Jangle Me!

I am playing around with “Jangle” and trying to get it right. I am working on a Frankenguitar project and here are some preliminary findings, thoughts and meanderings:

1. Gibson/Epiphone stock pickups suck. OK, we all knew that, but HOW bad do they suck? Well. They work, they don’t hum.

2. Kent Armstrong pickups do NOT suck.

Other thing is… we tend to judge pickups without the ability of side by side comparison. Guys like Jimmy Eppard, ears of gold, it might be easy, but for most folks, without that amount of experience, it’s hard to tell. This is where side by sides really come in handy.

Plug a guitar direct into the board and listening to the guitar/pickup clean with no FX is a great way to compare pickup to pickup, but the thing about guitars and RECORDING or PLAYING IN A BAND, is that things get lost in the mix or just sound plain wrong.

So, in an attempt to capture the old gritty, sound from the past, kinda like Credence Clearwater Revival (understanding there were Gretsch’s and Les Paul’s around those studios at the time), here is a NOT clean guitar sound with a bass and drum track to show how NOTICEABLE pickups can be IN THE MIX.

All guitars/pickups were recorded through a VOX AC 30 with some crunch, some trem and some reverb (kinda like it would be used in a “band sound” trying to get that CCR Grit Thang, which I crave. Also a P Bass through a DI and a “canned” drum track from ToonTrax Americana series. Otherwise, no Master EQ, just a Mastering Compressor, clean.

NO VOLUME COMPENSATION USED, all tracks were set and bounced with exact same settings throughout.

An IMPORTANT WORD about Credence Clearwater Revival… I had it in my dang head that these guys were playing Gretsch. Turns out it was probably an ES 175 GIBSON with PAF’s in the Bridge and Neck. So, “The CCR Sound” that I had in my head was just a PAF in a Hollow Body guitar. Thanks to my good friend, fishing buddy and alert listener Charles Kitch of Pro Sound in Texas.

1. This is an Epiphone SG with Gibson/Epiphone Dual Alnico V humbuckers Bridge

2. This is an Epiphone SG with Gibson/Epiphone Dual Alnico V humbuckers Bridge and Neck together

3. This is a PRS SE Series Solid Body with Kent Armstrong PAF with Ceramic magnets in the Bridge. Obviously a bit “hot” and good “growl” compared to a Kent Armstrong PAF but that’s what I wanted in THIS particular guitar. For a more Jangly kind of thing, I would have done a Kent Armstrong Filtertron replacement for the Neck and a Kent Armstrong PAF in the Bridge.

4. This is a PRS SE Series Solid Body with a Kent Armstrong PAF Ceramic Bridge and a PAF Neck together. YESSS!!

#4 is getting me VERY close in my search. Need a little less grunt, a little thinner and we are there, but really close…

AFTER you listen to 4 (do listen again), NOW go back and listen to #2. Someone PLEASE take this PILLOW OFF MY HEAD!!!


PS… I find that mounting a pickup without ADJUSTING the pickup is sad. I adjust the INDIVIDUAL pickup screws so that E1 B2 and E6 are flat, flush with the pickup casing. I ADJUST A5 a bit higher than the E6 and I then adjust G3 AND D4 just a bit higher than the A5. Also, as far as pickup height, my STARTING point is so that the E1 is about 3/32″ from the pickup and E6 is about 5/32″. That’s for the way I play. Also, you can always “thin out” a pickup by lowering the pickup height(s) but I personally think you lose articulation and clarity (as well as output).

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