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What's Good With Mahogany?

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I usually match my pickups to compliment the wood selection. If I have a maple neck for example, I'll go with some slightly darker pickups to balance out the tone. If I'm say using a rosewood fingerboard over a maple neck, I can get away with some brighter pickups. This is both using an alder body. But if I want some spank to the tone, I'll use bright'ish pickups witha swamp ash body and solid maple neck. If too bright, I may mess with the capacitor values.

Now, mahogany. Usually I think of PAF humbuckers with I think of mahogany. But this will be with a Strat configuration. Strat pickups for the most are brighter than humbuckers as well as a lack of midrange....on the average. I've got a solid mahogany guitar that a friend had me look at. The tone sucks. It sounds like a Strat but it lacks the sparkle, loss of bottom end, very flat sounding, in all positions. But when I hit distortion (which has it's own eq, gain, and level), it sounds every bit as good as a PAF humbucker bridge pickup (in the bridge position).

Is this due to the nature of mahogany? Pickups are Seymour Duncan Texas hot pickups. Maybe if I drop the pickup height more, there might be a breathing issue with the string/pickup magnetic pull. But just blaaaah. Any suggestions on what I might miss considering? Just totally uninspiring tone.

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I know you already know this, but hotter pkp = less sparkle, less hot = more sparkle.

There are so many things you could try, but my two choices would be:

1. Harmonic Design S-90 in the bridge, and Vintage+ in middle and neck

2. Lace Sensor Hot Golds w/ the overwound bridge


Or you could do what I do and use either of the two sets mentioned, but tag them onto an EMG Afterburner pre-amp, with maybe the SPC control to fatten things up when you need it, in which case, I would stick with the regular output bridge for the Hot Golds.

With the pre-amp, you get to keep your clean sparkly pkps, and let the pre-amp light the fire for you when you engage it.

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Thanks Drak,

Yeah, I think the Texas hots would sound nice in a swamp ash body with maple neck. What about the Lace Chrome Domes? Usually the Lace products are a little on the bright side and might be just what this guy needs to overcome that massive dark mahogany tone.

Like you said, there are so many variables and combinations. It seems to me that the maple cap on a Les Paul mahogany guitar seems to help brighten the tone a tad. But I also have a '80 Gibson Flying V that's solid mahogany with humbuckers. But I notice more bottom end than darker tone.

For some reason I was thinking that the Antiquity I pickups would be fashioned after 50's Strat pickups which usually are brighter than say the Antiquity II set, which are more like a mid 60's darker tone. The I's must be wound hot enough to mud up the mahogany's dark tone.

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