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Single Hb Pickup Location


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Hi all.

I am building a neck through SG type out of black walnut, with a built-up black walnut/maple neck (Mostly maple with walnut on the outside edges). I have a Gibson Burst Bucker Pro to put in it, and am planning on a 5 way rotary switch to give me single N/ single S / series / parallel and / out of phase options as viewed at http://www.guitarelectronics.com/product/WDUH5R0001 .

I really don't want to spend the money on the second pickup. The pickup I have is sold as a neck pickup.

If you are only putting in one pickup, where is the best place to put it? I'm looking for blues and darker warmer tones. The pickup will deliver that, but placement can make a big impact on the sound.

Any suggestions?

Thanks in advance.

-John

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My advice is always ALWAYS go pick up another guitar that gives you the sound you want and go from there.

Also, you said the pickup you have is solid for a neck pickup. Neck pickups are always "darker" and "warmer" than bridge pickups, to use your adjectives. Doesn't that answer your own question?

If you're building your own guitar, what's an extra $30 for another pickup? :D

Look up some famous blues/jazz musicians and see what their setup is.

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My advice is always ALWAYS go pick up another guitar that gives you the sound you want and go from there.

Also, you said the pickup you have is solid for a neck pickup. Neck pickups are always "darker" and "warmer" than bridge pickups, to use your adjectives. Doesn't that answer your own question?

If you're building your own guitar, what's an extra $30 for another pickup? :D

Look up some famous blues/jazz musicians and see what their setup is.

You are right of course. I was hoping everyone would just say "Put it here or there" because that was the right way of doing it, and save me the trouble. I'll go play some SG's. On my two LP types, I like the neck pickup a little better, not so twangy. I can get rid of some of the twang with the tone knob, but I hate doing that, it makes it muddy.

I wish these pickups were 30 bucks. I want to shop where you shop. It was 100 bucks on sale. Gibson Burst Bucker Pro..

I was going for a simple look, less cluttered. I was planning on one pickup, a stacked tone/volume and a 5 way Rotary switch for the different combinations of the HB. It's going to have black hardware, blackwalnut body with stained-(dark red) maple neck through with blackwalnut/maple accents. It'll have an ebony fingerboard. It should be pretty dark and sinister looking. The wood I have for the body has a very pronounced 2 ft circular grain pattern to it, it's lumber from the trunk that went past a 2 ft branch, and it basically has a 2 ft knot in it. It's 4 ft long and 15 inches wide.. It will swirl up toward the dual cutaways.

Anyway, thanks for the input. Always looking for wisdom from somebody who's been there, done that.

-John

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being that sg's are characteristicly warm sounding (due ti the mahog) and your using quite bright woods; i would go with the pickup right close to the the fingerboard; in an attempt to darken up the tone;

on the other hand you could run with the brightness and throw it right next to the bridge;

but i would buy another hb to throw in it; even if it is a 30$ junker its all about the options; and if it plays nice; when you get some more money your willing to spend, all you got to do is drop the new one in; no hassle; on that same thought its almost worth routing it out and leaving it empty; just a thought

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Heheheheh... You never said you wanted a Gib$on pickup specifically. There are brands out there that sound loads better and don't cost $40 more because of a name stamped on them.

Specifically I was talking about GFS pickups found here. I've heard people saying loads of good things about them.

I agree with Fuzz, too, darkening up the tone of the woods by putting the pickup in the neck position. But remember playing on your LP you're playing through a mostly, if not entirely mahogany guitar. Of course it would sound thicker and less brittle.

I like the sound of your design, too, very simple and classy, even though I don't generally like the look of one-hum guitars in the neck. Post some progress pics! :D

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There's no comparison between the Burstbucker Pro and anything you'll find from GFS. The Gibson BBs are arguably the best production PAF clones out there right now.

I'd just put the pickup in the middle position flipped over with the screw coil facing the bridge. It'll give you a more middy-sound and it should retain some good attack there.

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Heheheheh... You never said you wanted a Gib$on pickup specifically. There are brands out there that sound loads better and don't cost $40 more because of a name stamped on them.

Specifically I was talking about GFS pickups found here. I've heard people saying loads of good things about them.

I agree with Fuzz, too, darkening up the tone of the woods by putting the pickup in the neck position. But remember playing on your LP you're playing through a mostly, if not entirely mahogany guitar. Of course it would sound thicker and less brittle.

I like the sound of your design, too, very simple and classy, even though I don't generally like the look of one-hum guitars in the neck. Post some progress pics! :D

Here is a picture of my first build. It's a LP style, plans from Stu-Mac. It needs some finish work, it's too cold here to paint, the fumes are much too strong to do. I tried to paint in the shop, open the doors to vent, then shut them, but it cools the shop, and the paint doesn't flow right. This has a built up body, from 1 x 4 mahogany scraps laminated. As you can imagine, it sustains for-ever. Almost too much. I find I mute a whole lot with this guitar. The tops is bookmatch special gnarly maple that I had in the wood shed. The neck I bought from Guitar Parts USA, it was 79 bucks I think, with the inlays and the nut. I added the gnarly maple head veneer. The binding (White) comes on it, I will have to redo that sometime, but I don't have the tools yet to pull and replace the frets. The Black Binding I did. It has two Made in USA Gibson HB's which I got from Craigs list for 75 bucks for the pair. I think they are 490 & 498 or some number close to that. Supposedly from the 70's. It plays great and sounds like a Gibson. Deep, warm with tons of sustain. Oh Grover Tuners. Most of the hardware came from Stu-Mac.

Oh, You have to have a image hosting service to display pictures. I'll have to work on that. What does everyone use? Free, Easy?

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Nice!

Regarding pickup placement, I would *personally* lean more toward the neck position given your criteria. And for other reasons not mentioned as well: the neck position is the richest area for fundamental frequencies; if you need to reduce some bass/mids, you can use an EQ of some variety (a pedal, your amp, etc) and still get desirable results. You can, of course, add more bass/mids to the bridge pickup signal in a similar way, but you can only ever boost frequencies that are already present.

From a sound engineering perspective, it is better to cut frequencies for sound-shaping than to boost them. And since the neck position has more of those fundamentals, the results will be more consistent and "better" compared to the "boost" method.

That said, the MAIN reason is still the first one-- it sounds like this is the sound you're after. The EQ stuff is just blather.

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Seconded Greg's opinion about the neck pickup, for the exact same reasons. In fact, I find myself more and more using the neck pickup for everything except those situations where I want the less-sustainy plonky sound of some of the bridge pickups, and those occasions where guitar into basic tube amp with nothing else in the way is desirable. Sometimes this sort of rig limits the tone shaping you can do.

For finding pickups positions suited to pickups I've got when I've got something wierd an new, I've got a couple things I do - I've made a cradle that holds the pickups over the strings rather than under them, and I also have swimming-pool route strat that was my first guitar, the sound of which I'm incredibly familiar with. It now has no pickguard and a hell of a lot of holes from screwing pickups in various places. Neither of them tell you exactly what a different pickup is going to sound like in the guitar you want to put it in, but both give you an *idea*. I pick up a lot of random used pickups for cheap when I have the opportunity, and it's nice to try them out on a functioning instrument.

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The ultimate in flexibility insofar as pickup placement is concerned;

http://www.georgelynch.com/guitars/7string.html

I think a guitarist from The Grateful Dead had some kind of sliding pickup arrangement as well, but my memory is kind of fuzzy on that. If memory serves me, it was a 3 PU arrangement with the center PU that would slide between the two others. I think Gibson also had a bass back in the 70's, the G3 Grabber if I'm not mistaken, that featured one sliding pickup that you could position anywhere between the bridge and neck.

Too much alcohol and the attention span of a chipmunk. This is what you get...

Cheers :D

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The ultimate in flexibility insofar as pickup placement is concerned;

http://www.georgelynch.com/guitars/7string.html

I think a guitarist from The Grateful Dead had some kind of sliding pickup arrangement as well, but my memory is kind of fuzzy on that. If memory serves me, it was a 3 PU arrangement with the center PU that would slide between the two others. I think Gibson also had a bass back in the 70's, the G3 Grabber if I'm not mistaken, that featured one sliding pickup that you could position anywhere between the bridge and neck.

Too much alcohol and the attention span of a chipmunk. This is what you get...

Cheers :D

Ok, I'm going for the neck slot.

I can always route the second slot later, I have to go past there with my wiring channel anyway, it would be easy to add once my finish was rock hard. Since this is a neck through body design, I can route the channel in the side of the neck through before I glue the wings on. I'm putting the cover plates on the back like an LP.

My thing is, I want to get one pickup that works well, the minimum amount of controls, and was even thinking about string through body instead of tailstop. I'm looking to make it as simplistic as possible so the wood really shows, the wood as art without all the clutter.

Thanks for all the suggestions!

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Last minute suggestion. I was thinking about you dilemma today, so I tore into one of my guitars and experimented with some different capacitors as treble bleeds. I found that a .01uf cap (103 code) on the volume pot of my neck pickup really brightens up the tone when you roll off the volume a hair. Sound like a mellow twangy bridge PU. Along with the .047uf on the tone, I was surprised by how much more flexible my neck PU was. Never tried it before but your post really got me thinking, and I always wanted to try a treble bleed circuit. You have 3 poles on the volume pot, one is grounded, just solder in the cap between the 2 other poles of the volume pot. I played around with some other values of caps, but this one gave me the best results to my ears. Caps are cheap, buy a bunch and trial and error. Hope it helps.

Cheers

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Last minute suggestion. I was thinking about you dilemma today, so I tore into one of my guitars and experimented with some different capacitors as treble bleeds. I found that a .01uf cap (103 code) on the volume pot of my neck pickup really brightens up the tone when you roll off the volume a hair. Sound like a mellow twangy bridge PU. Along with the .047uf on the tone, I was surprised by how much more flexible my neck PU was. Never tried it before but your post really got me thinking, and I always wanted to try a treble bleed circuit. You have 3 poles on the volume pot, one is grounded, just solder in the cap between the 2 other poles of the volume pot. I played around with some other values of caps, but this one gave me the best results to my ears. Caps are cheap, buy a bunch and trial and error. Hope it helps.

Cheers

It's amazing how much variation you can get with such a simple circuit. A coil going to an amp, put a cap and a pot in there, and it's completely different. I'll have to play with some caps to see what I get. I've not done that before, should be interesting.

-John

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