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View Full Version : SE Santana too bright!



Mark
07-30-2012, 09:10 PM
Hi, Im new to this forum so hope someone can help. I have just bought an SE Santana which I love but I have an issue with the high E and B strings sounding too bright or trebbly. I have tried changing the settings on the amp but this does not seem to help much. I noticed that the E string is quite a lot lower on the bridge than the other strings (although the B string is not). Could this be a set up problem or is it the tone of the pick ups. Any advice would be most welcome.

Cheers Mark

howard52
07-30-2012, 10:28 PM
sounds like a easy fix..guitar should have come with tool to rise and lower the bridge saddles..just adjust the saddle on the high e string to the height that solves the problem..just insert the key turn clockwise and check height by sound ,should be easy fix..

Mikegarveyblues
07-30-2012, 10:40 PM
sounds like a easy fix..guitar should have come with tool to rise and lower the bridge saddles..just adjust the saddle on the high e string to the height that solves the problem..just insert the key turn clockwise and check height by sound ,should be easy fix..

+1

It's worth checking the action between the bottom of the strings and the top of the fret at the 12th fret (In the playing position) with a steel ruler. Action is a personal choice but it's worth noting to see if it's out of whack. An average may be 2mm low E side to 1.6 - 1.8 High E. Whether you go higher or lower than that is dependant upon your playing style.

If the E & B strings still don't sound right after fiddling with the saddles then take a look at the pickup height. See what happens when you lower it on the treble side.

]-[ @ n $ 0 |v| a T !
07-30-2012, 11:08 PM
Also consider lowering the pup a little on the high E side.

Switch to nickel strings.

John Beef
07-31-2012, 12:53 PM
Yeah, what they said. Lower the pickup on the treble side. Also, try swapping in a Alnico 2 or unoriented alnico 5 magnet into the pickup. There's a guy on ebay who sells pickup magnets for cheap and it's easy to do.

Danerada
07-31-2012, 05:54 PM
I agree with everything posted above...adjust the bridge and lower the treble side of the pickup...

Mark
07-31-2012, 08:40 PM
Hi Guys,
Thanks for the advice. I have tried raising the E string and lowering the pick ups and it has helped, still not got the tone im looking for though so maybe try changing the strings next as it currently has the ones fitted from the factory.

Iv not heard about adding magnets to the pick up before, how does that work. I think a bit of internet research is required...

]-[ @ n $ 0 |v| a T !
07-31-2012, 09:32 PM
If the string change (to nickel) doesn't do the trick, the PTC can certainly help.

You could also drop in a 250k volume pot.

Mark
07-31-2012, 09:49 PM
Guys I need some help here as I am not an expert (yet) when it comes to swapping out parts on electric guitars, the three I have are all as they were when I bought them.

When you talk about dropping in Alnico 2 magnets I assume this means replacing the standard PRS pickups with Alnico 2 type ?
Also when dropping in a 250k volume pot, I assume this means changing the volume knob ?

Can you please confirm, thanks

andy474x
07-31-2012, 11:07 PM
I think the actual magnets in the pickups can be changed, so you can keep the pickups and just get the new magnets and swap them, which will be a lot cheaper. As far as changing the pots, you would be replacing the internal part under the knob. Which would mean opening the back control panel and unsoldering the old 500k volume pot from the wiring, and putting the 250k in and soldering the connections back up. Not a hard job if you're handy with a soldering iron, or have a friend that is. I've not done that specifically, but I have had great luck changing the tone pot on a bright guitar from a 500k to a 250k, or changing the tone capacitor. Hans, does changing the volume to a 250k change the output level also? That's my assumption but I really don't know.

rugerpc
08-01-2012, 11:03 AM
I'm not sure changing the VOLUME pot will have the desired effect...
Pots are essentially variable resistors. A 500K pot fully clockwise is (should be) 0k and 500k fully counterclockwise. A 250k pot should be 0k and 250k (cw/ccw). Putting in the 250K pot in the volume position should only have the effect of possibly not being able to turn the output signal all the way off from the guitar to the amp. I don't see it having any effect on tone...

John Beef
08-01-2012, 12:40 PM
Guys I need some help here as I am not an expert (yet) when it comes to swapping out parts on electric guitars, the three I have are all as they were when I bought them.

When you talk about dropping in Alnico 2 magnets I assume this means replacing the standard PRS pickups with Alnico 2 type ?
Also when dropping in a 250k volume pot, I assume this means changing the volume knob ?

Can you please confirm, thanks
Swapping magnets is really easy to do and doesn't take much time at all. IMHO the SE pickups are some of the best out there to try your hand at it because they're inexpensive and in my opinion, much improved with a better magnet. You don't even have to unwire the pickup from the guitar.

First you have to get the new magnets. I got mine from this guy on ebay (http://www.ebay.com/sch/addiction-fx/m.html?_nkw=&_armrs=1&_from=&_ipg=&_trksid=p3686).

I can maybe post more later... sadly I have run out of time. Check the Duncan forum for more info, there are lots of guys over there doing impressive pickup modifications.

andy474x
08-01-2012, 01:55 PM
Swapping magnets is really easy to do and doesn't take much time at all. IMHO the SE pickups are some of the best out there to try your hand at it because they're inexpensive and in my opinion, much improved with a better magnet. You don't even have to unwire the pickup from the guitar.

First you have to get the new magnets. I got mine from this guy on ebay (http://www.ebay.com/sch/addiction-fx/m.html?_nkw=&_armrs=1&_from=&_ipg=&_trksid=p3686).

I can maybe post more later... sadly I have run out of time. Check the Duncan forum for more info, there are lots of guys over there doing impressive pickup modifications.

Also very easy to add an extra lead for coil tapping if you feel adventurous! If you're new to the whole pickup mod thing, you could easily pick up an identical set of stock SE pickups very cheap on ebay, do all the mods on those, and then just drop them in... that way if you mess something up, still have the originals to fall back on.

John Beef
08-01-2012, 03:30 PM
First you take off the strings, then take the pickup out of the guitar and its mounting ring. No need to de-wire it or anything, just put a cloth down on the face of the guitar so you don't mar it.

You basically take out the 4 screws off the bottom of the pickup.
http://i235.photobucket.com/albums/ee251/johnmfer/IMG_20111102_212724.jpg

Then gently open it up. It's waxy, so it takes a little effort, but be gentle.

http://i235.photobucket.com/albums/ee251/johnmfer/IMG_20111102_213247.jpg

The big black thing in the middle is the magnet. On a SE pickup, the magnets have been silver. Pry this out. Once again, be gentle.

http://i235.photobucket.com/albums/ee251/johnmfer/IMG_20111102_213553.jpg

Put the other magnet in there. You have to put it so north-south is aligned correctly. What I do for this step is I make sure the neck pickup and bridge pickup when facing each other with the screw coils touching the slug coils attract to each other. If you don't feel the mild attraction, you need to flip the magnet upside down, and check it again. There might be a better way to describe this step, anyone care to chime in?

http://i235.photobucket.com/albums/ee251/johnmfer/IMG_20111102_213622.jpg

And so there it is with the new magnet. Put the baseplate back on, screw it down, and re-install the pickup. Once you've done this a couple times, it takes all of 10-15 minutes and can dramatically change the tone.

Mark
08-01-2012, 07:57 PM
Hi Rugerp - Thanks for the info, I think I will leave the coil as it is.

Hi John - The information you provided is fantastic, thanks very much. I have not stripped down a pick up before but from what I had seen on the internet I expected to have individual magnets for each string. Your explanation and the photos simplify things alot. Off to the magnet shop right now.

Cheers Guys

Mark
08-01-2012, 08:02 PM
Hi John,

One more thing, can you tell me the size of the magnets used in the Santana pick ups, I see from your link to the guy of ebay that there are different lengths.

Thanks
Mark

John Beef
08-02-2012, 11:31 AM
Most of the original F*nder pickups (strat, tele, jazzmaster, etc) are in fact individual magnets under each string. This is generally not the case with humbuckers or P-90s, though there are a few exceptions both ways.

The ones I bought were "Nominal 2.50'' long x 0.50'' wide x 0.125'' thick". They were longer than the stock magnets but still fit fine. They're the same width and thickness.

Cool! I'm glad to be spreading the gospel of magnets swaps!! It's so much cheaper than replacing pickups and often the results are just as dramatic (within reason). A magnet swap won't turn a Seth Lover into an Invader (if you're familiar with duncan pickups) but it can revitalize a guitar.

cobrafast1
08-02-2012, 11:57 AM
Guys I need some help here as I am not an expert (yet) when it comes to swapping out parts on electric guitars, the three I have are all as they were when I bought them.

When you talk about dropping in Alnico 2 magnets I assume this means replacing the standard PRS pickups with Alnico 2 type ?
Also when dropping in a 250k volume pot, I assume this means changing the volume knob ?




Can you please confirm, thanks

Not the volume pot. The tone pot. If there is a 500 K ohm audio taper installed. Swap it out for a 250 K ohm audio taper. That will cut off lot of the high frequency that you dislike. I hope this helps.

Mikegarveyblues
08-02-2012, 09:52 PM
Hey Mark...

How is it if you roll off the tone knob a touch? Are you left with muddy sounding bass side or can you balance it all out?

If you decide to change the pot(s) you'll need a reamer to enlarge the holes if you go with CTS pots... And probably new knobs. Not expensive or hard to do though.

Hopeful Sinner
08-02-2012, 10:57 PM
Hmmm, that HFS looks familiar.. You change the mag or just open it up for demonstration purposes?

andy474x
08-02-2012, 11:02 PM
Hey Mark...

How is it if you roll off the tone knob a touch? Are you left with muddy sounding bass side or can you balance it all out?

If you decide to change the pot(s) you'll need a reamer to enlarge the holes if you go with CTS pots... And probably new knobs. Not expensive or hard to do though.

+1 to that. Mike is absolutely right, some brands of pots are different shaft diameter than stock, CTS being one of them I believe. When I changed out my pots on my SECU22, I had to enlarge the holes, and it didn't go well, took a decent size chunk out of the veneer top. Luckily it was small enough to still be under the knob in the end. That veneer is just so thin, I wouldn't risk messing with it. DO NOT use a power drill with plain ol' drill bits (probably common sense to the woodworking types, but not me). When I swapped pots on my SECU24, I used whatever brand they sell in-store at Guitar Center. Can't remember what it was exactly, but they were an exact drop in, which kept my blood pressure a lot lower, and they seem to be nice pots. Anyways, just don't want you to end up with big flakes of guitar top popping off!

cobrafast1
08-02-2012, 11:30 PM
Hey Mark...

How is it if you roll off the tone knob a touch? Are you left with muddy sounding bass side or can you balance it all out?

If you decide to change the pot(s) you'll need a reamer to enlarge the holes if you go with CTS pots... And probably new knobs. Not expensive or hard to do though.

If you're changing from a 500 K ohm to a 250 K ohm audio taper, there is no muddiness. The bass would be the same. In the complete rotation toward bass is 0 ohms. In the full treble rotation the resisitance is max 500K or 250K depending on the value of the control. So you would lose the top 250 k ohms of the control, which is the high treble range that you wish to eliminate. The bass range would be unchanged as that is the lower resistance in the RC network for the tone control.

I think you'll be happy with a 250 K ohm control. if not, just change it back to 500K ohms. The cost of the audio taper is about $5. Not a big investment.

Mark
08-03-2012, 12:32 AM
Hi Guys,

Thanks for the ongoing info stream.

Cobra, Thanks for the advice I will barethat in mind but don't like the sound of having to ream out the holes as Mike suggests. I think I will leave the pots for the time being.

John, With regard to the magnets, Im definately going to give this try, can you advise if you use the same type of magnets in each pickup or is it one type for the bridge and one foe the neck. Alaso, do you know what magnets are fitted as standard in the SE Santana model.

Mike, In answer to your question, I have done a bit of tweeking around and I find that if I knock the tone back about 30% on the guitar and increase the middle and reduce the treble on the amp, that seems to be the optimum setting. When set up like this its not bad but Im still not getting the creamy tone I'm looking for. Maybe I am expecting too much of this entry level PRS. I was wondering if this is this a common issue or not, or just the character of the guitar. I have seen a few demos on Utube and the sound tone does not seem to be an issue in any of those..

Cheers Guys

Mikegarveyblues
08-03-2012, 07:16 AM
Don't blame you for not wanting to enlarge the holes... I was worried that i'd mess it up when I did it but it turned out to be a super easy job. Something to bear in mind in the future if you have any issues with the pots... Although you could get hold of replacement Alpha pots that will just drop right in without the need for any extra work or expense.

I had the SE 245 pups that you have in my Bernie and they where pretty even across all the strings as I recall. I could get the creamy sounds - or at least my take on creamy. I only swapped mine out because I thought the bridge was a little sterile.

What's your setup?


Hi Guys,

Thanks for the ongoing info stream.

Cobra, Thanks for the advice I will barethat in mind but don't like the sound of having to ream out the holes as Mike suggests. I think I will leave the pots for the time being.

John, With regard to the magnets, Im definately going to give this try, can you advise if you use the same type of magnets in each pickup or is it one type for the bridge and one foe the neck. Alaso, do you know what magnets are fitted as standard in the SE Santana model.

Mike, In answer to your question, I have done a bit of tweeking around and I find that if I knock the tone back about 30% on the guitar and increase the middle and reduce the treble on the amp, that seems to be the optimum setting. When set up like this its not bad but Im still not getting the creamy tone I'm looking for. Maybe I am expecting too much of this entry level PRS. I was wondering if this is this a common issue or not, or just the character of the guitar. I have seen a few demos on Utube and the sound tone does not seem to be an issue in any of those..

Cheers Guys

cobrafast1
08-03-2012, 08:56 AM
Hi Guys,

Thanks for the ongoing info stream.

Cobra, Thanks for the advice I will barethat in mind but don't like the sound of having to ream out the holes as Mike suggests. I think I will leave the pots for the time being.

John, With regard to the magnets, Im definately going to give this try, can you advise if you use the same type of magnets in each pickup or is it one type for the bridge and one foe the neck. Alaso, do you know what magnets are fitted as standard in the SE Santana model.

Mike, In answer to your question, I have done a bit of tweeking around and I find that if I knock the tone back about 30% on the guitar and increase the middle and reduce the treble on the amp, that seems to be the optimum setting. When set up like this its not bad but Im still not getting the creamy tone I'm looking for. Maybe I am expecting too much of this entry level PRS. I was wondering if this is this a common issue or not, or just the character of the guitar. I have seen a few demos on Utube and the sound tone does not seem to be an issue in any of those..

Cheers Guys

You might not need to enlarge the holes. Look up Antique Electronic Supply online. They just sent me a Fender pot for my Strat and the label was Fender w/Logo. Look through their online catalog Very extensive with dimensions and specs for controls, etc.

You might find the one you want. They are a great outfit. I use them for my ham radio gear too. They always have those hard to find parts for ham gear back in the 50's and 60's.

Have them send you a paper catalog too. Also, Mouser Electroinics is good too I have their catalog. It's about 3" thick.

Don't give up and settle for just anything. Make the guitar the way you like it. I'm a firm believer in that. Guitars are like cars; you need to have it the way you like it.

Good Luck

vchizzle
08-03-2012, 09:48 AM
Have you checked the action and the pickup height yet? I commonly find pickup heights on new guitars in stores to be too close to the strings. Sometimes not even set up to the manufacturer's specs.

John Beef
08-03-2012, 10:59 AM
Hmmm, that HFS looks familiar.. You change the mag or just open it up for demonstration purposes?
I'm sure it does! I had changed the magnet to an Alnico 5 when I was using it (that's where the pics come from), but I re-installed the original ceramic magnet before I put it up for sale. Using it in the bridge of a baritone, the ceramic magnet with the downtuned strings created a serious metal monster. Only, I don't really play metal, so it didn't work for me! It was still pretty aggressive with the A5 magnet.

cobrafast1
08-04-2012, 08:00 AM
Have you checked the action and the pickup height yet? I commonly find pickup heights on new guitars in stores to be too close to the strings. Sometimes not even set up to the manufacturer's specs.

I agree with that. I had to lower my bridge pickup a bit. It was too bright and lowering also gives you a bit more sustain in the strings too. Just a note: the strong the magnetic field on the strings; the less the sustain.

So many things to think about. :eek: