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iamgeorge

how to make your bridge pickup sound like your neck pickup..?

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Hey, 

 

Looking for a little guidance with this one.. 

 

So I'm in the process of getting a super-strat made for me (Warmoth body, Charvel neck, German Floyd, Bare Knuckle etc etc), however, it will be a single pickup guitar, which will obviously just be the bridge pickup, which is a Bare Knuckle Juggernaut.  

 

Is there a way I can alter a few settings on my Helix so that I can make my bridge pickup sound more like my neck pickup, or a blended sound of both bridge and neck pickup?? I presume it'll be in the amp block.. bumping up the bass/mids and possibly reducing the treble..?  Any other hints or tips on how to achieve this?

 

NOTE, I understand that it probably can't really be done, but if I can get close to it, I'll be happy... if this is possible..  Also, FWIW, I use my Helix floor with a valve power amp and FRFR.. 

 

Thanks

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i'm not sure you'll have a heap of success.. of course you can warm it up a little but i find my neck pickup while being warm and rounded in the bass , still has quite a bit of high end in there but it is quite different to the bridge. Maybe there is some kind of ir that can help with it tho.. be interested to see how it goes.

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You can made an Helix patch that shapes out the high end and push the curve on the bass side, but you'll probably also needs to cap your highs through the volume tone. Also you should learn to pick on top of the bridge, for the bridge tone, and pick on top of the "missing" neck pup to bring back some mids and limit the harsh attack of the pup. It's something you could also do with an active PCB (equalizer + band pass filter) to be hosted in a body cavity. This would probably be the best option. It will NEVER sound 100% realistic, but you can for sure tame the bridge tone to make it sounding more rounded and "neckish"..

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You can also lower the bridge pickup for overall "gain/brightness". Along with other suggestions above this is what I might try. U don't wanna go too low, just a bit say a nickels width and then adjust upwards as needed. I know this is hindsight, but if U wanted a neck pickup sound why not just buy a guitar with a neck pup?  Hope this helps.

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but if U wanted a neck pickup sound why not just buy a guitar with a neck pup?

^^^ this, esp if it's custom.

 

I have enough trouble getting the tonalities of individual pickups to play well together when they DO exist.

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Different string positions accentuate the various harmonics at different levels so eq cannot fully compensate for different pickup positions. I'm not sure why you wouldn't just include a neck pickup in your design. The other way might be to incorporate modelling of some sort such as adding a GK pickup and using a relevant processor (I'm not sure whether it's feasible to incorporate variax technology - i.e. whether it's even available to buy separately).

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This falls squarely into the "easier said than done category". Imho, if you want any kind of flexibility, one pickup ain't gonna cut it...no matter where you put it.

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Yah, tough to do - but to offer some hope, ever seen Eric Johnson live?  I've seen him get this thick, buttery tone in the bridge position of his strat - startled me first time I saw it.  Bear in mind he's an amp switcher - so perhaps a dual amp patch...?

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I agree with a previous suggestion that a special IR is the closest answer if you can find someone to make it for you.  But like others have expressed, I'm at my wit's end trying to understand why someone would want a guitar with only a bridge pup and then ask this question.  There are two obvious answers here.  1- Switch to a guitar with a neck pup when you need one.  OR,  2-  In the famous words of Bob Newman: "Stop doing that!" (buying 1 pup guitars) 

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Hey, 

 

...Is there a way I can alter a few settings on my Helix so that I can make my bridge pickup sound more like my neck pickup, or a blended sound of both bridge and neck pickup?...

 

 

Sorry, but the answer is an unqualified no. Sorry. You can't do it. you can eq all you want, but this is a fools errand.

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I know this is hindsight, but if U wanted a neck pickup sound why not just buy a guitar with a neck pup? Hope this helps.

Exactly. The guitar is still being built, right? Is it too late to get a neck pickup routed in?

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If I was going to order a one pickup guitar, I'd probably set the pickup closer to the middle position to give a little leeway in the settings.

I'm the opposite. I like soloing on the neck pickup and try to dial in bite and bright without the ice pickiness that I hate in a lot of bridge pickups.

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If I was going to order a one pickup guitar, I'd probably set the pickup closer to the middle position to give a little leeway in the settings.

 

 

If I was going to order a one-pickup guitar, first thing I'd do is ask somebody to SLAP SOME SENSE INTO ME and immediately change the order to a 2 or 3 pickup instrument.

 

I've had one-pickup guitars on 3 different occasions.

 

Never again.

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^^^ This also (meaning liking soloing on the neck pickup, another post snuck in). That's what I meant about having enough trouble getting all existing pickups to make sense together. By the time my neck pickup is cool for stuff beyond Wes Montgomery, bridge is cool for some stuff, but not a big fat lead. If I go for a nice full bridge pickup, neck loses definition and bite. Tone control helps, but still. In some alternate universe, I'd try a bunch of different pickup combinations until I got happy, but that's an expensive PITA, and not easy to be productive with.

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What about the case where you have a dry signal recorded with the bridge pickup and later decide it might sound better with the neck pickup? It'd be great to just re-amp into the Helix with a bridge-2-neck IR first in the path or something like that and leave the rest of the patch the same. Does any such thing exist?

 

Other than re-recording using the actual neck pickup, of course.

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What about the case where you have a dry signal recorded with the bridge pickup and later decide it might sound better with the neck pickup? It'd be great to just re-amp into the Helix with a bridge-2-neck IR first in the path or something like that and leave the rest of the patch the same. Does any such thing exist?

 

Other than re-recording using the actual neck pickup, of course.

 

That's not really what an IR is gonna do for you, though.

 

It would, I think, sound super-fake.

 

I will tell you what would be super cool... is being able to record the dry hex signal from a Variax or GK13 guitar and decide what amp AND guitar and pickup combo you want later.

 

But for me, it would never work, as I'm playing differently on a neck pickup than a bridge pickup normally.

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Is there a way I can alter a few settings on my Helix so that I can make my bridge pickup sound more like my neck pickup, or a blended sound of both bridge and neck pickup?? I presume it'll be in the amp block..

 

Unfortunately this is not possible. The reason is that the actual placement of the pickup, where it senses the string relative to the string's length, is what contributes to the "neck" or "bridge" sound. Because the effective length of each string changes depending on where you fret it, there is no single EQ shape or other effect that will compensate for this.

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Unfortunately this is not possible. The reason is that the actual placement of the pickup, where it senses the string relative to the string's length, is what contributes to the "neck" or "bridge" sound. Because the effective length of each string changes depending on where you fret it, there is no single EQ shape or other effect that will compensate for this.

 

Thanks MDMAYFIELD.. yours is the best response, I appreciate it. 

 

Thank you for not telling me that I need to be slapped for wanting a guitar with one pickup as opposed to 2 or more (FYI, this is guitar #5 for me, the rest have two pickups). 

Thank you for not telling me that I should just get a guitar with a neck pickup. (thanks to the all Captain Obvious's)

Thank you for not telling me it's an unqualified approach and a 'fools errand'. (thanks to the power-user Chuck Norris.. took you 3 goes to get it right, huh?) 

 

And most importantly, thank you for actually answering the question and giving reasoning behind why it won't work, as opposed to reasons why I shouldn't do it, or better still as opposed to some of the above responses. 

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I'd work this by putting an EQ block in front of the amp (try out para, multi, whatever gets you closer), and tweak it out to be as similar as possible to the 'neck pickup' sound as possible going into the front end of the amp - emulating the place where the actual differences would be happening.

 

With some experimentation, I suspect you could arrive at something workable.

You'll have a relatively easier time creating a 'neck' sound as compared to the 'blended' sound, being as the true nature of that signal routing within a guitar is a more complex interaction between the two pickups in parallel.

 

FWIW; way back in the day, I was taking my single pickup guitars and outfitting them with a switch with a carefully chosen cap wired in to get me a pretty usable 'neck pickup' type sound.

 

 

(Worth mentioning; my EVH related origins had me working with single pickup guitars early on, hence my experience on the subject. I did, ultimately, not only start working with neck pickups years back; I became amazingly fussy and specific about them... Are you should you shouldn't consider putting in a single-sized rail humbucker to expand your on-instrument options?

... all that said, I intend on doing an experiment ASAP to try this concept, just for the sake of doing it. I do have a couple of functionally single-pickup guitars still, ones which I won't tamper with (Ed's Baby type...))

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Sorry but I have to disagree about the "IMPOSSIBLE" dogma. You can't probably imagine what you can do with few bucks of proper electronics, a LCR/pass filters etc...... but yeah, as soon as you have to route more holes for circuits I would probably ask myself why not put a neck pup. But, in general, it's possible. Not gonna sound exactly as a real neck pup but your OP was not asking that. :)

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That's not really what an IR is gonna do for you, though.

I'm not so sure about that. Consider a modified guitar where you have a 1/4" jack connected to the bridge pickup and another separate 1/4" jack connected to the neck pickup. One could then play a reference performance and capture both signals - bridge signal and neck signal. Let's call the bridge signal the input signal and the neck signal the output signal. Given both the input and output signals, one could develop a mathematical model to transform the input signal to match that of the output signal.

 

That's essentially what an IR does, right? Or do I have that wrong? I understand that IRs usually transform a raw amp signal into the signal that a microphone outputs after going through a cabinet, but the process sounds the same, just applied to different components, in this case, pickups.

 

I will tell you what would be super cool... is being able to record the dry hex signal from a Variax or GK13 guitar and decide what amp AND guitar and pickup combo you want later.

I've thought about that - essentially re-amping, but feeding a raw piezo signal into the Variax to let it do it's processing, then on into the Helix to process from there. That would be really cool.

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I'd work this by putting an EQ block in front of the amp (try out para, multi, whatever gets you closer), and tweak it out to be as similar as possible to the 'neck pickup' sound as possible going into the front end of the amp - emulating the place where the actual differences would be happening.

 

With some experimentation, I suspect you could arrive at something workable.

You'll have a relatively easier time creating a 'neck' sound as compared to the 'blended' sound, being as the true nature of that signal routing within a guitar is a more complex interaction between the two pickups in parallel.

 

FWIW; way back in the day, I was taking my single pickup guitars and outfitting them with a switch with a carefully chosen cap wired in to get me a pretty usable 'neck pickup' type sound.

I'd try this, I bet you could get something workable. If you have a DAW I'd even suggest using one of your neck PU equipped guitars and a spectrum analyser to get a better idea of how to eq it. There will be differences between PUs, sure, but I bet you could use that to work your way into the ballpark you want.

 

 

If all fails, just remember that there's only tone up to a certain volume ;)

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@iamgeorge, my apologies for suggesting the overly obvious actual second pickup, but as they say, the simplest solution is often the best. Not everyone who shows up here use as experienced and sophisticated as you, basic ideas are sometimes helpful.

 

Also apologies for not explaining how the position of the pickup affects its tone -- opposite problem, I thought that was pretty obvious to anyone who's played a guitar with more than one pickup.

 

Bottom line, no disrespect intended, only apparently ineffective help.

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As I recall, way back in the early seventies, Keef Richards used a single pickup guitar for a while. The novelty was that the single pickup was on some sort of rail that allowed it to slide to various points on the body between neck and bridge positions. I think it was designed/made by Dan Armstrong (Ampeg?) but never really caught on. Looked a bit like an LP Junior.

 

Additional info:

 

Dan Armstrong, Model 341 "London Woody", 1974

 

http://www.tuneyoursound.com/collection/dan-armstrong-model-341-london-woody-1974

 

Fast forward to present day...

 

There is a guy on Kickstarter trying to get his slider idea going - Check him out.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1165874210/pole-position-sliding-pickup-guitar

 

Oh, yeah. Didn't Westone also do something similar with a bass guitar?

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As I recall, way back in the early seventies, Keef Richards used a single pickup guitar for a while. The novelty was that the single pickup was on some sort of rail that allowed it to slide to various points on the body between neck and bridge positions. I think it was designed/made by Dan Armstrong (Ampeg?) but never really caught on. Looked a bit like an LP Junior.

 

Additional info:

 

Dan Armstrong, Model 341 "London Woody", 1974

 

http://www.tuneyoursound.com/collection/dan-armstrong-model-341-london-woody-1974

 

Fast forward to present day...

 

There is a guy on Kickstarter trying to get his slider idea going - Check him out.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1165874210/pole-position-sliding-pickup-guitar

 

Oh, yeah. Didn't Westone also do something similar with a bass guitar?

Well far be it from me to discourage invention, but imho it didn't catch on because it's stupid....well perhaps that's a bit harsh. But it's definitely impractical. This is a solution desperately searching for a problem....

 

"Hang on boys...I hafta move my pickup for the next tune." Thanks, but I'll pass. It's not always necessary, or a "swell idea" to reinvent the wheel.

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Oh, yeah. Didn't Westone also do something similar with a bass guitar?

 

 

Gibson did, too, I think.

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Long ago memory, but if I recall correctly, I believe George Lynch was working on something back in the 80s with a rail system, and a 'tone' control which effectively moved the pickup (which meant it had a motor - likely why it never amounted to anything).

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Long ago memory, but if I recall correctly, I believe George Lynch was working on something back in the 80s with a rail system, and a 'tone' control which effectively moved the pickup (which meant it had a motor - likely why it never amounted to anything).

Yeah...a motor is just asking for trouble. Aside from just being something else that will eventually break, I can only imagine the extra noise it would introduce. It's hard enough to silence unwanted hum and buzzing as it is.

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What would be really cool is if you could create a Leslie effect by having the pick up slowly slide back and forth as you were playing!

Maybe powered by noiseless gerbils!! :lol: 

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Yeah...a motor is just asking for trouble.

Only if it's a knucklehead 😎 (Cheap humour, cheap sunglasses)

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