#1
I like the high gain sound when you play a good power chord or maybe a slow solo, but when you're plucking along to the verses it gets too fuzzy.

Could this be because my neck pickups are tilted? I just noticed this, I don't know how long it's been like that. Or I also heard that unless the sound is a perfect pitch (talking science-y wavelengths and frequencies) as you would hear in a chord when each string vibrates in tandem, or else there is excess energy that doesn't align with each wave and sounds crappy.

I have a Fender mustang I amp and I've toyed around with the custom presets (implemented already or submitted by others) so I know my settings aren't causing it.
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Last edited by sojiasx at Sep 20, 2016,
#2
That is true, not being perfectly in tune can cause it to be "messy" sounding. It clashes. Even a few cents off can cause this messy sound.

I doubt it has anything to do with your pickups being "tilted" but if they're stock, they might lack the clarity needed to achieve what you want, but I wouldn't necessarily just go and buy new pickups first.

Maybe if there's a soundclip or a song you can reference to see the kind of sound you're after, I or someone else can help a bit better.
#3
The tilt of your pickups is normal typically the pickups are closer to the unwound strings than they are to the wound strings all of my guitars are like this.
"A well-wound coil is a well-wound coil regardless if it's wound with professional equipment, or if somebody's great-grandmother winds it to an old French recipe with Napoleon's modified coffee grinder and chops off the wire after a mile with an antique guillotine!"
- Bill Lawrence

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#4
I'll upload a sound clip of what I am experiencing. But, I just broke a string, so for now...
#5
With out hearing it I'm still going to say it's likely the Line6 I have a Mesa Dual Rec Roadster and if with the gain cranked on the modern high gain channel the individual notes are amazing clear no matter if I am using active or passive pickups.
"A well-wound coil is a well-wound coil regardless if it's wound with professional equipment, or if somebody's great-grandmother winds it to an old French recipe with Napoleon's modified coffee grinder and chops off the wire after a mile with an antique guillotine!"
- Bill Lawrence

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#6
Quote by sojiasx
I like the high gain sound when you play a good power chord or maybe a slow solo, but when you're plucking along to the verses it gets too fuzzy.


Gain is harmonic distortion. Each note you play has a certain sequence of harmonics produced. When you start adding other notes, you add in their sequences as well. Power chords essentially add one note to another single note (say, a fifth). If you start adding a third note, you add a whole 'nother series of harmonic sequences, and at that point, you have a mish-mosh of harmonics, some of which cancel each other out, some of which enhance each other, and usually the result is mud.
#7
Quote by Evilnine
The tilt of your pickups is normal typically the pickups are closer to the unwound strings than they are to the wound strings all of my guitars are like this.
what if the pickups are uneven the other way? Especially humbuckers. What if one coil of the humbucker is closer to the strings? Does that make much of a difference?
#8
geo-rage Grab a screw driver and try it. Only way of knowing if it sounds good to you.
#9
This likely has nothing to do with the pickups. If the notes are too fuzzy you have too much gain, plain and simple - roll back the gain. It's a very common beginner error to play with way too much distortion - ( I'm looking at you Metal Zone!). Be careful with presets - they tend to be terrible and you have no idea what kind of guitar was used to dial them in. Set your tone for your guitar and each song.

Also, different sections of songs can have different gain settings, so you'll have a heavy part followed by a less heavy part etc. You can use your guitar's volume knob to roll back the gain for the less heavy parts or find a way to switch between tones using pedals or a foot pedal.
#10
Quote by geo-rage
what if the pickups are uneven the other way? Especially humbuckers. What if one coil of the humbucker is closer to the strings? Does that make much of a difference?


If it has the correct bezels this should not happen. Although i have seen flat top guitar that come stock with angled bezels making the pickups tilt toward the neck but I have never known this to make a difference in sound at least not to my ears.
"A well-wound coil is a well-wound coil regardless if it's wound with professional equipment, or if somebody's great-grandmother winds it to an old French recipe with Napoleon's modified coffee grinder and chops off the wire after a mile with an antique guillotine!"
- Bill Lawrence

Come and be with me
Live my twisted dream
Pro devoted pledge
Time for primal concrete sledge

#11
Reverb66 is correct -- this really doesn't have anything to do with the pickups.
#12
Quote by dspellman
Reverb66 is correct -- this really doesn't have anything to do with the pickups.


to be fair it could have something to do with pickups. something like EMGs that have high output can cause mush to happen sooner than a low output pup. I'd think that guys that play more complex chord shapes would tend low toward output pickups to help in this dept. of course there is a reason that jazz guys who play very complex chords aren't jamming through a 6505 with an overdrive pushing it.
#13
Quote by Ignite
That is true, not being perfectly in tune can cause it to be "messy" sounding. It clashes. Even a few cents off can cause this messy sound.


Actually this isn't entirely true. Be "perfectly" in tune makes the G# note on the 3rd string in an E chord sound pretty bad so a lot of guitarists will flatten the G string slightly in the key of E to get a sweet sounding third.

There are other examples, but that I'd say is the most common probably. It has to do partly with problems with tension that are inherent on the G string (which causes an in-tune G, particularly unwound, to go sharp up the neck) as well as partly with the inherent flaws of equal temperament (harmonics not lining up well).
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#14
Quote by reverb66
You can use your guitar's volume knob to roll back the gain for the less heavy parts or find a way to switch between tones using pedals or a foot pedal.


Rolling off on the treble using the tone knob, etc can also help to reduce clashing harmonics.
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#15
Its also important to have your guitar well intonated. Even then its kind of a hit and miss, some chords will sound ok and some will sound like crap. Its just the nature of the guitar. The trick is to choose the chords that sound good. A well defined amp, less gain, and good pickups will all help as well.
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#16
Quote by gorkyporky
Its also important to have your guitar well intonated. Even then its kind of a hit and miss, some chords will sound ok and some will sound like crap. Its just the nature of the guitar. The trick is to choose the chords that sound good. A well defined amp, less gain, and good pickups will all help as well.


To an extent it's not so much the nature of the guitar so much as it is the nature of sound and how intervals line up in equal temperament. A 12tet major chord is actually a bit of a dissonant interval, but you can get away with it on a piano or clean guitar. On a very hard saw wave polysynth or distorted guitar, the increased harmonic saturation reminds you that the intervals are a bit sour.

Here's something fun. Try tuning your guitar to EADGBD (so basically just standard with the high string dropped to a D to give a G triad on the top strings). Play it with maximum gain for maximum effectiveness. First tune it with your tuner to 12tet and then play the triad on the first 3 strings. Now tune the D string about 2 cents sharp and then tune the B down to a just third by flattening about 30 cents. You'll know when you're there when it stops beating. But there you go. You'll have a pristine major triad with distortion.

Only one problem though: now that your b is flat, it becomes tricky to play anything else. And that is why 12tet is used. You get mediocre harmonies in exchange for the flexibility to play in 12 keys equally okayish.
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#17
theogonia777
I've known about this for awhile now, and it bugs the shit out of me.

From my very first guitar when I was 13, I knew something was wrong when I had to slightly tune my B string for different chords. (An E major shape barre chords vs an A minor shape barre chord, for example)

I thought my intonation was messed up but it never fixed it when I got it set up.

But that sort of applies to my original post, if some notes are just a hair off, it can create dissonance and that messy sound. Even with a good amount of gain, if a triad is perfectly in tune, it shouldn't sound bad.
#18
I know it sounds basic, but have you considered using the bridge pickup for the parts you want with more clarity? Maybe some palm muting? I love the high gain neck sound, but you're right, it does get muddy in certain parts.
Try adding more delay.
#19
What does it mean when the gain sounds cleaner when my amp's volume setting is high? If I have high gain and volume way up then it sounds much better than the same gain but volume halved. I guess this is why people use pedals *shrug*

Quote by telecastrmastr
I know it sounds basic, but have you considered using the bridge pickup for the parts you want with more clarity? Maybe some palm muting? I love the high gain neck sound, but you're right, it does get muddy in certain parts.


To me, the bridge pickups produce a more crude sound.
#20
Use palm muting give a little better clarity. Also, bands like Van Halen, ACDC, and Guns n Roses don't have heavy gain on rhythm parts. There's a reason for that. One band that does pick with higher gain is Oasis but they have high compression and thrive off the lack of clarity. They're not stupid about it though and use basic chords so that all notes are in tune harmonically.
#21
Cut your gain back if you're going to be playing more than two notes.

Gain produces a whole lot of harmonics that aren't present in the original signal. The more gain, the more extraneous harmonics, and the greater interference these harmonics will have with each other when you're sounding more than one note. It has nothing to do with your pickups, really, and this will occur even if your guitar is intonated and tuned well.

Reduce your gain.
#22
I think a lot of it is to do with the fact that equal temperament creates harmonics of different notes that don't sit well with each other and create unpleasant overtones. The octave and 5th, as in a power chord, are OK, but once you add other notes it gets very messy. I bet that if you played a chord with intervals in just intonation, it would sound better, if not perfect.
#23
Uh... I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say, Uh... Its your amp. Not that there's anything wrong with it, but its not exactly a high gain super amp, Its a bedroom practice amp designed for entry level players, Gives you just enough modeling and presets to give you a taste of what you like, Think of it like heroin and the gear manufactures as dealers, Your still popping Advil. But what you really want is some high grade Black Tar or China White, And they want nothing more than to sell you the good stuff, Welcome to the club, GAS Anonymous meets on Tuesday I think