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Why does my guitar sound like this?


imikeyi
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Hi

I have a Jackson/Charvel Journeyman guitar. It has an alder body, rosewood fretboard and maple neck. It is by its nature a bright sounding guitar, and I have a problem with the way it plays. Particularly when I play on the upper frets, I can hear the sound of my pick hitting the string (no I'm not talking about the 'note' sound B) ), its a high pitched annoying sound that really is like taking a few hits from an icepick in my head.

Originally it had a Seymour Duncan JB trembucker in the bridge position. I thought this was the problem because I had read that JB's only really sound how they're supposed to in deeper guitars (Les Pauls etc). So I put in a Seymour Duncan Custom Custom (TB-11) which was supposed to null down these highs. But it hasn't worked, and I still hear this irritating noise.

I have recorded this noise for you (I used a POD), its not as bad in the recording as it is live, but you should get the picture:

Problem Sound

What I'm asking you guitar experts, is this a problem with my guitar and the way it is made? If so I'm going to replace it (but that would be a shame because the neck is the most comfortable thing I've ever played!! :D )

Thanks :D

Michael

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Also consider where you are picking (very close to the bridge, right on top of the pick-up, etc.) Does it still make that sound when using your neck pick-up? How about when using the bridge pick-up buy playing (picking) close to the neck?

Most guitarists have a prefered location that they pick... and it might coincide with a "sweet" (or in your case "sour" :D) spot that the pick-up is located... thus causing the noise. Do you get this noise on other guitars you've played and are those pick-ups located in the same location as this guitar?

Yeah, I'd try what Scott suggested. Try lowering the pick-up.

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Wow...it's so good to know I'm not the only one with this problem. :D

I can definately hear it more with hotter pickups, but it seems to be there all the time. I've found using smaller and sharper, pointy picks seems to help a bit, which led me to believe it was my (sloppy) technique. When I get a chance I'll have to experiment with lowering my pickups and moving my picking to a different spot.

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ya that does sound kind of extreme, but i can kind of hear it on a lot of songs, u can tell when someone is picking or doing hammer ons/ pull offs when they are goin fast by that noise. Some things that i can think of that might cause it is u could be picking slightly sideways and scraping the string, rather than perpendicular to it. Also, u might be picking too heavily. How thick of a pick are you using? Maybe a thicker one might get rid of it.

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Thanks for the help guys.

Unfortunately, I don't think it is my technique because I don't get that sound on my Epiphone guitar. Also I pick in the middle (where I'm supposed to). Nevertheless I tried using thinner picks and it did help but the problem is still there.

I tried lowering my pickup much further down but it did not stop the problem either.

My guitar only has a bridge pickup so I can't test the neck position because there is none :D

I'm not quite sure where to go from here... but on a slightly different note, can I use the same strings when I want to replace the pickup or should I use a new set? Only because I've been using new sets all the time and this is annoying B)

Thanks

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If you can get the bended ends through the holes, you can use them. your guitar has only a bridge pup? So I reckon it also has a double-locking tremolo :D , so you don't need to worry about tuning stability, but I have used the same strings after taking them off repeatedly without problems

so long

ace

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it is a combination of your tecqnique and the pick you are using.the alder and the hot pickups really transfer it.you are using plastic picks,are you not?switch to nylon.and also hit the string flatter and further away from the bridge.i hear this all the time with plastic picks..i hate them.also i think you are picking up some sympathetic vibration.is it a t.o.m.?if so try dampening the strings behind the bridge and also do the same thing behind the nut.i get this same thing if i use a plastic pick.but in my case it is because i pick hard.if you lighten up your pick attack and lose the plastic picks i think it will be a noticeable improvement.although you may never completely get rid of it.

btw i use the dunlop nylon 1 mm...the black ones

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thanks again everyone B)

the bridge is a vintage trem. you're right, i am using plastic picks, maybe i should change to nylon.. i guess it doesnt help that they're 2mm :D but i love them thick because I feel it really strengthens my technique

anyway i think westhemann is right when he says the alder body and hot pickups really transfer it, i guess i'll have to live with this

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Too sharp? Heh, I use 2mm picks that I sand down until they are as pointy as I can get them. Then I have to redo that about once a week, but it's really annoying for me to try and play with soft or rounded picks...

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I hate it when my pick truns around in my my hand and then sounds like its swoshing the strings. Any body got any reconmendations?

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I hate it when my pick truns around in my my hand and then sounds like its swoshing the strings. Any body got any reconmendations?

Glue :D

Heh, staples! B)

You can try some picks that are texturized so you'd have a better grip. I like the aforementioned Clayton Acetal picks. They have, I'd guess you'd call it, a satin finish which for me has enough grip vs. slick shiny traditional picks. Go to a music store and check out the selection to see what works for you. You choice in guitar picks is as important as strings, etc.

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I hate it when my pick truns around in my my hand and then sounds like its swoshing the strings. Any body got any reconmendations?

I have the same problem. My picks also like to fly out of my hand while playing. In the past, I've used Dunlop "Gator Grip" and "Ultex" picks because they are more grippy. However, recently I've moved to the small, pointy nylon "Jazz" picks - they are definately faster and give me smoother attack.

I tried drilling holes in picks to get a better grip, but that felt too weird. The only thing that I've found to work is to scuff the pick with sandpaper or to score it with a knife.

Good luck!

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Unfortunately, I don't think it is my technique because I don't get that sound on my Epiphone guitar. Also I pick in the middle (where I'm supposed to). Nevertheless I tried using thinner picks and it did help but the problem is still there.

Picks and technique can make a big difference, but you say you're not getting this tone from your other guitars. This makes me thing the guitar is the culprit.

Does it have a tone control. Some '80s shred machines took the minimalist approach to wiring.

I had a strat style with a SD JB humbucker that had a similar problem. I think this was caused partially by the wiring. It had no tone control at all. A passive tone control will bleed some treble from your signal, even when turned up all the way. That's why strat bridge PUs can sound so damn screechy sometimes - no tone control. Passive tone controls are very effective at getting rid of the ice-pick sound.

If it has no tone control, you could ad a micro-pot inside the cavity, or add some kind of stacked pot to the existing volume control, so you don't have to drill any holes in the front.

If it does have a tone control, you could try changing the capacitor. Typical values range from 0.001 to 0.01. Increasing the value will roll off more highs.

Also, the value of the post can effect tone. A 250K pot will give a warmer tone than a 500K. You could try this.

I suppose changing the pickup could be considered too.

If wiring or PU changes make no difference, and you want to keep this guitar, you could try experamenting with a parametric EQ. These will allow you to shape, or eliminate specific frequencies - can be had for around $50.

-Sven

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