Nov 24, 2011 9:38 AM
I spent some quality time deep diving into each of these models, swapping out pickups and changing different parameters to come up with new sounds. The process was highly informative! I got to know Workbench and how each body and pickup type reacts together. By no means could I have covered the entire pallete of options but what I did do is come up with a working set of guitar models using all (electric) body types and pickups available. I did not include any of the acoustic, resonator or sitar models and I didn't use the "Sitar" pickup as I found it too unpredictable and difficult to work with. What IS included is everything else in various combinations that sounded best to me. One rule I followed was to avoid using the stock pickups that are included with each model.
For the most part, I stuck with standard pickup configurations and positioning (bridge, middle, neck). I did not bother with placing pickups out of range or experimenting with unorthodox angles. In fact, the only angle I used is the "8.8" bridge position for the strat style models. My logic here is that these models offer a starting place for further exploration. They give you a snapshot of how a particular combination of body and pickup sound together. As is the case with any guitar and amp setup, some match up better than others. Don't give up on a model if it sounds too muddy, sharp or indistinct before trying a different amp model or tone setting. All of these are usuable in different ways.
When I was testing these, I used lighter crunch settings, clean settings and very occassionaly a full gain setup. I excluded most effects so I could better focus on the tone. Ocassionaly, I would add some reverb and delay to get a feeling for how they worked in soloing situations. I mixed up different models with different amp setups so that I didn't become fixated on just one amp sound. Here are my findings:
1. The "Spank" pickups are the most versatile. They work nearly everywhere and almost always sounds great!
2. The DuoJet or "R-Billy Sparkletop" doesn't sound right to me with the "D'Almond" pickups. Slap on some "Tron" pickups and you'll hear how a DuoJet is meant to sound!
3. For my taste, the "Semi Pokerface" body with the "Semi Humbucker" pickups is a better ES-335 model than the included "Semi BluesKing" body.
4. For a biting humbucker sound in the bridge position, try matching up the "Tele Bridge" with a "Spank Middle" and run them in series either, stacked together or arranged like a double-coil humbucker.
5. The "R-Billy Tron" and "Chime Toaster" pickups have A LOT of character. They can sound amazing in the right context and like total crap in another context. Particularly, I like the "Tron" on Strat and Tele bodies. Your choice of amp and tone settings is crucial here!
6. The "R-Billy D'Almond" and "Lipgloss" pickups are my least favorite. They can be made to sound good with some work but they are less versatile. I managed to create some great models with both of these but it took the most work to get them right.
7. The P-90s are the least authentic sounding pickups to my ears. None of them quite nail the "soapbar" sound. However, the "Semi 90" on the right guitar body is a MEAN pup! To get closer to a soapbar tone, try adjusting the tone and volume resistance and capecitance. I found 500k and 1Meg to be the best with Capecitance set to taste (I prefer 47nf and 0.1uf in most cases). You can observe this in the presets I created though sometimes they sounded great in the stock configuration (depending on the body type) so I left them alone.
8. My 3 favorite pickup sets: Spank, Semi Humbucker and Custom Humbucker. My favorite body types: Spank, T-Model F-Hole and Special-Special.
I encourage you to run this expriment on your own. You will get to know these sounds very well and develop expectations for how certain combinations will work. There are true gems that are only available in Workbench by swapping out body and pickups types. Next, I am going to experiment with more unrealistic combinations to see what's possible outside the norm.
Here is the gorup of 7 bundles I created. Each bundle includes 12 different models with 5 pickup positions each. Please let me hear your feedback and if you are able to improve on any of these, do share your findings :-)
Updated and re-uploaded zip file with new link