Help Me Bond With My Les Paul

Discussion in 'Other Guitars, other instruments' started by Erebus, Dec 11, 2019.

  1. Geoff738

    Geoff738 Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    PAFs should not be muddy sounding, IMO. A good one on the bridge pickup should sound like a Tele on steroids. Then again I’ve never really bonded with my LP and I had an amp maker with some very high profile clients tell me it was a really good sounding Les Paul.
    I think I just prefer Teles at this point.

    Cheers,
    Geoff
     
  2. LightningPhil

    LightningPhil Tele-Meister

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    Try a short lead to keep capacitance low or use a treble booster. Split coils may help too.

    But you said bond. So cover it with hardener, dip your hands in epoxy and strum away.
     
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  3. mowgli5555

    mowgli5555 Tele-Meister

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    Interesting thread. Having owned a few guitars, I find some just dont have as much acoustic qualities unplugged.
    For example, I had a really nice 2016 Gibson SG standard, that just kinda sounded dull(dead), or unlively.

    I quickly sold it for a used 2013 Gibson SGJ that sounded extremely clean throughout the entire fretboard, no dull strings, etc.
    Also, recently I went to Guitar Center, and played a bunch of Fenders, Gibsons, and Epiphones. My favorite happened to be a used Gibson SG dot Special, because of how nice it sounded unplugged.

    If I were in your shoes, I would just try to find something that plays better unplugged, if that is a requirement.
    Another Les Paul if you like the feel. Out of 8 or so Les Pauls that I have owned, only 2, or 3 have really sung to me.
     
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  4. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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    .

    Lower the pickups to the trim rings, raise the screw poles 1/8th inch or even 1/4. This will increase the single coil output while providing humbucking protection. Strat Stagger on the neck and flat across on the bridge. More Strat and Tele/P90 character this way.

    If not enough then a series cap on the hot lead of the pickup.

    Higher kohm (measured) volume pot(s).

    Then pickup swaps. Do this last as the other stuff is either free or under $20 while pickups get people into several rounds of $200/set boutique pickups (to match the system of $20 of other parts).

    .
     
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  5. bftfender

    bftfender Friend of Leo's

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    I have ton of guitars & my 14 SGJ with 61 Alnico's is my fav
     
  6. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

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    Part of it is making the adjustments that folks have mentioned- to amp, pickup height, and other tricks per jvin248 above.

    Part of it is having your ears get used to it. I have been playing HB guitars a lot more lately, and now single coils sound too
    ice-picky to my re-trained ears. Let me slightly modify that statement. For me, HBs sound better when playing distorted, such as for
    a lead, but single coils still have the edge when playing clean. But not by much. I find I can get a nice clear tone out of HBs....not quite
    as sparkly as a true single coil, but still a really nice sound.

    I think HBs really excel if you want a rounder tone and/or if you want to play with distortion. Guys like Page and Bonamassa switched
    to humbuckers for good reason, IMO. Of course there are guys like Gilmour and Hendrix who did fine with distorted single coils-- but they
    favored using fuzz, which tends to play well with single coils. The fuzz tends to tone down the brightness of distorted single coils.

    So part of the issue may be your application. If you use HBs for what they're good at you might think they're better than single coils. If
    you use HBs for what single coils are really good at, you might think they're worse.

    Another option might be to try different strings. Don't get pure nickel. If nickel-wrapped still aren't bright enough, try pure steel. This D'Addario
    website shows the range from bright to mellow. Their brightest are the "ProSteels", and their next brightest are the "NYXL".

    https://www.daddario.com/products/guitar/electric-guitar/
     
  7. Electric Warrior

    Electric Warrior Tele-Meister

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    I really couldn't get on with the 490, which is what might be in the neck of your Tribute? I had one in a Standard and it was dark, mushy, just a nothing happening pickup. I fiddled with height and screws to no avail. I replaced it with a Pearly Gates, which was still pretty dark, but much more lively. When I sold the Standard that 490 went back in and away with it.

    I currently have SD Antiquities in my '80 Tokai 120. The neck is bright and chimey.

    On the Standard, I changed the tailpiece to Gotoh aluminum and bridge to an ABR1. I discerned no difference plugged in and only a slight difference unplugged (which may have been in my head). It was lighter though!

    However, I swapped the stock tailpiece on a Melody Maker for an aluminum and there was a big difference plugged in and unplugged. Much more airy and bright.

    A Gotoh tailpiece will cost you $35 new and you can sell it for $30 if you don't get on with it. Bridge, about the same. If you solder, you can mess with pots and caps. Tweak heights. Try different strings. But ripping out that 490 did the trick for me.
     
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  8. Erebus

    Erebus Tele-Meister

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    Great suggestions, I shall give all the easy ones a try and report back!

    Also tuning stability is an issue but after doing some reading I’m confident that I can improve that, at least marginally
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2019
  9. Andy B

    Andy B Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Seymour Duncan Jazz neck pickup made my 1999 Classic come alive for me as a replacement for the 57 Classic that the previous owner had installed. The 57 Classic + in the bridge works fine for me.
     
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  10. SixStringSlinger

    SixStringSlinger Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I've had a similar expeirence with my one double-humbucker guitar (an Ibanez Jet King 2).

    For me, part of the "trick" has been approaching this guitar the same way I would any other (rather than yelling, "OK, I'm going to play the Les Paulish guitar now!" to no one in particular) while also letting the guitar be what it is and adapting to it.

    I'd suggest a change in mindset along with pickup heights and amp setting before messing with caps and pots, and that before changing pickups. Humbuckers can be frustrating if you're not used to them, but they can also be rewarding.
     
  11. Sparky2

    Sparky2 Friend of Leo's

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    boss cs-3.PNG

    Problem solved.
    :)
     
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  12. slauson slim

    slauson slim Friend of Leo's

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    As above, new strings, adjust pickup heights and try tone and volume adjustments on guitar and amp.

    One trick for Fender amps is to turn amp volume up high, treble high, bass low, guitar treble all the way up and use volume control to find sweet spot.
     
  13. Zuzax

    Zuzax Tele-Afflicted

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    Deck the pickups as low as they will go and adjust from there. That transformed my 2005 Standard from mud to perfect.
     
  14. jrblue

    jrblue Tele-Afflicted

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    PAFs are not muddy. They have a different sound than single-coils, but they are not muddy, they are not "warm," and they are not "hot." Plenty of humbuckers are muddy, warm, and hot, but that's because of the mania, now waning, for hot, high-gain, thick and distorted tones. True PAF-style PUs, which are not high-output (eliminating most of the current production HBs) should be airy and clear, with clear, high overtones. I don't know what Gibson suck in the Tributes, or what pots, or what your signal chain is, but it's pretty easy to put nice, clear-sounding HBs in a guitar if you avoid the hyped up common choices and go with something lower-output and more PAF-like.
     
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  15. teleplayr

    teleplayr Tele-Afflicted

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    Try adjusting your pick-up height.
     
  16. Nick Fanis

    Nick Fanis Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    Electric guitars are not meant to "resonate",actually what LES PAUL himself wanted was a guitar that had ZERO resonace.

    Les Pauls with their heavy weight and set neck construction will anyhow "resonate" less than a light Fender with a bolt on neck and longer scale length.
     
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  17. Seasicksailor

    Seasicksailor Friend of Leo's

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    With regards to eq, there have been plenty of great suggestions already.
    With regards to the feel of the strings, you might want to change the nut? My suspicion this could play a role increased after you mentioned tuning stability issues. A properly cut nut can make the world of a difference, especially on LPs and SGs due to the string break angle.
     
  18. fatcat

    fatcat Friend of Leo's

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    Took me several years and a tuner and pickup job to truly bond with my LP.

    Replaced the tuners.
    Completely ditched the PCB. Went 50's style circuit but with orange drop caps.

    Swapped burstbuckers for Seymour Duncans; 59 set.

    It's great now.

    In all honesty. You just have to play it. I forced myself to play with mine exclusively until I sorted out the issues; Not necessarily the upgrades.

    The tuners were required. Some of the original locking tuners were broken. Then I had to make several adjustments to balance the setup.

    Buckers and wiring were a whim.

    Sounds different into different amps too. It likes to play with certain ones. Vox works for me.
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2019
  19. Zepfan

    Zepfan Poster Extraordinaire

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    Not necessarily true. Not all guitars experience this and many times the ones that do are because whom ever set it up raised the pickups too high and/or has all the controls dimed.
     
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  20. Zepfan

    Zepfan Poster Extraordinaire

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    If you're used to hearing nothing but thin single coils with high treble, the muddy tone is in your head.
     
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