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Thread: '57 Classic plus too bright in bridge

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    Tone Member cokekolev's Avatar
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    Default '57 Classic plus too bright in bridge

    Hi, the bridge pickup in my Gibson Les Paul Traditional ('57 Classic plus) sounds really bright compared to the neck '57 Classic, which is rather dark. I lowered the polepieces to get the harshness out and there is a difference, but the pickup still has that bright character. The pots are the stock 300k volume and 500k tone. Is there a way to dial out the treble, especially on the higher strings, by playing with the pickup and polepieces height?

    Or maybe vintage output pickups in the bridge are really just not for me. I love the Duncan Custom in the bridge of my other Les Paul. I also have another one with a Duncan Slash bridge. It has a bit of the same brightness as the '57 Classic plus, but the crunchy mids are what make it great. I don't hear that crunch in the '57 Classic plus, just the treble.

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    Default Re: '57 Classic plus too bright in bridge

    I Like that pickup a lot of your into Van Halen 1 first album it’s a great pickup.What music you like to play ?

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    Tone Member cokekolev's Avatar
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    Default Re: '57 Classic plus too bright in bridge

    That kind of stuff + old school metal.

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    Default Re: '57 Classic plus too bright in bridge

    A crazy idea is to swap the 2 pickups.
    Messing with pot values may help, or even your string types. But in the end you might just not like the 57 Plus. I've heard the same from others, so you are not alone there.
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    Tone Member cokekolev's Avatar
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    Default Re: '57 Classic plus too bright in bridge

    Won't they sound the same as they do now if I swap them? I think I'm just not used to having a lower output pickup in the bridge. Most of my other guitars have high output bridge pickups that sound darker: Hot Rails, Super Distortion, Duncan Custom, JB (which isn't bright to my ears, just mid-heavy) Duncan Designed HB-103 (Distortion copy, also mid-heavy and not that bright). It's that shrill top end that gets on my nerves. However, I dialed most of it out by lowering the polepieces, especially on the high e and b-string. But I'm just not used to that "open" character of a pickup in combination with the lower output. I listened to the sound samples on the Seymour Duncan webbsite and the '59 bridge has the same kind of bright character as the '57 classic plus when compared to, for example the Custom.
    As the guitar has 300k volume and 500k tone pots, I'm planning on swapping the neck volume pot for the bridge tone pot. That way the neck pickup wil get brighter (500k volume and 500k tone pot) and the bridge pickup will darken up a bit (300k volume and 300k tone pot).

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    Mojo's Minions ItsaBass's Avatar
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    Default Re: '57 Classic plus too bright in bridge

    Subtly apply your tone knob. That is EXACTLY what it is for.

    You can also tilt the pickup. Higher to obscure the treble more. Adjust polepieces to balance string volume, AFTER adjusting pickup height to tweak e.q.
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    Default Re: '57 Classic plus too bright in bridge

    Lower output pickups(Gibson PAF)have a open sound and clarity that high output pickups don’t have. You hear every note which I like.

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    Mojo's Minions Lewguitar's Avatar
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    Default Re: '57 Classic plus too bright in bridge

    I'm pretty sure the magnet in the 57 Classic is polished. If so, replacing it with a roughcast alnico 2 magnet would result in a warmer and more complex tone.

    Seth Lovers use a polished A2 magnet. Great pickups but not as full, warm and textured as the Antiquity which uses a roughcast A2 magnet.

    Just a thought, and easier to do than a pickup swap.
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    Tone Member cokekolev's Avatar
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    Default Re: '57 Classic plus too bright in bridge

    Quote Originally Posted by Lewguitar View Post
    I'm pretty sure the magnet in the 57 Classic is polished. If so, replacing it with a roughcast alnico 2 magnet would result in a warmer and more complex tone.

    Seth Lovers use a polished A2 magnet. Great pickups but not as full, warm and textured as the Antiquity which uses a roughcast A2 magnet.

    Just a thought, and easier to do than a pickup swap.
    Not in my case, as the pickups are covered, so I'd have to unsolder the cover, remove wax, etc. I think a pot swap might just do the job.

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    Default Re: '57 Classic plus too bright in bridge

    You should be raising the pickup to get a fatter warmer tone. If the pole pieces have a big gap from the strings it will increase the top end brightness.

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    Mojo's Minions ItsaBass's Avatar
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    Default Re: '57 Classic plus too bright in bridge

    Quote Originally Posted by Teleplayer View Post
    You should be raising the pickup to get a fatter warmer tone. If the pole pieces have a big gap from the strings it will increase the top end brightness.
    Yup.
    Quote Originally Posted by LesStrat View Post
    Yogi Berra was correct.
    Quote Originally Posted by JOLLY View Post
    I do a few chord things, some crappy lead stuff, and then some rhythm stuff.

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    Mojo's Minions Diego's Avatar
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    Default Re: '57 Classic plus too bright in bridge

    Yup. Closer = more compression = less spikes in the frequency range.

    Crank that thing up!
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    Default Re: '57 Classic plus too bright in bridge

    ya know
    I was just talking to my buddy about how some people mess with the height of the adjustable screws
    and most people do not

    the ones that do, overwhelmingly, have lowered the pickup for some reason
    and are trying to compensate for the loss of volume

    I believe you may be one of those

    some pickups, like the JB, have a sweet spot where they sound great
    the Classic 57 Plus is an over wound PAF style pickup like the JB

    It probably wants to be at a certain height under the strings to good


    start at 1/8 of an inch or 4 mm
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    OH THE DOUBLE THICK GLAZE! Clint 55's Avatar
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    Default Re: '57 Classic plus too bright in bridge

    250k volume and tone.
    We better get back
    Cuz it'll be dark soon
    And they mostly come at night
    Mostly

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    Tone Member cokekolev's Avatar
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    Default Re: '57 Classic plus too bright in bridge

    Quote Originally Posted by ehdwuld View Post
    ya know
    I was just talking to my buddy about how some people mess with the height of the adjustable screws
    and most people do not

    the ones that do, overwhelmingly, have lowered the pickup for some reason
    and are trying to compensate for the loss of volume

    I believe you may be one of those

    some pickups, like the JB, have a sweet spot where they sound great
    the Classic 57 Plus is an over wound PAF style pickup like the JB

    It probably wants to be at a certain height under the strings to good


    start at 1/8 of an inch or 4 mm
    I like having my bridge pickups as close to the strings as possible, so that's not the problem. Maybe I can raise it just a tiny little bit, but I don't have much room left. I think the problem was that the polepieces were too high through the pickup cover from the factory.

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    Default Re: '57 Classic plus too bright in bridge

    Just curious, what year is your Traditional? Some specs say they have a Classic+ in the bridge, some say they have a Burstbucker 3 in the bridge. Just wondering is a Classic+ really that bright. I know Burstbuckers are brighter than balanced coil pickups, that’s what made me think of it. You’d have to flip the pickup over and look at the baseplate to know for sure.
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    Tone Member cokekolev's Avatar
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    Default Re: '57 Classic plus too bright in bridge

    Quote Originally Posted by beaubrummels View Post
    Just curious, what year is your Traditional? Some specs say they have a Classic+ in the bridge, some say they have a Burstbucker 3 in the bridge. Just wondering is a Classic+ really that bright. I know Burstbuckers are brighter than balanced coil pickups, that’s what made me think of it. You’d have to flip the pickup over and look at the baseplate to know for sure.
    It's a 2013, so it should have the '57 combo.

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    Mojo's Minions Diego's Avatar
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    Default Re: '57 Classic plus too bright in bridge

    I'll walk outside the box and say that your neck pickup might be too high, which is why it sounds muddy and dark compared to your bridge pickup.

    Try lowering your neck pickup as low as it goes and work your way up, and see how they match each other EQ wise. Let us know!
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  19. #19
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    Default Re: '57 Classic plus too bright in bridge

    My 2014 Gibson Les Paul trad II pro came with a Gibson Super 57 in the bridge.

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    Toneologist freefrog's Avatar
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    Default Re: '57 Classic plus too bright in bridge

    To answer to the first post, I'll mention 3 typical ways to reduce the brigthness of a passive pickup:

    -Toying with magnetism. Setting screw poles, changing the height of the pickup, swapping its magnet are just various ways to tweak its magnetic circuit.

    -Putting less resistance to ground. Lowering the tone pot essentially diminishes the resistance during most of the process (the cap starting to be really heard below 3/10). Mounting 250k or 300k controls instead of 500k pots does the same. A simpler way to obtain the same thing than such new pots is to mount a resistor in parallel with the controls . It will change their taper but it's a cheap and quick way to test what less resistance does...

    -Tweaking stray capacitance.

    As this last point is the least often evoked online, it's also a subject on which I'll grossly insist once again... :-))

    Put a tiny bit of "stray capacitance" in parallel with a "low output" pickup and it will sound closer to a high output one. It won't have its power but it will mimic its "voicing".

    It's a trick that I use for decades. My main Strat include a 1nF cap that I can put in parallel with its underwound pickups in order to emulate the nasal midrange of a SSL5. The FilterTron's in one of my LP sound like P.A.F.'s as soon as I put them in parallel with a 3,3nF cap... and so on.

    Caps are cheap (a few cents) and really easy to test: just connect them with alligator clips between the ground and hot of your output jack and you'll hear what I'm talking about.

    The same test can be done with a resistor : 750k in parallel with two 500k controls do the same than 500k and 300k. A 470k resistor will mimic 500k + a weak 250k. And so on....

    If the goal is to approximate the voicing of a JB, a 780pF (0.00078µF) or 1nF (1000pF / 0.001µF) in parallel with the Classic 57+ should be a good starting point. It might require a parallel resistor too if its magnet is powerful (it's often the case with recent Gibson HB's: they tend to charge their mags way too much).

    My two cents, FWIW (= the price of a resistor or small capacitor). :-)
    Last edited by freefrog; 04-07-2020 at 10:30 AM.
    Duncan user since the 80's...

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