69-70 SG tone - pickups?

69-70 SG tone - pickups?

Postby Mosfed » Tue Aug 21, 2012 6:48 pm

Hi guys

I did a search to see if it had been discussed before and came up with nothing in the first 20 pages of the search - which brings us back to 2008. So I thought it would be ok to ask.

Have people experimented with different Gibson or 3rd party pickups to get that Garcia Live Dead 1969-70 tone? From the pictures of the guitar, particularly that it had a large pickguard, I am assuming that it used Patent Number Pickups, not Patent Applied For.

These days there are so many people making excellent copies of the PAFs that I thought someone must have come close to the sound I am speaking about. I am thinking about Bare Knuckles, Duncan's 59, D Allen, etc.

Anyone mess around with some of these and have an opinion?

Also - what's the prevailing opinion - was Garcia mainly using the neck or bridge humbucker on his SG?
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Re: 69-70 SG tone - pickups?

Postby Smolder » Tue Aug 21, 2012 7:27 pm

I don't have any data about Jerry's SG or the pickups... but that era would likely be T-tops... which are not terribly hot. 7 - 7.6.

http://musicalilluminism.wordpress.com/ ... ckup-tech/

Add to that, I've been searching for pickups that sound good on a mahogany guitar. I spent a while talking with jim Rolph, a really great winder. His take is that the maple top of a les paul will absorb and smooth some of the distortion from the hotter humbuckers. Without the maple the hot pickups sound fizzy and over the top. That has been my experience.

I play in early 'jerry mode' with an SG a lot lately. What has worked for me are loller (jason loller) imperial low winds. With a great twin and jbl's I can get that grand piano like tone from the neck pick up. It takes a great wind to keep the neck from getting muddy. These accomplish that.

I also had Jim Rolph wind me some '61's (short magnets). He also suggested the '57's he winds might work... but I could only afford one set for now. I have yet to try them in the SG, but certainly will in the next few weeks.
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Re: 69-70 SG tone - pickups?

Postby wolftigerrosebud » Thu Aug 23, 2012 9:49 am

I put SD Seth Lovers in my SG and it gets a pretty darn convincing tone. I mean, pretty spot on. Anyone else used the Seth Lovers? I know there's another company that gets really good reviews around here for PAF-style buckers, I can't remember the name right now, though.
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Re: 69-70 SG tone - pickups?

Postby SarnoMusicSolutions » Thu Aug 23, 2012 10:44 am

I've got the Seth Lovers in my Walker Special, set up like a Les Paul with the OBEL and buffer. They're nice, but the neck pickup is a tad too dark for me. I'd lean toward something a tiny bit brighter, but don't go "glassy" like the Duncan Jazz Neck pickup, that's the wrong kind of bright. I hear that a good way to go is the Lollar Low-Wind Imperials. Like a Seth Lover, bright, sweet PAF sound, but better, maybe. I love the Seth Lovers, but it's just that 5% too-dark-ness on the neck pickup. On fresh strings it's fine, but when they've mellowed, I lose some clarity. The bridge pickup is killer. Really both are nice and woody and organic and sweet.

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Re: 69-70 SG tone - pickups?

Postby JonnyBoy » Sun Aug 26, 2012 11:15 am

my guitar is mostly a mahogany guitar, about 3/4" piece of maple sandwitched between two mahogany layers. I went with a Eric Johnson special bridgebucker in my neck, unothodox for sure, but I really really like it, especially in split coil. I didn't really know what to expect when I did that, but no mud what-so-ever with it with this guitar. I use it a good bit now for rhythm jerry parts and some blues tones. I am not quite sure what makes certain pickups better, worse or even why but do we confine ourselves by not using bridgebuckers as neck pickups? would love to hear why people usually don't....
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Re: 69-70 SG tone - pickups?

Postby TI4-1009 » Sun Aug 26, 2012 12:57 pm

Wouldn't we assume that in this period Jer was using a pretty stock SG? Pre- buffer, most likely not Alembicized or moded by Bear, no coil splits?
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Re: 69-70 SG tone - pickups?

Postby Mosfed » Sun Aug 26, 2012 7:00 pm

TI4-1009 wrote:Wouldn't we assume that in this period Jer was using a pretty stock SG? Pre- buffer, most likely not Alembicized or moded by Bear, no coil splits?


I think that is a safe assumption. So that would make the pickups patent number sticker humbuckers.

So the question then becomes what is the best modern copy of those patent numbered pickups.

Gibson has obviously spent quite a bit of time on the question and I have Burstbuckers in my Les Pauls x 2 and a ES-335. Which I like. But there are so many quality small makers today that I was curious as to what other people were using.
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Re: 69-70 SG tone - pickups?

Postby zambiland » Sun Aug 26, 2012 7:41 pm

Mosfed wrote:
TI4-1009 wrote:Wouldn't we assume that in this period Jer was using a pretty stock SG? Pre- buffer, most likely not Alembicized or moded by Bear, no coil splits?


I think that is a safe assumption. So that would make the pickups patent number sticker humbuckers.

So the question then becomes what is the best modern copy of those patent numbered pickups.

Gibson has obviously spent quite a bit of time on the question and I have Burstbuckers in my Les Pauls x 2 and a ES-335. Which I like. But there are so many quality small makers today that I was curious as to what other people were using.


I'm not totally sure it's a safe assumption. From the Alembic history page:

"During 1969 we developed the Alembic electronics and pickups. We first installed them in David Crosby's 12-string Guild guitar (which he still uses to this day) and then into Phil Lesh's SG bass that had been hand painted by Bob Thomas in his trademark renaissance/psychedelic style. After several more experimental designs, both Phil Lesh's and Jack Casady's hollow-bodied Guild basses were renovated with new low-impedance pickups and new active electronics. Bobby Weir's and Jerry Garcia's guitars were done as well. Slowly all aspects of the Dead's gear for the road and the studio were becoming "Alembicized!""
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Re: 69-70 SG tone - pickups?

Postby Smolder » Sun Aug 26, 2012 8:32 pm

Mosfed wrote:
I think that is a safe assumption. So that would make the pickups patent number sticker humbuckers.




if it's 67 or later, they would be T-tops, not patent number.
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Re: 69-70 SG tone - pickups?

Postby TI4-1009 » Mon Aug 27, 2012 6:27 am

zambiland wrote:
Mosfed wrote:
TI4-1009 wrote:Wouldn't we assume that in this period Jer was using a pretty stock SG? Pre- buffer, most likely not Alembicized or moded by Bear, no coil splits?


I think that is a safe assumption. So that would make the pickups patent number sticker humbuckers.

So the question then becomes what is the best modern copy of those patent numbered pickups.

Gibson has obviously spent quite a bit of time on the question and I have Burstbuckers in my Les Pauls x 2 and a ES-335. Which I like. But there are so many quality small makers today that I was curious as to what other people were using.


I'm not totally sure it's a safe assumption. From the Alembic history page:

"During 1969 we developed the Alembic electronics and pickups. We first installed them in David Crosby's 12-string Guild guitar (which he still uses to this day) and then into Phil Lesh's SG bass that had been hand painted by Bob Thomas in his trademark renaissance/psychedelic style. After several more experimental designs, both Phil Lesh's and Jack Casady's hollow-bodied Guild basses were renovated with new low-impedance pickups and new active electronics. Bobby Weir's and Jerry Garcia's guitars were done as well. Slowly all aspects of the Dead's gear for the road and the studio were becoming "Alembicized!""


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Re: 69-70 SG tone - pickups?

Postby zambiland » Mon Aug 27, 2012 9:28 pm

On a related note, I bought a 1956 ES140T for $800. It's a sweet little guitar, although being a short scale is a little odd. One of the best aspects of it is that someone swapped out the original P90 for a pair of humbuckers. It has a pair of the Gibson Patent pickups with the wrong patent number on the sticker. Great sounding pickups and the guitar itself is really sweet. I had it refretted and rewired and now it plays like a dream. It's sort of like having a miniature ES175. If I ever sell I'm going to seriously consider keeping the pickups.
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Re: 69-70 SG tone - pickups?

Postby Mosfed » Tue Aug 28, 2012 3:56 pm

Right t-tops - sorry. I got confused

I was listening to 2-13-70 and 2-14-70 over the past week. What's the common knowledge there? SG or had he moved to the sunburst Strat by then? Dozin would suggest so. And the pictures I can find from 2/11/70 would suggest so.
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Re: 69-70 SG tone - pickups?

Postby Brendon77 » Mon Jul 15, 2013 8:30 pm

Old is not matter, aspects are good, this guitar look is very nice and perform well.



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Last edited by Brendon77 on Tue Mar 18, 2014 4:18 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: 69-70 SG tone - pickups?

Postby James-T » Tue Jul 16, 2013 1:07 am

Great post. Anything live dead I'm always curious about. Just a killer tone and so overdriven given the sound was coming through a twin. It must have been loud on stage those nights at the Filmore.

https://soundcloud.com/james-tuer/sg-junior-67-t-bucker

I recently did a little taste test with some live dead licks to compare pickups as most of my guitars I've modded with new pups. I did a lot of research but most was done by reading rather than listening to actual sound clips. I put together the sound clips to help others searching for the sound. You can be the judge but in my opinion you need a SG with actual T Tops to get that overdriven tone just right. The sg is the only sample that seems to start to break up when it should be totally clean like the other clips. Add a little vintage fender amp at a very loud volume setting and you are there.

Check out the clips of my les paul. The bridge pup is also a T Top, which actually came out of my SG. It measures about 7.6k. The T top in my SG measures about 7.1k. I had to swap them as the neck pup in the les paul is a PAF pre T Top era pup which I needed a good marriage for (which was also about 7.1k).

The tone in the mapte top les paul is definitely different than the sg, less live dead like but I can assure you that both bridge pick ups sound identical when placed in the sg.

Looking for a vintage hybrid tone I put in a bare knuckles stormy Monday in the bridge position in my PRS CU 22. I found out later that it's an exact replica of the mid 60's era PAF I found and put in my les paul. I think the sound is really close, so unless you want to source real T Tops or PAFs it's a great choice. I found the t top locally for about the same price as the bare knuckles (and jason lollar had actually fixed up both of the vintage pups I acquired from a local guitar shop just north of where he lives) and my t top from my sg had been in the guitar when I bought it back in 77. It would have been swaped in thier replacing the original P90 in the late 60s which was common back then with used guitars.

I also sampled my two strats, one being a rosewood neck and the other being more vintage with a maple neck. Hard to tell them apart but the Filmore east valentine show is definitely a strat tone on the dark star, very different and much cleaner than the early 69 sg tone.

Peace,

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Re: 69-70 SG tone - pickups?

Postby tigerstrat » Tue Jul 16, 2013 7:32 am

Bobby Weir's and Jerry Garcia's guitars were done as well.
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