Its all in the fingers, or is it?

Moderators: Slowy, Capt. Black

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BY kdawg2a
#810445
For the most part of the last 20 years of playing i've used humbucker equiped guitars. I've always owned guitars with single coils but as far as the workhorse end of the collection is concerned, it's mostly been Gibsons and if a Fender was used, it would have had a pickup swap.
The singer in my band uses a Les Paul and mostly plays with the neck pickup. To fit into the sound mix i've been using single coil guitars to add a little more treble and to cut through better.
Last night we played around 3 hours of Pixies and Stone Roses tunes. I used a Rickenbacker 330 into an AC-15 with a tube screamer style pedal and a chorus for the SR stuff. What a revelation!
The clarity and bite from just altering picking strength was awesome.
I don't know whether it's possibly an age thing (changes in the ears), or a refinement of taste, or even an increase in nuance when playing but i'm totally loving the difference in sound to what i've traditionally had.
Anyone else had a similar experience?
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BY Conway
#810448
kdawg2a wrote:Last night we played around 3 hours of Pixies and Stone Roses tunes.

I applaud you sir. :clap:

Of course, the Pixies sound is primarily based on a Les Paul and a Telecaster working together.
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BY kdawg2a
#810451
Conway wrote:
kdawg2a wrote:Last night we played around 3 hours of Pixies and Stone Roses tunes.

I applaud you sir. :clap:

Of course, the Pixies sound is primarily based on a Les Paul and a Telecaster working together.

True but in our case the lead/rhythm roles have had the instruments reversed. Still works amazingly well though.
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BY Conway
#810452
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.
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BY AiRdAd
#810459
Conway wrote:
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 you’d 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. Here’s some pointers.

EQ Your Amp for the Neck
Most of the time you’ve 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 you’ve got a good soloing tone.

You now have your ‘boost’ sounds. Now turn the bridge vol down (about 75-80%), until you’ve 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. That’s 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 you’ve got 1950s wiring, it won’t be muddy either. You may now play the intro to Since I’ve 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.

Middle positions

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 you’ll hear three fairly distinct tones. It’ll 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 it’s 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%) you’ve 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.
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BY jimi
#810463
Conway wrote:And Les Pauls on the neck pickup just sound like mud.


Neck pickup volume rolled back on the LP is my favourite sound. Funny that its your old LP I'm playing on.

Great for rhythm, and passages without the whole band. Does lack a bit of cut when there's 2 guitars going though.