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Thread: Mounting pickup direct to body: what does this do to tone?

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    Default Mounting pickup direct to body: what does this do to tone?

    I have a Signature Odyssey guitar that has the pickups screwed direct into the body......So when I changed out the bridge pup to a C5, I wanted to try it out first so I didn't have to drill out the holes on the baseplate. All I had to do was cram the pup into the cavity in the body, since it was pretty tight it would stay in place. Sounded good. So I mounted it permanently with the screws and little silicone tubes that go on the screws to hold the pickup in place (work the same way springs would). Now all of a sudden the tone lacks highs. Made sure pickup height was the same. So now I changed it out with a Steve's Special. Same thing: Sounds great just jammed in place, but once I mount it permanently with the screws I lose highs and gain mids. What's going on here? The baseplate of the pickup was in contact with the wood when I just had it jammed in place, So how could the tone be affected when I screw it in place? What does screwing the pickup directly into the wood do to the tone compared to mounting it with a pickup ring?
    Previously known as 4Rock.

  2. #2
    theodie
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    Default Re: Mounting pickup direct to body: what does this do to tone?

    It does next to nothing IMO but, there will probally be some yahoo on here that says it makes all the difference in the world. The difference may be VERY small and IMO, its not worth drilling out a pickup to do this.

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    Imperator of Indignation idsnowdog's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mounting pickup direct to body: what does this do to tone?

    With some of the harder woods it makes a difference but not a huge difference. Most guitars that use direct mounting tend to use basswood and its barely noticeable.

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    Mojo's Minions Mephis's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mounting pickup direct to body: what does this do to tone?

    If you can tell the difference, you probably have better ears than 99.999% of the human population.
    Carvin custom strat (P-Rails/hotrails/single - Tuned Eb) -> Pod XT - - 6505+ Halfstack

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    Default Re: Mounting pickup direct to body: what does this do to tone?

    Kind of what I thought. I prefer mounting rings myself. I don't know why they did that on this guitar, must have been the rage in the 80's. I want to keep it as close to stock as possible, though (I already changed the pickups). So I don't want to put a mounting ring on it.
    Previously known as 4Rock.

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    Mojo's Minions Mephis's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mounting pickup direct to body: what does this do to tone?

    Couldn't you just switch the pickup baseplates and repot?
    Carvin custom strat (P-Rails/hotrails/single - Tuned Eb) -> Pod XT - - 6505+ Halfstack

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    frehley
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    Default Re: Mounting pickup direct to body: what does this do to tone?

    I think the idea that tone can be affected by simply screwing the pups to
    the body or mounting them on rings is what some of us here call "Guitar Voodoo", unless Mephis is right and you indeed have bionic hearing. The idea is that if the pups are mounted to the body, they will pick up the vibrations of the wood and better transmit those tones to the pickup therefor, producing the more realistic tone of the instrument. I like that idea but I honestly never heard any difference to really explore it further and start A/B'ing. I prefer having the adjustability of the pup. You'll hear a bigger difference with pup height than with anything else.
    Check out a web site called www.tkinstruments.com, the guy that builds these guitars really believes that all these different things affect tone. He's a nice guy and if you want to hear another point of view, check out his site. Go to " anatomy of a tk" section. Good luck!
    Last edited by frehley; 11-06-2006 at 01:34 AM.

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    WGTP
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    Default Re: Mounting pickup direct to body: what does this do to tone?

    I'm not sure how much you can hear it, but in theory, your effecting the relationship between the vibration of the strings and the vibration of the pickup. I would think it would be most noticable on mids and lows because of the larger movement of the body and strings. Also the more resonant the body and the the connection between the strings and the body i.e. the bridge. I'm also not sure how "isolated" the ring mounted pickup is from the body vibration.

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    Tone Member alanfc's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mounting pickup direct to body: what does this do to tone?

    What about direct mount into a Strat, compared to the mounting on the plastic material of the pickguard?
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    Ultimate Tone Slacker Sirion's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mounting pickup direct to body: what does this do to tone?

    I did this on my LP Firebrand neck humbucker (there was so little wood under the bridge hb that I didn't dare to do it), and in my case I experienced a significant volume boost. A friend of mine who is working as a session guitarist in LA (Jeff Fiorentino, runs the webpage www.jfrocks.com) claims that you get a more sustain and especially more harmonics from it, and while mine have both, I didn't really analyse back and forth with direct/ring, so I can't vouch for this. The neck bucker have all the sustain and harmonics I will ever need, but that was the case before as well.

    But, there was a noticeable difference in volume.

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    Default Re: Mounting pickup direct to body: what does this do to tone?

    It does make some difference but not much. It certainly shouldn't dull the top end like that anyway.
    In 1861 as Confederate forces were about to fire on Fort Sumter, the Blue and Gray had far more in common than the blue and red today. What fellowship can "the truth shall set you free" ever have with "what is truth"? Barring a major epidemic or nuclear attack to explode the postmodern myth that the reality outside our heads depends for its very existence on what we think of it, secession is coming...

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    CheapGuitarologist ArtieToo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mounting pickup direct to body: what does this do to tone?

    This brings up a question that I've asked before - just because one aspect of a guitar transmits more vibrations into a part or system, does it necessarily equate to an "improvement" in tone. Couldn't it just as easily cause standing waves and cancellation? I would think that each case would stand on its own. Maybe.

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    Default Re: Mounting pickup direct to body: what does this do to tone?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sirion View Post
    I did this on my LP Firebrand neck humbucker (there was so little wood under the bridge hb that I didn't dare to do it), and in my case I experienced a significant volume boost. A friend of mine who is working as a session guitarist in LA (Jeff Fiorentino, runs the webpage www.jfrocks.com) claims that you get a more sustain and especially more harmonics from it, and while mine have both, I didn't really analyse back and forth with direct/ring, so I can't vouch for this. The neck bucker have all the sustain and harmonics I will ever need, but that was the case before as well.

    But, there was a noticeable difference in volume.
    Are you sure you have the pickup the same distance from the strings as before?

    Quote Originally Posted by ArtieToo View Post
    This brings up a question that I've asked before - just because one aspect of a guitar transmits more vibrations into a part or system, does it necessarily equate to an "improvement" in tone. Couldn't it just as easily cause standing waves and cancellation? I would think that each case would stand on its own. Maybe.
    Excellent post. You are quite right - sometimes extra vibration is bad.

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    Ultimate Tone Slacker Sirion's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mounting pickup direct to body: what does this do to tone?

    It may not be in the exact same position (as you lose a little bit of control over the humbucker height) but it certainly isn't so much of a difference that you would get the kind of volume boost I got.

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    Default Re: Mounting pickup direct to body: what does this do to tone?

    Many Telecaster players wouldn't play a Tele if the neck pickup wasn't directly mounted to the body (and prefer springs to surgical tubing inbetween the flatwork and the wood.) and that has nothing to do with aesthetics, tradition, or superstition.

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    Kablamminator ratherdashing's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mounting pickup direct to body: what does this do to tone?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sirion View Post
    It may not be in the exact same position (as you lose a little bit of control over the humbucker height) but it certainly isn't so much of a difference that you would get the kind of volume boost I got.
    I dunno ... a small change in height can have a big affect on volume.

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    Toneologist disturb's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mounting pickup direct to body: what does this do to tone?

    Nothing

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    HardtailPisser ibanezrocks's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mounting pickup direct to body: what does this do to tone?

    I would think you'd get more vibrations canceling than anything else, but I don't think it would make a noticeable difference.

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    Tone Member Eddie J.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Mounting pickup direct to body: what does this do to tone?

    Sounds great just jammed in place, but once I mount it permanently with the screws I lose highs and gain mids. What's going on here?
    This is a different light on your problem...I remember Bill lawrence developed a "no metal parts near pickup" theory, so maybe the presence of screws is what affects your sound?

    Personally, I doubt it, but it`s bill lawrence`s hint.
    Good luck.
    Last edited by Eddie J.; 04-23-2007 at 06:09 PM.

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    Default Re: Mounting pickup direct to body: what does this do to tone?

    I have my hums bolted directly to the body of my mahogany USAC strat. I did it mainly for looks, and while it does sound great I can't say it sounds any better than some of my other guitars with rings. I don't think it makes much of a difference either way.

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