#1
Hello,

I bought a loaded pickguard with Custom Shop 69 pickups for my lame squier. I replaced that bitch and soldered the wires and still I don't get a real sound. I thought the pickups are not good enough so I bought one Seymour Duncan ssl-1 for neck, soldered it and the sound is just the same - bassy and weak.

Any suggestions? Apart from the fact that the guitar itself might be the issue.

Have you ever upgraded one of your lame guitars?
#2
What amp? What kind of sound are you trying to get?
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#3
^ +1
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#4
pickups can be extremely over rated in all honesty. Point in case I had a line 6 spider III for my first amp 10 years ago , plugged in a chinese guitar or two and blamed the pickups. Years later re-wiring and working on many guitars someone brought over a spider IV which is the newer version and plugged in much more expensive guitars and the amp still sucked.

always consult the tone charts on pickup websites. I've never been a fan of vintage stuff and usually the guys who talk to me about wanting vintage tones are either triple my age or don't know what they are talking about. Sounds really mean but yeah..

the body of the guitar if it's basswood , agathis or plywood I would save the pickguard for something nicer. Not to say you can't get good tone out of cheap guitars but pedals , amps and a guitar processor go a long way.
#5
Quote by Sabininho
Hello,

I bought a loaded pickguard with Custom Shop 69 pickups for my lame squier. I replaced that bitch and soldered the wires and still I don't get a real sound. I thought the pickups are not good enough so I bought one Seymour Duncan ssl-1 for neck, soldered it and the sound is just the same - bassy and weak.

Any suggestions? Apart from the fact that the guitar itself might be the issue.

Have you ever upgraded one of your lame guitars?


You're convinced that it's the lame guitar, but I'm thinking it's not, and maybe hasn't been all along. You may very well find that something else in the signal chain (including your amp) is really what's at fault.

Pickups are usually one of the very last things to change, not the first. Pickup changes provide mostly subtle differences. Amps: big ones.
#6
I have a 10 W Roland amp just for my room and I have the cry baby and the boss ds-2 as pedals.

Tone is shit. I'll take the guitar to a luthier to check the wiring

Also - I went to a jam session and plugged to their amp and the tone was nothing more than the sound of picking some ice

I'm trying to get a reasonable strat sound
Last edited by Sabininho at Oct 30, 2015,
#7
Quote by Sabininho
Also - I went to a jam session and plugged to their amp and the tone was nothing more than the sound of picking some ice

That's what the treble and tone knobs are for. If your problem is ice-pick treble, your issue is that you don't know how to EQ.
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#8
First off, I'd ditch the DS-1 and try to get a good sound with just the guitar and amp. You might start with all tone controls to nothing and turn up the treble first. Back off before it gets ice-picky. Then bring up the bass to taste. Now you can bring up the mids to fill things in.

Once you are satisfied, bring the DS-1 if you need it. Please remember that the DS-1 is meant to push a Marshall tube amp not a small Roland. Take advantage of the models on the Roland. They can sound quite good when set up decently.
#9
You might try blocking the tremolo, and/or try heavier strings. Definitely, don't invest any more into it. A good sounding guitar sounds good when it's not amplified. You can't fix a shitty guitar's sound with good pickups, just like you can't make a shitty amp sound good with pedals. I agree with the guy who says plug straight in. That amp with pedals is also a nogo.
Last edited by rickyvanh at Oct 31, 2015,
#10
You may try looking at other aspects of your rig or technique. An SSL-1 isn't bassy or weak. A classic Strat sounds weak compared to a Les Paul or a modern metal guitar, certainly.
Dave @ Seymour Duncan
#11
Quote by Sabininho
Hello,

I bought a loaded pickguard with Custom Shop 69 pickups for my lame squier. I replaced that bitch and soldered the wires and still I don't get a real sound. I thought the pickups are not good enough so I bought one Seymour Duncan ssl-1 for neck, soldered it and the sound is just the same - bassy and weak.

Any suggestions? Apart from the fact that the guitar itself might be the issue.

Have you ever upgraded one of your lame guitars?


It's not the guitar. See the sig below

You can't fix it if it ain't broke so find a really good player/guitar teacher who has the most amazing tone and spend an hour with him going over setup, pickup height and balance, amp gain and tone settings, guitar tone settings, string height, and maybe some tips on playing technique . Your fingers control all of these things and together they represent 80% of your guitar tone. 15% is your amp choice (within reasonable limits) and 5% your guitar pickups. (estimates vary somewhat between players)

Great guitar tone is a process and you can't just go out and buy it and bolt it on.
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis

Guthrie on tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmohdG9lLqY
Last edited by Cajundaddy at Oct 31, 2015,
#12
Quote by Sabininho
I have a 10 W Roland amp just for my room and I have the cry baby and the boss ds-2 as pedals.

Tone is shit. I'll take the guitar to a luthier to check the wiring

Also - I went to a jam session and plugged to their amp and the tone was nothing more than the sound of picking some ice

I'm trying to get a reasonable strat sound

Your problem is your amp. Your ability to EQ the amp also seems apparent.

Start with all the EQ knobs at 1/2 then add or take away each (what you feel it needs) one at a time.

how long have you been playing electric guitar?
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#13
A practice amp is only designed for the most basic of use. To practice learning chords, strumming etc.

Have you checked your guitar intonation? If at the jam session the guitarist is sounding good through that amp, hand them your guitar. If it sounds terrible, then check intonation. Are you using old strings? Get new ones.

Every guitar needs to get serviced once in awhile. Take it in and tell them to service it. They will set intonation for you.
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#14
Thank you all for this great information so far.

The guitar was set up by a luthier like 2 months ago when the neck got new frets. I've tried to EQ from both amp and guitar without pedals, of course. But the clean sound is just terrible, it fades away pretty fast and there's no quality in the tone - it's just a tiny step ahead from the usual squier.

Now, I suspect I didn't solder the wires right or something; I followed the tutorials on youtube and I asked some of the guitarists around. I also think to replace the old squier output jack, even though I don't believe it will bring major improvements.
#15
Did you ask them to set up intonation or just put new frets in? It really depends on the luthier. Some will just do what you ask and nothing more. You're guitar didn't sound right to begin with. So you replaced it with a loaded pickguard and still had the same problem.

Have you tried to adjust intonation yourself? Your guitar is already not working, so you can't make it any worse by adjusting some screws. Just check some youtube videos. That dead string sound you describe could be anything but intonation is a big culprit because nearly every guitar looses it somewhat eventually, especially if they aren't being taken care of and sit around (i.e - knocked around).
Dean MAB1. Epiphone Annihilation V. EVH 5150III 50. Orange PPC112. Earthquaker devices - The Warden, Arrows, Acapulco Gold, Levitation, Night Wire. EHX Big Muff Pi Tone Wicker. Polytune mini. e906. SM57. Focusrite. LINUX!
#16
Quote by Sabininho
Thank you all for this great information so far.

The guitar was set up by a luthier like 2 months ago when the neck got new frets. I've tried to EQ from both amp and guitar without pedals, of course. But the clean sound is just terrible, it fades away pretty fast and there's no quality in the tone - it's just a tiny step ahead from the usual squier.


Wait... you paid someone to re-fret your Squier AND put on a whole new pickup set???

By now you could have just bought a USA Standard Strat. Time to put down the tools and back away from this project. A stock Squier can actually sound pretty badass in the right hands.
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis

Guthrie on tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmohdG9lLqY
#17
Look, I just recorded myself playing a bit and I film the EQ settings of the amp and guitar. You can see there what's going on and tell.

It's definitely bassy and weak and if I turn the bass knop to 2 or 3, I just get a small ice picky sound. My phone definitely won't get the sound so well either anyway

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UeRKIgRlQ9E
#19
I think you need a better amp, learn how to properly EQ it, and if you still think it sounds too weak/ice picky, then trade the strat for something with humbuckers
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#20
I don't really hear too much wrong with the video you posted, assuming the clipping distortion is from your phone.
It's very, very likely that it's your Roland amp. I'm kinda getting the feeling your amp is a Cube, in which case my buddy has the Cube 60 and even that amp sounds bad through a 412 cab.

What amp was at your jam space?
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#21
Honestly, your guitar sounds like a normal Strat would. From the video (albeit clipping from your phone), it sounds like your amp seems to be your problem.

If I can make an analogy, it's like asking why a song played through Ipod headphones sound bad as opposed to studio headphones.

Instead of trying to spend tons of money on upgrading your guitar, save it, buy a better amp, and just focus on getting better at playing.
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#22
I don't know what amp was at that jam. Yes, my amp is a Roland Cube. The crunchy and distortion effects are fine by me, but clean is weak indeed.

Yes, the distorted noise comes from my phone.

So this is how a strat should sound like? It's weird to get used to this sound, when I hear better tones though. I'll follow through

Thanks guys, you are great.
#23
Quote by Sabininho
I'll follow through


I guess that means something different to where I'm from!
#24
Quote by xnameisonx
Sounds like a strat to me...


Yep, sounds like a Strat through a fairly cheap practice amp, recorded with a lousy phone mic. Nothing wrong with that guitar, carry on...

A Roland cube can actually sound pretty good with careful attention to settings. I own a Micro-Cube and like it. A Tiny Terror would make this guitar sing Hendrix!
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis

Guthrie on tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmohdG9lLqY