Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

 #106137  by deepelem
 Fri Dec 09, 2011 10:20 am
Guys I am quite new here and I going to throw something out that I'm quite nervous about and am almost ready to be shot down in flames ... :peas:
I am getting a Jerry style tiger built and having read through this forum for some time now I'd like to ask a question about pickups .. specifically how important is the neck pickup .. or how much did Jerry use it .. and how important is it to go towars his tone.
Some of my fave Jerry tones are the early 70's .. but I also like most of tones with the JGB through the 80's. From what I read here it seems that Jerry was using the middle pickup 80-90% of the time ......
The reason .. and also comes my reason for being nervous about this post ... is that if that neck pickup is not a significant contributor to THE tone ... then I would like to drop in there some kind of humbucking pup that would give me that Gibson "woman" tone .. you know .. help get me that smooth bluesy overdriven sound that would enable the guitar to pump out some Dave Gilmour tones with the right pedals. I am not going to go as far as an alnico .. and mention Slash here ... but I just did ... So I'd welcome some thoughts on this ... unprintable or whatever .. :smile: ......... Is this a realistic objective .. or is it just a stupid idea destined to end up falling betwen all the stools ................. :drink:
 #106139  by Pete B.
 Fri Dec 09, 2011 11:13 am
I think your plan is "sound".
I personally don't have a Jerry tone in my head that I "must have" a neck pickup for.
fwiw, I have a few guitars that have a neck and a bridge pickup, and they are already wired for split coils.
I want to route a center pickup hole and put the neck pickup in the center position.
I would then go without a neck pickup on those guitars.
I haven't done it yet but that's what I was thinking.
I often use the neck pickup for Bobby parts (on both 2 and 3 pickup guitars)... it makes a nice tonal juxtaposition to the Jerry treble factor.
The neck pickup in a Jerry style 3-pickup guitar could be optimized for Bobby-esque tones, which would be a "nice to have" option for guys like me who enjoy playing both Bobby and Jerry parts on one guitar.
 #106149  by Tony6Strings
 Fri Dec 09, 2011 2:07 pm
If you're looking for the Clapton "Woman tone" then you're gonna want a Gibson humbucker, maybe a 490R or a Burstbucker. If you're looking for Gilmour tones then you're gonna want a single coil strat pup, I think he uses EMG's. I know that JG seldom used a neck pup for most of his career, he was almost exclusively a middle guy. But personally I couldn't get by without my neck pup. I love the warm thickness it gives me for certain sounds, blues phrasing in particular. Best of luck to ya, and remember, the only stupid question is one that remains unasked.
 #106256  by JonnyBoy
 Sun Dec 11, 2011 3:29 pm
I built my latest guitar with an Eric Johnson signature bridgebucker which is giving me some awesome tones in the neck position, split coiled too. I adjusted the height for its output to be even. My last guitar with 3 humbuckers, I threw in Dimarrzo PAF's which had GREAT tone. I have been considering going back to that.

Jerry truly lives in the hands and to make it easier, a split super II in the middle. I would consider PAF's or the standard Les Paul pickups for that blues tone. So if the question is, do I have to put super II's in all positions to get Jerry tone, the answer is no. Almost all Dead songs can be played with a split super II in the middle for authentic Jerry tone. Slash had great tone! I was a Slash wannabe in the late 80's.
 #106509  by tigerose01
 Wed Dec 14, 2011 3:22 pm
Following along the line of interest here about Jerry using the middle pickup mainly, why did he switch the neck pickup from the SDS-1in the earlier 'Tiger' years to the Super IIs times 3 with his later guitars. Also, for the earlier 70's stuff, I'm hearing something closer to the neck pickup tone on a Tele or Strat on some of those jams. I (mainly using 'Jerry' equipment) enjoy swapping to the Weir parts for some playing when our Weir player feels more comfortable on the Jerry lines as he sings on some songs. I'm in another minor dilemma currently of trying to find pickups in the single-coil variety that can emulate Jerry's early Wolf tone (ala 1973-74). The Winterland recordings capture that sweetness and glassy clear tone that is one of my favorite eras for him. I've followed some of the threads on this which remark about Fender CS 57/62s and CS69s coming closest, however the Youtube recordings have so many variables with amps, effects and recording quality to tell of the details. The D. Allen Voodoo 69s and the Voodoo Blues sets that put the Austin Blues in the 'bridge' postition sound pretty close as well. Any suggesstions appreciated.