neck pickup for leads

Discussion in 'The Tone Zone' started by AAHIHaveNoIdeaWhatImDoing, Jan 6, 2020.

  1. AAHIHaveNoIdeaWhatImDoing

    AAHIHaveNoIdeaWhatImDoing Well-Known Member

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    I know this is common to the point of being cliche but Ive never quite gotten it

    when *I* use the neck for leads I dont get that slightly warmer but still cutting sound from your favorite commercial release, I get a kind of tubby bassy sound that just doesn’t scream.

    I know you generally use the neck for notes higher up the neck on the thinner strings and the bridge for the lower notes/thicker strings, but even so I still dont get the scream. It sounds ok but not really close to your Slashes or an 80s metal guys or whoever else uses neck for leads.

    I suppose I could tweak an amp for the perfect lead tone on neck (extra treble, less bass etc) but then it seems like youre compromising your whole sound for a lead tone. Fine if youre recording but how would this work live?

    I dont know if its down to amp (marshall dsl40c) or guitars/pickups (LP Standard with JB/jazz or 2017 SG with —I think— 57 classics) but I feel like these things should be able to achieve at least a decent neck lead tone.

    Maybe its a boost/screamer pedal thing Ive never messed with?

    I usually just go with bridge and shrug at the thinness and unnecessary/unpleasant treble

    Thoughts?
     
  2. Trelwheen

    Trelwheen Well-Known Member

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    Have you tried the neck and bridge pickups together?

    And you'd probably have some luck with a tube screamer. I use one a lot for what you are talkin about. They remove a good bit of the bottom end, boost the mids and also increase sustain. Try an 808....the TS9 doesn't take out nearly as much of the bottom end. you might also try a treble booster if you have one laying around. Especially one that has an adjustable boost range. An alternate solution might be setting up your neck pickup tone with an eq pedal and switching it on when you solo.

    I'm assuming that you're using all the channels on your amp so they need to be eq'd for general use. If not, maybe you could dedicate one channel to your neck solo tone. Maybe you have already tried this

    I would try the tube screamer solution before changing pickups or compromising on your overall amp settings at the expense of your bridge pickup tone.
     
  3. AAHIHaveNoIdeaWhatImDoing

    AAHIHaveNoIdeaWhatImDoing Well-Known Member

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    Thanks. Yes, I use all channels (well haven't performed in a while, don't when or if I will again, but when I DID, used clean and OD for various things). I don't have a tube screamer per se but do have some kinda fancy modded bad monkey, which I guess is essentially the same thing (one of many knock offs?). Also a Badass OD from whoever makes that. Those are my OD pedals. If we get out again I am interested in a treble booster after discussing them on here but don't own one.

    Never liked bridge + neck much but can mess with it again. It was kind of a "meh" middle ground that did neither thing well, for me. Used it sometimes for not as crunchy alternative to bridge only rhythm sound. I do have an MXR 10 band I could play with. I always planned to use that to tweak the overall tone if I ever play out again.
     
  4. MickeyJ

    MickeyJ Active Member

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    if a guitar has a ' too' thick a tone, then the best tone you'll find will be on the bridge pickup.( unless you like jazz, those guys love neck mud.)
    LP's don't sound the same, my friend had one that was awful, it was just too muddy, he tried all sorts of pickups only made it worse.
    I'm not saying yours is awful ,i'm saying it might be suited for bridge work only.
    It's a shame single coil strat pickups don't fit, a 57/62 in that position would give you a nice ' cut' sound.
    You may want to try an Alnico 3 humbucker, if there is such a thing, get a low output one. too much signal there muddies it up too much with a thick sounding guitar.
     
  5. Bogmonster

    Bogmonster Active Member

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    Have you tried dialing in your amp for a lead tone using your neck pickup?

    I've been dialing in amps using the neck pup for years now. It's an absolute game changer for me. Dial it in so you have a nice lead tone on the neck. It won't be super bright but will cut and sound very pleasant with good definition (think Sweet Child intro). Your bridge will now be very bright. Roll back the tone knob on the guitar to taste (I usually have it around 7-ish) and roll back the volume to maybe 7 or 8. This will tame the high end and give you a nice chunky rhythm tone. It'll have all the cut but it won't take your head off. Roll up the volume and tone as needed for leads and fills on the bridge pup. It'll have loads of bite but I always found in a live situation with a band, it sounds awesome! I believe Angus Young does something similar.

    I noticed years ago when gigging that if my tone on stage sounded nice, it was generally a bit muddy out in the crowd. A little bit of treble and healthy dose of mids always sounded great off stage while being a little harsh on stage. But it sounded great in a band context.

    I read something similar to this on the MyLesPaul forum before as well.

    Hope this helps!
     
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  6. Adieu

    Adieu Well-Known Member

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    Check live concert videos instead of albums to compare results vs. your fave artists

    On studio records, every separate bit was dialed in and optimized separately (...or at least should've been)
     
  7. AAHIHaveNoIdeaWhatImDoing

    AAHIHaveNoIdeaWhatImDoing Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, that all makes sense and is probably the one main thing I haven't messed with (other than the pedals etc.). I've always EQ'd it with the bridge PU in mind since, like probably many, I live there much of the time. So that should be my next step if I want to explore this.

    I understand live and studio tones aren't the same but I believe a lot of folks still use the neck PU the way I've described, even live?
     
  8. Bogmonster

    Bogmonster Active Member

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    It's worth having a go with this approach as you may really like it and you may not need to buy any pedals.

    The DSL's are pretty bright amps. A speaker swap might also help. I've heard the DSL40C doen't have a great speaker. But I always recommend breaking in a speaker before swapping them out.

    I have used the neck pup live using my method and got very nice tones from it. I usually have some form of boost or EQ to bump up the volume a bit for solos. Always worked a treat.

    And @Adieu is correct. Check out live performances too. Look at guys like Paul Kossoff, Clapton and Angus Young. They all get great tones just by manipulating the volume and tone controls straight into the amp.

    This also works on a guitar with no tone knob but the bridge can get overpowering in that situation when turned up. I'm constantly finding the sweet spot on the bridge pup on my Charvel. But that's the sound I wanted with that particular guitar. Out of control and lots of bite.
     
  9. AAHIHaveNoIdeaWhatImDoing

    AAHIHaveNoIdeaWhatImDoing Well-Known Member

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    Cool. I have a vet30 in there already.
     
  10. Lo-Tek

    Lo-Tek Well-Known Member

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    Perhaps get a Fender amp. Les Pauls thru a pushed Fender can sound really good.
     
  11. AAHIHaveNoIdeaWhatImDoing

    AAHIHaveNoIdeaWhatImDoing Well-Known Member

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    Thanks. Actually used to have one.
     
  12. houseofrock

    houseofrock Well-Known Member

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    Robin Trower has said that he uses his fulltone boost to also filter out some of the low-end of his tone. He mainly uses the rhythm, middle, or a combination of the two. Hardly uses his bridge pickup on his Strat. I would think an EQ would also work to limit the low-end flub without sacrificing balance to your HB bridge pickup.
     
  13. AAHIHaveNoIdeaWhatImDoing

    AAHIHaveNoIdeaWhatImDoing Well-Known Member

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    All good ideas. I have no real impetus to mess around with this right now as I'm not playing or performing regularly but I'd thought about the question for a while and decided to post. I would try the eqing around bridge lead tone first as I've never been crazy about my guitar tones, like, EVER, followed by pedal experiments.
     
  14. purpleplexi

    purpleplexi Well-Known Member

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    All the LPs, pickups and amps I've had I've never gotten a happy balance between bridge and neck sounds. I've tried pickup heights, different value pots and caps, different wiring but never got a good balance. I've tried using the neck for lead stuff but I like more bite and I've probably lost quite a bit of high end hearing. So basically I'm no help here at all. I'll get my coat....
     
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  15. AAHIHaveNoIdeaWhatImDoing

    AAHIHaveNoIdeaWhatImDoing Well-Known Member

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    I usually do too but never been crazy about the tone, and I know neck is very popular for leads hence the query
     
  16. pedecamp

    pedecamp Well-Known Member

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    Coil split your neck pickup or different pots for your guitar like 500k or 1m.
     
  17. SlapHand

    SlapHand Active Member Premium Member

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    I use NP for soloing and BP for comp... Volume a bit down on the BP. On my SG, it will bleed of some highs and I take out a little bit more with the tone control. NP usually with both volume and tone maxed out. Amp and pedals are mostly set for the NP. Just a flip of a switch when going between solo and comp.

    Pickup height have massive impact.
     
  18. AAHIHaveNoIdeaWhatImDoing

    AAHIHaveNoIdeaWhatImDoing Well-Known Member

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    Thanks. Height is something I haven't messed with too much.
     
  19. EndGame00

    EndGame00 Well-Known Member

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    The DC resistance on the bridge and neck PU Gibson 61 Buckers on the 2019 LP Classic and 60's Standard are almost identical (7.5ohm on neck, 7.5 ohm on bridge)... I find the 61 neck PU drowning out the bridge PU when amp is set to crunch... Raise the bridge PU, the tone becomes compressed, lower them they lost volume...

    It takes a very small incremental turns to get both pickups to balance each other, volume-wise...

    I like the tone of the 61 bridge, but I wish they were a little more loud...
     
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  20. Dioesque

    Dioesque Member

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    When playing heavy distortion, try turning your neck pickup’s tone control all the way down.

    Turning down the guitar’s tone control when playing clean is like putting a pillow over your amp’s speaker. But when playing with lots of distortion, the result is very different; it doesn’t sound muffled, so much as a nice round, singing, violin-like tone.

    I believe Clapton used to do this a lot in Cream live, with his SG.

    Slash’s intro to “Sweet Child O’ Mine” is another good example of this surprisingly rounded, smooth, almost flute-like sound.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2020

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