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[SOLVED] My Guitar sounds incredibly fuzzy, flabby, and frankly awful with modern high gain tones - what can I do to fix the sounds?

Sashman

Inspired
Haha! Not me! :)

I can see the point of direct mount pickups in theory, but the lack of ANY
ability to adjust pickup height is a big miss!
Depends on the guitar.
All my Music Man guitars have pickups who are mounted directly to the wood and they Sound that good that I would never ever change that.
 

chucma

Fractal Fanatic
I can officially confirm it was a guitar problem, as I just modified a Top Boost patch to make something similar to a guitarist I really like, and it sounds pretty clear and thick.

Day Old Hate on a 335 with the Top Boost model
That 335 sounds sweet! Glad you managed to get those results!

Have you managed to zero in on what the problem was with the Charvel? Following this thread with interest as I have a friend with a similar issue (not AxeFX related) and I'm trying to give him advice on what to check.
 
That 335 sounds sweet! Glad you managed to get those results!

Have you managed to zero in on what the problem was with the Charvel? Following this thread with interest as I have a friend with a similar issue (not AxeFX related) and I'm trying to give him advice on what to check.

I think it's a combination of things. I think the JB can't handle downtuning very well and since it's a hot PAF with an Alnico pickup it really struggles with tones that require a tight low-end. I think the theory that the pickup is too close to the strings is a good one as well, but like it was stated earlier in the thread, it's really hard to actually adjust that. Finally, I put 12-60 on it for C Standard and I'm realizing that was a serious mistake as it makes the bottom two strings unbelievably muddy. Devin Townsend has always talked about using the lightest strings you can get away with solely for tone and I think he's on to something.
 

Sashman

Inspired
I think it's a combination of things. I think the JB can't handle downtuning very well and since it's a hot PAF with an Alnico pickup it really struggles with tones that require a tight low-end. I think the theory that the pickup is too close to the strings is a good one as well, but like it was stated earlier in the thread, it's really hard to actually adjust that. Finally, I put 12-60 on it for C Standard and I'm realizing that was a serious mistake as it makes the bottom two strings unbelievably muddy. Devin Townsend has always talked about using the lightest strings you can get away with solely for tone and I think he's on to something.
The JB Pickup was always flubby with downtunings. There are some pickups like the Suhr Aldrich which are similar in sound but can handle downtunings a lot better.
 

guitarnerdswe

Fractal Fanatic
I think it's a combination of things. I think the JB can't handle downtuning very well and since it's a hot PAF with an Alnico pickup it really struggles with tones that require a tight low-end. I think the theory that the pickup is too close to the strings is a good one as well, but like it was stated earlier in the thread, it's really hard to actually adjust that. Finally, I put 12-60 on it for C Standard and I'm realizing that was a serious mistake as it makes the bottom two strings unbelievably muddy. Devin Townsend has always talked about using the lightest strings you can get away with solely for tone and I think he's on to something.
On electric 25.5 scale, I think 9s sound much better than 10s. Much more attitude.
 

Greg Ferguson

Fractal Fanatic
So anyway, don't ever let anyone tell you string gauge doesn't matter to tone:

Unbelievable difference in clarity
Years ago I experimented with various gauges and settled on 9s as a good middle ground. My PRS came with 10s and 11s, and I use 9s on two of my Strats and 10s on the third, but I’m thinking of reverting back to 9s for convenience. I prefer to use 9.5 but they’re harder to find. I’m tired of having a big stack of various gauges and having to keep one of each in my gig bags. The hassle of setting up all the guitars has kept me away so far.
 

rossipedia

Experienced
The JB Pickup was always flubby with downtunings. There are some pickups like the Suhr Aldrich which are similar in sound but can handle downtunings a lot better.
I love my JB for Drop C, but that's about as low as I'll take it. I tried it in Drop B for a while and the difference was night and day
 

RevDrucifer

Power User
It's not active but yeah, after switching to a different guitar, there's something up with the one I recorded with.

Speaking of, I had no idea the impact strings had on tone. This guitar is strung with 12-60 and I think that's contributing majorly to the horrendous bottom-end. That combined with the JB's inability to handle downtuning is probably what's causing this.

Yeah, the tension of the strings does quite a bit but it starts getting into that territory that’s not easy to characterize into words. I spent most of 2020 trying to get a 5-string bass sounding great. It was a Warwick and sounded/played GREAT in standard tuning, but no matter what gauge I put on it, I could not drop the whole thing down a step without serious tone issues. Eventually I said “Fuck this”, bought a 4-string Spector and put it in CGCG tuning using a custom gauge set from Stringjoy.com.

The thicker the string, the less tonality it’s going to have, the less it’s going to vibrate, the more tension it’ll have. It can be tricky finding that perfect ground between too tight/too loose, but once your there you’re good to go.

And FWIW, when I first got my AxeFX III and went through the factory presets I thought my unit was broken. It seems a majority of the presets were dialed in for single coils and/or low-output humbuckers and all my guitars are high output humbuckers. It wasn’t until I played a Strat through the factory presets that I went “Ahhhhh, I see now.” The Cygnus update/new presets changed that a lot, but still, it really showed me how much a difference pickups and the player makes. I rarely find presets made by other people I dig, unless they’re using the same pickups and have a similar playing style.
 

TSJMajesty

Power User
Depends on the guitar.
All my Music Man guitars have pickups who are mounted directly to the wood and they Sound that good that I would never ever change that.
I have to agree. My Majesty is direct-mount, and I like them right where they are. I'm also digging no mounting rings around the PU's. Never even considered it until this guitar; Now I like it.
When it comes to PU's, what I can't stand is one in the middle. Gets in the way, for me.
 

TSJMajesty

Power User
Years ago I experimented with various gauges and settled on 9s as a good middle ground. My PRS came with 10s and 11s, and I use 9s on two of my Strats and 10s on the third, but I’m thinking of reverting back to 9s for convenience. I prefer to use 9.5 but they’re harder to find. I’m tired of having a big stack of various gauges and having to keep one of each in my gig bags. The hassle of setting up all the guitars has kept me away so far.
Do you consider scale length of your guitars when choosing string gauges?
When I got my Majesty, the 10's on it were a bit hard on me, since I was used to shorter-scale guitars (with 10's.) But I wanted the lowest action possible, with the least amount of fret buzz, so I left them on, and got used to the increased tension. As for the tone, I figured, JP's is just about my favorite guitar tone, so if it works for him, it'll be fine.
I did however switch to a 52 on the bottom to help with drop D, and I like the fact that D'addario makes a set of 10-52's.

If I was ever to buy another guitar, it would be another Majesty, but I'd string to a lower tuning, and just try to select the string gauge based on getting the tension as close to the numbers on a 25.5" guitar strung with 10's.
 

mr_fender

Axe-Master
Yeah JB's are great for standard tuning and singing leads, but they don't have the tight low end that's needed for modern detuned sounds. I've got a JB in my Les Paul clone and it's always been a bit tubby sounding. Partly the guitar, partly the pickup. I'm mostly a classic rock/metal guy with that guitar, so it fits my needs quite well.

To me, the a big part of string gauge is not so much the tonal difference, which is quite subtle, but the tension difference. I tend to play more aggressively with fatter strings since they fight back more. Light strings are easier to push out of tune, so you have to play with a bit more nuance. That I believe accounts for much of the tonal difference.
 

Greg Ferguson

Fractal Fanatic
Do you consider scale length of your guitars when choosing string gauges?
You have to. Physics tells us a longer scale has more string tension to vibrate at the same frequency. Using a lighter gauge string on a Strat helps to balance out the feel when jumping between it and a Les Paul for instance. The longer scale length also results in a bit more highs and twang, which is part of the Strat's sound.

Another thing to be considered is the metal used to make the string as it can change the brightness and output of the pickups, but that's a whole different discussion.
 
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GotMetalBoy

Power User
I've never been able to get the bright clear tones from the Factory presets with the Axe-Fix II XL+ or Axe-Fx III Mark I that are demoed on many YouTube videos. I had better luck with the III because it had better IR's and I've tried many other FAS and 3rd party IR's but have always struggled with getting clear tones. I get tones similar to the OP @JayWillyMF

Why is a Seymour Duncan JB SH-4 muddy/flubby? The specs show it has a low cut.

I have a Seymour Duncan JB SH-4 in the bridge of my Ibanez RG421, a Custom Custom SH-11 in the bridge of my Ibanez RGA42FM and a Full Shred SH-10 in the bridge of my Charvel Pro-Mod DK24 HH HT M QM Purple Phaze. I also had a Epiphone Zakk Wylde Les Paul Custom Camo with an EMG 81 in the bridge. I use Ernie Ball 2222 Hybrid Slinky strings which are 9's for the top 3 strings and 10's for the low 3 strings: 9, 11, 16, 26, 36, 46. I get similar tones from all 4 guitars.

JB SH-4: https://www.seymourduncan.com/single-product/jb-model
1628274613196.png

Custom Custom SH-11: https://www.seymourduncan.com/single-product/custom-custom
1628275429242.png

Full Shred SH-10: https://www.seymourduncan.com/single-product/full-shred
1628275482487.png
 

Ben Randolph

Power User
In the late 2000s I bought an Ibanez that had the pickup selector switch wired backwards. I was just restarting guitar and I couldn't for the life of me figure out why my bridge pickup sounded so muffled and dark in high gain sounds. I went to a tech and had him look at it (that tech was a scammer and a moron who is thankfully out of business, but that's another story). Finally, I tapped on each pickup and realized that I thought I was playing bridge but was actually playing neck.
 
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