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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Now I am a firm believer in tonewoods affecting sound, but others don't agree. I have only had 2 basswood guitars (my others are alder, ash, or mahogany) etc. Both guitars were basswood 550's, and both sounded like a transistor radio. Hi treble, no mid, very little bass. I tried several pickups, including a tone zone. I naturally produce a slighly trebly sound just from my hands, but in these guitars it sounds like crap. I have no problem with the others. Is it the basswood, the pots maybe? I avoid basswood guitars because of this, but is that it at all?
 

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basswood doesnt produce the tone your disliking, its more than likely the combination of strings, pickups, resistors, pots, and amp settings your hearing. The tone of basswood in my opinion is kind of flat and dark, with more bottom than treble
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
My guess then is pots and resistors. I can have one of my other guitars, with the same strings and pickups and amp sounding great, then switch to the 550 and "TRASH" using the same stuff except for pots resistors and wood.
 

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I have completely different settings on my amps and pedals for each guitar I have. Whenever I get a new guitar, I take all day just making combinations of settings that do the guitar justice. I know one thing, it's hard to go to places like Guitar Center, grab a guitar, have it already be somewhat setup even right, and make it sound good without at least screwing around with stuff for a while.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
With most of my guitars I can tweek the amp (Johnson millenium) settings just slightly to get a good stage sound, but still leave the individual guitars tonal personality.
Example: I set my sound using my soloist usually (#1 axe, alder with SD's)
If I switch to my BC rich (Alder with EMG's) I can leave it alone
Then if I use my VWH I just turn the contour knob on my amp down just a hint
If I use a Les Paul, I turn the contour up a quarter turn, maybe lower the bass, etc.
Now they all will sound different but still easy on the ears.
Then Plug in a 550 and no contour adjustment will fix the trash sound. It takes total EQ adjustment, I pull a ton of treble out and boost the mids, and then it sounds like muffled trash.
I love the way they look and feel, but can't get a good sound regardless of pickups I use. So I've sold both of them, but really want a Jem BFP, but not if it's going to sound the same as the 550's.
My swamp ash strat has a fuller better tone than my 550's ever had.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
BTW I own 3 other Ibanez's a VWH, USEWFM, and USEWQM. All sound great. But they aren't basswood.
I was thinking of trying 250k pots to see if that would help, but sold them before I got a chance to try.
 

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ronsws6 said:
With most of my guitars I can tweek the amp (Johnson millenium) settings just slightly to get a good stage sound, but still leave the individual guitars tonal personality.
Example: I set my sound using my soloist usually (#1 axe, alder with SD's)
If I switch to my BC rich (Alder with EMG's) I can leave it alone
Then if I use my VWH I just turn the contour knob on my amp down just a hint
If I use a Les Paul, I turn the contour up a quarter turn, maybe lower the bass, etc.
Now they all will sound different but still easy on the ears.
Then Plug in a 550 and no contour adjustment will fix the trash sound. It takes total EQ adjustment, I pull a ton of treble out and boost the mids, and then it sounds like muffled trash.
I love the way they look and feel, but can't get a good sound regardless of pickups I use. So I've sold both of them, but really want a Jem BFP, but not if it's going to sound the same as the 550's.
My swamp ash strat has a fuller better tone than my 550's ever had.
As daft as it sounds, I think that sometimes my 550s sound a bit more muffled and I use a bit more presence with them.

I'm not sure if it's because of lower quality woods OR... (and here's my theory) it's a combination of the former AND from a thinner neck. JEMs and JSes have a bit thicker necks, and I reckon that bit more wood makes all the difference!
 

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unique77 said:
I have completely different settings on my amps and pedals for each guitar I have. Whenever I get a new guitar, I take all day just making combinations of settings that do the guitar justice.
I actually take a day getting an idea of what sounds good and a week or more nailing it to perfection.

Perhaps in reply to this thread, turning the treble and presence to 10 is not a good idea?
 

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ronsws6 said:
BTW I own 3 other Ibanez's a VWH, USEWFM, and USEWQM. All sound great. But they aren't basswood.
I was thinking of trying 250k pots to see if that would help, but sold them before I got a chance to try.
Weird, PGMs are basswood with Tone Zones, Jems were basswood with PAFs and EVOs, JPMs were basswood with SS/AN... basswood works great with many different pickup combos...

550s are sweet, maybe those two you tried were just f*cked up... :(
 

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You can always find 550 style bodies made out of mahogany or other woods that suit your tastes on **** and could part out your 550. I rebuilt a 550 from '89. I like a thicker neck, so I routed it to fit a Kramer 24 fret maple on maple. I have Evo in the bridge and Breed in the neck. I am finding the same issue of sounding too thin through my amp. I actually end up using the Breed neck when playing to get that smooth thicker sound.

Solution, follow your ear and if alder sounds best, build one out of alder. Vai settled on an ash guitar for his original Bad Horsie because he said nothing else sounded like that ash.
 

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lhrocker said:
Maybe it's the maple fingerboard that is making the guitar sound brighter and not the basswood body?
Thats what Im thinking.

I can easily see why many people wouldn't like the brightness. But I love a very bright tone, I happen to love the tone of my RG550's.
 

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I must admit that I always found my RG570 really hard to tweak the eq etc to get a really good sound. Especially when using positions 1 and 5. Although to be fair I was only using the v7 and v8 (stands for an abbreviation of Very awful BTW). I too also get a very trebley tone from my fingers, and to be fair to the RG I am pretty clueless when it comes to amp set ups.

My Jem is a completely different story. I find it really easy to get a good sound. I like RGs alot but I definately find that the Jem is much more of a "plug and play" guitar. Changing switch positions and amp settings seems to bring out something new and pleasant to hear, rather than being a question of "how do I tweak this so it sounds OK".

I do also have different setting for all my different guitars. I am lucky enough to have JMP-1 so I just use about 5 or 6 patches replicated in different memory positions (usually starting at 30, then 40, then 50 etc). Each set is tweaked to sound good for a particular one of my main axes, although I do like to hear the difference between each guitars own voice. I then use a midi foot controller (which goes up in banks of 10) to switch to the correct set of patches.

Whatever you say about midi based rigs, they are at least versatile.

Just as a last thought, I wonder if part of the problem is the guitars you are comparing the RGs to. An rg compared to an SL1, or a Vwh is never going to come off great IMO :)
 

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If you like the sound of your BC Rich with EMGs then just throw EMGs in the 550. EMGs sound almost identical no matter what you put them in. Or, get EKG to make you a swamp ash or alder (or mahogany or...) body for that 550.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
OK then, here's a question. Does a BFP sound similar to a 550. I've never played one, and if I buy one it will probably be over the internet and I'll never get to play it first. I just think they are beautiful.
 

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ronsws6 said:
OK then, here's a question. Does a BFP sound similar to a 550. I've never played one, and if I buy one it will probably be over the internet and I'll never get to play it first. I just think they are beautiful.
rg550 vs. bfp...direct mounted paf pros vs. pickguard mounted v7s and v8s.
apples to oranges, brother! paf pros in basswood ain't my fave, but they got way more life in them than the v7s and v8s anyday.

rich
 
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