Taming a Pickup

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by WrayGun, Nov 21, 2019.

  1. WrayGun

    WrayGun Tele-Afflicted

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    Hypothetically...

    Let’s say I have a Tele with a humbucker in the neck and a single coil in the bridge. Further, let’s say I’m using 500k pots, as an attempt to optimize things for the humbucker.

    So now say my bridge pickup is really really bright. Would putting a resistor of some value in line with the bridge lead tame the brightness? Or is that a dumb idea?


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  2. LutherBurger

    LutherBurger Friend of Leo's

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    If you mean "parallel" (from the bridge + lead to ground), yes.
     
  3. wabashslim

    wabashslim Tele-Holic

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    You want to put the resistor in parallel with the pickup, from the bridge pickup's contact on the switch, to ground. Normally you'd start with about a 500k resistor to bring the combination down to 250k, but with that bucker in the neck it might still be too bright in comparison. So don't be afraid to use a lower value resistor. For instance I have a 100k (or is it 120k now?) across my Wilde 290TL bridge to make it match the Epiphone mini in the neck.
    But the tone pot is a push-pull and it'll switch to a 500k for those times I need to hurt people.
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2019
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  4. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Taking part of the signal AWAY from the already weaker bridge pickup to compensate for a neck pickup that's too powerful to balance with the weaker bridge pickup might not work as well as starting with two pickups spec'd to balance well.

    If you want to use a 500k pot to boost treble of a HB at the neck you need to start with a darker hotter bridge pickup.
    Or choose a very low output bright neck pickup, which is less common than a hot Tele bridge pickup.
     
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  5. rangercaster

    rangercaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    I would adjust pickup height before anything else ...
     
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  6. WrayGun

    WrayGun Tele-Afflicted

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    Well, yeah, of course. That ship has sailed, unfortunately. I can afford a resistor, if it’s going to help me.

    I mainly play either in the neck position, or the middle. What I would really like is a balanced blend.


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  7. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Ahhh, so two hypothetically’s make a physical reality!
    Generally hypothetically comes before the ship sails...

    Have you lowered the HB down level with the guard and raised the bridge pickup so it almost touches the strings when fretted?
    Might need a deeper neck pickup rout and Longer screws.
     
  8. Don Mare

    Don Mare Tele-Afflicted

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    I once used a push-pull put as a Direct out for the dark neck humbucker which is much like a 1meg at the end of the day - 1-megs seem to help the darker sound that a neck humbucker on the Fender long scales can produce,,,-So,,,, the longer scale length of Fender actually places a Gibson neck pickup a full two inches further away from the bridge saddles then on a Gibson - Seth Lover's Design was not calibrated at 7" from the saddles - he designed it to sound good at 5" from the saddles- So... placing it at 7" adds more darkness and more string movement making it LOUDER and... again Darker -that is two NEW problems that will need to be addressed.. it may ten force a Tele player to seek a stronger bridge pickup- but this also that robs away the Teles unique quality design LEO Fender targeted the Tele bridge at 6k and thats the normal expected sound we all have heard on Recordings, I.E. the Signiture Tele Bite // The rich Twang // the Recognizable Vintage Treble. (I am not talking of Ice-pick at all - on pre-CBS 1964 Vintage it is more often than not_ Ear Candy_goodness and sweet to hear~~~) ) -So if you use the Push-Pull for a Direct -out switch you van use all- 250ks and then if you need to get the neck out of the mud - just pull it up - it also acted like the Esquire Bright position ( no Load on the 3-way Esquire switch) ( also the switch acted like a Jazzy dark tone on that neck while the switch was not used) the other solution is to Buy stacked dual knob concentric pots from ALL-PARTS, their 1-meg for the neck and their 250k for the bridge - this also allows for blending like on a Les Paul or early Nocaster's - this can be very useful -

    The Cons were you lose the ability to use Pinky finger to turn the knobs -as the pinky finger usually would spin both the stack Volume and Tone as one - I put sticky back sandpaper under the lower knob "Tone knob" to try to create drag so I could still do Roy Buchanan pinky swells but it was not all that and a bag of peanuts -
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2019
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  9. Peegoo

    Peegoo Tele-Holic

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    One easy thing you can do to tame that bright bridge pickup is install a small pot & cap (tone control) inside the control cavity. Wire it up to the bridge pickup. With the control plate open, play the guitar at gig volume and make small adjustments to the little tone pot until you get the sound you like from the bridge pickup. Leave the pot setting where it is, and button everything up. Done.

    You could also do the above, but instead, once you find your preferred tone setting, read the resistance of the pot and remove it. Install a resistor of that reading along with the cap. This is more permanent than a pot, but either way will do what you want.
     
  10. Shuster

    Shuster Poster Extraordinaire

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    just whip it, whip it goodo_O
     
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  11. Andy B

    Andy B Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Try a 250pf - 1000pf cap wired from the hot lead of the bridge pickup to ground. To my ears it takes the shrillness away. The larger the value cap the more top end you lose.
     
  12. FrontPU

    FrontPU Tele-Holic

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  13. EsquireOK

    EsquireOK Friend of Leo's

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    With such a pickup mismatch, two stacked pots (V/T for each pickup) would work best IMO.

    Also, have you considered T/T with a kill switch? The kill switch can be hidden if you use a push-push or push-pull pot for one of the tone controls. I am not much of a volume knob adjuster, and this has worked great for me on several Teles with pickup mismatches (e.g. my Aerodyne, which I wired this way back when it was new in 2003/2004). If all you ever do with your volume pot is run it on 0 or 10, there's no loss in eliminating it, and you gain a lot by having a separate tone control for each pickup.
     
  14. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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    There is a way to put a fixed 500k resistor on the switching so the single sees 250k and the humbucker sees 500k. Look for the schematic with google.

    Otherwise,

    Adjust pickup heights.
    adjust screw pole heights
    Turn the tone knob, that's what it's for.

    .
     
  15. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Here are four permutations of an idea for a SH Tele. Two versions have a resistor darkening bridge in Bridge position only. Two versions have the resistor darkening both Bridge and Middle (parallel with HB).

    And on the other axis, two versions have no mini-toggle and two versions have the toggle, which changes the internal wiring of the humbucker (assuming it's a four-wire). Series (default), split (single coil), and parallel.

    It's the HB in parallel that I find the most useful on a mixed pickup Tele. My last year's build has a Seth Lover in the neck, and is wired with the mini-toggle, and with the resistor affecting both bridge and middle positions. The HB in parallel tends to work best in combination with the other single.


    Here's the mini-toggle for the HB, plus resistor only on bridge. To have resistor active in middle as well, use the switch wiring below this one. If you don't want the mini-toggle, then just hook up your real N+ and N– to the "virtual N" locations, and solder red+white together and seal off with heat-shrink.

    Screen Shot 2019-11-22 at 12.14.20 AM.png




    Here's the wiring for the switch that makes the resistor active in both bridge and middle positions. Whether or not you have the toggle for the HB.
    Screen Shot 2019-11-22 at 12.14.29 AM.png


    EDIT: As was mentioned already in the thread, tweaking the resistor value can make the difference. It depends on the guitar (wood), pickups, and actual volume pot value. Smaller resistor makes it darker. It emulates reducing the volume pot value, and as most of us are aware, a 250k pot will be darker than a 500k. You can use this calculator to figure out resistances based on your measured pot value.
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2019
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  16. DHart

    DHart Friend of Leo's

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    Variety of solutions detailed here:

    https://www.fralinpickups.com/2017/10/23/mix-single-coils-humbuckers/

    And another option, if you don't tend to use your tone control, is to make the tone pot into a volume pot for the bridge pickup. So, the Tele has two volume pots, a 500k to 1M volume pot for the neck pickup and, perhaps, a 250k volume pot for the bridge pickup.

    Often, the only time I use my tone pot is to take a slight edge off the high end of the bridge pickup. So, for me, when mixing a neck pickup that wants 500k or 1M volume pot with a bridge single coil that wants 250k or 350k volume pot, running two volume pots and no tone pot is wonderful.
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2019
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