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All Pickups Sound Dull in the Bridge - 1986 Charvel Model 3a

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  • #31
    Originally posted by dave74 View Post
    IMO the invader is not right at all for something with a full basswood body.
    If I was picking an ideal guitar to try an invader it would be something like a MIJ floyded Jackson dinky-pro(maple bolt-on and alder body w/ebony)

    Had an Invader set once on a Jackson RR3, poplar body, bolt-on maple neck, rosewood board, JT580LP trem. Stellar tones for high gain.

    Not my current flavour of tone, though...
    Last edited by Synapsys; 09-23-2020, 12:24 PM.
    Guitars:Gibson LP Trad ('57 Classics), Epiphone Les Paul Special (SP90-1 set), PRS SE CU 24 Flametop (TB5/PGn), Ibanez RG870RWZ (PATB set), Jackson DK2M1H (TB4) & DK2 (TB10/VRn/CRn), LTD MH-1000HS (TB-15/Lil59n), ST213A (HRb/STK-S4 m&n) & TE212 (Hot Stack/A2Pn), Dean Cadillac 1980 (59 set) & Old Skull V (TB6/JazzN), Squier VM JM (SJM-1 set);Effects:L6 Helix, Digitech Drop & FreqOut, TC Eletronic Eyemaster, Fender FVP-1, EHX Wailer Wah & Volume Pedal;


    • #32
      Hi Evolvist ! I have a 1968 basswood Charvel model 3 (made in Nagano I suppose) and I know what you are talking about. As it is my only basswood guitar (all others are either alder, mahogany or ash) I thought it is because of the body wood (?). This axe is OK for hi-gain but if you happen to play a Fender or a Gibson just before this one in the same rig you will see it lacks something comparatively. But the neck of these guitars is cool.

      I noticed the Duncan SSL-5 sounded quite nice in the middle position on this guitar (and enjoyed it with fuzz).
      I saw on the internet that someone even put SSL-5 on a Charvel model 3 in both the neck and middle positions (although SSL-5 are not meant for the neck) and was happy with that.

      In the bridge position I have a ToneZone that I will swap some day.

      There have been thread in the past about which HB could sound great in these guitars. I remember the main recommendations were : Screaming Demon, Full Shred and SH-6 Distortion. Choose according to your style.

      I'll try th Full Shred some day. It was meant to "brighten guitars that lack definition" according to SD website.
      Last edited by Francois; 09-20-2020, 06:20 AM.
      Smartphone Zombies won't shred


      • #33
        This may be absurdly simple, but they're not hard to find or expensive. Just add the preamp to the 3a.


        • #34
          Charvel model 3A body sounded AWESOME on a partscaster build I did with a bridge Duncan JB

          I had brass saddles on the trem too... still awesome, nice bite.

          Also trIed a Super 70 from the parts box there...also ripped.

          PS try direct wiring bridge pup to jack to test if you're wondering about bad pots
          "New stuff always sucks" -Me


          • #35

            …it has not been said above that the presence of brass roller saddles was a problem per se. I've stated that IME it might behave as a sound softener in Khaler trems, with their materials and/or structure (and even when they are set in a certain way)… it’s just my experience and YMMV but there's food for thought about that elsewhere:

            It hasn’t been claimed either that basswood was systematically dull: IMO, every chunk of wood is susceptible to “sound” different – and many tinkerers might have the feeling that necks impact the tone more than bodies, anyway...

            …Of course, the problem might be elsewhere than in trems and woods… But must we think that a guitar set by a “well respected luthier” would still host bad pots?...

            Not claiming it’s impossible. Just asking…

            Now, here is something else to consider possibly:

            Duncan user since the 80's...


            • #36
              A 1986 Charvel needs a JB.
              “The hell with the rules. If it sounds right, then it is.” - Edward Van Halen


              • #37
                Sorry for bumping this old thread but I'm putting together a Charvel Model 3A (actually a 1989 275 Deluxe with the neck single routed to a humbucker). This will have an OFR for the bridge, so no Kahler issues.

                I actually have an Invader loosely installed in the bridge LOL!

                I was going to use a DiMarzio PAF / Tone Zone, but I'm worried the Tone Zone may be too dark.

                I have a Duncan Mayhem set (Distortion neck and bridge) that would fit.

                Which set to choose, or other? Just building a metal axe.


                • #38
                  The Mayhem set is pretty much the standard for a great metal axe, and if you leaned more toward hard rock, it would certainly be the JB/Jazz.
                  Dave, Ambassador/Writer/Artist for Seymour Duncan


                  • #39
                    Don't have a Jazz, but have plenty of JB / 59 loaded Jackson's. 3 USA's and one MIJ. Don't have a DD in anything, so I guess this may be the right choice?

                    Never tried the Tone Zone either, but have the PAF in a couple on necks and like it.

                    Oh, and I'll be using Super 5 way E "megaswitch" by Schaller.


                    • #40
                      Sometimes it is the guitar itself. I have an rg that is the opposite. It never sounds dull. Any pickup I put in (nothing too fat like a tone zone or invader yet) sounds brighter and sharper than all my other guitars, even with the exact pickup installed.

                      A dactivator, super distortion, norton, and full shred all sounded fatter in other guitars. This one? Bright city.
                      this guy is going to get a tz/an, transition set, or something else with a fatter bottom end, to balance out.

                      Some excellent pickup choices were given above to try. You want bright and sterile (?) Maybe? That should balance the dullness you are hearing.

                      The invader was the wrong pickup to cure "dull" IMO.


                      • #41
                        If you want a really modern metal tone, look at the Pegasus/Sentient. A 90s/80s metal tone would certainly be the Distortion set.
                        Dave, Ambassador/Writer/Artist for Seymour Duncan


                        • #42
                          Well obviously if the strings are from 1986, it's gonna sound dull...

                          But seriously, have you tried some different strings? Sometimes a different brand, material, or construction of string will give you that extra magic you're looking for. Same for different picks - they can make a real difference in your sound. Probably more so than changing out your saddles, but perhaps not.

                          If you're intent on getting the magic out of this guitar, and the electronics are OG, rip 'em and re-wire from scratch so you can have a solid baseline to work from. Lower output pickups could help too - they're more lively in general IME than high output ones, and you can always get your makeup gain elsewhere. Lowering your pickups can have a similar effect too. Putting an EQ pedal or preamp at the beginning of your chain can add some magic in as well by letting shape the signal going in to your amp (maybe those missing mids are what's bugging you). Try some different amps or cabs, maybe it just needs a particular speaker to sound good. Or heck, just give up and move on because it sounds like you've done quite a lot of work already
                          Originally posted by crusty philtrum
                          Anyone who *sings* at me through their teeth deserves to have a bus drive through their face


                          • #43
                            Originally posted by DonP View Post
                            Sorry for bumping this old thread but I'm putting together a Charvel Model 3A (actually a 1989 275 Deluxe with the neck single routed to a humbucker). This will have an OFR for the bridge, so no Kahler issues.
                            I have a Duncan Mayhem set (Distortion neck and bridge) that would fit.
                            Just building a metal axe.
                            DD set should work, you already have it so go for it. One of my favourite combinations in a MIM Charvel San Dimas is Full Shred neck with JB or Custom in the bridge. Unfortunately I just couldn't get along with the Distortion in the bridge, just too shrill and flat. Tight and punchy, but not very musical.
                            Speaking on bridge pups, I'm in love with the sound of both JB and Custom with A8 magnets in them through a tubescreamer set as clean boost with the tone set to 1 o'clock pushing the amp, just right up my alley