This guitar has lost its high end

David Meiland

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I've had this 2007 PRS McCarty for a couple of years. It's always been a stellar sounding guitar, but lately it seems to have lost its brightness... I have the tone knob at 10 and it's still too dark. It was not this way in the past. I play most of my half-dozen guitars every evening and this one now just sounds kinda treble-less, unless I boost the treble on the amp, and then it sounds OK but all the others sound too bright when I plug them in. New problem, and it seems fairly recent.

Just put new strings on it, no real improvement, and in any case I change strings on all guitars regularly. I've never modded this guitar, never changed anything about it except a little adjustment on the action. I'm at a loss to understand what might be going on. The only thing I can think of is change the tone cap.
 

Tenderfoot

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Check the pots. wiring harness and related components for possible cause of loss of treble.
 

Peegoo

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Don't go "shooting it with the parts shotgun," i.e., installing a new cap and hoping that fixes the problem. That is not the way to fix any problem.

The best thing to do is pop the hood and test each component (pots, switch, pickups' specs, etc.) for proper function and numbers. You will find the cause, and that way you can fix or replace the actual problem part because you know what it is.

I'm assuming you've already ruled out the simple stuff at this point by (1) removing everything (pedals, etc.) between the guitar and amp, (2) swapping in a different cable between the guitar and amp, (3) trying it through another amp, (4) trying a different guitar with your cable and amp, etc.
 

Dacious

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You say you adjusted action - did you lower it? If so you have altered the relationship between strings and pickups. Thicker string gauge?

Try dropping the pickups and especially the neck pickup on the bass side by 1/4-1/2 turn
 

MarshallHeart

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I've had this 2007 PRS McCarty for a couple of years. It's always been a stellar sounding guitar, but lately it seems to have lost its brightness... I have the tone knob at 10 and it's still too dark. It was not this way in the past. I play most of my half-dozen guitars every evening and this one now just sounds kinda treble-less, unless I boost the treble on the amp, and then it sounds OK but all the others sound too bright when I plug them in. New problem, and it seems fairly recent.

Just put new strings on it, no real improvement, and in any case I change strings on all guitars regularly. I've never modded this guitar, never changed anything about it except a little adjustment on the action. I'm at a loss to understand what might be going on. The only thing I can think of is change the tone cap.

easy:bypass the vol/tone pots and go direct to the output jack
 

Cheap Trills

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Do you play your tele on the bridge pickup right before picking this one up? Tone perception can be pretty relative. Sometimes, you just got to cleanse your aural palette and play a strat in the 4th position with tone rolled to about 8 between guitar switches. You can also cleanse your pallet by listening to chamber music or Johnny Cash and June Carter on Jackson.
 

Boreas

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I would start by giving the switch, pots, and output jack a thorough cleaning with contact cleaner. If both pickups sound the same, it isn't the pickups. Do all components "function" normally? Any pot sweep or crackling issues? Does it play and sound OK acoustically?

My guess is a cold solder joint somewhere past the pickup attachments.
 

PCollen

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I've had this 2007 PRS McCarty for a couple of years. It's always been a stellar sounding guitar, but lately it seems to have lost its brightness... I have the tone knob at 10 and it's still too dark. It was not this way in the past. I play most of my half-dozen guitars every evening and this one now just sounds kinda treble-less, unless I boost the treble on the amp, and then it sounds OK but all the others sound too bright when I plug them in. New problem, and it seems fairly recent.

Just put new strings on it, no real improvement, and in any case I change strings on all guitars regularly. I've never modded this guitar, never changed anything about it except a little adjustment on the action. I'm at a loss to understand what might be going on. The only thing I can think of is change the tone cap.

Any change in volume ? I assume both pickups sound darker. What are your other guitars you compare it to ? Any change in your playing environment ? I experienced some changes in tone at certain frequencies, and a minor tremolo effect, when I have my room ceiling fan turned on. Sound is air in motion, and a ceiling fan can disrupt this.

Try cleaning the pots and switch and plug jack contacts and checking all solder connections..maybe touching up a few just by heating them with soldering iron/gun.
 
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Dismalhead

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hearing loss ?

This was my first thought. I abused my ears for years and along with tinnitus I have to crank the high end frequencies to compensate. Verified by audiology tests. Got a friend who is even worse than me. If you've damaged your hearing the problem might be you.

Ears for Years will be the name of my new Tears for Fears cover band.
 

Skyhook

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hearing loss ?

I play most of my half-dozen guitars every evening and this one now just sounds kinda treble-less, unless I boost the treble on the amp, and then it sounds OK but all the others sound too bright when I plug them in.

That would be a very selective hearing loss then if it only affects one of the guitars. :)
 
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Bob Womack

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If you lowered the action and didn't lower the pickups, you've effectively raised the pickups. As strings get close to the pickup the pickup's magnetic influence will dampen the upper end content of the strings. We 1970s Les Paul owners discovered this the hard way. The '70s Gibson T-Top pickups had relatively lower output but the race was on for more gain. Everyone, including the stars, said, "Raise the pickups for more gain," and we all did. But after a while, we all looked around and said, "Darn these pickups are dull sounding." We either jacked them back down ourselves or took them in to a luthier who took one look and said, "Why the hack are your pickups so high. It will deaden the sound of your guitar."

Surprise!

Bob
 

ChicknPickn

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If you lowered the action and didn't lower the pickups, you've effectively raised the pickups. As strings get close to the pickup the pickup's magnetic influence will dampen the upper end content of the strings. We 1970s Les Paul owners discovered this the hard way. The '70s Gibson T-Top pickups had relatively lower output but the race was on for more gain. Everyone, including the stars, said, "Raise the pickups for more gain," and we all did. But after a while, we all looked around and said, "Darn these pickups are dull sounding." We either jacked them back down ourselves or took them in to a luthier who took one look and said, "Why the hack are your pickups so high. It will deaden the sound of your guitar."

Surprise!

Bob

Interesting!
 




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