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Pickups for a 335

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by David Meiland, Nov 28, 2020.

  1. David Meiland

    David Meiland Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    I currently have Gibson MHS pickups in a 335. They have what I would describe as a fairly thick, woody, dark, mid-rangy tone, and they have a lot of bite. I like the way the guitar plays and feels but it's not my favorite sounding guitar. I want to move to something that's more balanced and clearer, if that makes any sense. I've read several threads about people liking Lollar low-wind Imperials in semi-hollow guitars and I'm wondering if I should go that route, or if there's something else that will lighten up the tone of this guitar. Or maybe it's the guitar itself...

    Any thoughts?
     
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  2. NoTeleBob

    NoTeleBob Tele-Meister

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    Mini-humbuckers? Bright and clean, good for blues and jazz, can get dirty if you need it.



    More mellow take on mini's:

     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2020
  3. JRapp

    JRapp Tele-Holic

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    Swap the magnets for T-Top sized short A5.
     
  4. lammie200

    lammie200 Friend of Leo's

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    Another place to check is Fralin. I really like the P-92 that I have.
     
  5. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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    .

    Go in this order and test after changes:

    1-Adjust pickup heights. Adjust pickup pole piece heights. More clarity when pickups are lowered to the body, flush with the trim rings or pickguard and screw poles raise slightly. Treat the screw poles as a mini EQ pedal. Strat stagger pattern has been recorded into many popular songs and so that EQ shape may be what you want on the neck pickup, even if a humbucker.

    2-Swap pots 'n caps. Measure what you actually have (pots have a 20% tolerance range) and choose according to if you want darker/brighter. Same with caps. They all load the pickup even when 'dimed'. Series cap on a particularly muddy pickup fixes them.

    3-Swap pickups. Then go back to the top of the list.

    That order assures you don't flip several sets of $200 boutique pickups trying to find a set of pickups that go well with your $20 of stock pots 'n caps or free pickup height adjustments.

    .
     
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  6. paulblackford

    paulblackford Tele-Holic

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    I love the Gibson '57 classic in the neck of my ES-135, but I'm not crazy about the '57 in the bridge. The bridge sounds a bit thin to my ears. Burstbucker pros are very good, and they sound very 'vintage', and, as a set, more balanced than 2 '57s. In my AS73 I've got the duncan '59 Blues set, and they sound really good. The cleans aren't quite as pleasing as a '57 in the neck, but I think they sound a bit better when overdriven. Don't know nuthin' bout them Lollars.
     
  7. loopfinding

    loopfinding Tele-Afflicted

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    i have 57 classics in mine and they sound wonderful through BF amps but the neck is total mud city through mid-heavy amps.
     
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  8. Obsessed

    Obsessed Telefied Silver Supporter

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    My Sheraton II came stock sounding relatively similar to what you described. @jvin248 has a great checklist before venturing into humbuckers la la land. My eventual solution was some inexpensive super low output Alnico IIs ... without covers.
     
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  9. dogmeat

    dogmeat Friend of Leo's

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    Phat Cat P90s (they fit right in... no mods)

    thank me later
     
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  10. AJBaker

    AJBaker Friend of Leo's

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    A nice PAF style pickup is very versatile. Seth Lovers are popular, but I have a German version (Leosounds) that's probably similar.

    I like 7.5k-8k, A2 magnets, and no wax potting. Makes it an incredibly lively pickup.

    As to changing pots, I would only do that if you have 300k volume pots instead of 500k.

    Here are some other tricks I've used:

    - turn the amp up louder than you need and turn down the guitar, it really opens up the sound.
    - 50s wiring keeps more clarity as you turn down the volume, but it also has some disadvantages. For me, I found that 50s wiring on just the neck pickup was perfect.
     
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  11. LoveHz

    LoveHz Tele-Holic

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    What dogmeat said. Drop in some Duncan Phat Cat P90s. Or, depending on the sort of stuff you play and the sounds you like, try one Phat Cat and one humbucker sized Gold Foil.
     
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  12. 19sixty3

    19sixty3 TDPRI Member

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    Start with that. If you still don't like the sound then, change the pickups. But I would choose against the Lollar Imperials. Although very good pickups, I didn't like the Alnico 5 magnet in the bridge position.

    A great option for a warm, bluestone is the Stormy Monday by BareKnuckle Pickups which features Alnico II magnets. The Stormy Monday provides nice vintage tones with modern mid-range and warmth. To my old ears, the Alnico II magnet in the neck and bridge pisition gives it a “singing” quality.
     
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  13. somebodyelseuk

    somebodyelseuk Tele-Meister

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    Before you get the credit card out, there's a lot of adjustment in a PAF based humbucker and you won't find the sweet spot with a ruler.
    The pots and caps on Gibsons are nothing special. Caps... everyone has an opinion, but pots are just CTS pots. I very much doubt they measure them before fitting, and with a 20% tolerance, they could be anywhere between 400k and 600k. If they're at the lower side, that'll darken your pickups.
    Pickups... There's a lot more variables in a PAF compared to a Fender pickup.
    If you want expert opinion, ask experts.
    I strongly recommend you register with the Les Paul Forum (not the mylespaul one) and get on youtube and find the Doug andPat Show BEFORE you even think of changing the pickups.
    Look for thread on how to adjust pickups on the forum.
    Seriously, you'll learn a lot more about optimising Gibsons there than you will here.
    FWIW, Lollars probably wouldn't be in my top 5 for PAFs, but it depends where you live and how much you want to spend.
    @19sixty3... Now, that surprised me. I opted for Amber Spirit Of 59s, with Bare Knuckles pots and caps. There are some exceptional PAF clones made in Germany and Croatia.
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2020
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  14. guitarmikey

    guitarmikey Tele-Afflicted

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    I threw some '57 in my Sheraton II, really sounds awesome!
     

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  15. Hounded Dog

    Hounded Dog TDPRI Member

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    My Epiphone came stock with Gibson single coils. I was wowed by this configuration! It has a freqensator trapeze tailpiece, so, a really low break angle. I thought it wouldn't sustain and would be too bright. I was thinking it would be a nice platform for a set of '61 zebras (PAF variant) and a Bigsby I already had. Instead, I changed nothing, not even a cap. Different Strokes.
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2020
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  16. Mark the Moose

    Mark the Moose Tele-Afflicted

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    I had a similar experience with an Ibanez semi hollow. I landed on an EJ Custom in the neck. Haven’t landed the bridge...
    EJ was too thin
    JB was all honk
    Currently using a gfs dream 180 that I had in a box
    Would like to try an SD Custom 5.

    Changing pickups in a semi hollow is a pain, I wish I had installed a plug.
     
  17. Wulf

    Wulf Tele-Afflicted

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    20121017_161728.jpg Gold HS Filtertrons ...my old sheraton..rewired as a gretsch...almost...HUGE improvement over stock pups

    Ignore fluffed lyrics...20th time we had to do this...auditioning a bass player...he still couldnt
    remember what key we were doing it in...and he forgot mic stand he promised to bring
    i was fuming when this take was filmed
    does give you a clue as to the sound of that sheraton though...its going through AC30VR (modded)
    No..he Didnt Get the Job..BigJohnny the drummer was going to commit an atrocity with a drumstick and ride cymbal upon him
     
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  18. tfarny

    tfarny Friend of Leo's

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    A few pickups I'd consider are Gibson '57 classics, Duncan '59s or A2 Pros, or Duncan Phat Cats for something a bit different.
     
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  19. modavis99

    modavis99 Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    As has been said, make sure your vol pots are 500 K. You can do this without having access to them: plug in a cable, search for the volume yielding the highest reading on a meter (should be around 7 or 8) then multiply by 4 and subtract 8. That won’t be exact but you’ll know if you have 250 or 500.

    the best pickups I’ve heard in a 335 are Throbak SLE-101 plus. I prefer these to Lollar Imperial low winds and any Gibson pickup
     
  20. Joshtheguitarguy

    Joshtheguitarguy TDPRI Member

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    I like the mojotone P.A.F pickups. They aren't necessarily designed for a 335, but they sound great and may have that sparkle that you are looking for.
     
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