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  1. #1
    Les Paul Forum Member jerns's Avatar
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    08 standard tone makeover (dirty little secret)

    If you're like me and find the neck pick up a little dark in most les Pauls, you may find this interesting. If you're a purist you may flame the hell outta me for this.
    So there is a Canadian winder named David bowes (Sigil Pickups) that winds a really nice PAF style pick up called "the bluesman". He did a set for me with aged covers that I was real impressed with, so I approached him with a strange idea for a custom wound set for my 08 standard. I had been playing my tele a lot and was obsessing over the clear, glassy note pronunciation and overall brightness that you get from a tele. So...... I asked Dave if he would wind me a set of pick ups where the neck pup was actually a single coil with a tele style wind, but in a humbucker "body".

    Instead of being appalled he was actually intrigued with this idea, so we brainstormed a bit and came up with this. ..

    Neck pick up is essentially an 8.2k single coil, with an unwound slug next to it to complete the humbucker body. Topped off with double creams. You would never tell by looking at it that there is actually only one coil wound under there!

    Bridge pick up is sort of a t top style humbucker 7.8k with double creams (screw dimarzio) as this was Daves idea of what would suit the neck pup.

    The result. ...... fantastic! In neck only position my 08 standard now sounds very similar to my AVRI telecaster. I absolutely love it. It's got great spank and just unreal clean tone. Switch to neck/bridge and throw some reverb on there and you're nailing that clean Stevie Ray Vaughan tone. Add a little overdrive and it's off to Hendrix country. ..

    Flip back to the bridge and it's back to classic less Paul vibes. ..

    The project worked out so well that Dave decided to make this an official set and he even ley me name the set. I chose "Dirty Little Secret" for obvious reasons.

    He sent the set to me labeled "prototype #001 Jeffs Dirty Little Secret" with the Sigil branding. I thought that was a really cool touch.

    Here's some pictures, enjoy!











    Obviously they're all a gang of idiots. But, you know, live and let live... - David Gilmour

  2. #2
    Kim R
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    Re: 08 standard tone makeover (dirty little secret)

    Excellent!

    This is the good stuff: Use one's ears, knowledge of the parts and pieces and how they function, and fix what you don't like rather than treating an otherwise great guitar as a disposable project. Bet that guitar is really a musical beast with that new pickup!

    Similar frustrations with humbuckers drove me to P-90's in the Gibson chassis over a year ago and I still had to go cooler on the neck magnet (Jon Gundry's '55/'56 P-90 set). I'm getting a lot more music out of the beloved Paul with less wire/magnet sitting under the strings. BTW: Jon's pickups are fantastic as well.

    Last edited by Kim R; 07-26-14 at 06:54 AM.

  3. #3
    Les Paul Forum Member jerns's Avatar
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    Re: 08 standard tone makeover (dirty little secret)

    Hey Kim, believe it or not I've never played p90s. I think they look nice and proper in a gold top, but I've heard they can be a little noisy? One of these days I'll check a p90 guitar out, but at the moment you would have to pry the above mentioned guitar out of my dead hands!
    Obviously they're all a gang of idiots. But, you know, live and let live... - David Gilmour

  4. #4
    Les Paul Forum Member mistersnappy's Avatar
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    Re: 08 standard tone makeover (dirty little secret)

    Interesting idea that apparently worked out for all involved. Congrats! Makes me wonder why no one else ever tried it, but, I guess thats what everyone thinks after seeing something new for the first time.
    Sound clips?
    "That's what I love, man, to hear that backbeat popping, that damn bass plonkin' down. Jesus God!"-Duane Allman

  5. #5
    Les Paul Forum Member jerns's Avatar
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    Re: 08 standard tone makeover (dirty little secret)

    [QUOTE]
    Interesting idea that apparently worked out for all involved. Congrats! Makes me wonder why no one else ever tried it, but, I guess thats what everyone thinks after seeing something new for the first time.
    Sound clips?/QUOTE]

    I'd like to but I don't have an interface to get a decent quality recording. I suppose I could do a cheesy cellphone recording but that probably wouldn't do any justice. What are guys using for doing sound clips these days? Is there anything fairly affordable?
    Obviously they're all a gang of idiots. But, you know, live and let live... - David Gilmour

  6. #6

    Re: 08 standard tone makeover (dirty little secret)

    This is a very cool idea!

  7. #7
    Les Paul Forum Member thin sissy's Avatar
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    Re: 08 standard tone makeover (dirty little secret)

    Good idea! Although I still love the classic humbuckered LP, I've realised that very few humbuckers rival single coils IMHO. Be it tele pickups, P-90 etc. The humbuckers that I do like are the ones that happen to resemble single coils

    I think more people will like these pickups!
    This is a song from the new album, it's a deep meaningful song this one... No, it's not whiskey in the fucking jar... Philip Lynott

  8. #8

    Re: 08 standard tone makeover (dirty little secret)

    Genius! I'll give it a go asap!

  9. #9
    Les Paul Forum Member jerns's Avatar
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    Re: 08 standard tone makeover (dirty little secret)

    I highly recommend dealing with Dave from a consumer perspective. His hand wound pick ups are very affordable and they seem to be very high quality, and I'm obviously very impressed sound wise. It was only about a week turnaround from the moment we decided on the set to the moment they showed up in my mailbox. And he also makes pedals!
    If anyone wants to contact him his email is stuntmonkeypedals@gmail.com or sigilpickups@gmail.com

    I'm going to try and figure out a way to get a passable sound clip so you guys can hear how cool the Dirty Little Secret sounds in a les Paul. I'm in love with it...
    Last edited by jerns; 07-27-14 at 08:33 AM.
    Obviously they're all a gang of idiots. But, you know, live and let live... - David Gilmour

  10. #10

    Re: 08 standard tone makeover (dirty little secret)

    I must ask a stupid question: How is it different than what PRS offers? Just wondering.

  11. #11
    Les Paul Forum Member jerns's Avatar
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    Re: 08 standard tone makeover (dirty little secret)

    Doesn't prs just have humbucker coil splitting? I've never owned one but I've played a friends that had a rotary dial that split the humbuckers. If that's what you're referring to then no this is quite different...
    Obviously they're all a gang of idiots. But, you know, live and let live... - David Gilmour

  12. #12
    Les Paul Forum Member reswot's Avatar
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    Re: 08 standard tone makeover (dirty little secret)

    Once you start using a humbucker bobbin and adjustable poles -- and lose the cover from a tele pickup -- you've essentially got one side of a humbucker wound with thinner wire. At least I'm assuming that he used thinner wire.

    I don't see that as all too different than using a regular humbucker with a coil-cut switch, other than with the latter you have the option of using the full humbucker. What would have been really cool is if the other coil had been wound to balance with this one when both were on, but still have a very usable single-coil tone when it was switched off.

    Just my thoughts. I'm glad you like what you've come up with, but it wouldn't be my thing...

  13. #13
    Les Paul Forum Member sonar's Avatar
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    Re: 08 standard tone makeover (dirty little secret)

    Interesting approach. If I'm reading this right the pickup is wound like a bridge position Tele pickup mounted in the neck position?

    I'm kind of "meh" when it comes to neck pickups on Tele's, but love the bridge pu. Conversely I'm not a fan of Strat's in general, but occasionally miss the neck position pickup on a Stratocaster.

  14. #14
    Les Paul Forum Member jerns's Avatar
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    Re: 08 standard tone makeover (dirty little secret)

    Once you start using a humbucker bobbin and adjustable poles -- and lose the cover from a tele pickup -- you've essentially got one side of a humbucker wound with thinner wire. At least I'm assuming that he used thinner wire.

    I don't see that as all too different than using a regular humbucker with a coil-cut switch, other than with the latter you have the option of using the full humbucker. What would have been really cool is if the other coil had been wound to balance with this one when both were on, but still have a very usable single-coil tone when it was switched off.
    Yes the neck pick up is wound with lighter Guage wire. A couple of differences that I've found because I have dabbled a fair bit into coil splitting and other "tone brightening" mods:

    1. Coil splitting output loss. Once you split your regular humbucker the loss of output messes with your volume levels and throws your neck and bridge levels out of wack. Gibson now has added a boost switch to their coil splitting circuit in the new classics to try to solve this problem. But now there is a toggle where a tone knob used to be.
    The bridge pick up in this set is a bucker that was wound to compliment the single coil in output and tone. So your levels are nice and even with no boost and no additional toggles or push/pull pots.

    2. The pick ups I've split myself have sounded anemic and lifeless. Tough to get any spank out of them. This custom wind really comes close to Fender single coil sound but there is still some bucker "whoomp" present. Obviously more so when blended with the bridge bucker.

    Not saying this set is for everyone, but like I said if you find your neck pick up too dark to use, or want to try and get Gibson AND Fender tones from your beloved les Paul this may be a good solution.
    Obviously they're all a gang of idiots. But, you know, live and let live... - David Gilmour

  15. #15
    Les Paul Forum Member jerns's Avatar
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    Re: 08 standard tone makeover (dirty little secret)

    Interesting approach. If I'm reading this right the pickup is wound like a bridge position Tele pickup mounted in the neck position?

    I'm kind of "meh" when it comes to neck pickups on Tele's, but love the bridge pu. Conversely I'm not a fan of Strat's in general, but occasionally miss the neck position pickup on a Stratocaster.
    Hmm I'd say it's more close to the neck pup in a tele. But keep in mind I've only tried it in the neck position of a les Paul .. Maybe throwing it in the bridge position would get you really jangly tele bridge sounds? That wasn't really what I was after so I hadn't considered it until now. I'm finding the best clean sounds with this set up are various blends of the bridge and neck, rolling the volume to get different tones.

    Dave does wind a tele set too, so he would know best whether this wind is closer to the tele neck wind or bridge wind...
    Obviously they're all a gang of idiots. But, you know, live and let live... - David Gilmour

  16. #16
    Les Paul Forum Member Kris Ford's Avatar
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    Re: 08 standard tone makeover (dirty little secret)

    Are you using the stock pots? Sounds like a cool idea, and you've found the sound you're looking for, but IMO, 500K (or 525, 550K) pots have always cured a muddy neck pickup sound..

  17. #17
    Les Paul Forum Member jerns's Avatar
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    Re: 08 standard tone makeover (dirty little secret)

    Hey guys I recorded a quick lick and put it onto sound cloud. It's recorded with a smart phone so don't expect David Foster production haha.

    http://soundcloud.com/jeezyfcrazy/08...ard-with-sigil
    Obviously they're all a gang of idiots. But, you know, live and let live... - David Gilmour

  18. #18
    Les Paul Forum Member jerns's Avatar
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    Re: 08 standard tone makeover (dirty little secret)

    Yes stock pots in this set up. I've tried higher value pots, and about ten different value caps in multiple wiring configurations. I've tried series parallel, split coil, out of phase etc...

    FYI the clip above is absolute clean channel, no pedals, through an older Fender hotrod deluxe. Blended neck with bridge.
    Obviously they're all a gang of idiots. But, you know, live and let live... - David Gilmour

  19. #19
    Les Paul Forum Member Ad_02Std's Avatar
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    Re: 08 standard tone makeover (dirty little secret)

    Cool idea. Cool sound.

    Nice to hear some Pearl Jam on the forum too.

    The Tele neck pickup is one of my favourite ever guitar tones, so I can see how this would appeal, but I also really love the Les Paul neck pickup tone. It's good to know this option is available though.

  20. #20
    Les Paul Forum Member jerns's Avatar
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    Re: 08 standard tone makeover (dirty little secret)

    Nice to hear some Pearl Jam on the forum too.
    Yeah exactly, not all grunge riffs are distorted power chords... Mcready is so underrated.
    Obviously they're all a gang of idiots. But, you know, live and let live... - David Gilmour

  21. #21

    Re: 08 standard tone makeover (dirty little secret)

    DiMarzio does something somewhat similar with their Bluesbucker.
    http://www.dimarzio.com/pickups/humbuckers/bluesbucker

    I have one of these in the neck of my 336 with a regular HB in the bridge and it sounds really good! (to my ears at least!)

  22. #22
    Les Paul Forum Member jerns's Avatar
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    Re: 08 standard tone makeover (dirty little secret)

    So that dimarzio is basically a Gibson p94R?
    Obviously they're all a gang of idiots. But, you know, live and let live... - David Gilmour

  23. #23
    Les Paul Forum Member andy k's Avatar
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    Re: 08 standard tone makeover (dirty little secret)

    Love this idea,
    I have been looking for a cheap BFG to try something similar, P90 neck with a matching bridge humbucker, but always worry about the buzz that comes with single coils.
    I've been building Frankenstein strats lately, and its a real pain to get a neck pickup to work with a decent bridge humbucker, and keep the look right, ( that's a story I'll save for another forum)
    I think your idea , and the result you have got there in looks at least-is awesome.
    Cheers
    Andy k

  24. #24
    Les Paul Forum Member jerns's Avatar
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    Re: 08 standard tone makeover (dirty little secret)

    I haven't had any noise issues for some reason. I mean i can get feedback if im trying but mot much unwanted noise... Although i haven't "turned it to 11" yet...
    Obviously they're all a gang of idiots. But, you know, live and let live... - David Gilmour

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