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What type of pickups handle progressive rock on a Les Paul?

TheCanadianNews

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Joined
Jul 10, 2020
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3
Hey everyone!
Literally joined the forum yesterday after months of stalking. I'm trying to clear up my Les Paul Standard ('17, Burstbucker Pro +) from congested tones. I play a Mesa Mark V through a Vintage 30, microphone is a SM57. For some reason, my tone is always brittle, chalky sounding in the bridge or overdriven and muddy in the neck. I'm thinking it's time for a new pickup set and want to use it for progressive/psychedelic rock. Lots of drive level changes, echo, delay, modulation. Needs to do a pleasant, hairy clean and also give enough power to handle clear leads off the neck pickup. Any thoughts on what specs I should look for? Any models?
 

brandtkronholm

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Joined
Dec 3, 2006
Messages
2,241
The pickups you have in your Les Paul are terrific for just about any rock and roll.

Before you swap pickups, please tell how you dial in your tone. Where are the knobs set on your Boogie? Do you use stomp boxes? If so, are they in front or behind the amp? How do you use the controls on the guitar?

Progressive Rock covers a pretty broad array of tonal possibilities from Lifeson to Fripp to Perucci. Where are you aiming with your tone goals?

These kinds of threads are always fun!
 

Wilko

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Mar 11, 2002
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19,945
I can't think of any reason the stock setup doesn't sound great.

Is there someone in your area who can help you dial in the right sound from our gear?
 

TheCanadianNews

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Jul 10, 2020
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I can't think of any reason the stock setup doesn't sound great.

Is there someone in your area who can help you dial in the right sound from our gear?

After I posted, I did realize part of my issues were solved by using a Dunlop Mini Volume pedal with a 250k pot. That's definitely contributing to an apparent low mid bump and top end loss.

The other part is I personally have a hard time feeling inspired by V30 and SM57. It is house equipment, not mine personally. It imparts those characteristics on my tone quite a bit. I tested a C90 1x12 and it sounds way better.


Do you have suggestions transitioning from C90 to V30 speakers to manage it? It's hard to detect if it's the humbuckers or speaker that places me squarely in classic rock. It feels like nothing is breathing. I know about designing tones for a band setting, not home. I give a little less gain, little more treble than at home sounds like. I feel like I have something to learn here.


Approximate Settings:
Ch1: Clean - everything straight at noon.
Ch2: Edge - treble at 11:30, slight mid bump, bass at 10 o'clock
Ch3: MkIIC+ - treble at 2 o'clock, mid and bass at 9 o'clock
Graphic - low mids and high mids boosted to compensate for what I hear as the sharp edges of Burstbuckers.

Effects: wah, Fuzz Haze, Archer, EQD Pyramids, EQD Avalanche, EQD Afterneath, Matthew Effects Conductor Trem.
 

TheCanadianNews

New member
Joined
Jul 10, 2020
Messages
3
The pickups you have in your Les Paul are terrific for just about any rock and roll.

Before you swap pickups, please tell how you dial in your tone. Where are the knobs set on your Boogie? Do you use stomp boxes? If so, are they in front or behind the amp? How do you use the controls on the guitar?

Progressive Rock covers a pretty broad array of tonal possibilities from Lifeson to Fripp to Perucci. Where are you aiming with your tone goals?

These kinds of threads are always fun!

Approximate Settings:
Ch1: Clean - everything straight at noon.
Ch2: Edge - treble at 11:30, slight mid bump, bass at 10 o'clock
Ch3: MkIIC+ - treble at 2 o'clock, mid and bass at 9 o'clock
Graphic - low mids and high mids boosted to compensate for what I hear as the sharp edges of Burstbuckers.

Effects: wah, Fuzz Haze, Archer, EQD Pyramids, EQD Avalanche, EQD Afterneath, Matthew Effects Conductor Trem.

I feel like there is something that happens from at home with a 1 x 12 C90 speaker to a V30/SM57 setup that goes wonky. I naturally assumed it was me, but explaining my settings gives me a little hope that I know my amp pretty well. Mark V's are weird amps as in you can't just dial it in like any other amp. You need to get it's design. Once I'm live and have in ears, my amp sounds more gainy and has a huge mid bump (from the speaker?) that is very unpleasant because it covers up articulation from the pick and sounds like a half cocked wah kinda. Is that a pickup issue? I know the V30 thing but it seemed really nutty.
 

brandtkronholm

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Joined
Dec 3, 2006
Messages
2,241
Approximate Settings:
Ch1: Clean - everything straight at noon.
Ch2: Edge - treble at 11:30, slight mid bump, bass at 10 o'clock
Ch3: MkIIC+ - treble at 2 o'clock, mid and bass at 9 o'clock
Graphic - low mids and high mids boosted to compensate for what I hear as the sharp edges of Burstbuckers.
...

Your Ch3 settings are a perfect recipe for muddy and congested tone. (If I'm correctly reading what "x o'clock" means.)

The money is in the Mids. Crank the mids, include plenty of treble but dial back the bass. There's a certain mid-to-bass ratio to dial in - with the bass lower than the mid - that will bring out the good tone.
Mids help you compete with the snare drum and vox, among all the other sonic mayhem in a group setting. When you turn the volume down on the guitar, the Mids help move air without getting in the way of the vox and drums. When you turn the guitar up, the Mids get you the lead tone that cuts through. (Just try not to aim your amp directly at the sound man behind the board!) Also, with more mids your wha will make more sense.

You may want those "sharp edges" on the Burstbuckers. They may add the needed sparkle on top to help you against a drummer's symbols.

An SM57 is industry standard, you should be able to get great recorded (or live) sound with that microphone.


Of course, Boogies are notoriously complicated amps to dial in. They sound amazing - but it may take months to find the right settings.

I only use the lead channel on my Boogie MKIII (simul-class, push/pull boosts, red stripe, no 5-band EQ; Black Widow, wicker & walnut...); everything else happens with right-hand technique, i.e., the tone and volume controls on the guitar.

My MKIII settings: x/10
Volume: 10 (pulled)
Treble: 6.5 (pulled)
Bass: 2.5 (pulled)
Middle: 5 (pushed)
Master volume: 3 (pulled)
Lead drive: 3 (pulled)
Lead master: 2 (pulled)
Presence (in the back): 6

For comparison:
My old Blackface Fender Super Reverb (1964/5/6?) settings x/10:
[Vibrato Channel]
Bright: on
Volume: 9.5
Treble: 4
Middle: 7
Bass: 3
Reverb, Speed, Intensity: 0 (off).

On either amp these settings would work nicely playing songs from Rush to Santana to the Allman Brothers to the Beatles. The old Fender will melt your face pretty quickly. With the Boogie it's a bit like opening the Ark of the Covenant - but in a really good way.
 
Last edited:

brandtkronholm

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 3, 2006
Messages
2,241
I feel like there is something that happens from at home with a 1 x 12 C90 speaker to a V30/SM57 setup that goes wonky. I naturally assumed it was me, but explaining my settings gives me a little hope that I know my amp pretty well. Mark V's are weird amps as in you can't just dial it in like any other amp. You need to get it's design. Once I'm live and have in ears, my amp sounds more gainy and has a huge mid bump (from the speaker?) that is very unpleasant because it covers up articulation from the pick and sounds like a half cocked wah kinda. Is that a pickup issue? I know the V30 thing but it seemed really nutty.

I can't speak to in-ear systems, I've never used them. (I stopped touring many years ago, well before things got that fancy for me!) But I can say that what you hear "in-ear" is definitely not be what the house hears.

The "half-cocked wah" thing might be a Boogie + V30 thing (and possibly mic placement) - it's not really a pickup thing (but then, humbuckers are a bit mid-centric). If I really think about it, from time to time my Boogie has it too - but it can be dialed out. I forget where the dials on the amp are when it happens... It's not a terrible thing.

Yes, all Boogies are weird amps. It took me a while to get my MKIII just right. (And then I need a new set of power tubes and it's pretty much back to square one!)
 

somebodyelseuk

Active member
Joined
Jun 10, 2020
Messages
287
Forgive me for skimmingthe thread, but I noticed yousay you prefer your C90 speaker to the V30.
That'd be where I'd start. Use the C90.
 
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