kdawg2a wrote:I don't know whether it's possibly an age thing (changes in the ears)
Yep. I know my upper frequency hearing is significantly diminished, so I always have to wind up the treble. Hence my love of Fender Blackface and clean Vox amps. And Les Pauls on the neck pickup just sound like mud.
You've got to set the guitar controls and amp controls a bit differently to get the neck pickup working nicely on a les paul.
Copied from a post on another forum.
Because a couple of people asked about it, here is the stuff I wrote in another thread about using the controls on a Les Paul. The OP asked how to use the controls to get sounds like Page and other classic players. My reply includes some alternative suggestions on how you might EQ your amp to get a different range of noises, and get a little bit more out of the neck and middle positions.
Hope it's of some use. Here it is:
First, your volume controls do not just control your loudness, but also your level of distortion (gain or overdrive). If your guitar has modern wiring, lowering the volume will also reduce the available treble, as if youd turned the tone down too. If you have 1950s wiring this effect is far less prominent.
Secondly, your tone control not only cuts your treble, it also reduces the amount of space your guitar seems to take up in the mix. Turning your tone down can effectively pull you back into the mix.
Enough basics. Heres some pointers.
EQ Your Amp for the Neck
Most of the time youve probably set up your amp for a good tone from the bridge. Try this instead and see what happens.
1. Turn all your volumes and tones up to 10.
2. Select the neck pick up.
3. Adjust your amp so you get a good soloing tone for that pickup.
4. Switch to bridge. This will be too bright. Ice-pick through ear territory.
5. Tame bridge with tone control, until youve got a good soloing tone.
You now have your boost sounds. Now turn the bridge vol down (about 75-80%), until youve got a good crunching rhythm sound. If you have modern wiring you may need to turn up the tone a little at this stage. You could now play the rhythm on the bridge, and switch to the neck for the solo.
Solo on Bridge, cleans on Neck
Turn up your bridge tone and vol. Thats your solo sound (ice pick and all). Turn your neck vol down to about 50%. If your amp is any good, that should be nearly clean. If youve got 1950s wiring, it wont be muddy either. You may now play the intro to Since Ive Been Lovin You on the neck pick up. Switch to bridge for the signature lick. Back to neck, or turn down bridge to 50-60%. For a more sensible bridge pick up sound, just turn the tone down a fraction to clip some of the hairs off it.
If your amp is good, it should be sensitive enough to clean up when you turn down, and also to clean up if you back off with your right hand an pick gently. Use both these effects to control your tone.
Leave your bridge in its rhythm setting, then switch to middle. Now turn down the neck to nearly nothing, then slowly turn it back up (to about 50%). Somewhere across this range youll hear three fairly distinct tones. Itll start out sounding like the bridge on its own. Next, it will fill out (i.e. get some extra bass), and it might do this quite suddenly. This is a really useful sound for soloing, because it basically sounds like the bridge pickup, but its fuller and meatier without being in any way muddy. As you keep turning up the neck vol it will start to sound more like both pick ups. This can be sort of nasal, but quite good.
Once you get both pick ups to the same vol (~ 75%) youve got the classic middle sound. Many people find this a bit muddy, but if you EQd the amp for your neck pick up, you should be OK.