ToneQuest; Pickup comparison in a Custom Shop Les Paul

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mdrs
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ToneQuest; Pickup comparison in a Custom Shop Les Paul

Post by mdrs » Tue Jul 05, 2011 8:53 pm

As promised, I'll be putting several different sets of humbuckers into my Gibson Custom Shop "Burst Brothers" Les Paul. The factory installed original pu's are hand wounds made in the Custom Shop, not stock Gibby pu's. They are fine, but just don't match the "tone in my head", as they say. I find the neck pu a bit too mushy, and while the bridge pu is generally excellent, I find that single notes played up high on the neck, especially on the first two strings, sound "ice picky". Hence, the swap out contest!

Image

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I'll be putting the following sets of humbuckers into the BB LP; PRS DGT's, PRS 57/08's, Lindy Fralin "Pure PAF's", and WCR "The Filmore Set".

My plan is to record each different set of pickups in the identical same way, so that I can go back and do a side by side comparison. I'll also record the original pu's as well, of course.

The recording will be on my iMac Quad Core using Logic, thru the Apogee "Ensemble". I'll be playing the BB LP straight into my old Marshall 18 watt Bluesbreaker 2x10 combo (model 1958, from about 1965). I have the amp close mic'ed with a SM-57 (on the left in photo below) and a Royer 122 (on the right, below);

Image

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I also have my Neumann mic'ing the room;

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I'm going to keep it all set up, and in the same place through out the entire time I'm doing this little experiment.

I'm going to try to play pretty much the same tunes for each recording. I'll play "Sunshine Of Your Love" using the bridge pu, followed by a brief bit of "In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed" using the neck pu.

Here's the first installment, playing the Burst Brothers Les Paul with stock pick ups (i.e. with the original hand wound custom shop pu's still in it);

http://soundclick.com/share.cfm?id=10821175

I should have the PRS DGT's in the BB LP tomorrow, and will record again and post it soon.

Enjoy!! :wave:
Don

"There once was a note, Pure and Easy. Playing so free, like a breath rippling by."
"The guitar is such a great friend... If you play guitar, you are already blessed."

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemus ... dID=574296

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BritInvasion
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Re: ToneQuest; Pickup comparison in a Custom Shop Les Paul

Post by BritInvasion » Tue Jul 05, 2011 9:55 pm

Cool demo Don! I'll tell ya , the original pickups don't sound too shabby to my humble ears.
I sort of get what you're saying about the neck pup - Seems to have nice articulation for riffing but maybe a little indistinct on chording? Anyway , thanks for your efforts , looking forward to the next round ! :thumb:
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mdrs
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Re: ToneQuest; Pickup comparison in a Custom Shop Les Paul

Post by mdrs » Tue Jul 05, 2011 9:57 pm

BritInvasion wrote:Cool demo Don! I'll tell ya , the original pickups don't sound too shabby to my humble ears.
I sort of get what you're saying about the neck pup - Seems to have nice articulation for riffing but maybe a little indistinct on chording? Anyway , thanks for your efforts , looking forward to the next round ! :thumb:
Exactly right, regarding the neck pick up. It's pretty cool on leads, but mushy on any chording.
Don

"There once was a note, Pure and Easy. Playing so free, like a breath rippling by."
"The guitar is such a great friend... If you play guitar, you are already blessed."

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemus ... dID=574296

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Re: ToneQuest; Pickup comparison in a Custom Shop Les Paul

Post by Michael Patrick » Wed Jul 06, 2011 7:05 pm

Looks like you're controlling all the variables that are under your control... :thumb:
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Re: ToneQuest; Pickup comparison in a Custom Shop Les Paul

Post by Dr. Ellwood » Wed Jul 06, 2011 8:31 pm

This will be a great comparative analysis and some pretty tight controls on it too! I think we are going to need a comprehensive spread sheet to show all aspects of this swap out!!! I like these controlled tests! good job Doc!!! Yes a bit mushy on the rhythm but very nice on the single strings... :cool: :cool: :cool: :rawk:
I wonder now, what was his fate? Is he on the run? Or did his lights go out tonight? Will he see the sun? Star Trek "It may be the warriors who get the glory, but it's the engineers who build societies."




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Re: ToneQuest; Pickup comparison in a Custom Shop Les Paul

Post by mdrs » Wed Jul 06, 2011 8:40 pm

Michael Patrick wrote:Looks like you're controlling all the variables that are under your control... :thumb:
So much of our personal search for tone is subjective. It's what you heard, what you were told was best, the one guitar with that certain tone had such and such pickups..........

I like doing stuff in a way that controls for as many variables as possible. It doesn't guarantee that you'll get the best tone. But, as you say MP, it allows you to control as many variables as possible, making any decisions as solid as you can with "soft science" such as finding one's own personal tone.
Don

"There once was a note, Pure and Easy. Playing so free, like a breath rippling by."
"The guitar is such a great friend... If you play guitar, you are already blessed."

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemus ... dID=574296

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Re: ToneQuest; Pickup comparison in a Custom Shop Les Paul

Post by mdrs » Wed Jul 06, 2011 8:46 pm

Dr. Ellwood wrote:This will be a great comparative analysis and some pretty tight controls on it too! I think we are going to need a comprehensive spread sheet to show all aspects of this swap out!!! I like these controlled tests! good job Doc!!! Yes a bit mushy on the rhythm but very nice on the single strings... :cool: :cool: :cool: :rawk:
I think that if you're going to be a good surgeon, you have to be part engineer. :thumb:

I do like the tone of the leads on the original hand wound pu's on the BB LP, Lee. I agree, leads sound pretty cool. I'd like to have that, but cleaner, clearer, more articulate tone with the neck pu with chords as well.

I've spent about 20 minutes playing the BB LP with the PRS DGT pu's in it. I'll not say much just yet. It's didn't bowl me over, but it was pretty good. I'll keep it this way for a couple of days, and play it daily. I also want my sons to play it. Then, I'll record it, and do the next pu swap.
Don

"There once was a note, Pure and Easy. Playing so free, like a breath rippling by."
"The guitar is such a great friend... If you play guitar, you are already blessed."

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemus ... dID=574296

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Re: ToneQuest; Pickup comparison in a Custom Shop Les Paul

Post by mdrs » Sat Jul 09, 2011 6:25 pm

Here's todays audio clip, which is the Burst Brothers Les Paul now loaded with the PRS DGT pickups;

http://soundclick.com/share.cfm?id=10835071
Don

"There once was a note, Pure and Easy. Playing so free, like a breath rippling by."
"The guitar is such a great friend... If you play guitar, you are already blessed."

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemus ... dID=574296

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Re: ToneQuest; Pickup comparison in a Custom Shop Les Paul

Post by Dr. Ellwood » Sun Jul 10, 2011 5:33 am

"I think that if you're going to be a good surgeon, you have to be part engineer. :thumb: "

I think you are right Doc!! and the upside of that is that engineers like fast cars, long lunches and power naps! :D :rawk: :cool: :thumb:
I wonder now, what was his fate? Is he on the run? Or did his lights go out tonight? Will he see the sun? Star Trek "It may be the warriors who get the glory, but it's the engineers who build societies."




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Re: ToneQuest; Pickup comparison in a Custom Shop Les Paul

Post by mdrs » Sun Jul 10, 2011 9:44 am

Dr. Ellwood wrote:"I think that if you're going to be a good surgeon, you have to be part engineer. :thumb: "

I think you are right Doc!! and the upside of that is that engineers like fast cars, long lunches and power naps! :D :rawk: :cool: :thumb:
LOL......than, I must admit, that engineers are smarter than I. I drive a pickup truck, never take lunch, and never get a nap until after dinner at home.

Where did I go wrong?? :rawk:
Don

"There once was a note, Pure and Easy. Playing so free, like a breath rippling by."
"The guitar is such a great friend... If you play guitar, you are already blessed."

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemus ... dID=574296

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Re: ToneQuest; Pickup comparison in a Custom Shop Les Paul

Post by Dr. Ellwood » Sun Jul 10, 2011 12:34 pm

LOL DOC!!! well I can identify TWO elements... one is that instead of a lunch you are making deals on exquisite guitars.... and two is that after dinner you a too busy receiving those exquisite guitars from special couriers!!! ...that said, we can work with the pickup truck!!! WAIT....no we cannot... you need the pickup to pickup world class vintage AMPS!!!! :D :rawk: :rawk: :rawk: :) :thumb:
I wonder now, what was his fate? Is he on the run? Or did his lights go out tonight? Will he see the sun? Star Trek "It may be the warriors who get the glory, but it's the engineers who build societies."




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Re: ToneQuest; Pickup comparison in a Custom Shop Les Paul

Post by mdrs » Mon Jul 11, 2011 8:14 pm

I took the PRS DGT's out of the BB LP today, and threw in a pair of PRS 57/08's. I will record and post in the next day or two. The preview is WOW, they sound great!!

When I'm done with all of the clips, I'll collect all of the clips and post them in one posting, so we can all have a "quick reference" way of listening to them all one after the other to try and compare.
Don

"There once was a note, Pure and Easy. Playing so free, like a breath rippling by."
"The guitar is such a great friend... If you play guitar, you are already blessed."

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemus ... dID=574296

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Re: ToneQuest; Pickup comparison in a Custom Shop Les Paul

Post by BritInvasion » Tue Aug 02, 2011 8:58 am

This is one of the coolest threads I've ever seen...er...heard! Great stuff Don , and your idea of putting together a reference thread with all of 'em is really great.
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Re: ToneQuest; Pickup comparison in a Custom Shop Les Paul

Post by mdrs » Tue Aug 02, 2011 9:21 am

Thanks for the reminder, Frank!! I'm lagging a little behind. I'll try to record the next clip, with the PRS 57/08's in it, and get the next pickups in it soon.

The 57/08's sound really REALLY good. They are definate contenders for the "title".
Don

"There once was a note, Pure and Easy. Playing so free, like a breath rippling by."
"The guitar is such a great friend... If you play guitar, you are already blessed."

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemus ... dID=574296

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Re: ToneQuest; Pickup comparison in a Custom Shop Les Paul

Post by mdrs » Thu Aug 04, 2011 6:43 pm

I finally got my behind into the "studio" and recorded audio with the PRS "57/08" pick ups in the Burst Brothers Les Paul.

To this point, the "57/08's" are far and away my favorite. Excellent tone on both the bridge and neck. At first I thought that the neck was too much like a bridge pu. But, as I've played it, I have liked the tone more and more. Both pu's seem to have a good character, with warmth that is not mushy. They seem articulate and clear, yet warm.

Part of why it took me this long to record this is that I was enjoying these pu's so much, I didn't want to take them out of the guitar!

Here you go, the Burst Brothers Les Paul loaded with PRS "57/08" pickups;

http://soundclick.com/share.cfm?id=10920022

Reminder; For each of these clips, I'm using the bridge pu for "Sunshine Of Your Love", and the neck pu for "In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed"
Don

"There once was a note, Pure and Easy. Playing so free, like a breath rippling by."
"The guitar is such a great friend... If you play guitar, you are already blessed."

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemus ... dID=574296

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