glorious, but at low volume they are very woody and sparkly.
    Cranked, bridge position: (lead at 1:50)
     
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