SE Santana too bright!
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.
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..
Originally Posted by howard52
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.
Also consider lowering the pup a little on the high E side.
Switch to nickel strings.
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.
I agree with everything posted above...adjust the bridge and lower the treble side of the pickup...
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...
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.
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
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.
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...
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.
Originally Posted by Mark
First you have to get the new magnets. I got mine from this guy on ebay.
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.
Originally Posted by John Beef
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.
Then gently open it up. It's waxy, so it takes a little effort, but be gentle.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Originally Posted by 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.
Hmmm, that HFS looks familiar.. You change the mag or just open it up for demonstration purposes?