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Author Topic: 335 pickups. OK, now I am confused...  (Read 11933 times)

elavd

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335 pickups. OK, now I am confused...
« on: August 21, 2008, 03:26:24 PM »
Some months ago I decided to change my Classic 57 pickups in my Gibson ES335.
Due to some financial problem that I faced, I decided to postpone the purchase of a new set.


I was ready to order the Stormy Mondays (after many forum member's suggestions), when I thought that Tim could give me also a good advice in pickup chosing. So I sent him an email, asking these:

"...I want to replace the Classic 57 pickups of my Gibson ES335, because:
1) they are not very well sonically balanced...When I set them so that they have equal output, the neck pickup sounds too bassy while  the bridge pickup sounds too trebly...
2) The overall sound of the set has a very pronounced mid-range sound.

So I'd like a set of pickups that:
1) would be balanced as far as frequencies and output
2) would have a more clear/"transparent" and not so midrange sound. I play mainly clean with my guitar and sometimes with a little overdrive.
3) I would appreciate if it could have 4 wires, so that I could have the option od spliting the pickups.

So which set would you suggest me buying
...?


I was expecting his answer, almost sure that he would also suggest me the SMs, BUT, he wrote me this:
"...The Mule humbucker set for a balanced vintage set of humbuckers with an excellent clean tone..."
"...they have a very balanced response, overall it's very flat due to the Alnico IV...
"

My confusion became greater, when Fourth Feline, sent me a couple of PMs, explaining me why he finaly chose to replace the SMs on his 335 guitar, with the (P90s) "Missisipi Queens"!!!

So, here I am, even more confused, without having any idea, which set should I order...

1) The "forum most-suggested" Stormy Mondays? But...do they have clarity, and presence without being "harsh" sounding, or are they dull sounding (especially on the base strings?). How about note definition?
2) The Mules (Tim is the who makes them, so maybe he is right suggesting them to me)? But...as I wrote, I don't want pronounced midrange frequencies, and the Mules have "fat-mids"...
3) The Missisipi Queens? Well, I love the sound of Grant Green too (he played almost exclusively with P90s), but do the MQs have the "classic 335 sound", or have their own distinctive character???
 :? :? :?

Please tell me your opinion on this...
« Last Edit: August 21, 2008, 03:28:12 PM by elavd »
> How many guitars are enough?
> One MORE!!!

Twinfan

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Re: 335 pickups. OK, now I am confused...
« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2008, 03:51:28 PM »
I think P90s will be too fat sounding, so from what you say they won't suit you.

AII SMs are smooth and soft sounding.  Not so much presence and clarity, more warm and smooth.

AIV Mules are quite fat and biting.  Again, maybe not quite what you're looking for.

What about AIV SMs?  They would sit somewhere between a Mule and Stormy Monday.  Fourth Feline has a pair of these in his SG so you may want to ask him for his opinion on how they'd sound in your 335  :)

HTH AMPS

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Re: 335 pickups. OK, now I am confused...
« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2008, 04:01:48 PM »
... or an AII Mule to make it less pokey in the mids and soften the attack.

martinw

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Re: 335 pickups. OK, now I am confused...
« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2008, 04:40:44 PM »
What about AIV SMs? 

Seconded. That's what I had in my 333.  8)
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elavd

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Re: 335 pickups. OK, now I am confused...
« Reply #4 on: August 21, 2008, 05:02:25 PM »
Do the A4 SM have clear, rounded but still not dull highs?
How do the bass strings sound?
> How many guitars are enough?
> One MORE!!!

Fourth Feline

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Re: 335 pickups. OK, now I am confused...
« Reply #5 on: August 21, 2008, 07:04:14 PM »
Do the A4 SM have clear, rounded but still not dull highs?
How do the bass strings sound?

AIV Stormy highs are very clear, but not as rounded as the AII.   Neither is dull .  Even then,  there are more rounded pickups than the S.M. on the top three strings.  The bass end in AII S.M. is too rounded to my ears. ( See Tim's excellent guide to magnets ).

With a switch from AII to AIV in a Stormy Monday set, the the top end starts to get brighter and harder.   I think of an Alnico IV S.M. as perhaps being closer to a Riff Raff than an AII Stormy in the upper registers, but a touch less biting.

In the bass strings AII are warm but chord notes and bass runs blend together too easily , more a warm mix of all the  notes blending together  - as opposed to a sequence of seperate picked notes. 

With a magnet swap to AIV Stormys, the bass starts to get tighter, but at the loss of the 'trademark' Stormy Monday top end . 

AIV Stormy's therefore sound great in a solid body mahoghany guitar ( my S.G. for example ) -  where you might want a hybrid between AII Stormy and Riff Raffs. The AIV Stormys are a little 'stiff' sounding in the top registers of a 335 to my ears.

M.Q.s warm and round the top end, tighten the bass - and ( for me ) have demonstrated why the Warpig ( or as Twinfan once suggested to me )  the Black Dog might be surprising contenders.  I used to associate weaker pickups with mellow - and higher output pickups with hard, but the M.Qs have begun to dispell ( if not reverse ) that perception.

PLEASE , do bear in mind that I like a slightly compressed tone though, - and therefore the AII Stormys or the enigmatic  AIII 'Manahatans' would be better suited to someone who prefers an almost acoustic  open / clean tone as a basis to work from .

The experiments I have tried prove  that there is no one ideal B.K.P for Jazz, but a line of possibilities depending entirely on what basic building blocks you like.  I think that we tend to forget , that whilst the Metal / Shred / Rock / Blues players on here divide into subsections of basic preference of bright / dark  / tight / loose sounding pickups e.t.c  then the relatively less explored area of Jazz also divides into two or three equally valid paths, along which a sequence of pickups reside.

« Last Edit: August 21, 2008, 07:19:10 PM by Fourth Feline »

elavd

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Re: 335 pickups. OK, now I am confused...
« Reply #6 on: August 21, 2008, 07:54:05 PM »
Fourth Feline, in order to have some kind of "reference", how would you call the sound of this 335 (e.g. (acoustic/open soundind, harsh, rounded, compressed, warm, thin...bla bla bla)?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7geNM_4pZhA

> How many guitars are enough?
> One MORE!!!

elavd

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Re: 335 pickups. OK, now I am confused...
« Reply #7 on: August 21, 2008, 07:58:38 PM »
One of my favorite ES335 sounds is the one heard on 1:37:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f64XZRRs0jA
> How many guitars are enough?
> One MORE!!!

Fourth Feline

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Re: 335 pickups. OK, now I am confused...
« Reply #8 on: August 21, 2008, 08:45:29 PM »
Fourth Feline, in order to have some kind of "reference", how would you call the sound of this 335 (e.g. (acoustic/open soundind, harsh, rounded, compressed, warm, thin...bla bla bla)?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7geNM_4pZhA


Great !

Thanks for providing a reference point.  That sound is the alnico II Stormy Monday sound.

You will notice a precise , firm but pleasant presentation on the top three strings, but you will also notice that when he hits the bass strings, they lack the authority / detail of the top three strings, almost like someone has reduced the volume on bass notes - and increased it on treble notes. If you like your root / bass notes to frame / take second place to the melody line then AII Stormy Mondays will do exactly this but with a nicer 'fruitier' tone.

I also observe that the intrinsic guitar tone is 'open' in my terms of reference - but the camera / microphone compresses the notes at their peak.

If this is your desire, it's AII Stormy's all the way .  :)




Fourth Feline

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Re: 335 pickups. OK, now I am confused...
« Reply #9 on: August 21, 2008, 09:01:27 PM »
One of my favorite ES335 sounds is the one heard on 1:37:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f64XZRRs0jA

Now THAT is my favourite tone, the one I only fully achieve with M.Qs. in my 335 copy. My reasoning behind it is as follows:

With M.Qs onboard the guitar ( and set close to the strings ) - the compression that Larry ( our hero ! ) gets by snapping the strings with his fingers - is achieved ( with M.Qs ) just by picking with a heavy pick and a moderate treble setting on the amp E.Q. ( I.E. Treble = 5 or 6 ).

This is what I mean by "carrying my sound with me onboard the guitar" - I want the guitar to sound like that by default, and only get more open or brighter with a turn of the amp's treble control , lowering the pickup considerably - or by switching to a medium weight pick.

With the the M.Q you have the ( pickup ) power to decide between open or compressed, without special picking technique.  With the AII Stormys you will have to 'do a Larry' and snap away at those strings.

The decider for me is that your ( 2nd ) posted clip featuring  Larry Carlton demonstarates clear and authoritive definition in the opening bass riff / pattern, a phenomena I get with M.Qs, not AII S.Ms.

Go back and look / listen again, and decide whether you like the rather 'shy' bass response of the "335 demo" player - or Larry's more articulate bass grind.  If the 335 demo wins, buy the AII S.M. - and if the Larry Carlton tone in the upper registers at 1:38 AND the clear opening bass line, then buy the M.Q.

Hope that makes sense / helps in some way  :D

( * Edited fpr spelling  * )  oops !
« Last Edit: August 22, 2008, 07:42:25 PM by Fourth Feline »

elavd

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Re: 335 pickups. OK, now I am confused...
« Reply #10 on: August 22, 2008, 09:08:38 PM »
Sorry guys but I CANNOT DECIDE which pickups to order...

The AII Stormy Mondays?
The AIV Stormy Mondays?
The Mules?

I've read almost ALL the threads referring to the 3 sets but I still can't choose...

My heart tells me to order the unpotted AII SMs, but some posts over the forum (and Tim's advice) make me think of either the Mule set, or the AIV SMS...

Confusion continues... :?

PS: One parameter that I didn't mention, is that I want to be able play some funky stuff with my 335, too...
« Last Edit: August 22, 2008, 09:10:43 PM by elavd »
> How many guitars are enough?
> One MORE!!!

Fourth Feline

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Re: 335 pickups. OK, now I am confused...
« Reply #11 on: August 22, 2008, 09:59:40 PM »
Sorry guys but I CANNOT DECIDE which pickups to order...

The AII Stormy Mondays?
The AIV Stormy Mondays?
The Mules?

I've read almost ALL the threads referring to the 3 sets but I still can't choose...

My heart tells me to order the unpotted AII SMs, but some posts over the forum (and Tim's advice) make me think of either the Mule set, or the AIV SMS...

Confusion continues... :?

PS: One parameter that I didn't mention, is that I want to be able play some funky stuff with my 335, too...

Hi Ealvd,  :)

Again,  you give me a vital 'clue'.

The introduction of Funk tells me that you are needing ( tasteful ) attack AND a very level ( or slightly scooped ) E.Q. 

Of the 3 pickups you mention it is the AIV Stormy Mondays that I feel are best. 

They will have a tighter 'snap' than AII S.Ms - without undue harshness for Funk,  but ( when I consider your variety of playing styles from your 'You Tube'  playing ) - will still make you work for the Larry Carlton sounds.   I am of course curious as to how our other B.K.P friends / owners respond to this post ;  taste and tone being very subjective. 

I wish you well in your continuing exploration .  Let us not forget , you do have what ( for me ) is the 'Holy Grail' of guitars.  May I also mention the value of checking that you have 500K pots and high quality capacitors fitted, whilst you undergo  the considerable "labour of love" - that is swapping out pickups / electrics in a Semi - Acoustic.   :D






« Last Edit: August 22, 2008, 10:06:48 PM by Fourth Feline »

kellar

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Re: 335 pickups. OK, now I am confused...
« Reply #12 on: August 22, 2008, 10:45:03 PM »
I agree with the above. I had my AIV SM originally in a 335 style guitar and it was VERY much that tone that you provided. I think they will work magic in that guitar.
Calibrated IV Mules, Stormy Monday/Riff Raff

PhilKing

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Re: 335 pickups. OK, now I am confused...
« Reply #13 on: August 24, 2008, 03:21:48 PM »
I have unpotted AII Stormy Mondays in my 335 and I love the sound.  That said, I was after the Clapton Crossroads sound, not a clean jazzy sound.  The AII Stormy's nail the rock tones, but to be honest I don't play jazz and have never listened to Larry Carlton much.  If I was going for a jazz sound, I would probably pick up my GB10!  AIV magnets in general seem to give a cleaner tighter tone than AII, but all my AII's are in semi-solid and my AIV's are in solid guitars so it is hard to say what the AIV SM or Mule would be like in a 335.  My gut feeling is that if Tim is telling you to go for it, then I would follow his advice.  He has never steered me wrong.
So many pickups, so little time

elavd

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Re: 335 pickups. OK, now I am confused...
« Reply #14 on: August 24, 2008, 03:33:07 PM »
My gut feeling is that if Tim is telling you to go for it, then I would follow his advice.  He has never steered me wrong.

You have a point here, but I've seen older posts where Tim has written that he prefers the AIIs over the AIVs.

For example:

"I have got a lovely supply of Alnico II now and use these by default for Stormy Monday and BKP90s..............AIV is still my fav mag but the AIIs work really well in the lower wind of the SMs and in thts instance, better than AIV IMHO.Having said that I'll do AIV on request."

http://bareknucklepickups.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=6653.msg83765#msg83765

 :?
« Last Edit: August 24, 2008, 03:34:52 PM by elavd »
> How many guitars are enough?
> One MORE!!!