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Noob question - electronics/sound problem

Woodfin

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Mar 31, 2021
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4
Intermediate player here - new to electric. Very aware of how little I know, many thanks in advance for help.

I was lucky to receive a '94 LP Studio when my uncle passed away. I've heard him play it and it sounded great. This guitar feels amazing, I really love the way it plays.

Here's the problem; it sounds.....not good; muddy, muffled. Just can't get a good sound out of it. I've gone through all tone/volume combinations possible.

I also have a PRS SE CU24 I got a year ago, playing them through a Blues Cube hot. Only pedals used are occasionally MXR78 and ProcoRat. PRS sounds pretty good - real good to my inexperienced ear. (So my setup is good enough, right? This is not the problem, I'm thinking.)

Took the LP to 2 guitar centers, each of their techs checked and/or cleaned the electronics, both said it was fine. But it's not - shouldn't sound this bad. Right after that I had the pups replaced with pretty decent ones that should sound good on this guitar - Seymour Duncan Slash IIs. Basically sounds no different than before.


Is this obvious - I need to have the pots replaced? Any other ideas or suggestions?

Thank you in advance!
 
Last edited:

tybone

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Apr 26, 2009
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HI Woodfin, sorry for your loss man. As for your guitar, if you have an ohm meter (or could borrow one, you should check the resistance of the controls. It bog simple and they should. If they read 300k you could consider changing them for 500k pots.

Or, you could just turn down the bass on your amp.
 

jrgtr42

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Mar 24, 2005
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When you were at GC, did you A/B your guitar against one of the ones they had there? That will give a quick clue as to whether it's the guitar reacting to your rig or
if there is something wrong.
What settings do you keep on the amp? Another test would be to keep all the controls at 12, make sure it's a clean channel. Plug straight in, no pedals at all. Compare to the PRS. It'll sound a bit different - but it shouldn't sound super bassy or muffled.
 

Woodfin

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Mar 31, 2021
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Thank you very much for the replies.

When I was at the GC I played a little but it was difficult for me to really get a fix on how it sounded there - I didn't really have a lot of time or know the amps I was using. Did not compare to similar LP in stock. Should have - big mistake. :(

The amp varies, but most often it's around channel volume 3, Bass 4, mid 5, treble 5, master volume at max. Reverb 3, tone setting off, crunch setting off.
- But that's with the PRS, which seems to do well set like that.
- With the LP I've tried bass near 0 and treble way up. And, well, everything else. Still real muddy.

Weird notes on the LP sound :
- absolutely HATES meshing with the MXR78. Absolute no-go.
- Rhythm pup sound is very muddy...EXCEPT single high notes. (Sweet Child o Mine intro sounds OK). Everything else, not so. Open D chord, for example - unacceptable sound. Pretty unusable pup like this, really.
- I get a good ACDC/Judas Priest tone with treble pup and ProcoRAT. Too fat, muddy and crummy with rhythm pup. (This seems off, doesn't it?)



To be fair, the first GC tech was inexperienced, referred me to 2nd one because instrument was "vintage."
Second one insists there's no problem. Says maybe I got a "bad plank."


Your opinions on this please : ?

1) Next step : I guess changing pots isn't too pricey considering I just changed the pups, right?
2) Going to mess with pup height too.
3) "Bad plank" is nonsense ?
4) It's not acceptable to keep if I can't get a good sound except with a single pedal?
5) Is it conceivable that this LP just can't get along with a Blues Cube Hot ? Seems unlikely to me, but....I wouldn't be sure.


thanks very much !!!!
 

jrgtr42

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Mar 24, 2005
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I missed that you changed the pickups. I;m kinda thinking something got messed up with the wiring there, that it's always on the "tone down" setting.
I'm not really good with electronics myself, but |I'd probably go through the wiring job and make sure that it's right, that it's not just sending all the treble to ground
somehow. Make sure that the color wires on your pickup are actually correct to the diagrams - they like to be tricksy and change things up on you like that.
And confirming, you changed [pickups AFTER you brought it to the techs?
And did you play the guitar with your uncle before, and was there any changes made since you heard him play it? Do you know what kind of amp he used?
 

Woodfin

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Mar 31, 2021
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First off - thank you very much for the replies!!

Second - I think I've learned better how difficult it is to jump down the rabbit hole of trying to address electronics/tone issues on a forum. I think I really needed to know how best to proceed.......since it was starting to cost some decent $$.


That said - we have a success story !!!!

The tech who installed the pickups was very kind and squeezed me into his schedule late last night. He tried to test as much as he could, and when he bypassed the tone knobs.....the sound improved incredibly!! He didn't have time to check the pots that late, but when I bring it back we'll do that, and for now, we left that bypass in, and (although I temporarily can't make tone adjustments on the guitar).......it sounds amazing!!



This guitar running through what I'm playing sounds as awesome as it plays now. I can only imagine what some of you guys have going on. :)

Thank you very much again for the help!
 

DrewB

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Where are you located? If the "tech" who installed the pickups didn't know there was a problem before you paid for the work and took it from his shop, I wouldn't be taking him anything to work on again; he didn't check his work, so the job wasn't done. If you're capable of soldering, I'm sure the "collective" here can help you sort it out.

If you do take the guitar back to that guy, you shouldn't be paying him any more $ to finish the job he failed to finish the first time.
 

tybone

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Apr 26, 2009
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22
Where are you located? If the "tech" who installed the pickups didn't know there was a problem before you paid for the work and took it from his shop, I wouldn't be taking him anything to work on again; he didn't check his work, so the job wasn't done. If you're capable of soldering, I'm sure the "collective" here can help you sort it out.

If you do take the guitar back to that guy, you shouldn't be paying him any more $ to finish the job he failed to finish the first time.
Agreed.

Tech Rule 1 - Verify your plan is 100% good to go. In this case wiring diagrams and component values should be understood and verified to be right propa!

Tech Rule 2 - Check your gol dang work! - It's kinda like when the oil change guy forgets to put oil in the car AND doesn't check the dip stick before sending you on your way. That's simply negligent.
 

tybone

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Apr 26, 2009
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Agreed.

Tech Rule 1 - Verify your plan is 100% good to go. In this case wiring diagrams and component values should be understood and verified to be right propa!

Tech Rule 2 - Check your gol dang work! - It's kinda like when the oil change guy forgets to put oil in the car AND doesn't check the dip stick before sending you on your way. That's simply negligent.

Also, the GnR reference was illuminating. First thing I said to myself is "permanent woman tone?".
 

Woodfin

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Mar 31, 2021
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Yeah, I agree. with all. And I'm not being charged beyond pickup install.

To be fair, the first GC tech pretty much admitted she was inexperienced. The second one though....he didn't seem too interested in being thorough. Basically "Nothing wrong - please move along."

The 3rd guy; he's fairly decent and a great guy, but there are some others considered top of the line here in Northern Virginia - they just have pretty long wait and sky-high prices. But this guy was able to fit me right in, and I knew he's always open to thorough follow-up talks. I think I learned the rule about GC. :(

On the bright side - can again confirm how excellent it sounds now. Shocked at how well the mid-level MXR78 pedal works with this combo in fact. :)
 

jrgtr42

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Mar 24, 2005
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I'll say that some GC techs are pretty good - but it takes trial and error to find out which are, and which were just stuffed back there to fill a spot.
 
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