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Cloud 9 Tone - Pickups Made a HUGE difference

LesterP

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With all the talk that comes up about the differences in tone between the regular Historics and the Cloud 9's, I thought I'd share some findings with you.

A friend of mine owns a '58 Cloud 9, I own a '57. We both felt that the guitars played fantastic, had a warmth and fullness like an old ES-335, and weighed next to nothing (as far as Paul's go).

The one thing we wanted more of was higher definition, and perhaps a bigger sound. I hate to use the term 'chug', but it fits. Think of palm muting on the lower strings being more defined. (Live Gary Moore or John Sykes comes to mind. NOT talking about NuMetal/Recto crap :) ). I feel the one trade off you might get with a chambered guitar is the lack of this. I will also say that both our Cloud 9's seemed to be a little bright. Not what I would expect from a chambered guitar!!! Solid body guitars seem to have more definition from the get go... makes sense. I feel this is the one thing that turns people off of the Cloud 9's or other chambered guitars.

Ok, you can change amps, strings, etc.... but what about pickups?
Out came the stock BB 1 & 2. Nice pickups for blues or classic rock, though I think they tend to be too bright, and perhaps lacking in output. At least for the sounds we were going for.

Pickups tried in both guitars with a few comments:

-Duncan '59 set: Way to bright, nice low end. Needed more output.

-Duncan Seth Lover set: Great sounding for classic rock. Blew away the BB's. Perfect pickup for Cream, Zep, etc.

-Duncan JB/Jazz combo: JB had too much upper midrange. Jazz was very nice. Smooth but with nice articulation.

-Bill Lawrence L-500: Pretty hot, though something was missing, or something weird going on with the mids.

-DiMarzio VHPAF: Wow, this pickup is getting us there. Nice complexity, but with definition. Great harmonics. A nicely hot rodded PAF type tone.

-Duncan Custom Custom: Good output, smooth highs, bass was there, but not tight enough.

-DiMarzio Air Zone/Air Norton: BINGO, the Air Zone has just transformed a warm sounding Cloud 9 in to a monster. Huge tight bass, great mids, smooth but defined highs. This pickup is never leaving my guitar, nor my friends. The damn guitar now sounds like a bigger version of Van Halen 1.

This post got long. I write this hoping that any players out there not happy with a chambered guitar (Cloud 9, Elegant, Catalina, Florentine, Supreme, whatever else) can really change the sound of a guitar, meaning put some balls back in to it if that's your problem, with some higher output pickups. They almost seem to replace a little something that might be missing, while still keeping all the attributes of what makes a chambered guitar so great. I expected the guitars to get muddy and distorted with the hotter pickups. They didn't. (Just when you think you know it all) :)
 
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CR9

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LesterP, Great research. I have replaced my BB's with Lollar Imperials and got about the same results as your DiMarzio Airs.
A few years ago I had a Tone Zone and Air Norton in a 79 Custom and it really woke it up. I think some of the DiMarzio pickups are being overlooked.
 

Alanj

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Aug 19, 2006
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Thanks for the info LesterP - I was looking for this type info in my post about the Cloud 9. You would not happen to have some sound clips of before and after? I would definitly like to hear one of these CLoud 9 LP.

Thanks

Alan
 

davebc

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My personal standing ovation for all the hard work, sounds like it really paid off. That kind of stuff is STILL my favorite thing in the world to do.
Man, don't I ever long for the day when I had that kind of free time.
Enjoy.
 

fast ricky love

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I tried a set of Wolfetones, Rolphs, Antiquity's and Timbuckers in my R8 Cloud 9 and the Antiquity's were very good. The Timbuckers are amazing, they currently reside in the guitar and are going nowhere!
 

LesterP

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You would not happen to have some sound clips of before and after?
Thanks

Alan

Sorry, no sound clips. I got to the point that I knew what I wanted and just spent the day swapping pickups. Every pickup mentioned was in my guitar, only the higher output ones were in my friends guitar (and he's still up in the air between the Air Zone and the Custom Custom). I should also mention that I was considering selling the guitar if I couldn't modify the sound. It was great as is for clean and lower gain stuff (actually, better than anything), but I tend to be a little more aggressive at times.

The real nightmare was that I removed half of these pickups from other guitars. (I own several cheapie guitars that have nice pickups, the rest were just hanging around).

If I had to do it all over again, I would of started with the higher output pickups first, now knowing that I would of gone back to the Air Zone in a hurry. I've never been a big DiMarzio fan either, but this pickup is perfect for my guitar (actually bought the Air Zone/Norton just for this guitar). I'm sure there are other pickups that would of been equally good, but you have to stop somewhere, and luckily it worked out perfect. This guitar will NEVER BE SOLD. It's now that good.

I guess the whole point of this thread is that a high output pickup can really wake up these chambered guitars. The sound was tighter, punchier, and just bigger after the swap. If were only playing classic rock, blues, or even jazz, the stock BurstBuckers would of been ok (though not the best). I feel the guitar can now do all of that, plus any heavier rock when needed.
 

96 lppp

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I learned an expensive lesson with chambered guitars. They sound good clean but for distortion they are missing "literally" something, the low end and warmer tone from a solid guitar. After 3 months I went from "I'll never sell" to "I must sell". The acoustic properties can be enhanced by chambering but I can buy a $100 acoustic guitar if I need a hollow tone.
 

jwalker

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I have a CR4 with humbuckers and a CR9 and both are a bit warmer and darker sounding that my R7 or R8. The main tonal difference is that the Cloud 9's are more open sounding than solid Historic. Also they seem to play easier than a solid guitar. It's like I get a little more feedback from the neck to my fingers when I pick a note. More lively, which I like.
 

masliko

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I learned an expensive lesson with chambered guitars. They sound good clean but for distortion they are missing "literally" something, the low end and warmer tone from a solid guitar. After 3 months I went from "I'll never sell" to "I must sell". The acoustic properties can be enhanced by chambering but I can buy a $100 acoustic guitar if I need a hollow tone.
Sorry dude,i totally disagree.

I own a 72,78,07,13 LP.And the 07 sounds the best IMO.It has more sustain,cut at high vol, tight bottom end,warmth than any of the others IMO.I would sell any of the others but not the 07.It can pull so many Gibson tones.


Just to ad,its also a great playing guitar and has the same weight as an original 59.
 

renderit

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I got DiMarzio's from the factory in this guitar. It flat out screams! I am very impressed with the tones. Up front and in your face, chest thumping mids and articulate as hell with nearly perfect harmonics.



But then I tried them in my 339 and was not impressed. The Thrōbak MC102B's are going in it next...
 

Minibucker

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Jan 12, 2003
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I tend to like a little hotter/meatier bridge pickups, but especially in a semi-hollowbody as it doesn't quite have the same lower-mid 'punch' as a solid body Les Paul. Plenty of spank, but needs a bit more footing. I could definitely see that holding true for a chambered LP. I actually have a '57 Classic Plus in the bridge of my ES-335 now, and it does the job nicely.

I very much want a chambered R6 or R5.
 

sidekick

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A previous owner of my '06 CR0 installed a set of Lollar Imperials together with an RS wiring kit ... But as it came to me that way, I don't know what the comparison is to what it was when the original stock Burstbuckers were fitted.

cr0-7.jpg
 

DanD

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A previous owner of my '06 CR0 installed a set of Lollar Imperials together with an RS wiring kit ... But as it came to me that way, I don't know what the comparison is to what it was when the original stock Burstbuckers were fitted.

cr0-7.jpg


:wow

That is one sweet CR0! :peace2
 

TM1

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Sorry dude,i totally disagree.

I own a 72,78,07,13 LP.And the 07 sounds the best IMO.It has more sustain,cut at high vol, tight bottom end,warmth than any of the others IMO.I would sell any of the others but not the 07.It can pull so many Gibson tones.


Just to ad,its also a great playing guitar and has the same weight as an original 59.

The weight of original `59's varied. Look at the back section of "The Beauty of the Burst" where it lists all the specs, including weights of original Lesters.
Every guitar is going to sound different because of the Wood! Even if you have two guitars made from the exact same boards, they will not sound identical. I've played alot of Les Paul's over the last 47 years and each one had it's own personality. Not all Vintage Les Paul's sounded(or played) great. I've played some bursts that were dogs and some that were stunning.

Pickups: I know Jon doesn't like to blow his own horn, but he makes some pretty amazing pickups. I installed a set of his new DS-55's in my `02 R-0(Historic Makeovers) and the sound/tone is so amazing clear, punchy and fat. I have his Pre-T's in my replica/reissue Block Inlay `63 ES-335TDC and a set of the Mick Taylor's in a `62 reissue SG/LP Std. (I unfortunately sold it..)My other guitars have vintage Gibson humbuckings(made bewteen 1959-1966).
If I personally was looking for clarity in a Cloud LP, I would put the DS-55's in it..It really made me wonder why Gibson never went into production on that PAF..
Again, these are just my opinions & observations.. your milage may vary..
 

LesterP

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Talk about a thread coming back to life... I started this post almost 9 years ago and still feel that some chambered guitars do benefit from hotter pickups.

I still own the Cloud 9 mentioned and it still has the Air Zone/Air Norton combo. :dude:
 
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