Issues with Volume and Bass

Discussion in 'Electric Instruments' started by Sean B, Sep 22, 2020.

  1. Sean B

    Sean B New Member

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    Hi all,
    I’m still pretty new to the PRS family. I recently acquired a secondhand SE Custom 24, and so far I’m loving it... until I turn the volume knob up to 10. If I roll the volume off the guitar sounds perfectly balanced, but up past about 9.5 on the knob suddenly it sounds as though the bass has been boosted like crazy and the high frequencies are drowned out. The guitar came to me with this issue. I took it to a local Guitar Center, and they said it was working fine... clearly they weren’t hearing what I’m hearing. I replaced the volume pot, assuming that was the issue, but it still happens even with the new one. Pickup height seems to be a non-factor.
    I’ll give as much info about the guitar as I can, for the sake of diagnosing the issue. The previous owner installed Seymour Duncan Jazz/JB humbuckers. They replaced the push/pull tone knob with a regular one, and the 3 way switch is wired for neck/inner coils/bridge, all of which seems to be working fine. There’s a treble bleed mod as well (not sure if this come stock in PRS’s). I’ve got D’Addario NYXL 9-46 strings on it. For the sake of apartment practice I play into the Neural DSP Nolly plug-in through a Focusrite 2i2. This problem happens through headphones and monitors. Is this a common problem? Could it be a wiring/grounding issue? If anyone here has any clue what the issue could be, I’d really appreciate the help! Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Ovibos

    Ovibos Naughty Wood Librarian

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    Does sound to me like some kind of electronics gremlins. Take it to a tech that’s not in a GC.
     
  3. SinSir

    SinSir New Member

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    Not much help and this is being genuine. If it was me and all was balanced and good at 9.5 vs 10 I'd roll the volume back a hair and go with 9.5 as my ceiling. I know that is more my personal advice to me than help and the easy way out. I roll my volume and tone back frequently a little this way or that way vs adjusting my amp. I'm not really one to dime out much though.

    On the flip side I totally get wanting to figure it out and going down that rabbit hole. I also agree go somewhere else besides GC. That's the last place I'd go unless I bought the guitar there. Even then I'd still probably go to someone else.

    Best of luck either way I'm sure someone can help with more technical advice.
     
    bodia likes this.
  4. garrett

    garrett knows just enough to be dangerous

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    Hmm, I can't imagine a Jazz sounding like that.

    When you replaced the volume pot, what value did you use? Did you keep the treble bleed? If so, what is the value of the treble bleed cap and resistor (if there is one)?

    The other, easiest thing to do is check the pickup heights to make sure they aren't too close to the strings.
     
  5. Sean B

    Sean B New Member

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    Hi everyone, thanks a ton for your input. I'll try fiddling with the pickup height and see if that helps. Both the new pot and the original are 500k, and I did keep the treble bleed, which might be part of the issue? Looks like either a 100 or 180 pF capacitor- I'm not sure if that's good or bad! Wish I knew more. I'll include some pictures, perhaps the issue is the quality of my wiring/soldering job. Ultimately I'd like to learn how to fix this on my own for fun's sake.
     
  6. Ovibos

    Ovibos Naughty Wood Librarian

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    Yeahhhh, you might want to clean that up a bit. Practice makes perfect and an SE is great for doing that on.
     
  7. garrett

    garrett knows just enough to be dangerous

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    500k pot with 180 pF treble bleed cap is the PRS norm.

    Aside from pickup height, I wonder if it may be an issue with how the rest of the signal chain is working with the guitar. Do you have other guitars with humbuckers, and do they sound good through the same settings?
     
  8. Sean B

    Sean B New Member

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    The only other guitar I have currently is a beginner knockoff strat, so I'd hesitate to say it sounds "good" but it doesn't have the same issue with the volume as my PRS. I've got another pot arriving in the mail soon, so hopefully a cleaner solder job will do the trick. Until then, I'm content with just keeping the volume rolled off slightly,
     
  9. garrett

    garrett knows just enough to be dangerous

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    In that case, it may just be a difference between the two guitars. I expect the PRS is going to have higher output and more mids and bass vs. your other guitar. I don't know anything about the Nolly, but I suggest you try working with the controls built into the tool. Different guitar types have different needs for EQ, drive, output levels, etc.
     
  10. vchizzle

    vchizzle Zomb!e Nine, DFZ

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    Assuming that the quality of the pots are equal, unless there’s really something wrong with the current pot, I doubt you’ll see a change. Assuming that the solder joints are good, the neatness isn’t going to affect the tone. Just needs to be making solid contact. I think some people use lower value pots with the JB, so that’s something to consider. Not sure if that would accomplish your goal but it’s a cheap thing to try.
    Sometimes they recommend a 250k with the JB, but that’s usually to deter harsh high end. Maybe lower the whole pickup a bit would help.
     
    #11 vchizzle, Sep 24, 2020
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2020
  11. Sean B

    Sean B New Member

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    Well I did some more tweaking and it turns out the issue was in the Focusrite interface the whole time. For some reason the input switch has a huge effect on how the guitar sounds. Flipped it to “instrument” and there’s no roll-off at full volume anymore. At least I got some good practice with re-wiring the guitar! Thank you all for joining me on this journey.
     
    Ovibos likes this.
  12. eliju

    eliju New Member

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    Gain staging is very important. If you had it set to line level the interface would be expecting a way hotter signal than what a guitar would put out.

    A few other things to note. I'm assuming the jazz pickups are designed to be very warm, especially in the neck. Was the bass high in the bridge pickup as well? Keep in mind pickup height can have an effect on bass response. If it's too close to the strings it might sound a little muddy. Too low and it might sound a little thin.

    Lastly, I don't know anything about the Nolly plugin, but when you set your tone don't be afraid to turn knobs all the way one way or the other. Always use your ears. Try different cabs, etc.
     

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