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Clean tight and sweet

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  • Clean tight and sweet

    Alright, here goes nothin' (or hopefully, somethin")

    If you had a 28.625" scale Telecaster baritone guitar and you were strictly interested in fingerpicking only, mostly complex celtic style guitar, what pickups would you consider to meet that end?

    Off hand, I'm inclined to think that I'd be looking for a pickup that yielded a tone that was very clear, good separation between strings, no congestion of low mids, not muddy, good tight deep lows , never boomy or muddy, and that the highs prevelent with a nice sweet clear atttack. I imagine we are thinking single coil, maybe.

    So, I'd be interested to see what comes to mind.

    Thanks everyone.
    Phil Donovan

  • #2
    Neck or bridge? Or both?

    single coil or humbucker?

    for singles, as vintage sounding as possible. Your description says single coil to me.

    for humbuckers:
    full shred neck

    dimarzio paf pro.
    Steve's special
    Air classics - these are really nice.
    Duncan 59s
    custom 5


    • #3
      Parallel Axis, Silverbird


      • #4
        I say 2 Antiquity humbuckers. Clean, clear with no compression that translates every note perfectly.
        Dave, Ambassador/Writer/Artist for Seymour Duncan


        • #5
          Need more details about the guitar...


          • #6
            I have 2 thoughts:
            1. I've never even played a baritone so it's probably silly for me to even comment. But I wanted to say that I'm a big fan of a Jazz in the neck. I've used it for actual jazz, and P&W, and blues, and heavy stuff. It's clean and clear to me and it sounds great when split. I do feel like a lowish output humbucker is the move here for what you want. I don't associate single coil tones with what you're going for. to each their own though.
            2. I think that once you find a sufficient pickup for you, the real quality of life (tone) improvement will be to use a high quality compressor. I am absolutely in love with the Calvin Compressor from Westminster Effects. It's affordable, it has a voicing switch that opens the low end (making it usable for bass guitar too, which is relevant to you), and tons of config options that are very powerful and flexible. I think that a good compressor will get you far in achieving clarity and tightness.


            • #7
              Originally posted by Masta' C View Post
              Need more details about the guitar...
              I was thinking the same thing. You said Telecaster. Is it routed, and fitted, for standard Tele style pickups?


              • #8
                This is an interesting question! I have no idea....
                Originally posted by Bad City
                He's got the crowd on his side and the blue jean lights in his eyes...


                • #9
                  EMG :/ if you ask me.

                  (I might be completely wrong)

                  rock on ♪

                  If somethings important- send a PM. I might be offline for long periods. Rock on!!!


                  • #10
                    Thanks everyone for all the responses!
                    Certainly there are no wrong answers here, this is all in the design phase with an open road - and its what "you" think you'd want in this scenario, not what I think. This will be my first baritone guitar built with celtic type fingerstyle as a focus. I started the neck already which is hard maple, and I have the body drawn out. It may be chambered or solid, not sure yet. Chambering sounds like a bit of fun, I might do it. When I think of celtic guitar, like Stephen Wake, I believe that style benefits from lows that are tight and stringy, never too thick or muddy, and the trebles are very present with a nice defined sweet attack, almost aggressively so but not necessarily harsh or spicky. If I were to take a shot at an absurd analogy, I'm looking for a tone that say, more emulates a twinkly Larrivee acoustic than a dark low-mid heavy Martin. Larrivees to me can almost have a bit of a scooped tone with supple deep lows and sweet twinkly highs, but still manages to sound rich all the way from top to bottom. Perhaps I would benefit from a humbucker with series/parallel/cut coil to capture different responces that would benefit different ranges. some celtic guitar is done with low tunes strings, deep and dramatic while others are capoed high up and totally twinkle away. But I still had to wonder if there is a single coil out there that would check all the boxes for the application described. The pickup choice is in the future but, its time to start listening to a number of them in different guitars under different circumstances.

                    I was surprised that a few folks called out humbuckers. I'm sure there are a number of candidates but I usually think of a humbucker (in general) as being a thicker sound with less sparkly highs (the fact that you have two coils in series generally lowers the resonant frequency and makes for a more lower mid heavy tone). I was thinking single coils might win this one in the end but, we'll see - it sure ain;t over - just starting actually.

                    What I did was take the profile of a Telecaster exactly as is, and stretched the entire guitar from one end to the other by the same percent increase as is the string scale from 25.5" to 28.628 which is a multiplication factor of 1.22" I believe (28.625/25.5). And I left the side to side to side dimension alone, only stretched the lenght. The neck looks pretty cool! Cant wait to get to the body. In keeping with a brighter tonal presentation I was thinking Alder, Maple, maybe Ash for the body. I had to wonder if a more dense body wood might help reflect the highs, or keep the high frequency energy in the strings for the pickups to pickup. (accidental pun, sorry). I know wood like Mahogany may be loosely associated with a darker sound. But, who knows, perhaps the pickups would have more to say about the frequency content than the wood.

                    Well thank you for taking the time to comment on my odd ball project here, and I'm curious to hear some of the suggestions you have made.

                    Phil Donovan


                    • #11
                      I picked humbuckers, specifically the Antiquities, because they have clean and clear highs while also having tight low end for the lower notes. They don't have a typically 'thick' sound that most humbuckers have.
                      Dave, Ambassador/Writer/Artist for Seymour Duncan


                      • #12
                        I'm somewhat surprised that I'm responding to this thread.. I have very little baritone experience so I was reading with the intent of learning more.

                        But following up mincers suggestion of antiquity humbucker sparked a thought for the bridge...

                        Currently, the most clear and tight humbucker that I know of is a railhammer hyper vintage... Many Reverend guitars are based around this pickup but they also sell them separately..

                        The reason the hypervantage jumped to mind is the unusual construction. It has bars for the bass strings and way oversized poles for the treble. As a result the base is ultra tight however the treble is clear and smooth... Think of telecaster bridge high-end but with more sustain and body and in my mind that would be a great sound for a baritone.

                        And here's the big bonus.. it is extremely good at parallel to self... When parallel it loses some mid-range but keeps the bass and treble... Of course no humbucker sounds exactly like a single coil however there's been many times that I found this a better bridge tone then my strats and telies.

                        With that said, I would sure like to hear somebody try one of these pups in a baritone!

                        Ultimate Tone Slacker
                        Last edited by zionstrat; 04-12-2021, 02:21 AM.
                        What's so Funny about Peace Love and Understanding?


                        • #13
                          My humble suggestions are:

                          -Humbuckers: Full Shred set;
                          -Single coils: Cool Rails bridge and neck (guitar should be routed for Strat pickups).
                          Guitars:Gibson LP Trad ('57 Classics); Ibanez SEW761FM (TB-16/STK-S7 m&n); Charvel DK24 (TB10/SSL-6/A2Pn), DK22 (HRb/SSL-6 m&n) & Style2 24 2PT (Fluence OCC); ESP LTD MH-1000HS (TB-14/Lil59n); Effects: Line 6 Helix Floor, Digitech Drop & FreqOut, ME EP-1L6,Shure GLXD16, Headrush MX5;


                          • #14
                            Single coils in general are clean, tight, and sweet - as long as your technique reflects this. You're probably fine going with any classic, well respected low output pickups to start with. Then you can make changes from there.

                            Regular Tele singles, mini-humbuckers, PAFs, P90s, I really don't think you can go wrong. The cleanliness is going to come from your playing and no matter what pickups you choose, you're going to have to adapt your technique to make this style of music sound good.

                            I'd be more concerned about the amp and any other signal modification than I would about the pickups. A good EQ section will cure a lot of the issues of tonal balance that you're describing.
                            Originally posted by crusty philtrum
                            Anyone who *sings* at me through their teeth deserves to have a bus drive through their face


                            • #15
                              Alot of very interesting suggestions here, Thanks! I sure have my listening cut out for me, and thats exactly why I posted this.

                              I'm totally into giving a shot to odd pickups that aren't traditionally used because I don't really wan't this guitar to be traditional in the popular sense. I'd like it to have a little unique color of its own, personality. The Railhammer sounds interesting. I have to wonder now how the different combinations of serial, parallel, out of phase with other pickups would work to make some different tones that could be found useful and complimenting. Perhaps just add those Type 2 DPDT switches in a few places for a myriad of combination. Perhaps there would be a couple of combos that would very unique and work well. The Cool Rails have me interested also, along with other mini humbuckers that have separate coil access.

                              alright, time for some listening. Thanks again for your time and consideration.