Shrill sound: Maple neck?

RobRiggs

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DougM

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Here's an interesting video from FCS made 9 years ago related on how neck & body woods interreact:


Thanks for that. I know that many custom builders of acoustics use tone tapping to match tops to backs and sides, but I've never seen anyone do it with solidbodies before. This video was very interesting
 

hopdybob

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my first thought.
A: Tolerance in electronic parts.
pot have tolerances, caps to.
B: in combination with above, the treble bleed could be overkill in that bright guitar because of the wood and the mahogany just needs that treble bleed in this case
C: also tolerances in pickup winding can ad up.

and don't forget, even wood from the same tree can act different because of the density.
 

vhilts1

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IMO these are some things that have a bigger effect on tone/sound than many consider or credit them for

- Your hands. Players who sound good play good. They play great parts. They play great lines. They play great rhythm. They know rhythm and lead are intertwined and not 2 separate things. They are very comfortable manipulating much of their sound from pick attack and they are well aware of many techniques to vary their sound and tone with just their hands and they are great at it. Most of the time it’s intuitive and they don’t even think much about it. It just “feels” right for the song

- Your amp. Much more so than any other piece of gear this is by far the largest effect on tone/sound by a lot. Most players don’t even begin to get real serious about their amp until they’ve been through several guitars. Lol. Most non pros try to cheap out on their amp and it shows. Your guitar doesn’t even come close to having as much effect on your tone/sound as your amp. Many pros have at least several high quality amps that respond differently while kinda just being known for one style of guitar. Think about that. Your amp is the single biggest factor in your tone/sound by far gear wise.

- Your PUPs and the entire electric signal chain leading from them to your amp. The single biggest effect on tone/sound of your guitar by far.

- Your mindset/approach/style. This doesn’t get talked about much but it’s a huge factor. Most pros get comfortable with who they are and what they do early. Most amateurs never do. They are constantly chasing tone/sound windmills that will forever elude them. One of the single biggest mistakes I see people do is continually trying for a do-everything rig and that doesn’t exist. Ever. When designing a rig just focus ON ONE SOUND and that sound only. If Sultans Of Swing is your God tone. Get a Silverface Twin and 70s style Strat and don’t worry about anything else with that rig. Of course it will be able to do many variations on that well but it’s never gonna do AC/DC great. If you gotta have AC/DC get an SG and the appropriate Marshall (HiWatt lol). Great players know their limits and their bonuses and cultivate their sound top to bottom rig wise to get to what they do best. Be themselves and be comfortable with that.

Not really sure where electric guitar tone wood falls in this.... but it’s MUCH less than all of the above.....and probably most important to note....not really that much of a factor when considered in totality with all of the above and other factors not mentioned
 

Old Deaf Roadie

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I would verify your cap & pot values before you start swapping necks. Wood has some effect in an electric guitar, but you are hearing mostly electronics. How does it sound unplugged? Does it behave the same? If not, then I would rule out wood species. Fingerboards affect feel & have next to zero effect on sound. If it's peculiar to one string, I would be looking at the nut & tailpiece.
 

Mojotron

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I read most of this and, as a relatively strong believer in the idea that 'everything matters' as far a the tone of an electric guitar, I would say that it's likely the pickups. I think the wood that one uses to make a guitar will give the guitar a certain character that is available for the pickups to extract and then the amp will project that with it's own influence. The hardware that is generally constructed out of harder material - metals, bone, nylon... will heavily skew that initial character that the pickups will extract...

But, what makes a guitar 'shrill' sounding?

I would suspect the pickups first off - I wound some PAF pickups one time about as heavy as I could on a standard set of bobbins with 42 awg wire where I make one winding 15% over-wound on just one bobbin - that was a shrill tone! And, in that case, it was weird too as it was not all that noticeable because it had all the 'thunk' and low-mid focus of a highly overwound humbucker but to I got the same response from playing that guitar as if listening to fingernails being scraped across a blackboard. Very Very edgy - a shrill kind of tone - without really sounding all that 'edgy'.

In the case of single-coil pickups, I have run across a few pickups that must have been wound in a way that it produced an edgy tone that also contained a lot of high end that was not all that audible. And, in a few cases I experienced a tone that came from the combination of stainless steel frets and single-coil pickups that sounded what I would call 'shrill'.

One more thought, first and foremost - ensure that the neck screws are tight, the tuners are tight and the strings are not buzzing on any of the frets. Now the treble-bleed circuit can be a big factor for that kind of issue too - and I think you swapped out the whole harness between these 2 guitars, but one thing to try - still - would be to bypass all the pots and just wire the switch right to the output: I think that would isolate just the pickups.
 
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Telenator

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The funny thing about that vid is every time he supposedly taps for tone the wood sizes are very different....lol

that’s literally how different notes on a marimba are made .....lol

Yes. I appreciate that they're attempting to explain the differences, but this video was simply not made well and actually further confuses the issue.

The fact that he "claims" to assemble guitars from conflicting pieces of wood makes no sense. And while I do not work for the Fender Custom Shop, I was taught how to build electric guitars by one of the first 4 guys who made up the original Custom Shop back in the 80's.

Woods expressing different tonal characteristics have the potential to either create sympathetic harmonies between the neck and body, but also have the potential to create frequency cancellation and disharmony as well.

The above video is giving a very general view of what Fender does, but there is a lot more to it. And divulging the actual secrets would not be in their best interest.
 

gkterry

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Poppycock! The wood doesn't make that much difference. No two electrical components will be the exact same. As @vhilts1 states it is a component issue. Cheap guitars have cheap components and often are out of spec. The wiring, control pots and pickups are what makes the vast majority of the tone.

Check the original cap value, it might be something like .022uf. That would make it brighter than one with a .05uf cap. You might try changing the tone pot capacitor to a higher value by adding another similar value in parallel with the present cap. Caps in parallel add the values together. That would darken it a bit too.

Perhaps there is an error in the wiring that bypasses the tone control. That would make it significantly brighter. Check your wiring and solder connections. You may find the issue.
 

Boreas

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I think some of you are confusing some basic questions.To wit:

Is there a sound/tone difference in different typical Fender neck/body woods ?? That answer without a doubt is yes....when comparing 2 parameters personally up close in hand so to speak. Most players can tell a difference

Is there a consistent repeatedly proven blind test that can accurately tell a difference ??? That answer has consistently been no across a large cross section of players

What are we to make of those seemingly somewhat at odds outcomes ???

I’m not totally sure.....but.....it certainly shows that differences in wood are kinda overblown to an extent....not totally without some merit....but not at all as big a deal as some suggest

I believe that much of this "difference in tone" is due to how a guitar feels, responds, or vibrates when it is being played. A person evaluating tone simply from blind recorded samples will be less likely to be able to tell the difference than a blindfolded individual PLAYING the same instruments. And it is nearly impossible for an experienced guitarist NOT to be able to tell the difference between maple and rosewood fingerboards blindfolded. Also difficult to mask is body weight. So, bias is almost always inadvertently introduced when PLAYING the instruments. So the only subjective way to assess tone differences IMO is by well-recorded audio samples with guitar electronics and hardware that are nearly impossible to duplicate exactly. I certainly couldn't do it.

BTW, my money is still riding on the volume pots being of disparate values when measured. +/- 20% on each pot can add up to a 40% difference in value between both! Most people will hear that much of a difference.
 
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Telenator

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For all you blind sheep believing everything you hear about tone wood, give this a listen and if you hear any difference it is because you want to.



You are absolutely right! Sometimes.

I do hear the difference. Will everyone? No.

Does it really matter? Yes.

The fact is, the better you feel about the guitar you play, and the tone it produces, the better you play.
The better you play, the the more the audience enjoys it.
The more the audience enjoys it, the better everyone feels. And I just can't find any fault with that.

Let's all get there the best way we can.

You obviously enjoy the fact that you can play a chip board guitar and get a great tone from it. I won't, nor should anyone else call you a blind sheep, or other derogatory name for the thrill you get out of playing a chipboard guitar. It's totally legit.

Likewise, let others have the thrill of producing their tone, (perceived or real) in any manner that gives them a thrill.

Calling people "blind sheep" doesn't endear you to anyone, and just kinda craps on other people's parade.
 
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Billycaster21

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OP here. I should have known that the title of my original post would generate a lot of discussion. Very appreciative to everybody for their feedback.

Since I had already swapped out the wiring harness I was fairly confident that pots, etc.. weren’t the culprit. I decided to do the easiest thing first which was to replace the brass Wilkinson compensated saddles with the original Fender steel saddles. That eliminated the shrill sound which was emanating from the b string. Since the b string is part of almost every chord I play, it made the overall guitar sound very shrill. It sounds great now. I think there was a bit of a burr/indentation on the brass saddle. I’ll probably get another set of compensated saddles because the intonation is horrible now :)

This Fender Alder body/Maple neck guitar still sounds different from the all mahogany Stew Mac guitar (Shrill b-string aside, it still sounded different before changing saddles). It’s possible the difference lies in the pick ups (Is there a way to measure this without desoldering? I do have a multimeter). I may swap them out and see what happens at some point. I am very curious. But I suspect the tonal differences have more to do with the wood since the pick ups “should” be the same.
 

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Mojotron

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Right - I agree with Telenator - objectifying other members of the forum or perhaps everyone that does not agree with you is not a behavior that would lead me to think that you are open minded enough to listen to. If we all stuck to talking about our thoughts, as just our thoughts, and not judging others it would be a better world.

I think no two people will agree about hearing the same thing from playing a guitar or hearing the same thing from someone else play a guitar, or why it sounds the way it does - especially on youtube due to the differences in microphones, playing, computer speakers, network compression of video data....

This whole notion of 'you are wrong, I am right - here's the proof...' is the hill that far too many people's credibility has died on. I know I have been wrong about a lot of things, and I suspect that I'm wrong about a lot more things.... And, I think that would be a good opinion to have for everyone.
 

Billycaster21

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For all you blind sheep believing everything you hear about tone wood, give this a listen and if you hear any difference it is because you want to.


Those two guitars sound pretty similar to me. But that doesn’t mean that wood doesn’t make a difference. Just that those two woods sound similar.
 

ctmullins

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OP here. I should have known that the title of my original post would generate a lot of discussion. Very appreciative to everybody for their feedback.

Since I had already swapped out the wiring harness I was fairly confident that pots, etc.. weren’t the culprit. I decided to do the easiest thing first which was to replace the brass Wilkinson compensated saddles with the original Fender steel saddles. That eliminated the shrill sound which was emanating from the b string. Since the b string is part of almost every chord I play, it made the overall guitar sound very shrill. It sounds great now. I think there was a bit of a burr/indentation on the brass saddle. I’ll probably get another set of compensated saddles because the intonation is horrible now :)

This Fender Alder body/Maple neck guitar still sounds different from the all mahogany Stew Mac guitar (Shrill b-string aside, it still sounded different before changing saddles). It’s possible the difference lies in the pick ups (Is there a way to measure this without desoldering? I do have a multimeter). I may swap them out and see what happens at some point. I am very curious. But I suspect the tonal differences have more to do with the wood since the pick ups “should” be the same.

Play them both unplugged. If possible, spend a good 30 minutes by yourself, in a quiet room, swapping back and forth, playing the same chords/riffs/styles on each. I for one am interested in how they compare and contrast acoustically.

I am firmly of the opinion that a good acoustic tone is important; it is the foundation upon which a good amplified sound rests.
 




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