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Thread: One problem with the 408's and NF pickups

  1. #1
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    One problem with the 408's and NF pickups

    You can't play a bunch of harmonics with the neck pickup (try hitting the open G harmonic on the 5th fret). I've always been annoyed by this. It's the same with every 408 and NF guitar I've tried. Anyone else bothered by this?
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  2. #2
    Goatee Practitioner Danerada's Avatar
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    Nope. I can't hit harmonics anyway....
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  3. #3
    Tim, I was curious after reading your post. So I just tried it on my Sig Ltd and on my Artist V for a comparison. I was able to produce harmonics at the 5th frets on both guitars.

    Both sets of harmonics on both guitars have quite a bit less volume on the neck pickup than on the bridge pickup, but that's typical of neck humbuckers. The Sig Ltd harmonics were marginally softer than those on the Artist V, but it was awfully close.

    Interesting experiment in any event, but I'm not perceiving it as a 408 issue. I don't have a guitar with NFs to compare.
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    Quote Originally Posted by LSchefman View Post
    Tim, I was curious after reading your post. So I just tried it on my Sig Ltd and on my Artist V for a comparison. I was able to produce harmonics at the 5th frets on both guitars.

    Both sets of harmonics on both guitars have quite a bit less volume on the neck pickup than on the bridge pickup, but that's typical of neck humbuckers. The Sig Ltd harmonics were marginally softer than those on the Artist V, but it was awfully close.

    Interesting experiment in any event, but I'm not perceiving it as a 408 issue. I don't have a guitar with NFs to compare.
    The 408s are a little less problematic than the NF pickups - you can sort of get something out of them. But it's definitely very noticeable to me with the 408's - my PS Sig, Sig LTD, 408 Braz, and my PS CU24 w/408's all exhibit this. My ME LTD, SAS NF, NF3 do as well. As have all the other NF and 408 equipped guitars I've played that I've tried this with. I've done it with various amps and gain settings. I've never really had a problem with neck humbuckers before.
    You're never too old for tater tots.

  5. #5
    A♥ hoards guitars A♥ rugerpc's Avatar
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    This is the simplified explanation for a possible cause:

    When a string is played normally, there are 2 nodes - one at the bridge and one at the other end of the string at the nut or wherever you are fretting the string. The maximum deflection in the vibrating string is exactly halfway between the nodes. For an open string, that is over the 12th fret. There is no string deflection at a node.

    Magnetic pickups generate their signal by the movement of ferrous metal through the magnetic field generating an electrical impulse in the coil. The more movement (amplitude), the more strength (volume, amplitude) to the signal.

    For open strings and normally fretted strings there is some movement in the magnetic field above the pickups to produce a signal. Again, the more movement the stronger the signal. But the opposite is true too. The less movement, the less signal and the less volume you can generate. The extreme case of this is a string that is not vibrating at all: no vibration = no signal generated.

    Harmonics add additional nodes to a vibrating string. The harmonic at the 12th fret adds a node at the 12th fret. There are now two (reduced) maximum amplitude areas - one halfway between the nut and the 12th fret and another halfway between the 12th fret and the bridge. But you can visualize that the string still has movement over the pups, so you get a signal.

    What happens when a node is created right over a pickup? Since there is no movement at a node, there should be no signal. But just off the node on either side, the string is vibrating - with more amplitude as you get away from the node. The problem is the string is vibrating in the exact opposite wave on dither side of a node. Any signal produced by these small amplitude movements would be very soft to start with and might even get cancelled out due to the opposite direction vibrations.

    I'm guessing that the harmonic for the 5th fret is placing a node right over the pickup that is relatively quiet. Time to measure - first from the nut to the place you create the 5th fret harmonic and then from the bridge towards the pups. Is the node on or really near the quiet pup?

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    Last edited by rugerpc; 04-30-2013 at 11:11 AM.
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    Member jrw32's Avatar
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    I have never noticed this on my Studio, but will try it later and post back the results.

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    Member jrw32's Avatar
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    I just played my Studio (with NFs) and interestingly, you're right...just on the neck pickup alone, with 5th fret harmonics. Same clean or dirty. No problem on other frets or pickup settings. Doesn't bother me so no biggie...

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    Senior Member Rango's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rugerpc View Post
    This is the simplified explanation for a possible cause:

    When a string is played normally, there are 2 nodes - one at the bridge and one at the other end of the string at the nut or wherever you are fretting the string. The maximum deflection in the vibrating string is exactly halfway between the nodes. For an open string, that is over the 12th fret. There is no string deflection at a node.

    Magnetic pickups generate their signal by the movement of ferrous metal through the magnetic field generating an electrical impulse in the coil. The more movement (amplitude), the more strength (volume, amplitude) to the signal.

    For open strings and normally fretted strings there is some movement in the magnetic field above the pickups to produce a signal. Again, the more movement the stronger the signal. But the opposite is true too. The less movement, the less signal and the less volume you can generate. The extreme case of this is a string that is not vibrating at all: no vibration = no signal generated.

    Harmonics add additional nodes to a vibrating string. The harmonic at the 12th fret adds a node at the 12th fret. There are now two (reduced) maximum amplitude areas - one halfway between the nut and the 12th fret and another halfway between the 12th fret and the bridge. But you can visualize that the string still has movement over the pups, so you get a signal.

    What happens when a node is created right over a pickup? Since there is no movement at a node, there should be no signal. But just off the node on either side, the string is vibrating - with more amplitude as you get away from the node. The problem is the string is vibrating in the exact opposite wave on dither side of a node. Any signal produced by these small amplitude movements would be very soft to start with and might even get cancelled out due to the opposite direction vibrations.

    I'm guessing that the harmonic for the 5th fret is placing a node right over the pickup that is relatively quiet. Time to measure - first from the nut to the place you create the 5th fret harmonic and then from the bridge towards the pups. Is the node on or really near the quiet pup?

    bingo.
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  9. #9
    That Video Guy crgtr's Avatar
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    I was gonna comment on this topic, but after seeing rugerpc's avatar I lost interest in the subject..........
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  10. #10
    A♥ hoards guitars A♥ rugerpc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by crgtr View Post
    I was gonna comment on this topic, but after seeing rugerpc's avatar I lost interest in the subject..........
    Sorry Chris... Should I change it for you?
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  11. #11
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    Avatar changed so Cris can concentrate.....
    Thbbbbbt...
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    Senior Member sergiodeblanc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rugerpc View Post
    Sorry Chris... Should I change it for you?
    I was rather enjoying it, but I did experience some eye strain from looking so hard.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sergiodeblanc View Post
    I was rather enjoying it, but I did experience some eye strain from looking so hard.
    I'll change it back tomorrow if One of the mods saw it and says it's OK.
    Thbbbbbt...
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    Senior Member jfb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hippietim View Post
    The 408s are a little less problematic than the NF pickups - you can sort of get something out of them. But it's definitely very noticeable to me with the 408's - my PS Sig, Sig LTD, 408 Braz, and my PS CU24 w/408's all exhibit this. My ME LTD, SAS NF, NF3 do as well. As have all the other NF and 408 equipped guitars I've played that I've tried this with. I've done it with various amps and gain settings. I've never really had a problem with neck humbuckers before.
    While I can't give you full price for defective guitars I'm certain we can work something out.


  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by hippietim View Post
    The 408s are a little less problematic than the NF pickups - you can sort of get something out of them. But it's definitely very noticeable to me with the 408's - my PS Sig, Sig LTD, 408 Braz, and my PS CU24 w/408's all exhibit this. My ME LTD, SAS NF, NF3 do as well. As have all the other NF and 408 equipped guitars I've played that I've tried this with. I've done it with various amps and gain settings. I've never really had a problem with neck humbuckers before.
    Interesting.

    I did try it with my Artist V, however, and it wasn't much different. But those are the only two electrics I have on hand, so maybe it's different with other guitars? Or scale lengths?

    Whenever I've done harmonics, I've used the bridge pickup, since that's always been more powerful with harmonics, so it hasn't mattered to me, but it sure is interesting!

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  16. #16
    Angry Southern Gentleman Hopeful Sinner's Avatar
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    Strangely I experienced this problem with a McCarty neck pup in the not too distant past. Had a whole other set of McCarty pups that I could NOT replicate the issue with on the neck position. Gremlins, man, gremlins....
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  17. #17
    Senior Member jfine's Avatar
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    Telecasters are notorious for that. The neck pickup sits right under the harmonic node--it's one of the reasons they sound the way they do. Move the pickup off the node and you change the tone. It doesn't bother me--I just have to remember not to play 5th fret harmonics with the neck pickup when I play my Tele! (I generally don't play harmonics on the neck pickup anyway--they're tougher to get.) Anybody know whether 5th-fret neck-pickup harmonics can be played on the new Brent Mason model?

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    Can SOMEONE please post a brief video of their guitar demonstrating the aforementioned harmonic??? And, also, the lack thereof, so we can view an actual comparison. I have a hard time hitting the harmonic...but perhaps I am looking for the wrong thing...a video demonstration of the ability to achieve the harmonic would prove invaluable.

  19. #19
    That Video Guy crgtr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rugerpc View Post
    Sorry Chris... Should I change it for you?
    NO!!!!! I don't want to concentrate!! I want to dream!!
    Chris Reynolds...Nashvegas TN
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  20. #20
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    hmm. interesting. if you are talking touching the string lightly right over fret for harmonics like doing the 12th fret deal for intonation ? does the guitar do it fine unplugged?? those kind of harmonics are not dependant on gain etc as even an acoustic guitar can do them. I know on my P22 I can get harmonics all over unplugged. never tried it on neck PU plugged in though. Maybe I am not wrapping my mind around this properly but if it harmonics unplugged it should plugged in right? the pick up is basically a form of a mic. Pick up hight make a difference? hmm not sure but if it harmonics unplugged for some reason seems to me should still even plugged in.
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