Tones Too Warm!

Tones Too Warm!

I'd love to hear some opinoins on a tonal problem i'm encountering! 

My current rig is an LTD H1001FR Guitar > Maxon OD808 Pedal > Laney Ironheart IRT60 Head > Blackstar Aristides Cab.

Long story short the tone is too warm to the extenant that it's muddy. The smooth low end is cool and all but I need some high mid bite too!

I currently have EMG 81/85's in a guitar with a mahogony body; I think that's a large majority of the problem. 
I've ordered a Dimarzio Evolution for the bridge which i'll install tonight and see how that goes down but does anyone have an opinon on how I can improve the tone further? Seriously considering selling the guitar and buying a PRS!


Something sounds wrong.  If you're not getting any bite out of that stock setup, you won't get bite out of anything.  There are a couple of places where you might be experiencing some issues, many of these are things you've probably already checked:

1) Obviously, check to make sure your volume and tone pots are at "10" and you're using the bridge pickup.

2) Consider removing the OD808 from the signal path, while you're experimenting with sounds.  Just to see if the pedal is part of the issue.

3) What are your settings on your head?  I've never used that specific Laney, but there might be a very fine interaction between the low and mid controls which are giving you the mud.  I'd also be curious how adjusting the "Tone" pot on the head affects what you're hearing, and the "Dynamics" as well.

4) Make sure that the cables you're using between the guitar, pedal and amp are actual instrument cables and not speaker cables.  The same for the lead between the head and the cabinet (speaker not instrument.)  Really, that would be a noise issue more than tone, but it's another thing to check.

5) Is there a setup (especially with the same amp and pedal) with a different guitar that is vastly different sounding?  The mahogany would tend to be a bit more in the lower mids than, say, an alder guitar, but not so much that it's drastic.  Going to a PRS probably won't solve the issue, many PRS guitars are mahogany as well.

Any chance you could record a video or sound clip to hear what you're describing?

Elkanah G.

Hiya guys, thanks for taking interest!

Tone pot and volume are both at 10, the OD808 definately adds more than it takes away, i've tried a TS9, Boss OD (the japanese version too) blues driver, Fulltone drive and more. I've lso used it with a vox amp and a jackson amp: same result sadly. And you're right about the PRS, very simliar consutrction.

When I plug my Telecaster in there's an instant change, it's like it comes to life all of a sudden - gnarly low end and shimmery highes despite the higher gain (I say high, it's on 5 usually) the LTD just doesn't sound that good which is why I'm conviced it must be the guitar itself. All the cables I'm using are top quality and correct in the signal chain, i.e instrument cables from guitar to amp and speaker cables from amp to cab

I'll record a couple audio clips at work tomorrow and send some snaps.

The dynamics basically compress the low end a little, to the ear it doesn't sound like it's doing anything much but in a mix it does tighten up the chuggs between riffs!

The tone is basically a presence control, boosts the 4k-6k region, I leave that at 12 o clock or it get's really hissy - however that's not the case with the Telecaster.


That's pretty odd.  I'd expect the Tele to bite harder, but something makes me think something is wrong in the wiring itself.  I don't know if the LTD is entirely quick connect, or if they still solder to the pots.  If you feel a bit experimental, maybe open the contol cavity and make sure that everything is connected in there.  If they've soldered the pots, there's probably nothing to quickly or easily fix.

Elkanah G.

I've been messing around with some sounds this morning, i'll upload some later on.

My gut feeling is that I just don't like EMG pickups which no ammout of wiring can fix, although a higher resistance pot might?

Elkanah G.

Here's what the two different guitars sound like (they're in drop C & drop D because I didn't want to ruin my intonation ha)
The first riff is a KSE song the second is a bit from one of my bands tracks - give it a moment to load it's .wav at 4800hz in 24bit!

LTD w/EMG 81 & 85, SM57 top right cone on axis

Telecaster w/Stock pups, SM57 top right cone on axis

No doubt in my mind that I like the Tele tone more right now, tighter low + bite and shimmer I think!
I'll track it again when i get the Dimarzio's put in and see what it sounds like, opinons?


Yeah, that's pretty much how I'd expect those two guitars to sound when run through the same setup.  It seems like the EMG sound (and perhaps humbuckers in general?) isn't what you're looking for.  The mahogany probably isn't helping you, either.  The guitar has a maple "top" but the maple is essentially a veneer, so the sound is basically just the mahogany.  It isn't a drastic effect (especially with the EMGs), but it does play into the sound you're getting.

If you have a friend that would let you borrow an alder guitar (most regular super-strat types) with humbuckers, it might be interesting to see how you think it stacks up against the Horizon.


It doesn't sound like a wiring issue to me.  I'd suspect all that's good.  Strings may have a bit to play on the twang/bite, but it's not going to be drastic enough to make the Horizon sound significantly more like the Tele.

Frankly, I think both guitars sound great in those clips!  But if you're not feeling the Horizon, that's what matters.  Pickups may help, and if you've got pickup options to try, I say go for it.  But that Horizon may just not be a good fit for you.

FWIW, I play Eclipse/Les Paul style guitars (mostly) in C Standard with .012-.056 strings.  The sound you get with the Horizon is more along the line of what I look for in a rhythm sound than the Tele.


Recorded sound (especially close miked) doesn't always mimic the sound in the room.  Looking into some of the specifics of your cab, another thing to experiment with is to maybe close the back of the cab.  It might help to tighten up some of the bottom, it might help with both guitars.

I'd say try a few different cabs (friends are the easiest way to do this, I hate bringing stuff to stores) to see how they affect the sound of the amp.  My Mesa Oversize 4-12 sounds a lot different than my Marshall 1960BV.  There's way more bottom end out of the Mesa, but it's nowhere near as tight.

Elkanah G.

Strings are fresh on both guitars, the wiring appears to be in good shape, battieres all juiced up - looks like i just don't like EMG's!
My guitar's in the shop now having the Evo fitted in the bridge I should have that back on the weekend and i'll do another clip. 

I think what it boils down to is that passive pickups, possibly singl coils, cut through in a band situation a lot more to my ear + they're underated! EMG's seem muddy/flubby in the low end.
I mean how cool is it that you can get that sound out of a £470 stock mexican tele? Super tight low end and those shimmery highs that you can easily hear in a mix,

What do your guitars sound like do you have any audio recordings I could have a listen to? Interested to see what your mesa and marshal sounds like Pushead.


I made this last summer, a few days after receiving a new amp.  There are a few places where it drops out to just single instrument sounds.  Neither of the guitars are EMG, and based on what you've said, they're probably both a bit fizzy and muddy for what you're looking for.

I have a bunch of studio recordings, but no single instruments tracks, at the moment.  I'll put something together when I get home tonight.

Elkanah G.

I liek it pushead sounds good, I like the tone!

The Dimarzio Evo sounds phat and shimmery I love it! I'll record a sound clip at the end of the day so you can hear and let me know what you think

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