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Thread: Bridge Pickup to Thicken up a Bright Guitar

  1. #1
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    Default Bridge Pickup to Thicken up a Bright Guitar

    I’ve got an HH Pelham Blue Gibson Les Paul Special that I’m having trouble bonding with because it’s such an inherently bright guitar. It came with a Burstbucker 3 in the bridge, and I’ve tried a few pickup swaps with what I had lying around here (Custom 8, Alternative 8), but I’m still struggling with it a little, particularly with leads sounding thin and bordering on shrill. The Alt 8 was better, but I had to roll down both the volume and tone quite a bit to get closer to where I wanted to be, and even then, I’m hoping I can find something darker. Based on the searches I’ve done here, I’m thinking an Invader or maybe a Tone Zone are my next logical steps, but I’m afraid the Invader may be a little too high output, and I usually don’t take well to ceramic magnets, and I really don’t have much experience with Dimarzios, so I’m looking for some advice.

    For a point of reference, my style mostly leans toward ‘90sish hard rock, revolving around Marshall high-gain tones, but I do need to get the occasional clean tone—it’s just not my top priority. I need something tight enough for heavy palm-muted riffs, but not seriously tight for metal. I really like the Custom 8 in most guitars I’ve tried and was bummed that this guitar still sounded too piercing with one in the bridge.

    I was close to selling the guitar, but long story short, my two old put some pretty serious dings in the back of the neck that will really hurt resale, so I’m doubling down on trying to make it work for me.

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Sock Market Trader GuitarStv's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bridge Pickup to Thicken up a Bright Guitar

    Tone Zone sounds like it would work for what you want. It's definately not thin/shrill and is in the output range you're aiming for.
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    LoveMachineologist jeremy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bridge Pickup to Thicken up a Bright Guitar

    check your pot values. 250k/250k on the bridge makes a big difference if you have 500k/500k now

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Bridge Pickup to Thicken up a Bright Guitar

    Try an A2 in the Custom as well as the above advice from Jeremy.

  5. #5
    Senior Member bigcupholder's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bridge Pickup to Thicken up a Bright Guitar

    I agree with AlexR. The custom custom is definitely not thin or harsh sounding, and it's cheap to get an A2 magnet. That would be a logical first thing to try rather than buying another pickup.

    Sent from my SM-G970W using Tapatalk

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    Default Re: Bridge Pickup to Thicken up a Bright Guitar

    It’s a Gibson that has all the pots and caps connected to a PCB, so I was trying to avoid having to mess with any of that, otherwise I would lower some of the values.

    The Custom Custom gives me pause because I’ve heard it doesn’t handle palm-muted stuff well. That’s kind of a dealbreaker for me.

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    Default Re: Bridge Pickup to Thicken up a Bright Guitar

    I've used an Alnico II Pro to tame a bright guitar... but mine didn't have a tone knob...
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    Default Re: Bridge Pickup to Thicken up a Bright Guitar

    I'd go with lower value pots for the bridge first, then an A2 magnet for the custom, then Tone Zone or Brobucker.

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    Default Re: Bridge Pickup to Thicken up a Bright Guitar

    Quote Originally Posted by SweetClyde99 View Post
    It’s a Gibson that has all the pots and caps connected to a PCB, so I was trying to avoid having to mess with any of that, otherwise I would lower some of the values.

    The Custom Custom gives me pause because I’ve heard it doesn’t handle palm-muted stuff well. That’s kind of a dealbreaker for me.
    I have my Custom Custom in a 1980's ESP Horizon. Long scale, OFR, ebony fretboard, maple neck thru = bright. With this guitar I nail the tone of old Judas Priest. Not sure if that is what you are looking for. Not sure if my guitar would be anywhere similar to yours other than the word "bright".

    For you, maybe just go regular Custom or Distortion if you want to chug, and use pots or the tone control for taming the high end.

    I have 7 Gibson Les Pauls. My darkest (Traditional) has Rebel Yells, but it is dark to begin with. My chunkiest (Classic) has the 496R/500T set, but it does cut like a laser.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Bridge Pickup to Thicken up a Bright Guitar

    A forum poster recently mentioned a brobucker to fix this exact problem in a guitar that needs something less bright but thicker...
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  11. #11
    Senior Member bigcupholder's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bridge Pickup to Thicken up a Bright Guitar

    Quote Originally Posted by SweetClyde99 View Post
    It’s a Gibson that has all the pots and caps connected to a PCB, so I was trying to avoid having to mess with any of that, otherwise I would lower some of the values.

    The Custom Custom gives me pause because I’ve heard it doesn’t handle palm-muted stuff well. That’s kind of a dealbreaker for me.
    Depends on how you want the palm muting to sound. It won't be tight enough for really fast technical or down-tuned stuff, but classic metal, pop punk, etc. would be fine. I had a custom custom in an SG before and I thought it worked for most types of music.

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    OH THE DOUBLE THICK GLAZE! Clint 55's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bridge Pickup to Thicken up a Bright Guitar

    A double thick mag will solve ur probs. A8 for rawk, A6 for medium, A2 for fat.

    https://www.cermagmagnets.co.uk/alni...125mm-39-p.asp
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    Mojo's Minions Diego's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bridge Pickup to Thicken up a Bright Guitar

    Frankly, being a Les Paul and everything, I'd be surprised if a Super Distortion didn't do the trick.
    I had one in my Ibanez SZ and it sounded glorious. Big, powerful and crunchy as hell.
    And it did modern Rock sounds all day.

    If you insist in a humbucker that's not bright at all, I'd try a Dimarzio Breed which Vai designed to beef up shredsticks and make them sound fat and warm.
    I had one in a MIJ RG and it sounded excellent.

    I haven't tried anything from the Duncan catalog to that effect, though I did have an Invader and it was just too much for me.
    Fat and big for sure, but unless you're determined to play Master of Puppets tunes all day long, I wouldn't go for it.

    I'd be wary of going too low on the output, since the compression from medium and high gain pickups tends to get to our ears as "fatter" since there's less peaks here and there.
    A too open, too dynamic pickup might sound a bit thin despite of it's alledged EQ curve because of that.
    Last edited by Diego; 03-22-2020 at 06:00 PM.
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  14. #14
    Ultimate Tone Slacker Mr. B's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bridge Pickup to Thicken up a Bright Guitar

    Super Distortion Bridge, 36th Anniversary neck..

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    Michaelewski BlueSnMettle's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bridge Pickup to Thicken up a Bright Guitar

    Check out the Dimarzio AT-1. Great pup and I think it would give you
    what you’re after. My favorite pup at the moment. Good luck.

  16. #16
    Mojo's Minions Van Noord's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bridge Pickup to Thicken up a Bright Guitar

    Dimarzio Air Zone was made for this problem.
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  17. #17
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    Default Re: Bridge Pickup to Thicken up a Bright Guitar

    The trick is not to overdo it and turn it into mud. I never heard of someone using a Tone Zone in a Gibson. An AT-1 would a bit less fat than a Tone Zone.

  18. #18
    Mojo's Minions eclecticsynergy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bridge Pickup to Thicken up a Bright Guitar

    +1 on The Breed. Great for fattening up a bright guitar. Nice singing lead tone.
    AT-1 is a good one too - plenty of body to balance its bite, and it chunks well.
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  19. #19
    Mojo's Minions dr.barlo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bridge Pickup to Thicken up a Bright Guitar

    I think... if CC does not do the trick (i.e., thicken up the bridge and make it sound decent), I'd sell that guitar. Palm mutings should be fine with CC, it is not that soft.

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  20. #20
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    Default Re: Bridge Pickup to Thicken up a Bright Guitar

    Overall thinking phattening bridge would be to balance what happends in bridge position - everything goes brittle kind of - like a HP filter on tone.
    So more bass and mids and not so much treble.

    So agree with SuperDistortion, AT-1 and AirZone or ToneZone if talking DiMarzio. Or the same reasoning with Duncan.
    Superdistortion has bass 8, mid 7.5 and treble 5.5 - so balance out what happends moving to bridge.

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