McCarty 594 58/15LT Neck too dark?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Adriano Na, Jun 26, 2019.

  1. Adriano Na

    Adriano Na New Member

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    Dear All

    I am the proud owner of the above having used mainly single coil guitars over many years. This is really my first double HB instrument.

    I love the tones overall but notice that the neck pickup is quite warm and dark when playing clean, especially with an increase in volume either at the amp or at the volume pot.

    Is that just the tone to expect from this pickup? The clips online seem to vary in terms of what the neck pickup can do EQ wise.

    Interested in your thoughts.

    Adrian
     
  2. Mozzi

    Mozzi https://imgur.com/user/BAMozzy

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    It really depends on what you are used to playing. It may not be 'dark' from my perspective because I am used to having much darker instruments. To me, that guitar would probably sound overly bright but if you have an overly bright Single Coil bridge PU, then the same guitar that I find overly bright can be overly dark to you. I have NO reference point to know if the guitar you have is 'dark' by nature or whether its 'normal' as I have a 594 myself. I also don't have your 'ears' either to know what you are hearing.

    Have you made sure the tone pots are both turned up? Have you tried EQ'ing it with your Amp (or anything else in the signal path)?

    There is absolutely NO point in comparing what you hear online as those people will ALL be playing the Guitar through different Amps, cabs, Mics etc, all with their preferred settings for a Guitar like this and then you also get that sound compressed for internet. First thing I would suggest is to make sure both tone pots are turned up (if you don't use the Tone pot for a treble boost, roll it up to max), then set the Amp up (all EQ's at noon) with NO pedals in the chain. From that point, tweak the Amp to your preferred tone - adding or removing a bit of bass, mids, trebles to taste. Once you have it set up so the guitar is delivering the tone you want straight in, then add your pedals back in and tweak those to suit.

    I cannot hear the sound of your guitar through your rig and with your ears to know if your Guitar is darker than it should be or your reference point is too bright which may be impacting on your perspective for this guitar
     
  3. crgtr

    crgtr Zombie Eight - DFZ

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    I'm mostly a single coil guy so I like my buckers low powered and my neck pup to be very clear. On my 594 I find the neck pup to be pretty awesome. I do use it tapped a lot & I think it sounds great. Full bucker is not too dark for me.
     
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  4. Mozzi

    Mozzi https://imgur.com/user/BAMozzy

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    Personally I feel that the Neck Pick Up is fuller when used as a Humbucker - you get more of the low and mid range filling out the tone more but don't lose the brightness and articulation. Maybe that's what you consider 'dark' but its just the way Humbuckers sound and you are used to SC's which are often bright and 'thin' so getting a 'fuller' sound is something you are not used too. Its more of a Vintage Les Paul and at the other end of the spectrum to a Fender Strat...
     
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  5. dogrocketp

    dogrocketp I drank the PRS kool aid, and it was tasty!

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    If the pickup is too dark for your tastes, just try lowering it a bit. PRS pickups have always been extremely sensitive to height adjustments, and that is a good thing.
     
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  6. garrett

    garrett knows just enough to be dangerous

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    I feel you. I love single coils, especially in the neck. Best to remember this is a different animal. Your ears will adjust and it'll sound more normal as you get used to hearing it.

    I did tweak pickup and pole heights on mine to tweak to taste.

    For me the 594 is my vintage Les Paul, so I apply the old school LP tone approach. Set your base sound with the neck pickup, volume rolled back a little. Then switch to the bridge pickup and lower the tone control until it is a good match to the neck.

    I love this lesson from Joe B.
     
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  7. Mozzi

    Mozzi https://imgur.com/user/BAMozzy

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    This is my approach too. Its one of the reasons I like individual pots for each PU rather than just a master Tone/Volume. If you set you Tone and Volume at 6/7, then set up the amp and EQ to get the sound you want, you can roll up both the Tone (to get a Treble Boost) and Volume (to get a boost) so you don't need these pedals. You can still roll down the tone and volume too but if you set both at max, the ONLY option available is to roll down and miss out on the 'boost' option.
     
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  8. Adriano Na

    Adriano Na New Member

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    Thanks for all of those responses - they were very helpful. Im still experimenting with pickup height and pole pieces and there are subtle differences when I do this. I do think though that my ears have been used to SC all these years and its a period of adjustment..
     
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  9. Herr Squid

    Herr Squid I was severely impressed

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    Yup, it's gonna be different. You can try lowering the neck pickup quite a bit, and raising the pole pieces so they stick out a bit from the pickup. I find that helps with tonal and volume balance between the pickups, especially when I'm playing dirty.
     
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  10. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    This!

    Also, think about setting the amp up old school. Roll the guitar volume down to about 5-6. Then set the amp up so that’s you transition tone, “edge of breakup”.

    Want gain? Turn the guitar volume up. Want clean? Roll it down.

    In any case, if you’re used to single coil guitars, the 594 is a classic humbucker model, so it’ll be different. But that’s probably why you wanted it in the first place, to have that versatility and choice of which guitar to play.

    I didn’t find it necessary to tweak pickups, etc., I’d rather start at the amp’s tone controls, presence, etc. However, both approaches are valid!

    And sometimes I use an EQ pedal to do a little more tone shaping for a tune.
     
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  11. gush

    gush She said "huge bag of dibs".

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    Although not an LT version I did put an 8515 neck in my McCarty. I should back up a bit and say I put a set of 8515s in it but the bridge pickup just didn't do it for me.

    That neck pickup though, i knew it was a keeper the very second I started playing it.

    It responds so well to volume and tone changes and seems to work extremely well cleaned up a bit. It makes me want to go places tonally that I'd never explore otherwise.

    My favorite neck pickup ever. It can be overpowering to a bridge pickup if you're not careful.
     
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  12. P90s

    P90s New Member

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    If you roll back the volume to clean up the tone, aren't you now dealing with a tone that is too quiet to be heard? What if you want a clean tone at the same decibel level as the overdriven tone? this approach wouldn't work, right? Unless you increased the volume on the amp?
     
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  13. Mozzi

    Mozzi https://imgur.com/user/BAMozzy

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    If you set the amp up right - as well as the guitar, rolling the volume down is hitting the amp with a bit less signal which is why it cleans up and, if you increase the volume on the guitar, you are sending more signal which cause the amp to overdrive.

    Think of the volume as a 'control' for the amount of signal that you are sending to the amp. With the 'volume' rolled down to zero, there is 'no' signal being sent and, if you set your guitar and 'amp' with the guitar volume at max, the only option is to 'roll' down, to reduce the amount of 'signal' that will hit the amp and, if you want to 'boost' that to push the amp to overdriven sounds, the ONLY option is with a 'Boost' pedal. However, if you were to set the amp up just on the verge of break-up, where you can get it to crunch with some digging in, but playing softly, its 'clean' but with the guitar volume on 6/7, you can turn the volume up which pushes the amp into that 'crunchy/overdriven' sound (like you can get by digging in - which sends more signal to the amp like turning up the volume does) or roll down the volume meaning that even if you dig in, you get cleaner tones.

    If you learn to use your guitars tone and volume control, you can do without boost and treble boost pedals - you can have a more 'dynamic' response too. At the end of the day, its your Amp that really dictates the 'volume' of the sound you here and the Guitar is just controlling the amount of signal that is sent along the signal path - the more signal, the more it can overdrive the amp so you set the amp right on the edge of break-up so if it receives more signal - either by really digging in or turning the 'volume' up on the guitar - it overdrives and if it receives 'less' signal, either by playing softly or rolling back the volume, it cleans up. You can still use it as a 'mute' too but you now have more control over your set-up.

    If you use the tine in a similar way, EQ the amp with the tone rolled down to 7 - may need to add a bit more treble at the amp, you can 'add' tone much like a treble boost does as well as roll it off if you want to as well. By setting up with everything on the guitar set to 'Max', the ONLY option is to go 'down', reduce the signal, can't boost it, reduce the tone, can't boost it. People buy pedals to do what their guitar can do if they set it up right.
     
  14. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    Not in most cases. Keep in mind that overdriven tubes compress. Compression reduces volume. So you get a relatively small volume loss rolling to clean.

    Also, in many cases, when the guitar needs to be clean, a band is playing a bit more quietly, assuming the band has good dynamics, which of course will vary from band to band. I’ve heard bands that know how to handle dynamics and are great live, and bands that are clueless and play at the same constant volume all the time.

    However, if you need your clean tone to be very loud, a two channel amp isn’t a bad idea.
     
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  15. Herr Squid

    Herr Squid I was severely impressed

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    It depends very much on what you're using for amplification, how loud you're running it, and to a lesser extent, the nature of the guitar. Getting it right is wonderful, when you can control the volume and amount of breakup you're getting just by your fingers and the controls on the guitar. I think some of the best electric guitar sounds are had with the volume knob down a few ticks and the amp breathing hard.

    Old-school (particularly Marshall-style) tube amps do this really well, but the magic happens at high volumes, relatively low levels of distortion, and pickups that aren't overly hot. That right there is Les' wheelhouse! Your average pedal, solid state amp, modeler, or 5-20 watt tube amp won't do it so well. A really good modeler (I think I'm known to have my favorite) with large speakers that move serious air can also do it, if set up judiciously.
     
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  16. garrett

    garrett knows just enough to be dangerous

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    Controlling break up is great for some applications, but I agree sometimes you need a pure clean tone. Like Les said, going for a two-channel amp is an easy solution there.

    I like to run a loud, single-channel clean amp with pedals. Same guitar and amp knob rules apply, though. Set clean rhythm with neck pickup volume rolled back. That still gives you room to boost your signal if you want to take a clean solo or to move up/down with band dynamics.

    The bridge pickup will probably then sound too bright, so just roll the tone back some. Like said previously in the thread, you then have room to boost the high end if you need to cut better in the mix.

    What you end up with, before even touching a pedal is:
    Bright clean neck tone. Want something jazzier/darker? Roll the tone back. Need more volume? Turn it up.
    Balanced clean bridge tone. You still have room to make it darker or brighter. Turn up the volume for a boost.​

    Then add your dirt pedal and tweak the EQ and gain where you want it. Now you have dirt sounds with room to turn up either pickup to goose it for extra signal and gain when you solo.

    The tone control is a recent revelation for me, like within the last year or so. I've been surprised just how much difference it can make for how the guitar fits in a band mix. You're really selling the guitar's abilities short if you just use it as a non-entity or as a subtractive device only.
     
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  17. Johnhe

    Johnhe New Member

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    I mainly play single coil guitars, but I also have grown to love some humbucking ones. When moving from my strats to a humbucking guitar, the only way I can get the guitar to work for me is to set the amp up for the neck pickup tone. Then turn the tone control for the bridge pickup back so it doesn’t sound too bright.

    I think someone else above suggested the same thing, but discovering this was major break through for me.it means turning up the treble on the amp quite a bit, but the bridge pickup usually sounds lovely and thick and meaty with the tone rolled back to between 5 and 7.
     
  18. Tone-y

    Tone-y New Member

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    I rarely touch the tone control on the neck. However, the tone control on the bridge is really important. You can get a much wider range of tones than you may realise
     

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