Muddy Bridge - Jemsite
Pickups & wiring Discussion about pickup types, replacements, recomendations, switching, wiring diagrams and sustainer systems for ANY guitar, JEMs included.

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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-02-2015, 07:44 AM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: France
Posts: 8
Muddy Bridge

Hello guys,

This is my first post, I have read you for years, but I only decided to start posting now as I can't seem to find a definitive answer to my problem.
Sorry for the length of the post.

I have 3 guitars:
1 Flamed Koa Carvin DC 727 with direct mounted CL/LF combo (Great PU IMHO, the stock ones were very good though)

1 RG520QS (MIJ) with an EMG 81/89R combo, 24 volts. These were on my S540 before, but switched it to the RG as I wanted to convert the S back to passive. My wife plays the RG now and doesn't let me touch it anymore.

The problem is with my 1997 S540LTDBK (MIJ), this guitar always sounded amazing until I switched back to passives. For the neck the Air Norton is okay, not quite the clarity of the Liquifire and a tad too high output (I prefer low output PU for neck), but it'll do the job OK, but not as good as the 89R. The problem is with the bridge PU. Guitar is Mahogany, Maple neck with Bubinga stripe, Rosewood fretboard, Lo pro edge bridge. Funny note its serial number is F975150... I have been lucky on this one...

I play Megadeth, Vai, Satriani, Pantera, 80s/90s metal stuff.
I am not fan of Dream Theater at all, but I do like Petrucci's tone, as I like Patrick Rondat's tone on Amphibia. Mark Morton's sound is great too.

I am playing through either a Digitech 2120 --> Provalve RT4250 (with JJ 6L6s in it) --> Custom Closed Back Stereo 2X12 with Avatar's V30s 8ohms.
I hate EL34s and GT12-75s.

As a preamp I also use an ADA MP1 3.666 with Mallory caps (dead silent under the highest gain without a noise gate) along with a Rane Pe15 for some Pre-EQ the ADA.
With the right V1 tubes, both preamps (2120 and 3.666) are amazing, so the problem is not there.

So my problem is S540 bridge pickup selection.
When I removed the EMGs, I did put a Custom Aged nickel Tone Zone: Waaaay too bassy/muddy. Lead tone was fine, nice smooth mids, but to me it is a lead only pickup unsuitable to palm mutting heaven.

Why did I remove the EMGs?: I wanted a tad more bass than the 81 and have a more natural clean sound although the step up from 9 to 24V did a world of difference to these pups (FYI most of the difference is from switching from 9 to 18V, almost no difference from 18 to 24V except space saving in the S body as 18V is too tight and 24V is smaller than 9V...).

Disgusted by the muddy tone zone, I chose to take a BKP Warpig Ceramic.
Better crunch than the Tone Zone, not as nice lead sound, but still: waay to bassy/muddy + slow response to pick attacks. To try to solve this I put a 1 Meg volume and more aggressive sounding caps (don't remember the values): it made it better, but not quite as precise as I like/am used to.
It is like these pickups try to cover my playing mistakes by wrapping them with a muddy towel if you see what I mean.

So yesterday, I went to 2 guitar stores and had 3 different advices:
- Put a JB (TB4) as it will pull the mud out (!), I am afraid not to have enough gain and definition on these. Your thoughts?
- Put a D-activator (not X) as it is supposed to be close to actives
- Put a crunch lab as I do like its 7 string brother and don't require fancy EQ changes when switching guitar.

I do find the PU tone quest expensive and time consuming.
So I am asking for your help

Other option is to put a BL 500XL (the becky one, not the fake), or.... to put it back with a 81/89R set and say f**** passives.

Thanks for your time

Alex
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-02-2015, 09:12 AM
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
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Talking Re: Muddy Bridge

If you like it with EMG pickups, maybe you should try 85 or 89 in bridge. ( 85 has alnico in it, 81 is ceramic).
85 and 89 should have more bass then 81.

BUT i played guitar with 2-piece maple double cut body, with maple set neck, with ebony board, with 81SS with Kahler tremolo, and that should to be more then very bright guitar, but it sounds like good Les Paul, not bright at all, with all right frequencies in right places. So I guess you have to try it youself.
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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-02-2015, 09:17 AM
 
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Re: Muddy Bridge

dual 85s are sweet, i like the 85 in the bridge. If you have an 81/85 try the 81 in the neck and 85 in the bridge.
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-02-2015, 09:20 AM Thread Starter
 
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Location: France
Posts: 8
Re: Muddy Bridge

I already had an 85 in the bridge of an ESP MII (which I sold 5yrs ago). Good but I still prefer the cut of the 81 in the bridge for palm mutting. If I wanted something close to an 85 in passive, the crunch lab might do the trick, in my experience CL is less "round" than the 85 . However, I want slightly more cut than the Crunch Lab, if possible.
However you are right the 85 is an amazing PU (neck or bridge).
By the way I found my 89 (one of the first/old ones) not to sound the same as the 85 in the neck, the 85 seemed to me hotter than the 89. Maybe it's just me as they are supposed to be the same.
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-02-2015, 09:23 AM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Muddy Bridge

I didn't like the 81 in the neck.
for the 85/85 combo, I like to have mismatched Bridge/Neck PU, I know most of you guys likes matched sets, in the neck I like them vintage, in the bridge I like them modern.
Sorry to be neaty picky, but I think we all are on this forum
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-02-2015, 09:31 AM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Muddy Bridge

By the way, a little comment on EMGs, because I read a lot of crap on them over the net.
My point on EMGs ( I have been playing them for 10 years now, never tried the 60 though):
- If you have a cheap amp, don't use EMG, it will be worse
- If you have a cheap guitar, don't use EMG, it will be worse
- If all your equipment is fine but your playing technic is imprecise: don't use EMG, it will be worse
- If someone tells you these are high output, stop listening
- If someone tells you the fact they use a preamp on board makes them bad: ask him if he plays straight in the poweranp and never plays with a preamp and/or a tube screamer before reaching the poweramp.
- If someone tells you they don't let the "wood speak" and are very neutral, ask him to go talk to the trees because they respect your equipment sound far more than any passive that colour your sound and hide some of your playing. There is a contradiction there because neutral means to me no artificial colouring.

The only thing I concede against EMGs is they sometimes overcompress your sound, but I found a way to solve this (EQ + 24V)
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-02-2015, 09:47 AM
 
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Re: Muddy Bridge

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronos333 View Post

... . However, I want slightly more cut than the Crunch Lab, if possible.
However you are right the 85 is an amazing PU (neck or bridge).
By the way I found my 89 (one of the first/old ones) not to sound the same as the 85 in the neck, the 85 seemed to me hotter than the 89. Maybe it's just me as they are supposed to be the same.
Then instead of CL try X2N.
( And as far as 89 concerned, you have good ears, 89 IS slightly weaker then 85, because it has one more pickup, if I remember correctly full SA is inside)
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-02-2015, 09:54 AM
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Re: Muddy Bridge

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronos333 View Post
By the way, a little comment on EMGs, because I read a lot of crap on them over the net.
My point on EMGs ( I have been playing them for 10 years now, never tried the 60 though):
- If you have a cheap amp, don't use EMG, it will be worse
- If you have a cheap guitar, don't use EMG, it will be worse
- If all your equipment is fine but your playing technic is imprecise: don't use EMG, it will be worse
- If someone tells you these are high output, stop listening
- If someone tells you the fact they use a preamp on board makes them bad: ask him if he plays straight in the poweranp and never plays with a preamp and/or a tube screamer before reaching the poweramp.
- If someone tells you they don't let the "wood speak" and are very neutral, ask him to go talk to the trees because they respect your equipment sound far more than any passive that colour your sound and hide some of your playing. There is a contradiction there because neutral means to me no artificial colouring.

The only thing I concede against EMGs is they sometimes overcompress your sound, but I found a way to solve this (EQ + 24V)
I love EMG81/60 in mahogany single cut sort scale. My only complaint is 50Hz + RF EMF interference noise compared to Duncans/DMZs
panix is offline  
post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-02-2015, 10:10 AM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Muddy Bridge

Quote:
Originally Posted by peromucho7 View Post
Then instead of CL try X2N.
( And as far as 89 concerned, you have good ears, 89 IS slightly weaker then 85, because it has one more pickup, if I remember correctly full SA is inside)
My ears says thank you for the compliment.
As you said slightly weaker, but not by much.

For the X2n, might be a good choice indeed, never thought about this one + it looks so cool. However is there a risk of it being muddy on a 24.75 Mahogany? It shouldn't be I just checked on DMZ website, they state less bass and more mids+treble than crunch lab.... might well fit the bill. I don't care about the cleans, I can split it or use the neck for the cleans.

For the 81/60 combo, that's what I will do if I end up being fedup with the never ending passive quest.
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-02-2015, 10:30 AM
 
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Re: Muddy Bridge

I have X2N in '94 540SBM and I like it there,
but are you sure that your 540s is 24.75? I thought that 540S is 25.5?
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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-02-2015, 10:48 AM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Muddy Bridge

nope you are right, it's a 25.5 22 fret neck
How would you compare your X2N on your Saber vs 81 (or other PU you have tried in the bridge)?
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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-02-2015, 11:23 AM
 
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Re: Muddy Bridge

I am sorry but I did not try 81 in my 540S. I bought it second hand with X2N, but that pickup is staying there.
Friend has Guild Aviator all maple with 81, which I like to play.
When I compare both guitars through real JCM800 amp against RG550EX,
V8 sounds dry like paper, and I need to put some effects in chain to make it listenable,
81 sounds very wet, very wide, and when I turn volume down it doesn't get dark or muddy, even on 6th string, and doesn't need any effect to make it pleasing to ears,
X2n is much closer to active pickups, wide sounding, very good harmonics, better then 81, and good sustain,
(But using AxeFXII, with enough gain, all my guitars sound same, even my Classic Vibe 50' strat, can sound like Zak Wild's Les Paul.)

Last edited by peromucho7; 12-02-2015 at 11:46 AM.
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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-02-2015, 04:28 PM
 
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Re: Muddy Bridge

A simple and cheap mod to de-mud your bridge pickup is to wire in a capacitor between your bridge pickup's hot wire and the pickup selector. It works as a low-pass filter. You can buy a range of capacitors to test for small change. I've been through this myself with one of my old guitars and it can make quite the difference.

http://www.lonephantom.com/2010/11/t...the-tone-zone/

http://www.lonephantom.com/2011/02/t...one-continued/
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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-02-2015, 07:52 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Muddy Bridge

I will try this, maybe the C-Pig will sound better after this, because my experience with the tone zone was the same as yours...
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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-02-2015, 08:36 PM
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
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Reviews: 120
Re: Muddy Bridge

Yeah, the guitar can definitely have an affect. I now have the tone zone in another guitar and it sounds absolutely amazing,with the only changes to the pickup being hex head screws, rather than the stock type.
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