Hi all.

I replaced my stock epiphone SG bridge pickup with a '57 classic plus. Here what I notice -- need to know if I'm doing anything wrong:

Originally with stock pickup, I managed to tweak my sound to a pretty accurate Angus Young type sound. I used the same setup for Rythm *and* for solo. The soloing had a lot of bite and sounded enough distorted, using the same setting as the rhythm. I liked it this way... simple setup. The only complain I had was that for rythm, the sound was a little fuzzy. Hence, the reason I decided to upgrade to the higher quality pickup.

So, after installing, here is what I notice: I had to tweak my tone a little so that the rythm sounded the same way as before. The rythm now sounds almost identical as before, but it is cleaner and less fuzzy. Exactly what I needed.
The problem is that now the solo is lacking! It seems to have less volume on those high 3 strings, and less distortion, just less hot overall, to the point where I feel I will need a separate tone setup with added distortion and/or compression.

Is this normal? I miss the old simple setup...
I guess the only thing possible to do is to get some kind of overdrive to boost the solos.
cause I think Angus used '57 classic pups...
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you could try raising the bridge pickup a bit higher and closer to the strings, that should raise the volume a bit
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My pickups are as high as they can possible be without string touching the covers while fretting @ 22.

Does Angus use overdrive boost for solos, or he use the same tone as rythm?
Last edited by gnolivos at May 12, 2008,
have you adjusted the polepieces?

You could screw the "top three strings" closer than the bottom 3 and slightly increase the volume on your amp.
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Quote by gnolivos
My pickups are as high as they can possible be without toching the covers while fretting @ 22.

Does Angus use overdrive boost for solos, or he use the same tone as rythm?

That's probably the problem then - too close to the strings kills tone and sustain. Lower the bridge pickup to 2 or 3 mm below the strings, neck pickup even lower. you probably want the bass side a little lower too.
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I thought the higher the better... I am going to try lowering it some to see if I notice any difference. thanks
Here's a guide on pickup height:

As far as Angus Young goes...here's the lowdown.

Angus does not use ANY kind of overdrive or boost. He just digs in.
You want that bite that he has? Don't even touch your neck pickup. Keep it on the bridge position. Dig in, pick hard. He uses the bridge for his rhythm and lead work.

Anything else?
Thanks for the guide, will read up...
Yes, I am of course using the BRIDGE only!
Well, after making several adjustments, I am happier with the sound... but the soloing is still lacking somewhat compared to my previous setup.

The only way I managed to make the soloing 'hotter' under these settings is to add a compressor to the tone. I get more sustain this way. Looks like the new pup is lacking sustain... kind of disappointing. I never had to do that before, which really confuses me as these are MUCH pricier ($120) pickups than the stock G400 pickup.

In summary, I had to bring the trebble way up to make this bridge pickup sound brighter and comparable to the stock, and add sustain to get better solo tone / hotness.

One other thing I noticed is that the neck pickup (which I did not change) seems to be less bright now too... could be the height adjustment, not sure. I wonder: Could my soldering job on the pots etc be substandard, in such a way that the tone is not as good/clear as it could be? The way I understand it however is that if sound is coming through, then it's good... it's either working, or not, with no 'in-between'. Is this correct? Or is it possible that my soldering job is substandard and causing some sound degradation?
Well, for one thing, I've never been impressed with Gibson's pickups. I've always believed it was a better deal to go boutique and get something around the same price, or find something cheaper, yet of equal or greater quality like Seymour Duncan or Dimarzio.

The '57 Classic should have less output than the neck pickup...so none of what you're saying really surprises me, aside from the sustain. As for sustain problems, those should be related to the pickup. Perhaps you've set it too high now, and the pickup's string pull is killing your sustain?
I think the strings are now 9's instead of the 10's I'm used to. The guitar tech pulled a fast one on me I think, and used 9's when repairing my nut last week. Would 10's have better sustain than 9's... or? Just trying to rule out the strings as an influencing factor.
OK, I will continue playing with pickup height to see if I find a sweet spot where sustain is magnified... thanks for all your help