Steve's bright neck pickup sound

Discuss Steve's guitars, set-up and equipment here. This forum is not for discussing general guitar topics.
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darren741
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hey, hope someone can help me out. I couldn't afford a real Jem, so I made the mistake a few years back of buying a "fake" Jem, the 555 model. I was told it was basically a Jem7vwh with a basswood body, ha! Well I replaced the awful trem unit and slapped in a Floyd Rose Pro. I also shaved down the rediculously tall frets to ease playability. However, even though this thing has Evolutions, the neck pickup is so bassy and muddy that it freaks me out. The bridge pickup sounds fine, but I notice that Vai can actually get bright pinch harmonics using the NECK pickup. Sometimes when he switches from the bridge to neck pickup, it's hard to even notice the difference. Can somebody tell me what I can do to my neck Evo to get it to more closely match the bridge pickup? Thanks.
Anthony
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When you're talking about recording, there are a lot of issues to think about. Steve spends days (literally) getting tones that he likes to record. There's also post-production work done on the tone of everything on his recordings. Also, if you're trying to sound like EVO, good luck. :) Steve played TONS of prototypes and that one had a particular sound that he really liked. He says that it sounds like no other guitar out there, and it's true. He even had people dig through the trash when someone threw out the pickups on EVO to replace them with newer ones. Heh.

Steve's guitars are just like stock models, but he also gets to play with prototypes before choosing the one he's going to play for the next few years. Not every guitar sounds the same, and the same is true for the 555. Also, as you noted, the 555 has a basswood body, but the 7vwh has an alder body. Steve also uses rosewood fingerboards, which makes a difference in tone. His action is usually a little higher, also, when he wants to get better tone. So, there are a million parameters. Keep playing around with your 555, though, because it's an awesome guitar. I'm sure if you find the right combination of pickup height, action, amp, recording gear, etc., you'll get a tone you'll be satisfied with. :)

Anthony
darren741
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Thanks Anthony for the reply. Does adjusting the pickup height actually affect the tone of the pickup, or just the overall loudness?
goth_fiend
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it doesnt have to do with the pickups as much as your sustain, your notes will ring out longer as there not going to be hitting your frets anywhere and they will be able to reverbarate more, though pickups do have a factor in there too, i like my action a tad bit high so i can get some really nice tapping stuff out of my guitar.
keithb
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goth_fiend is right about ACTION height, but didn't really answer the question about pickup height. Changing the height of your pickups will most definately affect your tone.

It's not a hard adjustment to make, basically just set up everything as you normally do, strike a note, and adjust the pickup height screws until you find a spot you like. (See http://www.projectguitar.com/tut/aph.htm)
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Logic
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Very informative site.. keithb

Thank you..
Matthew
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The nature of any neck pickup is to have more bass than the bridge because of where it's located. If you were looking to get the same tone out of both pickups, might as well buy a Charvel 1984 which has only a bridge pickup. I find you get more sustain from the neck pickup and a more creamy, smooth tone. No matter what pickup you have, the neck is always going to be more bassy than the bridge.
rockininthefreeworld
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It's true that the guitar have quality, excelent wood,etc.
But also, it depends in the efects he use: (I think he use Chorus, delay,etc)
darren741
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Well I know that the bridge and neck pickup are not going to sound identical because of the location of the pickups, but is there any way to maybe get some more presence from just the bassier neck pickup?
Matthew
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Make sure both pickups are more or less the same height to avoid any major differences in volume. If the bridge is high and the neck is low, you are going to have some distinct differences. And to further take out any uneeded bass, bring your tone control up.
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Logic
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This is true I have found that cranking the tone nob to ful treble with the neck pickup actine gives me a smashmouth tone..very kewl..although I am playi9ng through a marshall vs 265 and it has some of the most active tone out there..kewl none the less
Vegas_Blues
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I achieve that brighter neck sound.....sorta stringy, great harmonics.....by way of the ole capacitor on the volume pot mod. Im not %100 sure, but Ive heard that jems already come with this mod.....

Anyways, it makes it so you can turn your volume knob down and not lose any fidelity. That's basically how Steve gets his live "clean" sound, just by backing off the volume.

Anyone know if the jems already come with a cap?
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Jeroen
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Yes they do. On the volume 331 and on the tone 223, using 500K pots.
Julz
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Maybe try flipping the bridge pickup upside down so the coils are swapped around. But from my experiences it gives a more bassy tone which is what you're trying to get away from.
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