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Premium Member
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
While changing Neck pickups (Single Coils and Single Sized Humbuckers) recently and trying to deal with Volume Drops, got me thinking why do we dont yet have something like "smart" pickup Selectors and Volume Pots... I mean... lets imagine that when I go from one position to the other I want a volume change automatically that was previously defined by me, could it be to try to level the signal, could be to bump up the signal or lower it.

How cool would be to be able to place the selector in one Position and the Volume would react to what we had "programmed" it to do... like we can a simple coffee machine, either we want the cup to be filled until the top or we just want 80% of and we program it once and be done with it.

This could be achieve by using Push Push button, Position 5 (Neck) Volume at 9-10, Push the button Twice, store the preference. Position 1 Volume at 7, Push the Button and store it. How hard could something like this be done?

Knowing the Guitar community they will say right away that this is shit, thats NOT how we have done for 60 years... but they like to step on a button on the pedal board and have presets they made ready to kick in ;)

Isnt it time we really start to move forward? Fishman are doing it by giving us two voices per pickup, what took them so long is what I ask... why only 2? It would be great to have a pickup that could vary sound immensely me thinks. In a more and more Digital and Electronic World, the Guitar is still all analogue.. weird as fuck if you ask me.

Anyway tell me what you think and what "crazy" ideas you guys also have, who knows who is reading and maybe one day comes out with something.
 

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I am Groot
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32,450 Posts
My Les Paul Studio has what you're describing. I have push/push pots for the coil taps, and another push/push pot that is a 9dB boost. That boost gets the tapped pickups to the same output volume as when they're not tapped. Now, having said that, the push/push pot reliability is pretty poor, as I've had nothing but signal loss gremlins since I've had it, and I'm getting ready to just rip it all out in favor of no taps or boost.
 

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Premium Member
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
But you cant still make "Combinations" right? Its either Boost On of Boost Off.

When I referred the Push Push Button was just a way to store for example Volume Presets when the Selector is at a certain Position. Could be Tone more Open or Close if I so wished it instead of Volume.
 

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Señor Member
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12,297 Posts
@OP: The Variax employs a lot of the technology you're talking about. If you have a newer model, they've essentially got a 5-position selector switch, a "model" selector knob and a "tuning" selector knob. But in the programmer, you can essentially set any selector to do anything you want; that includes pickup 'types' and also output levels for each setting. So if you want single coils in one position, humbuckers in the next and a p90 in the next, you can do that and adjust the output level on all of them to match.

But yeah, I know you're referencing a technology that can be added to normal magnetic pickup setup. That's not all that far fetched, it'd be kind of a compressor/gate/normalizer type thing that'll output the pickups at a set volume by either boosting or cutting output level to match.
 

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Dream Crusher
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21,053 Posts
@OP: The Variax employs a lot of the technology you're talking about. If you have a newer model, they've essentially got a 5-position selector switch, a "model" selector knob and a "tuning" selector knob. But in the programmer, you can essentially set any selector to do anything you want; that includes pickup 'types' and also output levels for each setting. So if you want single coils in one position, humbuckers in the next and a p90 in the next, you can do that and adjust the output level on all of them to match.

But yeah, I know you're referencing a technology that can be added to normal magnetic pickup setup. That's not all that far fetched, it'd be kind of a compressor/gate/normalizer type thing that'll output the pickups at a set volume by either boosting or cutting output level to match.
Or programmable potentiometers (see: Triaxis) with selectable outputs. I think I've seen something like that before, but don't know what it was called or who made it.
 

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I am Groot
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32,450 Posts
But you cant still make "Combinations" right? Its either Boost On of Boost Off.

When I referred the Push Push Button was just a way to store for example Volume Presets when the Selector is at a certain Position. Could be Tone more Open or Close if I so wished it instead of Volume.
I have three push/push pots; one for each pickup and one for the boost. So yes, I can make combinations.

I think one of those ultimate switches (or whatever they're called) could get you where you're trying to go. They really open up possible wiring combinations, so you could conceivably flip the blade switch to a different position that only engages half the pickup AND turns on the boost.
 

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Reverend Secret Flower
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11,836 Posts
I wouldn't get much use from something like this. If your having volume disparity between your single to hum, you just need to pick a better match for whichever pickup you like more.
 

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Look what I can do
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498 Posts
I've thought about putting in a secondary volume pot in my carvin. Its got holes for 4 knobs and 3 mini-toggles + the 3-way, but I only use 3way, volume & 3 mini toggles. So I'm thinking set it up so that i take the 3rd mini-switch, which is currently a kill-switch that I don't use, and have it toggle between the two different volumes. This way I can sort of have of a preset 'volume rolled off' which having to actually roll the volume. Or I could use it to switch between 250k & 500k pots or something like that.

I'll probably never do it, but its a thought that crossed my mind.

Companies here and there have tried to innovate the guitar and it usually just flops. Variax is probably the most successful 'major leap' in guitar tech, and even that is just kind of mildly popular I think.
 

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I am Groot
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32,450 Posts
I wouldn't get much use from something like this. If your having volume disparity between your single to hum, you just need to pick a better match for whichever pickup you like more.
You'd be surprised at how impossible this is to achieve. Even the hottest singlecoils in the world have substantially lower output than even the lowest output humbuckers.

The better approach is to stop giving a fuck live, and just play everything on one or the other. It's not like the audience can tell the difference in your tone. I've got my humbucker guitars, and then I've got my single coil guitars. Using a signal booster at the front of the pedal board for the singlecoil guitar gets you to unity.
 

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Is Actually Recording
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I thought what you were describing was simply called a pickup selector? :lol:
 

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Premium Member
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
You'd be surprised at how impossible this is to achieve. Even the hottest singlecoils in the world have substantially lower output than even the lowest output humbuckers.

The better approach is to stop giving a fuck live, and just play everything on one or the other. It's not like the audience can tell the difference in your tone. I've got my humbucker guitars, and then I've got my single coil guitars. Using a signal booster at the front of the pedal board for the singlecoil guitar gets you to unity.
You know one of the reasons I started this Thread was exactly because I have now a Single Coil in the Neck that is Hotter than the Duncan Distortion in the Bridge :D I have to roll off the volume a bit so it totally cleans ahahaha.

Until I figure out what Single Coils im going to get on the Jackson SDX im testing the crap I already have... and the Entwistle XS62N were on another guitar. I simply rip them out and place them on the SDX. They are not the typical Stratty sound im after but they are miles better than the crap that came by default. In fact I should also have brought the HDN Humbucker to test it out, now it will be a while until I can try it.
 

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Where?!
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Vigier actually tried this a while ago. They built a prototype guitar where you could manipulate the pickups and controls via midi, but apparently it never went into production as there was virtually zero interest.

One of my favourite ways of getting a similar effect is a blower switch, where you can bypass all the controls and just wire the bridge pickup to the output. Nice and intuitive, especially if your guitar has split/parallel options.
 

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DOO)))M
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Vigier actually tried this a while ago. They built a prototype guitar where you could manipulate the pickups and controls via midi, but apparently it never went into production as there was virtually zero interest.

One of my favourite ways of getting a similar effect is a blower switch, where you can bypass all the controls and just wire the bridge pickup to the output. Nice and intuitive, especially if your guitar has split/parallel options.
Sounds like the Karl Sanders V, where he has it just going directly to the output since he doesn't fuck around with any swells or switching

 

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Tarantula Lobbyist
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5,281 Posts
EBMM had a guitar called the gamechanger or reflex (one was a bass and one was a guitar if I remember correctly) that was supposed to have all sorts of pickup selection options built in. I've never seen one in person so no idea how or if it works.
 

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Guiterrorizer
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15,696 Posts
You know one of the reasons I started this Thread was exactly because I have now a Single Coil in the Neck that is Hotter than the Duncan Distortion in the Bridge :D I have to roll off the volume a bit so it totally cleans ahahaha.
Lower your single coil and/or raise your bridge pickup.

Honestly when trying a guitar where the volume was actually matched (PRS Paul's guitar) I missed the volume drop that comes from tapping/splitting pickups.
 

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Reverend Secret Flower
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You'd be surprised at how impossible this is to achieve. Even the hottest singlecoils in the world have substantially lower output than even the lowest output humbuckers..
Not at all. My Parker has a Duncan Custom V with a pair of SSL-6's and its perfectly balanced.
 

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Dream Crusher
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21,053 Posts
You'd be surprised at how impossible this is to achieve. Even the hottest singlecoils in the world have substantially lower output than even the lowest output humbuckers.

The better approach is to stop giving a fuck live, and just play everything on one or the other. It's not like the audience can tell the difference in your tone. I've got my humbucker guitars, and then I've got my single coil guitars. Using a signal booster at the front of the pedal board for the singlecoil guitar gets you to unity.
I dunno, the Mississippi Queen in the neck of my Forshage was a fair bit louder than the VHII in the bridge till I lowered it :lol:
 

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I am Groot
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32,450 Posts
Not at all. My Parker has a Duncan Custom V with a pair of SSL-6's and its perfectly balanced.
I had to look that up. Holy shit, 13.3K?!? :lol:

My problem is the singlecoils I like tend to be south of 9K. Good luck getting anything to balance with those.
 

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I am Groot
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32,450 Posts
I dunno, the Mississippi Queen in the neck of my Forshage was a fair bit louder than the VHII in the bridge till I lowered it :lol:
Isn't the VHII lower than 9K? You and Crooks are probably the only guys around here playing such a low output humbucker for metal. I've got a Wolfetone Dr Vintage set in a Les Paul that are around 7.8K, but they don't work well for metal at all because they're too open and dynamic sounding. Mike and I recorded some stuff with them and they just didn't deliver that chug we were looking for. They sound amazing for classic rock, though.
 

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Dream Crusher
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Isn't the VHII lower than 9K? You and Crooks are probably the only guys around here playing such a low output humbucker for metal. I've got a Wolfetone Dr Vintage set in a Les Paul that are around 7.8K, but they don't work well for metal at all because they're too open and dynamic sounding. Mike and I recorded some stuff with them and they just didn't deliver that chug we were looking for. They sound amazing for classic rock, though.
Just under 9K or so. The MQ is just under 7K. Didn't feel the need to go high output in a semi-hollow. I have plenty of superstrats with higher output pickups (Aldrich, Perpetual Burn, whatever Drew put in his old Warmoth, etc.) for other applications.
 
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