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NGD: Schecter SVSS Exotic

Andy Eagle

Power User
For a Floyd set up I just take the thing out and put the strings on it out of the guitar. Then I string it first two strings with one spring adding the others as I go along . I've done this that many times that I can pretty much guess how sharp the strings need to be as I go across the guitar to end up with only a small tweak to the springs and tuning. intonation needs to be one at a time when everything is in place. All adjustments are done without tension and checked with a strobe tuner with the setup done.
 

Andy Eagle

Power User
Another thing about a Floyd is you can often pop the springs off ( holding the bar) and take the thing out of the guitar without even detuning it or unlocking the nut make the adjustment pop it back, add the springs and than tweak the spring and tuning to get back to your zero. On a fender you can even then take off the neck and you are still in tune when you pit it back on.
 

JoKeR III

Power User
Steve Vai's tech always does :D

Perfect case of "just because _______ does it" doesn't automatically make it a good idea or true. Just illustrates the power we give to people we believe are somehow 'better' than or know more than us.
 

Justincase

Experienced
There is definitely a difference between what techniques you can use on a road worn, battle scared, working touring guitar and the one that come in where it's obviously a case queen that sees more gawking than playing. Collector grade vs a well used tool to make music. The point of posting the video link was to point out that a very slight neck pocket gap on a bolt on RG style guitar isn't going to have any measurable or even noticable ill effect on its performance. It just wont. Vai is one of the most aggressive and demanding guitarist alive and the neck joint on his number 1 is completely cracked out and it still performs.

There is more than one way to skin a cat in any given situation.
 
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unix-guy

Legend!
You won't like unstringing it. Sometimes wraps can get stuck in the tuner and then you need wire cutters and pliers. On balance I think it is a bad idea. I think that if you do this often resigning a Floyd is no issue and hardly any more time than anything else. In fact easier than quite a few bridges I could name. I would not recommend much in this video.
I saw Thomas show the same setup method at Vai Academy a few years ago and he also mentioned the same concern.
 

guitarnerdswe

Fractal Fanatic
There is definitely a difference between what techniques you can use on a road worn, battle scared, working touring guitar and the one that come in where it's obviously a case queen that sees more gawking than playing. Collector grade vs a well used tool to make music. The point of posting the video link was to point out that a very slight neck pocket gap on a bolt on RG style guitar isn't going to have any measurable or even noticable ill effect on its performance. It just wont. Vai is one of the most aggressive and demanding guitarist alive and the neck joint on his number 1 is completely cracked out and it still performs.

There is more than one way to skin a cat in any given situation.
I don't think that it's a beat up old guitar has much to do with it. Evo goes through new necks and bridges like some people change underwear. When you know the bridge is going to be replaced X times a year, you can afford to save some time and just manhandle it when setting it up and restringing.
 

Andy Eagle

Power User
There is definitely a difference between what techniques you can use on a road worn, battle scared, working touring guitar and the one that come in where it's obviously a case queen that sees more gawking than playing. Collector grade vs a well used tool to make music. The point of posting the video link was to point out that a very slight neck pocket gap on a bolt on RG style guitar isn't going to have any measurable or even noticable ill effect on its performance. It just wont. Vai is one of the most aggressive and demanding guitarist alive and the neck joint on his number 1 is completely cracked out and it still performs.

There is more than one way to skin a cat in any given situation.
Yes your right, This is more about staying in tune tonight rather than lasting until tomorrow. He once threw EVO's bridge pickup in the bin (swapped it out before the gig) Steve had the whole crew in the bins looking for it when he found out.
 
One thing more I've discovered about this guitar: the Schecter Sunset Strip bridge pickup is now reminding me of a Duncan JB, in a bad way. For the tones I love, I find that I get an ice pick pick attack right at 2284 Hz. I've been dialing this out with Input EQ (Q at 10) on the amp block. I have a Washburn Trevor Rabin that came with a JB in the bridge and a '59 in the neck, and it had the same problem; on that guitar I ended up replacing both stock pickups with Duncan Saturday Night Specials, and those work beautifully for a balanced, well, beautiful, output that, to my ears, works well for virtually any genre, any tone. It doesn't hurt that I wired it for series/split/parallel for each pickup, so it's a Swiss Army Knife of tone.

This perceived harshness is a problem for some people with particular ceramic pickups, and sucking out the harsh frequency is quick enough. Hell, one could just throw a Filter Block with the same channel right after the Input Block for every preset, but I'm still adjusting the amount of that frequency to remove with each tone anyway; regardless, the AF3 makes this ice pick easy to mitigate.

To the root of the problem, a fix for the JB for those who hear it the way I do is to lower pot values to 250k, and I think that's one good way to approach this; if the legend of Jeff Beck's TeleGib is true, that it's the origin of the JB, and Duncan designed it specifically to go with 250k pots, then there's the explanation for why 500k can make your ears bleed. Other fixes I tried for the JB on my other guitar did not work for my ears: simply to lower the pickup further (I already go pretty low) or to lower the screw pole pieces.

I'd say that maybe I'm just not into ceramic pickups, but there's such variety out there, I'm dubious that the magnet composition alone is what's hitting me so harshly. There are so many factors that determine the character of any pickup.

Not that a JB 500k type tone is unexpected from a Super Strat; it's iconic and ubiquitous, which really makes me wonder if I'm missing something by wishing I had a damn AlNiCo II in that position. Because of this, I'm going to experiment with trying to create some tones outside of my normal workflow. I have an army of IRs I rarely ever even audition, and I tend to use the same old workflow to fashion a tone; all of which is easily fixable by me getting off my ass as a guitarist and putting on an ill fitting audio engineer's hat. My biggest problem is that I play guitar like an audiophile; if something's not right in my tone, it's not right in my playing; I can never disconnect from the sound (not that this is unique among players). Anyone know a good support group? Maybe this forum is it. I'm going to try this as a learning experience to see if I can find a way to dial in tones that inherently mitigate the harshness of this pickup, just by altering my approach. It is possible that what I view now as a harshness in this pickup is actually a strength, and if I can find a way to use it, my tone will have that much more character.
 

Andy Eagle

Power User
It was designed for 500k. If you want a rock sounding pickup from SD in alnico 2 try a custom custom. Using a 250k with a humbucker just looses clarity more than warms it up. Lowering it is also just detrimental to dynamic range. You should try the old school tricks of just running your volume pot on the guitar on 7 it tames the top and lowers the output . Also don't be afraid of the tone control particularly if you have a decent cap in it. I would recommend a 0.022mfd pio with humbuckers and pick a high voltage one.
 
It was designed for 500k. If you want a rock sounding pickup from SD in alnico 2 try a custom custom. Using a 250k with a humbucker just looses clarity more than warms it up. Lowering it is also just detrimental to dynamic range. You should try the old school tricks of just running your volume pot on the guitar on 7 it tames the top and lowers the output . Also don't be afraid of the tone control particularly if you have a decent cap in it. I would recommend a 0.022mfd pio with humbuckers and pick a high voltage one.

Is that TeleGib story just legend?

Thanks for the advice about the pot. I'm all over both pots on the guitar, but that does not decrease this frequency enough. I hadn't touched my Washburn with the Saturday Night Specials since I got this new one, so last night I plugged it in, and the difference was shocking. It made me immediately want to put something else in the Schecter.

I have had a Custom Custom before. It was in the neck position of a Washburn P3, with a Custom in the bridge. That guitar sounded massive and gorgeous.
 

Andy Eagle

Power User
I asked Seymour about the JB at a trade show in the late 80's and he said it was designed for a Les Paul originally so the 250k thing never came up but the question of what pots were in JB's tele was unanswered. I would guess the original ones stayed in the guitar.
 
I asked Seymour about the JB at a trade show in the late 80's and he said it was designed for a Les Paul originally so the 250k thing never came up but the question of what pots were in JB's tele was unanswered. I would guess the original ones stayed in the guitar.

Oh interesting. Well, no better source than the horse's mouth. I can see it feeling less harsh on a shorter scale with heavier strings too. No biggie, just musing. :)
 

la noise

Power User
I'd say that maybe I'm just not into ceramic pickups, but there's such variety out there, I'm dubious that the magnet composition alone is what's hitting me so harshly. There are so many factors that determine the character of any pickup.

Not that a JB 500k type tone is unexpected from a Super Strat; it's iconic and ubiquitous, which really makes me wonder if I'm missing something by wishing I had a damn AlNiCo II in that position. Because of this, I'm going to experiment with trying to create some tones outside of my normal workflow. I have an army of IRs I rarely ever even audition, and I tend to use the same old workflow to fashion a tone; all of which is easily fixable by me getting off my ass as a guitarist and putting on an ill fitting audio engineer's hat. My biggest problem is that I play guitar like an audiophile; if something's not right in my tone, it's not right in my playing; I can never disconnect from the sound (not that this is unique among players). Anyone know a good support group? Maybe this forum is it. I'm going to try this as a learning experience to see if I can find a way to dial in tones that inherently mitigate the harshness of this pickup, just by altering my approach. It is possible that what I view now as a harshness in this pickup is actually a strength, and if I can find a way to use it, my tone will have that much more character.

Pretty sure the JB is NOT ceramic and has an Alnico 5 magnet.
It's just crazy high output for an A5 pickup.

Actually I just put a JB in my super dark PRS SC245. Mahogany can get
mushy and I feel like the JB helps with that in that guitar. I can see how it
would maybe be way too bright (and not in a goood way) with an Ash bodied
Superstrat style guitar.

Have you tried recording or playing that guitar with a full mix yet?
Maybe it does "fit."
 

Andy Eagle

Power User
Just because the DC resistance is high doesn't make it that hight output. Old Broadcaster bridge pickups are high DC but not that high output. DC resistance is only a rough guide.
 
@la noise 🤦‍♂️ Making an ass of myself and umption... That furthers the idea that AlNiCo vs. ceramic is not the determining factor about harshness. And you have a good point about context. For my Schecter, the body is Black Limba and the neck is Wenge, with an ebony fingerboard and stainless steel frets. So, the ebony and stainless steel are known for brightness, but I don't know about Black Limba and Wenge, if they're really known for anything, since they're relatively uncommon. I do know this guitar has great sustain, even with a cheap Floyd, and I really like much of what I can do with the tones. I'm trying to discipline myself to work on playing right now over obsessing over tone, or else I'd already have another pickup set on order, and I'd be figuring out my dream of binary tree switching. But I am not recording anything right now, just woodshedding, so you do have another good point about it perhaps jumping out better in a mix.

But in the meantime I do want to try to get along with this damn thing. This may fail, but my plan of action is simple:
  1. Avoid input EQ for mitigating that pick attack.
  2. Try IRs (or mixes of IRs, perhaps with liberal use of smoothing) that inherently mitigate this pick attack
  3. Try any kind of amp that seems to go well with the IR(s), and mod the hell out of it if necessary.
Sounds banal but it's that simple. I want to approach it as if this is my first guitar and I have no preconceived notions about tone. Haha I'll see how this pans out. I already started messing around with stock IRs, but most would not mitigate the pick attack at all, so I think I'll try some blends and see what happens. 🤷‍♂️
 

la noise

Power User
I back off the Input Trim 10 to 20 percent when using my JB loaded guitar. I also have a
Full Shred in a Charvel and I do the same with that guitar. Seems to help round them
off a bit and takes away some of that added clipping they bring to the table.

Good luck and have fun. Sounds like a good approach. :)
 
I back off the Input Trim 10 to 20 percent when using my JB loaded guitar. I also have a
Full Shred in a Charvel and I do the same with that guitar. Seems to help round them
off a bit and takes away some of that added clipping they bring to the table.

Good luck and have fun. Sounds like a good approach. :)

I love the Input Trim knob. I usually start with Input Drive, get that to where the frequency response is what I like, interacting with the MV in the sweet spot, then I dial the Input Trim, sometimes wildly, to get either, say, a tad more gain or insanely less gain. And just recently I watched @2112's fantastic Pimp My Marshall video and tried moving the MV location to Post Phase Inverter to make the gain just nasty. After doing that I back off the Input Trim to compensate, and my face generally mimics Leon's in that video when I do that.

As for the clipping part of it, I'm always compensating for input clipping no matter what. I love the fact that you have endless control of that aspect with the AF3, and the built in input boost of the amp block is another awesome tool to shape in that regard. E.g., I love driving the Dirty Shirley (Dirty Shirley 1 especially) hard with, say 18db of input boost with Neutral flavor, back a ton off the the Input Trim for great clean and blues tones. Then use the output EQ liberally. That hard input boost adds a high end chime to the amp that doesn't exist in that amp otherwise, and for really high gain it's incredible for lead stuff. Just do the classic Marshall settings of low bass, high everything else.

The other thought is to try the Input Boost flavoring with no boost at all, just keep it at zero but let it reshape the input frequency response of the guitar signal; trying something that adds a mid hump hopefully to round out some harshness; that hasn't worked yet for this pickup, but maybe that in tandem with some magic IR; shit, the possibilities are extreme.
 
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