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Author Topic: Guitar tone is weak and horrible  (Read 21153 times)

crispsandwich

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Guitar tone is weak and horrible
« on: April 04, 2005, 08:00:04 PM »
Right well, after the honeymoon period with my BKs is over, and I've tried and tried and tried to get the tones in my head, I'm still coming nowhere near.  The pickups themselves are very clear but the tone is thin and shrill in the higher registers. I have a Trilogy Suite in the neck, a Mother's Milk in the middle and a Nailbomb in the bridge. My guitar is a very very cheap (70 or so) Peavey Raptor. Does the guitar make that much difference?

There's an awful buzz on all of the sounds too, and it seems that the more I play, the louder it gets, and in the end lead lines just turn into a mush sound. High gain sounds are also fizzy. It's not the amp, because it's silent when nothing is plugged in, and the noise goes away when the guitar's volume is turned right down. So it must be the guitar.

I'm running the guitar through a Marshall AVT50 and a Vox Tonelab. Maybe I need a new amp?

I don't doubt for a second the quality of the pickups, and from what I can see, Tim has done a fantastic job on the wiring. I'm just at a loss and very frustrated.

Maybe I need to take the pickups out and stick them in a higher quality guitar? and buy a new amp?

Any suggestion would be very helpful I'm sure.,

Thanks for reading,

-Danny

Hayden

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Guitar tone is weak and horrible
« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2005, 08:07:25 PM »
A couple of questions, have you had all the wiring, shielding, and grounds checked on your guitar? Also, are you running the Tonelab through the front end of your amp or through the effects loop?

crispsandwich

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Guitar tone is weak and horrible
« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2005, 08:15:59 PM »
The wiring is all new, Tim wired it himself onto the pickguard and sent it me, so I'm pretty sure that can't be it. I've ran the Tonelab through the front and through the effects return. It sounds fizzy through the front on 'line' mode, but on 'amp' mode it's far too dark and no EQing seems to fix the problem. The sound just does not cut through. I've tried turning the cab sims off each time and this helps somewhat, but there still isn't that 'wow' clarity I can hear in my head.  Through the effects return it sounds slightly less defined, but less fizzy and dark on both settings. With just the guitar and amp the sound is fizzy and shrill on the nailbomb bridge HB, and too bassy and buzzy on the neck Trilogy SC. The middle pickup sounds nice for clean stuff though. With my EQ pedal I can get slightly better sounds, but it decided to die on me this morning so I can't use that anymore. I thought it was maybe bad technique that was causing the noise, but I'm sure that no amount of bad technique can make the amount of noise I'm getting. They do say that all guitars are noisy to some extent, but I've tried a lot more quiet guitars.

Hayden

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Guitar tone is weak and horrible
« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2005, 08:21:13 PM »
With the Tonelab try running it through the effects return on your amplifier plugging straight into the Tonelab (Thus defeating the Marshall pre amp) then set your amp EQ as follows. Treb=0, Bass=0, Middle=Full. Run the TL in whichever mode you prefer (I normally use Line) and adjust your amps Mid levels to suit. This may help a little.

Let us know how you get on.

HJM

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« Reply #4 on: April 04, 2005, 08:30:00 PM »
Right odds on it's setup of either the amp or guitar

Unplug, find somewhere quiet and listen to the natural sound of the guitar. Listen for buzz and ringing coming from anywhere it shouldn't like bridge, nut and tuners. If there's a problem here, it'll never sound right no matter what the pickup is...

Check the action, too low will loose a bit of tone and sustain. Check neck relief. Tension of the truss rod can do strange things to tone if it's too tight Check the nut height. play every note on the neck with constant picking force, see if there's any dead spots on the neck. Neck's are never 100% dead spot free but if there's a bad problem you'll notice a lack of sustain and woolley sound.

If the guitar has a problem, it'll allways be there.....however, it's pretty rare to get a total lemon, I fitted some BKPs in a 100 tele copy, made from ply....and it blows away many solid tele's!!!

Has the Tonelab got a headphone out?  If so do you have the same problem listening using headphones - swap leads over too, just in case.

How are you setting up your rig? Start simple - just work on headphones with the Tonelab, or plug direct into the Amp. No reverb or other effects. Start with tones at 12 o'clock, gain set clean, and the volume to taste. Play all over the neck, check for strange sounds.

Turn up the gain to get some crunch going. Try and listen to the notes in the chord, listen out for any strange sounds........a good time to run through your favorite classic riff is now....


Up the gain to lead levels, listen for those wierd buzzes. Do not lower the mids!!! If you lower the mids you risk the problems of a muddy bottom and shrill highs.......

You want a balanced tone. You can add bass, but keep the mids up, likewise add treble and presence (you'll need less at volume)

You can do th above with either your tonelab, or the Marshall. I'd start with the amp. Getting digital simulators to sound good into  an amp is hard work..........be carefull of going over the top with gain and effects.

AVT amps are a bit aggressive - you could bug your favorite guitar shop and try a few different amps, especially valve ones!!

At this point you should have a decent sound. I've got all three of those pickups, I'm playing a Nailbomb now, in between words....really should be sorting out my next guitar lesson, but hey.....tone is tone....oh, and it is definatly not thin...
Apache,VHII,Emerald,Nailbomb,MiracleMan,StormyMonday,BlackDog,Trilogy,Mothersmilk,Sultans+Sinner

crispsandwich

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Guitar tone is weak and horrible
« Reply #5 on: April 04, 2005, 08:31:06 PM »
Well when I run the TL into the effects return I can't use the EQ controls on the amp. So I tried running the TL as an effects pedal (effects send on amp to input on TL, left output on TL to effects return on the amp) and there was this buzz that didn't go away once the guitar volume was down/off and I was picking up some radio transmission. It was horrible. I have no idea what to do  :? But thankyou for the idea  :D

HJM

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Guitar tone is weak and horrible
« Reply #6 on: April 04, 2005, 08:34:24 PM »
just took me 30 minute to write that - really need to but this guitar down...
Apache,VHII,Emerald,Nailbomb,MiracleMan,StormyMonday,BlackDog,Trilogy,Mothersmilk,Sultans+Sinner

crispsandwich

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Guitar tone is weak and horrible
« Reply #7 on: April 04, 2005, 08:36:34 PM »
It's probably worth mentioning that my amp is faulty. It has EQ problems. The EQ doesn't make much difference and the treble knob makes the volume drop a hell of a lot in certain spots. Also, the middle knob seems to put a 'blanket' over the sound on certain spots. That's why I use(d) an EQ pedal. But my problem is the same through the TL. Just a dead, thin, buzzy sound. The guitar doesn't appear to have any problems unplugged, although there are a few tiny fret buzz issues. The guitar is well due a set up. Thanks for all your help so far  :D .

HJM

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Guitar tone is weak and horrible
« Reply #8 on: April 04, 2005, 08:44:39 PM »
Have you got a multimeter that has a continuity test?

If so, put one probe on the bridge, and the other on the jack plug (not the tip - anywhere that's metal, but not the tip!) If you get a buzz, that's good if not, get your shielding checked out.

Also, did you make all the correct ground connections when you fitted the  pickguard. You should have connected a ground to the bridge and a ground to the jack along with the signal conductor.

Get the guitar set up, have a go yourself even.... www.stewmac.com is a good place to start, look at the info section.

Check out the tone one the Tonelab through headphones....if your amps EQ is off, it won't help!

Hayden M
Apache,VHII,Emerald,Nailbomb,MiracleMan,StormyMonday,BlackDog,Trilogy,Mothersmilk,Sultans+Sinner

Tim

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Re: Guitar tone is weak and horrible
« Reply #9 on: April 04, 2005, 09:16:56 PM »
Quote from: crispsandwich
Right well, after the honeymoon period with my BKs is over, and I've tried and tried and tried to get the tones in my head, I'm still coming nowhere near.  The pickups themselves are very clear but the tone is thin and shrill in the higher registers. I have a Trilogy Suite in the neck, a Mother's Milk in the middle and a Nailbomb in the bridge. My guitar is a very very cheap (70 or so) Peavey Raptor. Does the guitar make that much difference?

There's an awful buzz on all of the sounds too, and it seems that the more I play, the louder it gets, and in the end lead lines just turn into a mush sound. High gain sounds are also fizzy. It's not the amp, because it's silent when nothing is plugged in, and the noise goes away when the guitar's volume is turned right down. So it must be the guitar.

I'm running the guitar through a Marshall AVT50 and a Vox Tonelab. Maybe I need a new amp?

I don't doubt for a second the quality of the pickups, and from what I can see, Tim has done a fantastic job on the wiring. I'm just at a loss and very frustrated.

Maybe I need to take the pickups out and stick them in a higher quality guitar? and buy a new amp?

Any suggestion would be very helpful I'm sure.,

Thanks for reading,


-Danny


It sounds to me like you haven't grounded the pick guard. The black  wire that comes off the rear of the guard goes to the grounding point in the guitar NOT the jack socket. The jack has to be grounded too, also to the same point inside the wiring cavity-this gives everything common ground through the bridge. The white wire goes to hot of the jack.
I tried this guard when I prewired it for you and it definately wasn't weak or thin sounding on our test guitar, in fact the Nailbomb in the bridge was an absolute beast. The metal pickguard won't help things but changing the guitar isn't necessary. I'm 100% convinced you've wired the black and white direct to the pickguard which means the guitar has floating ground which will sound aweful. Call me anytime if you want me to talk you though it.
Tim
BKP - "Wound, made and played the traditional way --- by hand!" Amen.

Hayden

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Guitar tone is weak and horrible
« Reply #10 on: April 04, 2005, 10:04:05 PM »
Quote from: crispsandwich
It's probably worth mentioning that my amp is faulty. It has EQ problems. The EQ doesn't make much difference and the treble knob makes the volume drop a hell of a lot in certain spots. Also, the middle knob seems to put a 'blanket' over the sound on certain spots. That's why I use(d) an EQ pedal. But my problem is the same through the TL. Just a dead, thin, buzzy sound. The guitar doesn't appear to have any problems unplugged, although there are a few tiny fret buzz issues. The guitar is well due a set up. Thanks for all your help so far  :D .


Sounds like Tim might well have an answer to the buzzing tone so maybe I can help a little with the Tonelab issue. Running your amps send into the tonelab is just piling pre amp onto preamp. You could, if you followed what I wrote above, just use the tonelab as your preamp and your Marshall as the power section.

Guitar - Tonelab - Effects return of Marshall.

Once you get the guitar sorted you'll notice a big improvement using the Tonelab this way. Good luck with it all mate :)

Hayden H

Like Hayden M......Just bigger and uglier.

FELINEGUITARS

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Guitar tone is weak and horrible
« Reply #11 on: April 05, 2005, 12:23:43 AM »
My first suspicion is that if the problem is on the guitar, then it is that you have the live and earth wires round the wrong way.
If you touch the metal parts on the guitar does the sound get louder or quieter (it should get quieter- if it gets louder then it is definately the wong way round)

Quick test = try the guitar through anopther amp- a friends amp or at a guitar store. If it sounds ok then it is your amp/fx set-up.
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