Muffled-sounding Hollowbody

Discussion in 'Other Guitar Discussion' started by HighwayStar106, Mar 15, 2020.

  1. HighwayStar106

    HighwayStar106 Senior Stratmaster

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    Does anyone know what could cause a guitar to sound muffled? That's the best way I can think of to describe it - it's sort of like if I put the amp in a cupboard and closed the door! It's definitely the guitar because my others sound fine through the same amp. Is there an easy fix, or will I have to replace the pots and/or pickups?
     
  2. tinkertoy

    tinkertoy Strat-O-Master

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    Does it sound that way unplugged in comparison to your others?

    If so, it may be the guitar.

    The cheap way to verify that is to wire the switch directly to the output jack, bypassing the pots.
    If it still sounds muffled, it is either pickups or the guitar.

    You'll have to decide at this point if you want to jump down the pickup rabbit hole to fix it.
     
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  3. Paperback Rocker

    Paperback Rocker Do it or screw it.

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    What guitar is it?
     
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  4. TangerineDog

    TangerineDog Senior Stratmaster

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    What are you used to?
    If it's a Hollowbody with Humbuckers and you usually play a SSS Strat, then it will sound muffled - and if you play the Hollowbody exclusively for a month or two, the Strat will sound harsh and like an icepick by comparison.

    But there might be other reasons - make and model of the guitar would be interesting for sure :whistling:
     
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  5. jvin248

    jvin248 Senior Stratmaster

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    .

    Sounds like the tone knob is already engaged when it's dimed? you have a muddy pickup.

    Lower the pickup to the trim ring and raise the screw poles.

    Higher kohm volume pot. Measure what you actually have, it may be at the low end of the spec and finding a high end of the spec may fix it.

    Smaller uF tone cap.

    Series cap on the muddy pickup hot lead. 0.047uF is a good start.

    Then swap pickups if still a problem, but most often the cheaper mods above work.

    .
     
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  6. HighwayStar106

    HighwayStar106 Senior Stratmaster

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    Thanks everyone!

    @TangerineDog I am used to Strats, but mostly with bridge humbuckers, and I've never had any issues with my Epi 335 sounding muddy either.
    I'll try lowering the pickup and raising the screw poles, and if that doesn't work, I'll try bypassing the pots. If that doesn't work, I'll start replacing stuff.
    Unfortunately, I have no idea who made the guitar, as it has no name or serial number, only a bird logo that I can't find anywhere online. It looks like this:

    image.jpeg image.jpeg

    I did get for free (from my Grandad), so I'm happy to spend a bit of money on it if I have to. I've had for maybe 3 years now, and it's never sounded great, but seemed particularly bad when I plugged it in yesterday. I'm pretty sure it was never plugged in and barely played for about 6 or 7 years, so that could be the problem, although surprisingly there's no crackling or cutting out when I use the pots or switch. It also doesn't appear to have a ground wire to the bridge, but that only causes buzz at higher volume than I usually use.
     
  7. Ebidis

    Ebidis Providing the world with flat bends since 1985

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    Looks like you have a wooden bridge saddle. That will deaden the sound. very popular for jazz tones.
     
  8. fezz parka

    fezz parka fezz parka

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    The ground wire would go to the tailpiece.

    Muffled...like the tone is rolled off?

    If it sat for a while, work those tone knobs back and forth from full CW to full CCW. Same for the volume knobs and the switch.

    A wooden bridge won't deaden the tone that much. This is a full hollowbody with a wooden bridge. And flatwounds. And played with my fingers...no pick.




    I think its a tone pot failing.
     
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  9. dirocyn

    dirocyn Senior Stratmaster

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    How does it sound unplugged? If dull, dead unplugged, the pickups won't cure it. New strings might. Especially if those are over 6 years old. Flats? Those are dark anyhow.

    If it sounds good unplugged but muddy amplified, most likely a failing tone pot. Fish those out where you can reach and spray out the pots. Might not cost anything to fix and you leave everything original.

    Don't forget to check the date codes while you have the pots in hand. Surgical tubing is your best friend for putting the pots back in.
     
  10. HighwayStar106

    HighwayStar106 Senior Stratmaster

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    The strings (normal, not flatwound) aren't too old, I definitely changed them last year.

    It's probably the tone pots then. I'll try cleaning them first, but I suspect they'll need replacing. They're the cheap small type, so it can't do any harm to upgrade them.
     
  11. dogletnoir

    dogletnoir V----V

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    Changing out tone/volume pots on an F-hole guitar is a bit like building a ship in a bottle...
    do-able, but not the easiest thing in the world.
    But if you're saying it that casually, i'm guessing maybe you've done it before.

    That guitar looks a lot like the Epiphone Joe Pass model, with a different style scratchplate, headstock shape, and fret markers.
    i wouldn't be surprised if it was produced in the same factory for some local seller.
     
  12. HighwayStar106

    HighwayStar106 Senior Stratmaster

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    No, I've never done it before. I just took the pots out to see what value they were and if there was anything obviously wrong. I've put two of them back, but I decided to put the others off for a bit, as it's such a hassle. I'm very grateful to whoever routed my 335 for a cutout on the back, as I was planning to do some rewiring on that too! On the plus side, I've learnt that the pots are, as I thought, the generic small 500k type, and also that they appear to be covered in grime.

    I found the same logo on a weird 10 string thing in a pawnshop recently, but when I went back for a closer look, it was gone. The fact that the only two examples I've seen of that logo were local suggests it was a local seller that supplied them originally.
     
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  13. dogletnoir

    dogletnoir V----V

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    These may be helpful:


    Time to go fishing!
    :)
     
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  14. HighwayStar106

    HighwayStar106 Senior Stratmaster

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    I don't think the Epiphone is similar enough that they'd be closely related, but it's not a million miles away. Mine also has an Epiphone neck pickup, although I assumed that wasn't original.
     
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  15. dirocyn

    dirocyn Senior Stratmaster

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    The trick is surgical tubing, a size that can stick on the pot shaft and also fit through the hole. Goes in through the pot hole, one end over to the f hole or a pickup hole. Stick the pot shaft in the end of the tube and gently pull it right into position.

    Trying to do that with strings or gravity will make you pull your hair out.
     
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  16. dogletnoir

    dogletnoir V----V

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    A few holes for the controls drilled in different locations, and different headstock shape and fingerboard inlays... details.
    The body shape, binding, bridge, and even the tailpiece look identical to me.
    Epiphone Joe Pass models were made in China first iirc, and then in Indonesia.
    i wouldn't be at all surprised if either factory used the JP as the starting point for other limited run guitars with similar specs.
     
  17. HighwayStar106

    HighwayStar106 Senior Stratmaster

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    Now I see it from a different angle, it does look a lot like mine. I just found this one from before they put Joe Pass's name on it, which is even closer:

    image.jpeg

    So it could be from the same factory. Maybe with the cheap electrics and less fancy neck it was meant to be a lower-budget alternative.
     
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  18. dogletnoir

    dogletnoir V----V

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    :thumb: :thumb:
    i even remembered the earlier versions having the selector switch on the cutaway side too,
    but i couldn't find a pic of one.