So I have an Epiphone G400 with a SD Jeff Beck in the bridge and a SD Jazz in the neck, both pickups are coil split, 500k volume pots (not really sure what the volume pot specs mean :P) The guitar is a mahogony body with a rosewood fretboard, for those who don't know.

The problem I'm having when it comes to distortion. The Jeff Beck pickup sounds AMAZING distorted. I absolutey love it. Now, based off the name of the Jazz pickup, I assumed it would be best at some nice cleans, which it is. I love the cleans from it, especially when its in single coil mode. However, whenever I distort the pickups sound with anymore juice than some overdrive, it sounds like crap. It seems like it can't handle it, if that makes sense at all. It starts to sound like a speaker is going bad and is really crackly. The higher gain I go, the more crackly and nasty it gets.

I'm not sure why this is, which is why I'm looking for help. I noticed with the Jeff Beck pickup it did the same thing when I used a JCM 800 setting (which has a very midrangy sound). It started to crackle. I rolled back the mids and it helped out the problem quite a bit. So maybe it could be the voicing of the Jazz pickup that is causing the problem? I just wouldn't think it would be that because it's such a more moderate output pup.

I've also noticed that lowering my pickup away from the strings greatly helps the problem, but takes away so much volume it almost makes the pickup clean when overdriven. But this is to be expected, obviously. A curious thing is if I tilt the pickup so the side under the low E string is lower than the side under the high E string, the problem seems mostly fixed. This gets rid of the nice, smooth bassy rhythm tones achieved with distortion though.

Any questions let me know, just looking for a fix. Thanks in advance
Well, it doesn't sound like there's anything wrong with the pickup, other than that it's not sounding the way you want it to.

It sounds like the first solution to try is to lower the bass side of the pickup like you did before, but roll off the tone knob to smooth out the tone when you need it. Another option might be to use the middle pickup switch position and blend in just a bit of the bridge pickup with the volume knob for clarity. A third option is to set the tone on your bridge pickup a bit lower and turn the treble/presence up on your amp. You may want to try a new kind of tone cap to make the tone knobs more helpful as well, especially if your tone controls are unusable at any setting other than 10.

It's tough to know what it sounds like to you, but the Jazz pickup, especially in an SG, is going to get woolly pretty quick when you start turning up the gain. You can tweak your setup a bit to help it along, but keep in mind you may need to work around the problem rather than fix it.
Maybe Bad PickUp? Check their site, maybe it can't really handle overdrive, which is very stupid lol, but you never know...





Thanks for the suggestions Roc. Blending the pickups isnt good for the combo I have. I researched before I bought them and everyone seemed to agree on that. I guess using the tone knob on the bridge pickup could maybe get me there, I'll give it a shot.

I read before i purchased that the Jazz distorts well, but maybe it meant very classic and vintage distortion.. like 50's distortion lol. Another thing, it is extremely .. punchy?.. in the high end with distortion. when a power chord is played, it almost hurts your ears initially with the treble part of the sound, but those frequencies fade extremely quickly. Not sure if this is related at all.. I guess I'll mess with the pickup height and angles a bunch and see what happens.

If anyone else has ideas keep em coming.

For those not understanding the noise I'm trying to describe, think of the quick crackle you get when plugging your guitar in after the amp is on. It's similar to that.
Quote by Darkflame
i have that same pickup on my Fender Jaguar, and to me it sounds good, I get amazing cleans and pretty good overdrive, but it's very very warm, the pickup by itself doesn't have a lot of presence, that might be your problem ?

Sorry for taking so long to respond. But I think what you mentioned is it, or partially it. I agree, I've never had such amazing cleans before this Jazz pickup. It's awesome for cleans. I looked at the voicing of the pickup, though, and it has high treble and bass but lower mids. I noticed that the more distortion/overdrive I add to the pickup, the more and more the cut mids are noticable. This is why, I think, I just get a really bassy mushy staticky distortion. Which is, sort of, what you said. The pickup is extremely warm and has not much presence. It may be that its just way too warm of a distortion in my guitar. Nothing I can do about it really besides change the pickup. But i won't: the cleans are too good :P
I think I can relate to your problem. My guitar has a SH2 in the neck as well, and it does sound great cleans and with bluesy distortion. When using my OD as a boost on the lead channel I do notice a strange breakup in the sound that is very hard to describe. I have found that backing off the treble helps a good bit.
I've played on a friends set-up though and it sounded fine with higher gain (it was a Mesa mkV though), so part of it is probably voicing of amp OD etc...
Parker P44PRO
Peavey Classic 30
Boss PH2
Boss OD-20
Boss RC-20
I never liked the SH2 much, it's kinda lacking when it comes to the OD department. The '59 is better but it has the problem of being really boomy.
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Quote by Anonden
You CAN play anything with anything....but some guitars sound right for some things, and not for others. Single coils sound retarded for metal, though those who are apeshit about harpsichord probably beg to differ.