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  1. #1

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    I'm fairly new to guitar, and am pretty ignorant about all of the bells and whistles people use to wrangle their tone in. I'm pretty happy with the sound I'm getting for now, but am looking for a way to fatten up my high end. I'm thinking that an EQ pedal may be the answer but I'm not sure. With the quarantine, I'm not really able to go out and try some out to see what kind of effect I can get with it. Here's my set up:

    Epiphone Dot - neck pickup
    D'Addario flat wound 12s
    Dunlop Jazztone pick
    Vibro Champ XD

    The Vibro Champ XD only has a treble and bass knob. I just can't seem to dial in a tone that I'm super happy with. I can get the bass and mids to a place that I really like, but the high strings get either too thin (with the neck pickup tone rolled off ), or too bright (with the amp treble rolled up) for my taste. If I adjust adjust with the bass on the amp to get the high end where I want it, the low and mids get far too tubby.

    In my mind that means I need some way to boost the high mids which points me in the direction of an EQ pedal. I played saxophone for years, but guitar is fairly new to me, so I'm not sure if I'm missing some other options. Maybe get some heavier gauge strings and only replace the top 3? Different pick, or picking technique even? I just thought I'd ask here before I jump into something that might not be an appropriate solution. Thanks!


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  3. #2

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    Try 13/17 for the high E/B, and maybe raise the G up a hair.

    "Just say No" to pedals.

  4. #3

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    The best way is to post a quick vid to see how you sound. EQ pedals are super useful and personally I prefer a 13 gauge top in an otherwise set of 12s, action not too low.

  5. #4

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    I dont like Fenders because of that. You dont have control over the 200hz up to 800hz region of the spectrum.
    Yes, use a pedal and rise on 350hz and around 6db at least. Cut the everything under 100hz. Treble at your taste.
    Or buy a Polytone and be happy forever.
    Hope it is helpful.

    Enviado desde mi LG-H870 mediante Tapatalk

  6. #5

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    Have you tried adjusting your pickup height? Get it closer to the strings on the treble side, and farther away on the bass side, then adjust the pole screws for balance between the strings, that should get you a more even tone all across...

  7. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by RomanS
    Have you tried adjusting your pickup height? Get it closer to the strings on the treble side, and farther away on the bass side, then adjust the pole screws for balance between the strings, that should get you a more even tone all across...
    +1 This is what I was going to recommend! Find YouTube videos for step by step instructions. It isn’t hard, just count your turns each time you play so you can reverse it if it isn’t to your liking.

  8. #7

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    i had this kinda problem
    after experimenting i realised it was just a weedy sounding high E string .... for me
    i put in a fatter top string
    and that has cured it for me ....

    but yes neck pickup higher on the treble
    side and down quite a bit on the bass side
    ( that is on a hollow body where the body
    is giving ‘body’ to the sound)

    just experiment a bit and you’ll get it how you want it , eventually
    i don’t like to rely on eq too much myself
    i reckon a jazz guitar should sound good flat
    but that’s just me .....
    ps i tried to get my sound on a 335
    for a while but couldn’t get the bottom end i wanted , sold it in the end , and went with a hollow body
    but hey different strokes ....

  9. #8

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    I don't know much about the Super Champ XD but on most Fender amps the only way of getting a "flat" response from the amp is to have Bass on 1, Treble on 1, and mids on 10. If you don't have a mid control, bass on 1, treble on 1. This might actually be enough to fatten your high register.

  10. #9

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    common problem.

    Where on the guitar, exactly? Which strings, which frets.

    The problem can be in the strings, the setup, or anywhere in the electronics.

    I would start by changing to new strings and having at least an 11 on the high E. After you take off the old high E run your fingers up and down the string to feel the kinks introduced over time by contact with the frets. You may be amazed it didn't sound worse.

    Then, I'd verify that the setup was dialed in correctly and the strings aren't fretting out up high on the neck. Any buzz or sitar like sound is an indication. The Fender website has good instructional materials on setup. Even if it's not a Fender, you can get a good idea of what you're trying to do.

    Then, I'd start by lowering the pickup at the treble side. It's my understanding that increased distance means the pickup is sensing a longer length of string and therefore doesn't emphasize higher harmonics as much.

    But, whether you start by raising or lowering it, it's probably worth trying it every which way. If you lower it too much, the screw may come out of the pickup ring and you'll have to take it apart (a little) to get it back in with the spring on it.

    After that, you can try EQ, although I think it's hard to dial that sort of thing out with EQ.

    I use a Golden Gate Mandolin pick because I think it has a little softer sound on the high notes.

    I am finicky about this issue, and have often been unhappy with it. The DV Mark Little Jazz seems to be well suited for avoiding reproducing the offending frequencies. I'll leave the technical explanations for that to people who are qualified, and just say that I don't seem to think about the problem with the LJ.

    Lighter picking can help, but I think that it's a hard adjustment to make and even harder in the midst of a high energy solo with a band.

  11. #10

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    Try a thicker, and maybe softer pick. Picks are mostly cheap, so it's not a bank-breaker to try different ones, and they can have a rather dramatic effect on your sound. Thicker strings, thicker picks, and pickups near the strings all can help. And I don't like Fender amps, either. But you have what you have, so try turning both the treble and bass knobs all the way down, as mentioned above, then start increasing them little by little. I tend to run my Vibrolux Reverb, the few times I bring it out of the closet, at around 3 on the treble and 1.5 or so on the bass for my main guitar, but both near off for other guitars. It depends on the guitar, some are brighter than others, but I never go above 3 on either knob. On a Fender tube amp, the flat setting is with both all the way off. The Fender tone stack doesn't have the ability to increase either treble or bass, just cut the other, so when you turn up the treble, you're really turning down the bass, and vice versa.

  12. #11

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    Before trying anything, decide if your problem is lack of high frequencies or not getting enough volume from the top strings. That’s an important distinction.

  13. #12

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    Try different strings. Higher gauge but also just different brands. If you're new to guitar you have a lifetime of trying out different brands ahead of you... but actually, having said that, if you're new to guitar I wouldn't go placing too much store on strings and pedals just yet. Lot of tone is in the playing. Whereabouts do you tend to pick? Picking closer to the fretboard is warmer, picking closer to the bridge is brighter and more brittle.
    Last edited by Matt Milton; 07-14-2020 at 11:02 AM.

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by KirkP
    Before trying anything, decide if your problem is lack of high frequencies or not getting enough volume from the top strings. That’s an important distinction.
    yes !

  15. #14

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    .012s is plenty of string to be able to get a sound you like. If .013s feel better to you, that's you.
    As repeatedly noted adjusting pickup height would usually be the answer.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cidec
    The Vibro Champ XD only has a treble and bass knob. I just can't seem to dial in a tone that I'm super happy with.
    Yeah. That. You're trying to get 12" of tone from an 8" speaker (and the stock Fender 8" is a compromise item too). People do it but it's certainly extra work.
    Are you dis-satisfied with your sound when you try somebody else's amp?
    Does your e-string sound thin playing with fingers rather than pick?

    Happy hunting. For some of us the gear becomes as consuming as the music. My take (as a card-carrying gearhead) is to stay alert to what you seek / value / enjoy.

  16. #15

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    Does it sound thin when the guitar isn't plugged in?

  17. #16

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    Get a Boss EQ. It’s a necessity with my Fender Princeton Reverb. Loads of pros swear by it.

  18. #17

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    An eq pedal will cut or boost certain frequency ranges - however whether your E is from fret 5 on the B string, fret 14 on the D string or fret 9 on the G string, this boost/cut will be applied to that same frequency whatever the origin...... My advice would be to look at string guage, pickup height or pole-piece height first.
    Last edited by Ray175; 07-15-2020 at 09:57 AM.

  19. #18

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    I like this on "fat".

  20. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar
    Does it sound thin when the guitar isn't plugged in?
    Tons of really great advice in this thread. Thanks a ton. I played with the pickup height and that has definitely helped. I don't know why I hadn't thought to check how the sound is without the amp though. After trying that out, it's definitely the E and B string that are just sounding a bit thin. I'm going get something a little heavier for those. Though, I may still wind up getting an eq pedal just to sate my curiosity, but I can definitely put that off for a while now.

    Sgosnell mentioned a thicker, softer pick. I'm using the Dunlop jazztone 207s atm. Any suggestions for something that'll be softer/thicker?

  21. #20

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    Have you tried adjusting the pole's on the pickup. Higher to get a more volume and cleaner sound, Lower to get less volume and less of the clean sound.

  22. #21

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    The issue with polepiece height relates the length of string being sensed. When you lower the pickup and then raise the polepiece, you're sensing a shorter length of string and making the humbucker sound a little more like a single coil. Takes a few minutes to try it, and you'll hear what it does.

    If you don't want heavier strings, you might see if the problem goes away with brand new strings of the old gauge. If that doesn't work, try the thicker strings.

    But, bear in mind that plenty of players have gotten nice warm sounds out of thin strings. If you have to put on bridge cables to sound thick, there may be something wrong with the setup or something about the guitar itself.

  23. #22

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    The other thing to consider is that even the slightest bit of fret buzz, particularly in the higher registers, can make the tone really thin sounding. It's most audible acoustically, but the tone will suffer when amplified.

  24. #23

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    I would start with string diameter and pickup height. If those aren't the culprit, I am very happy with my JHS Haunting Mids parametric equalizer for fine tonal adjustments.

  25. #24

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    Once you adjust the pickup height, consider altering how you pick. You can get very different tone from small adjustments in pick angle. Play some slow stuff and experiment how fat/thin you can make notes on different strings. Try getting a balanced tone by fattening the thin strings and vice versa.

    Also same note will sound different depending on neck location. Try playing stuff in different places depending on whether you want it fat or thin.

  26. #25

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    A little bit of overdrive will do the trick, like the Grant Green sound.