Does anyone use the middle pickup?

Discussion in 'Standard Guitars' started by Spaced Out Ace, Jun 8, 2021.

  1. Amer Alameddine

    Amer Alameddine SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    94
    Likes Received:
    83
    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2020
    Location:
    Vancouver
    When I used to have a guitar with a single coil one, I really liked it for the clean sound. But it felt like it got in the way a bit, so I lowered it. I tried one of Stephen Carpenter's ESP models, only has a bridge and middle (both humbucking), and I didn't see anything special in the middle one. Also it had an active-housing, so it got in the way quite a lot.
     
  2. TheBolivianSniper

    TheBolivianSniper SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    855
    Likes Received:
    881
    Joined:
    May 25, 2020
    Location:
    PA
    I spam the hell out of the middle pickup. It's one thing I really missed after having guitars with them and then getting rid of them all. Plus a 5 way switch really makes the most out of it. Combine that with the mid boost switch I've got and I've got so many tones. Just wish I had a bridge coil tap.
     
    Masoo2 and Spaced Out Ace like this.
  3. Spaced Out Ace

    Spaced Out Ace $$60,000,000,000

    Messages:
    8,540
    Likes Received:
    4,442
    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2010
    Location:
    Washington
    What's the mid boost switch?
     
  4. TheBolivianSniper

    TheBolivianSniper SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    855
    Likes Received:
    881
    Joined:
    May 25, 2020
    Location:
    PA
    Just a Jackson JE1200. Love the thing. I'd be spamming it now if my power wasn't out and I couldn't be at home
     
    Spaced Out Ace likes this.
  5. Spaced Out Ace

    Spaced Out Ace $$60,000,000,000

    Messages:
    8,540
    Likes Received:
    4,442
    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2010
    Location:
    Washington
    Lame! I think someone in the Black Winter thread recently removed the JE1200, or maybe put in Duncans to pair with the JE1200. They didn't specify. Isn't that what the ABQ and MM-04 are based on?
     
  6. Dayn

    Dayn SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    1,793
    Likes Received:
    833
    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2011
    Location:
    Brisbane, Australia
    I find it difficult to be satisfied with single coils as it is, let alone having one in a position I have no use for, particularly when that's where my pick usually strikes.

    I usually only use single coils if it's neck only or neck+bridge. I want to like a middle pickup because it's on a guitar I want, but it's hard to justify spending money on something that has useless bits on it.
     
  7. TheBolivianSniper

    TheBolivianSniper SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    855
    Likes Received:
    881
    Joined:
    May 25, 2020
    Location:
    PA

    Yep, because I've been looking for an MM04 or an ABQ separately to put in a guitar for a year or so after I heard it was the secret to the COB tone. I would never take it out, it sounds glorious. Really pumps up the 2 singles and the 2 and 4 positions and by sweeping the pot you essentially have a wah. Sounds great for bridge leads too. Rhythms not so much, and I guess it's a passive tone pot when off, but it seems to cut bass rather than treble???? Everything gets lower output like a tone does but it gets really snappy and bright with the control low. A cool effect imo.
     
    Spaced Out Ace likes this.
  8. JimF

    JimF Contributor

    Messages:
    955
    Likes Received:
    834
    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2015
    Location:
    Lancashire, UK
    Aesthetically I'm not a fan of middle pickups, but that position 2 & 4 clean tone on a HSH Ibanez RG is beautiful, as mentioned. I also like the straight middle pickup on that guitar too.
     
  9. Spaced Out Ace

    Spaced Out Ace $$60,000,000,000

    Messages:
    8,540
    Likes Received:
    4,442
    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2010
    Location:
    Washington
    I think you might be able to buy one from EMG if you email them. I seem to remember reading that somewhere.
     
    TheBolivianSniper likes this.
  10. TheBolivianSniper

    TheBolivianSniper SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    855
    Likes Received:
    881
    Joined:
    May 25, 2020
    Location:
    PA
    I actually had been talking with Derek from EMG about soldering in the active EQ pots they make and he pretty much said they can't sell me just the ABQ, and it also doesn't work with passives. The pots can be soldered in pretty easily and there's an EMG official demo on the YouTube channel. It was a weird time and I actually sold the guitar it would've went to since soldering EMGS + sustainiac + fresh bridge pickup would've killed me. The sustainiac reinstall was bad enough.
     
    Spaced Out Ace likes this.
  11. Spaced Out Ace

    Spaced Out Ace $$60,000,000,000

    Messages:
    8,540
    Likes Received:
    4,442
    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2010
    Location:
    Washington
    The ABQ doesn't work with passives? Uh, yeah it does. The fucking thing is sold with a passive pickup in the ALX set. If Derek told you that, he needs to be fired, as he apparently can't do his job worth a shit.
     
    fabronaut and TheBolivianSniper like this.
  12. TheBolivianSniper

    TheBolivianSniper SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    855
    Likes Received:
    881
    Joined:
    May 25, 2020
    Location:
    PA
    Oh my mistake, I meant to say it doesn't work with actives. Didn't even see it, I'm running off of not much sleep or food, been a rough 24 hours.
     
    Spaced Out Ace likes this.
  13. Spaced Out Ace

    Spaced Out Ace $$60,000,000,000

    Messages:
    8,540
    Likes Received:
    4,442
    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2010
    Location:
    Washington
    Ah, okay. Nevermind then. I've not tried it with actives, so perhaps it wouldn't due to it being, possibly, a 250k or 500k pot. LambChopper on YouTube tried his ALX set with a PA2 as well. You know, because sometimes MOAR GAIN enough not enough MOARness. :lol:
     
    fabronaut and TheBolivianSniper like this.
  14. TheBolivianSniper

    TheBolivianSniper SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    855
    Likes Received:
    881
    Joined:
    May 25, 2020
    Location:
    PA
    That would be insane, I couldn't imagine that ever sounding good. I had so much gain on my PA2 and 81 combo it was pretty much a sustainer. Granted that was pumped the whole way up and the way I liked to use it, but the JE1200 is a pretty potent boost in and of itself. The bridge 90C in my fusion is really ultra tight and really hot already and the boost is almost too much with that.
     
  15. Spaced Out Ace

    Spaced Out Ace $$60,000,000,000

    Messages:
    8,540
    Likes Received:
    4,442
    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2010
    Location:
    Washington
     
    TheBolivianSniper likes this.
  16. fabronaut

    fabronaut SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    23
    Likes Received:
    16
    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2020
    I find most middle pickups in most guitars to be really "flat" sounding. kinda like a flat EQ, in a sense? cuts super well though without being super trebly. someone mentioned ska / reggae and yep, it slices with rhythm.

    it's not a bad thing, just a matter of taste, and might just sit exactly where you want it in a mix or when playing a along. if I'm gonna use a middle pickup by itself, I tend to prefer it have a lot more fullness, body, push, definition... whatever you might call it? Wayne Kramer of the MC5 replaced his middle position strat coil with a humbucker. Kinda like that. and weirdly, one of the best middle pickups I've heard had a chime that was not unlike a good neck pickup, but with more clarity. may have also been louder, which sounds weird when compared to a typical bridge configuration.

    see, I'm on the opposite end of this. on most SSS / HSS setups, the middle tends to do very little for me. when fiddling, I might drop it a bit and then check the effect on the N+M / B+M combinations. neck and middle tends to be my favourite warm and clean sound. it does the neck thing without being "just" a neck single, which has its own thing going on in different fretboard positions / parts of the register.

    I just plonked a deposit down on a Charvel DK24 HSS model the other day, and the unconventional middle position (which is actually neck and outer bridge coil) is pretty awesome. it works extremely well with the output of the pickups in that guitar, and I think the polarity of the singles (RWRP neck instead of middle) when paired is still hum canceling in every position except the neck alone with that wiring.
     
    Spaced Out Ace likes this.
  17. fabronaut

    fabronaut SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    23
    Likes Received:
    16
    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2020
    dammit dude, I just found out how useful a no-load tone pot is, and now this? I'd read about the ABQ before but thought "ennhhh, if I find one installed I'll try it" but now... fack. I guess I'd best hope I can find one standalone too!
     
    TheBolivianSniper likes this.
  18. Spaced Out Ace

    Spaced Out Ace $$60,000,000,000

    Messages:
    8,540
    Likes Received:
    4,442
    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2010
    Location:
    Washington
    I find that if the bridge is too bright and the neck is too dark when soloing. Positions 2, 3, or 4 are where it is at for me.
     
    fabronaut likes this.
  19. DrakkarTyrannis

    DrakkarTyrannis

    Messages:
    8,452
    Likes Received:
    5,707
    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2007
    Location:
    Maryland
    Middle? Hell I don't even use the damn neck pickup
     
  20. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

    Messages:
    30,806
    Likes Received:
    7,127
    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2004
    Location:
    Somerville, MA
    You have to be digging pretty deep with the pick, or picking at enough of an angle that dwnstrokes on the top string/few strings drop below the plane of the strings by enough that you risk catching the pick on the edge of the pickup on an upstrke (or if your downstroke lifts away from the guitar, reverse all that for the bass strings). It's not a huge factor for me, but it is for some.

    I LOVE the 2nd and 4th position on a Strat, and for bluesy playing there is a nice kind of stinging quality to the middle position on its own, without the full-on glassiness of the bridge. It's something I've started to appreciate more in the last few years.

    That said, if I had to pick one, I could live pretty happily on the neck pickup alone.

    EDIT - just grabbed a guitar for a moment there and that's actually not entirely true. IF you pick with enough of a pronounced downward angle so that you bury downstrokes but escape on upstrokes, it's not THAT hard to quickly get to a point where you're consistently hitting the middle pickup on basically all downstrokes. And, given Richie Blackmore is one of the most famous examples of someone saying the middle pickup gets in the way, the huge influence his playing had on Yngwie Malmsteen, and the fact that Malmsteen absolutely DOES have a pronounced enough angle to his picking motion to bury downstrokes, it wouldn't shock me if Blackmore did as well. I tend to do the reverse, with my downstrokes escaping and my upstrokes getting buried, though to a lesser degree than Yngwie, so for me it's never felt like a problem and maybe I've compensated a little for this.
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2021

Share This Page