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How do you manage thick guitar sustain and mud?

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  • How do you manage thick guitar sustain and mud?

    I'm mainly a classic rock blues guy who's had a love/hate relationship with thick guitars... I love short scale 2 buckers for leads and power chords but I also love to mix in lighter articulate rhythms and have to fight the slop.

    Over the years, I've built many guitars designed to provide both sides of the equation, but right now I am more interested electronic solutions and what you do to get the best of both worlds...

    Here's many of the things I have tried with mixed results...

    Fade pedal between amps... One of my first and best solutions but lots of work. Works great in modeling land as well.

    Back off volume... Less crunch can help but significantly changes tone.

    Wah...the original Tom Schultz solution... Using the wah to make small moves between mid increase and decrease... It works great but very finicky and too essy to slip into actual wah effect when u don't want it.

    Eq pedal.. same idea as wah but i never found the right balance...

    Variable mid boost/cut... Great solution when modeling with a pedal. Always imagined this would work well in analog with a dedicated pedal...like a wah but fixed q cut boost.

    Split/parallel to self/spin a split... By far the most common mod we do for thinning.

    Bass cut... Probably my favorite thinning mod... We do a lot of these when customer has the ear and time for us to try various caps.

    Combining coils from each bucker, out of phase, etc.... Can work for specific rigs but needs to be customized...

    So how do you manage thick fat leads vs muddy rhythm with your short scales?

    Any and all input appreciated!




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    What's so Funny about Peace Love and Understanding?

  • #2
    Re: How do you manage thick guitar sustain and mud?

    Probably the series/parallel knob or the bass cut on my guitars. On of these days I might consider doing both on the same knob.
    If I only had a dollar for every song I've sung
    every time I had to play while people sat there drunk,

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    • #3
      Re: How do you manage thick guitar sustain and mud?

      on my lp for example, i run paf type pups. tone full up and volume down for articulate rhythm playing and volume up and tone backed down for fat leads. amp/rig has a lot to do with what works best. split or parallel options work well with some rigs too. i have a pgn in the neck of a hamer monaco elite with a p/p for series/parallel, parallel sounds great for cleaner tones

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      • #4
        Re: How do you manage thick guitar sustain and mud?

        EQ pedal is what I always us when I need to instantly pull the guitar in or out of the slop.
        “For me, when everything goes wrong – that’s when adventure starts.” Yvonne Chouinard

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        • #5
          Re: How do you manage thick guitar sustain and mud?

          Originally posted by jeremy View Post
          on my lp for example, i run paf type pups. tone full up and volume down for articulate rhythm playing and volume up and tone backed down for fat leads. amp/rig has a lot to do with what works best. split or parallel options work well with some rigs too. i have a pgn in the neck of a hamer monaco elite with a p/p for series/parallel, parallel sounds great for cleaner tones
          Yep, Jeremy, if I had combined all your previous posts I probably could have figured out your approach- Great summary.
          What's so Funny about Peace Love and Understanding?

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          • #6
            Re: How do you manage thick guitar sustain and mud?

            Also, I would submit that cleaning up a sound for a guitar by itself versus with a recording or with a live band can 3 very separate challenges -depending on the context of each.
            “For me, when everything goes wrong – that’s when adventure starts.” Yvonne Chouinard

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            • #7
              Re: How do you manage thick guitar sustain and mud?

              The "original Tom Scholz solution" was not the wah. When they mixed those Boston albums, they cut the bottom off all the guitar sounds - leaving only the mids and highs. They did this to get more than 20 minutes of music on each side of the LP (bass frequencies are wider and take up more space). If might have sounded like a wah - but it wasn't.

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              • #8
                Re: How do you manage thick guitar sustain and mud?

                Originally posted by ICTGoober View Post
                The "original Tom Scholz solution" was not the wah. When they mixed those Boston albums, they cut the bottom off all the guitar sounds - leaving only the mids and highs. They did this to get more than 20 minutes of music on each side of the LP (bass frequencies are wider and take up more space). If might have sounded like a wah - but it wasn't.
                Yeah when I say original I'm talking pre-recording. if anybody could find a copy, I would love to see the first Tom Schultz interview with guitar player again. I'm pretty sure it was that article where he explained the wahwah spot search.

                Of course he made major changes in the production environment and with his devices later however if I am remembering the correct article he explained how he was able to originally find the mid cut and mid boosts on a Wawa.

                And again assuming it is that article, he talked about the saddest Les Paul experience I think I've ever heard. When they started he had to 2 Les Paul's. I may be wrong but I think they were deluxe's routed for a paf in the bridge. His tech took one of them home for an intonation adjustment forgot about it left it in the car in a Boston winter and it killed it.

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                Last edited by zionstrat; 11-13-2019, 08:27 AM.
                What's so Funny about Peace Love and Understanding?

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                • #9
                  Re: How do you manage thick guitar sustain and mud?

                  Are you having a mud issue with your Splawn?
                  I can’t even imaging mine sounding muddy and too thick..?

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                  • #10
                    Re: How do you manage thick guitar sustain and mud?

                    I switch from the neck pickup to the bridge pickup.
                    green globe burned black by sunn

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                    • #11
                      Re: How do you manage thick guitar sustain and mud?

                      I love A2-based pickups, but with certain Fender tonestacks, they can get muddy quickly. I usually have some way to cut the coils, or use a coil from one pickup along with a coil from another, in parallel. That seems to clear things up.
                      Dave, Ambassador/Writer/Artist for Seymour Duncan

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                      • #12
                        Re: How do you manage thick guitar sustain and mud?

                        I go for thick, period. Clarity is overrated.

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                        • #13
                          Re: How do you manage thick guitar sustain and mud?

                          EQ in front, drop the lows/lo-mids somewhat to remove the fat.

                          Alternatively, a cocked-wah pedal (not a wah pedal) can help and you can set it and forget it (Fulltone Wahful, etc).

                          Speaking of Scholz and his tone secrets, check out this vid I did (and yes, the wah does make an appearance):



                          If you go past the playing, I go over step-by-step how to do this tone. Pay close attention when I get to the wah part; it's very odd (about 14:30 mark).

                          (have the same guitar tracks in a vid without backing tracks as well)

                          Pretty sure I have the GP interviews (and others) if you need it. Scholz definitely mentions using a wah, and mentions it later
                          (disguised as a "narrow band eq").
                          Last edited by LLL; 11-13-2019, 01:16 AM.
                          Lefty Lounge Lizard's Guitars & Amps Extravaganza

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                          • #14
                            Re: How do you manage thick guitar sustain and mud?

                            I have a short scale (24"2/3) with HB that was quite muddy but with excellent sustain. My way to manage this is :

                            A - I use it for single note slide (for me this means ultra high action with an extended nut)

                            B - I thrashed the stock Gibson T-Tops and replaced them with P-Rails.

                            And I am quite happy with result
                            Smartphone Zombies won't shred

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                            • #15
                              How do you manage thick guitar sustain and mud?

                              My two preferred “on-guitar” solutions are series/parallel (on my Music Man Reflex) and Bass Contour (on my Reverend guitars and as a mod to my Rickenbacker 360).

                              Pedal wise, you may want to take a look at the Haunting Mids by JHS. Also, I find that Klon-type circuits at low gain shine in this application.


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