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3 PUPs - middle's in the way

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  • 3 PUPs - middle's in the way

    I have a very beautiful and nice playing Epiphone Riviera (ES335 style) w/ 3 dog-ear P90s. The middle PUP is a challenge for me. Not tonally, physically!

    I'm not a "barely touch the strings" speed demon. I tend to dig in my single notes and slam chords with some oomph and the pickup is literally in the way. Not all the time but often enough that I need to solve or sell. Since the folks who live online all seem to agree that the stock PUPs should be replaced anyway, I'm thinking of replacing the middle P90 with a flat dogear ring/adapter & then screwing down a mini-humbucker or TVJones filtertron extra deep, to be farther from the strings.
    3 questions:
    1. Is this feasible physically? Or will the semi-hollow's center block prevent me from recessing the new minHB to be extra low? (Can I lower it enough to make a useful difference?)
    2. Is this workable tonally? Or will the depth needed to liberate my power chords render the PUP useless? (Too far to be able to get anything close to the output of the other 2 PUPs)
    3. If answers to 1 & 2 are OK, recommendations? Keep P90s at bridge & neck, and only use mini in the middle? (Wasn't mini in the middle a sitcom?) Other combos?
    Thanks
    Randy

  • #2
    Sell it and buy something with only two pickups. You'll struggle with half measures for years trying to convince yourself it worked with varying degrees of success, until you lighten your touch or use something that fits your playing better

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    • #3
      If it were me, I'd work on not slamming the strings so much. If you want to be louder, turn up.

      Sent from my SM-A115A using Tapatalk

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      • #4
        A lot of players do not like 3 pickup guitars for the same reason.

        Can you trade it for, or sell and buy, a Casino?
        I miss the 80's (girls) !!!

        Seymour Duncans currently in use - In Les Pauls: Custom(b)/Jazz(n), Distortion(b)/Jazz(n), '59(b)/'59(n) w/A4 mag, P-Rails(b)/P-Rails(n); In a Bullet S-3: P-Rails(b)/stock/Vintage Stack Tele(n); In a Dot: Seth Lover(b)/Seth Lover(n); In a Del Mar: Mag Mic; In a Lead II: Custom Shop Fender X-1(b)

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        • #5
          Originally posted by JamesPaul View Post
          A lot of players do not like 3 pickup guitars for the same reason.
          I hear this a lot but my 3 pickup Les Paul doesn't feel any different than my other Les Pauls to me.


          | Gear Reviews | Beer | Babes | The Internet's Only Unedited & Uncensored Musician's Forum | Sports |

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          • #6
            The middle pickups do not bother me either, but there are those they do.

            My first 2 electrics had middle pickups, so I think my playing style developed accordingly. They never seem to be in the way for me.

            *A lot* may be me overstating, but I am surprised how many players I run into who do not like guitars with middle pickups.
            I miss the 80's (girls) !!!

            Seymour Duncans currently in use - In Les Pauls: Custom(b)/Jazz(n), Distortion(b)/Jazz(n), '59(b)/'59(n) w/A4 mag, P-Rails(b)/P-Rails(n); In a Bullet S-3: P-Rails(b)/stock/Vintage Stack Tele(n); In a Dot: Seth Lover(b)/Seth Lover(n); In a Del Mar: Mag Mic; In a Lead II: Custom Shop Fender X-1(b)

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            • #7
              I just can't imagine digging into the strings hard enough to actually run into the middle pickup.

              Sent from my SM-A115A using Tapatalk

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              • #8
                I don't like middle pickups because of this, and I might be the lightest player around. I also hybrid pick a lot, and the middle pickups catch my nails and rip them backwards. Honestly, I would eventually sell it. You might develop a technique to not hit that pickup, but that sort of thing really bothers me.
                Dave, Ambassador/Writer/Artist for Seymour Duncan

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                • #9
                  Either remove the pickup or sell the guitar.

                  If it were me personally, I would adapt to playing it; but since your a locked into a style and way of playing, you’d have to either just get rid of the pickup or the guitar entirely.

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                  • #10
                    Many players with larger hands don't really pick directly over the middle pickup, so they usually are the ones that don't mind it, even when it's raised fairly high.
                    Also many players do not need their palm almost permanently attached to the bridge for constant muting, which also might help their pick-tip get past the middle pickup.

                    I hate middle pickups as they are exactly where the tip of my pick seems to fall. I don't chop the strings at all, I'm more of a touch-flipper for that oomphy Het/Ian thrash chug tone.

                    That being the case i always rewire 3-pickup guitars into standard bridge/neck and then lower the middle as far as possible.
                    Never had a problem getting one out of my way, but I also have never had anything other than full solid-body guitars. It's always been middle single coils irking me. Still have never owned a triple-bucker.
                    dave74
                    Mojo's Minions
                    Last edited by dave74; 05-18-2022, 02:03 AM.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by dave74 View Post
                      Many players with larger hands don't really pick directly over the middle pickup, so they usually are the ones that don't mind it, even when it's raised fairly high.
                      Also many players do not need their palm almost permanently attached to the bridge for constant muting, which also might help their pick-tip get past the middle pickup.
                      This! I do not palm mute as much anymore but in the 80's when playing thrash my hand lived on the bridge. Because of this, my natural hand position must be back more even when I am not palm muting. The middle pickup never crosses my mind.

                      Why is it I always hear humbucker players having an issue with the middle pickup but never Strat players?


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                      • #12
                        Thanks for the opinions, but before I give up (remove the middle pup or sell the guitar), I'd like to know whether my idea will work. There must be reasons Frampton & others like 3 pup Gibsons and that this guitar was made. (Not to mention strats!)

                        All advice & replies are appreciated, but I'd like to start with finding out if my idea is doable. I bulleted 3 specific questions that I hoped could be addressed by the knowledgeable folks on this pickup forum.

                        Anyone know if it can be done or why it can't?

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                        • #13
                          I have experience with TV Jones pickups. I have a TV Jones Classic Plus bridge in the neck of my Tele. The pickup is so hot I needed to bring it down almost level with the pickguard. It sounds glorious and still aggressive backed off as much as it is. This might be your option.


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                          • #14
                            I sometimes find myself tripping over the middle pickup. In my experience, you need to do one (or both) of two things:


                            1. Change technique. You really shouldn't need more than 1/8th of an inch of the pick to be below the string while picking or strumming . . . and typically pickups can be adjusted below this level with no problems to sound. You can also focus on hand positioning - if you start hitting the pickup move the pick further to the neck or further to the bridge to avoid it and fix the problem. Failing that . . .

                            2. Drop the middle pickup down until you stop hitting it. Sometimes this means lowering that pickup so much that you get a weird volume difference between the selections, so you might need to get a higher output pickup for the middle.
                            Join me in the fight against muscular atrophy!

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by GuitarStv View Post
                              I sometimes find myself tripping over the middle pickup. In my experience, you need to do one (or both) of two things:


                              1. Change technique. You really shouldn't need more than 1/8th of an inch of the pick to be below the string while picking or strumming . . . and typically pickups can be adjusted below this level with no problems to sound. You can also focus on hand positioning - if you start hitting the pickup move the pick further to the neck or further to the bridge to avoid it and fix the problem. Failing that . . .

                              2. Drop the middle pickup down until you stop hitting it. Sometimes this means lowering that pickup so much that you get a weird volume difference between the selections, so you might need to get a higher output pickup for the middle.
                              FYI for #2 you can't lower the pickups on a Riviera or Casino. The best you could do is remove the shims, if they have them, otherwise you are stuck with the factory heights of the P-90 dog ear pickup cover.

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