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Custom Bucker 7.6k is anemic when not on 10

DingosDog

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Aug 16, 2021
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19
Not loving the custom bucker in the bridge of my 20’ Murphy Lab Les Paul. Looking for solutions. Anyone nailed it. Below is more info about the guitar as well as some directions to go from other posts. Looking for input from someone who has fixed this issue.



Some Details
It’s light for a Les Paul, around 8.5lb, which could be one reason for this. It also seems the custom buckers are inconsistent.

Note that I love the guitar. It’s the most resonant LP I’ve ever played. It has a perfect neck and I’ve had great gigs with it. I adjust the tone on the amps. I roll the bridge tone down to about 2 to 3. I just want to tweak.

It’s mainly a problem when I roll down the volume to clean up a bit. It gets too thin and hifi. On 9 to 10, it’s great, especially gigging through a driven amp. However, I like to vary the volume control a lot to clean up and rarely play at 10 on any guitar (it seems fizzy).

The pickup is already very close to the strings. I’ve tried slanting the treble side of pickup down. So this didn’t help.



Solutions from other posts

  • people have had success using ~ 450 - 500 Ohms. Changing the volume pots closer to 400k will make an enormous difference. I have an R9 that came with CB and 440k pots that was pretty dark. 550k pots brightened it up a lot (I like bright).
  • Getting a higher value tone cap (.30 or so rather than .22).
  • Get darker pickup. If I replace the bridge, I’d like to stay in the vintage output range. (I don’t play scooped metal.)
  • Lollar recommended “…a High Wind Imperial, which will Be a slightly hotter version of a PAF pickup, it will still be in the vintage range for output, but the extra winds will help introduce some warmth to the sound.”
  • Wolftone reommended .”…a Marshallhead in the bridge, but loaded with an Alnico 2 magnet instead of the normal Alnico 5. The A2 will thicken up the lower mids and smooth out the high end a bit. More “smoky” rather than “barky” , sweeter overall. It’s hot enough to be raunchy, but low enough output that it will clean up and behave itself nicely. “
 

poor man's burst

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Oct 3, 2010
Messages
195
You can try wiring the tone capacitor to the volume pot outside tab instead of the middle one. So you should lose more treble when you turn the volume down.
 

DingosDog

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Aug 16, 2021
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19
OP here. The bridge pickup im unhappy with reads only 7.6k. Compare that to the Fralin PAF model in my other LP, which reads 8.7k and sounds great. That LP is very different: about 9.1lb, not bright at all, bridge pu is perfect, neck is woofy though; has a nice, more of a linear vol pot (not sure if a RS super pot; i bought it used); slightly beefiwr 60s neck than the 60s neck on the Les Paul in question.

Perhaps if i get a hotter pickup, like this Fralin, i will get close enough to be happy. Wish i had a tech to take me theough all this one step at a time, (i.e., try a 450k vol pot, try a .33 tone cap, then try a pickup, etc).
 

sws1

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Dec 4, 2001
Messages
2,688
Anything but a pickup swap is a very minor change.
 

CK6

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Feb 5, 2020
Messages
251
OP here. The bridge pickup im unhappy with reads only 7.6k. Compare that to the Fralin PAF model in my other LP, which reads 8.7k and sounds great. That LP is very different: about 9.1lb, not bright at all, bridge pu is perfect, neck is woofy though; has a nice, more of a linear vol pot (not sure if a RS super pot; i bought it used); slightly beefiwr 60s neck than the 60s neck on the Les Paul in question.

Perhaps if i get a hotter pickup, like this Fralin, i will get close enough to be happy. Wish i had a tech to take me theough all this one step at a time, (i.e., try a 450k vol pot, try a .33 tone cap, then try a pickup, etc).
What strings are you using?
 

LeonC

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Joined
Aug 30, 2002
Messages
420
..

It’s mainly a problem when I roll down the volume to clean up a bit. It gets too thin and hifi. On 9 to 10, it’s great, especially gigging through a driven amp. However, I like to vary the volume control a lot to clean up and rarely play at 10 on any guitar (it seems fizzy).
....

You don't have some kind of treble bleed mod in there do you? Normally, as you roll the volume control down, you lose some high end and the sound may get a bit duller/muddier. I've heard many people complain that they lose some top-end and clarity when they roll the volume down. So your issue--tone getting thinner as you turn down--seems rather unusual to me. I have had that problem in guitars in which a treble-bleed circuit had been installed. I always get rid of them and typically prefer 50s style wiring.
 

DingosDog

New member
Joined
Aug 16, 2021
Messages
19
You don't have some kind of treble bleed mod in there do you? Normally, as you roll the volume control down, you lose some high end and the sound may get a bit duller/muddier. I've heard many people complain that they lose some top-end and clarity when they roll the volume down. So your issue--tone getting thinner as you turn down--seems rather unusual to me. I have had that problem in guitars in which a treble-bleed circuit had been installed. I always get rid of them and typically prefer 50s style wiring.
No, there's no treble bleed. It's stock. Just a tone cap. I'm with you. I have to get rid of those treble bleeds.
 

DingosDog

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Aug 16, 2021
Messages
19
OP Here: After researching more, I’ve refined the main problem:

I need a hotter pickup. The 7.6K bridge custom bucker is just too low of output for my type of playing: guitar volume is rarely at 10. I use a Les Paul for everything, including chicken picking, R&B, Stones, cleaner BB King-like solo tones, jazz, but also classic rock tones, etc. Amp is usually Fender based; not Marshall. But, rarely do I play a Marshall rocking sound with guitar vol on 10. (I do love that though.)

From forums and talking to a pickup maker, players who play a lot with the guitar volume rolled down usually requires a pickup that’s more in the 8.5k range.

On 10, the bridge customer bucker is nice (with the tone around 3), but when I roll down the vol a lot, even with a lot of gain, it becomes anemic. All low mid warmth goes away. Being an acoustically bright guitar anyway.

I still will likely need to get lower value tone cap (.033 or whatever) and maybe a lower value volume pot, and I might still need to the new pickup to have an A2 magnet for more warmth instead of A5. Not sure yet.


Videos that show lower gain humbucker Usage
On my playing style, I really like how Kid Anderson sounds on his Les Paul playing blues and jazzy or lower gain stuff. Here is a link. His tones and how he uses vol/tone are what I attempt. Btw, I’m not pushing the Throwbak pickups, but really liked this video, because so many other videos focus on using a Les Paul for the traditional rock sounds only.

I also like how he sounds on an ES-175, which again is what I like to do with my Les Paul or 335.

Update 12/29/2021:
Two things that have really made a difference:
  • I installed Rewind pickups, the "Low Output A2" set. The bridge is 7.9k.
  • I replaced the higher valued bridge volume pot with a lower value. That is, I removed the the 552k audio and replaced it with a 474 linear.
These two changes made the difference. The guitar is inherently bright, so the bridge is still on the bright side, but now...it's in a good way. It's tame-able with the tone knob, which is what you want. When using lower gain, I'll still put the tone around 3-6, but if the gain is heavier with bass, I'll keep it near or on 10.

The low output A pickups have clarity, as did the Customer Buckers, but now there's warmth. You can get tele on steroids. James at Rewind has been very helpful and seems to really understand what you need when you describe your tones.

Glad I switched out the pot. I'm at home with the linear tapered volume pot (not sure what brand) for lowering the gain as you play. However, also the lower value pot really helped cut the bright frequencies.

If I had to stop now, I could. I'm pretty happy and enjoy playing it. However, I've learned a lot and everything is still kinda pulled apart and tools are out, and I don't have a gig for a while. So, I'm going to do these next steps:
  • Going to try a Rewind Creme Brulee in the bridge. It's supposed to the warmest pickup with a bit more output.
  • I would like to try an even lower-valued volume pot than the 474 that's working so far. May try the resistor trick, but not sure how that will affect the taper. If you have a lower value linear pot that's 420 or whatever, let me know or point me to where you buy one. Maybe I should try the 300 or 250. I've seen threads saying they are good in a Les Paul, but others say different. Still not sure there. Also I have a new RS Guitar Works super pot, but I think it's at least 520k.
  • I may change the bridge tone cap from .022 to .033.
 
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RocknRollShakeUp

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Joined
Jul 7, 2006
Messages
670
Have you tried cranking the amp more and rolling up the volume on the guitar to its sweet spot? I have Wildwood Spec AIII Underwood PAFs that are in the 7k ballpark that roar. If I crank my Deluxe Reverb clone to 5 or higher, I most definitely end up playing with the volumes rolled off quite a bit, and it’s loud!
With the amp on 4-5, I still keep the bridge around 8, and neck around 7 ish, for a sweet, chirpy edge of breakup tone. And I get a lot of clarity. Just some thoughts. This is with 50s wiring.
Edit: autocorrect replaced Underwound w Underwood
 
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