The Biggest Problem with SG Basses solved- That Mudbucker is too damn muddy!!

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by gucdude, Aug 25, 2022.

  1. gucdude


    Jul 19, 2020
    A little while back I bought an Epiphone SG bass. It was in quite a state, but was a good deal for a project bass and came with a hard-shell case. I had it shipped up from Florida. When it came the neck's scarf joint was cracked. The previous owner (who will be left unnamed) decided to "route" a bridge pickup hole with hand tools. He also painted this bass flat hardware-store black without sanding or finishing any of the bumps or wood putty he had added. On top of this he had "modified" the bridge to add a third post which is really unnecessary, and looks terrible. On top of this the electronics were a complete clustershag... 6 way switchable capacitors, extra pickup electronics, the damn thing was like a spaceship and completely destroyed the vibe that I always thought the SG bass was supposed to exude.

    After I fixed these issues and refinished the body in Sea-foam Green and polyeurethane, I was pretty pleased with the results. I swapped the stock pickup for a replacement from Ebay that sounded much more defined! My only problem now was... I still didn't love the way it sounded. It had so much bottom end it either distorted my tube head instantly, or was so brimming with low-end that it didn't even function in the setting of my indie band, Citrus Maxima. We rehearse in a pretty large room and super low-lows just sound terrible in there, and in many of the clubs we play. For studio purposes it fits the mix really well with a bit of saturation, but it just doesn't cut it live unless it's distorted, which is not our vibe. cutting highs with any standard tone knob just makes it sound comically low-endy I don't play in a Dub band, but if I did this bass would be perfect for it. I use La Bella Flats, and that especially makes this bass unusable in any live setting. I know those in this forum may disagree with me, but for the style of music I play I need a non-traditional wiring setup that would allow me to cut low lows so that I'm not distractingly boomy in a live setting. It's a great little bass and I'd hate to see it be condemned for studio use only.

    I have experimented with a multitude of wiring harnesses for this bass. I have used a STC BO preamp from Seymour-Duncan that cuts or adds lows at 60hz and 3k. This did not work very well as I never needed to add lows, and just cutting still used up the battery. On top of this, even with 3k boost cranked I didn't like the amount or type of definition in sound it brought me. I am fine with keeping the tone roughly the same, but realized that I could just use a passive tone circuit to cut low end AND high end on one concentric knob.

    The circuit I am currently designing has a CTS Master Volume (1M for overall high-end clarity, like on a Jaguar), a CTS Concentric Tone Pot (top knob is treble roll-off with an Orange Drop Cap (can't remember what capacitance), and bottom knob is a Blue Drop 2.2 nf), and a mini-toggle for humbucker vs just south pole just for tonal variation.

    Here is my scrawled diagram. I'll post an update when I get it wired up, and will send a tone demo too.

    I'm sure there are purists and haters in here that will not like what I am doing, but I can't help myself from modifying my gear to suit my needs as best as I can. Also they should keep in mind that some of the original SG basses had strangle switches too. For those of you who are interested, I am excited to get this done and update! and you can check out my blog for more music related information and postings, I just started it and am doing a bit of fun experimentation in the studio.

    Attached Files:

    mikewalker, jeffmensch and NKBassman like this.
  2. bolophonic


    Dec 10, 2009
    Durham, NC
    Pics, or you are re-wiring a Barbie car.
  3. ctmullins

    ctmullins Dominated Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    andruca, REV, TyBo and 1 other person like this.
  4. gucdude


    Jul 19, 2020
    Should have a photo posted in its current state!

    Attached Files:

  5. gucdude


    Jul 19, 2020
    If my current experiment doens't work I will definitely check this out!
  6. bolophonic


    Dec 10, 2009
    Durham, NC
    Holy moly, that is bad to the bone, brother.
    Bajo Clarkko likes this.
  7. DavidEdenAria


    Dec 13, 2013
    On a Hill
  8. DavidEdenAria


    Dec 13, 2013
    On a Hill
    Oh boy where to start....i highly recommend a semi parametric EQ on ANY mudbucker bass.....lose the La Bella flats! drop 6 to 8 db at about 120HZ, from there play around...the sounds are sorry i see these kinds of topics over and over.

    Go listen to 'Johnny Cash at San Quentin', that is a mudbucker Epiphone Newport thru a Fender amp.....not far from a P bass sound. Good luck!
  9. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    Pics or it was never muddy
    icefly, spiritbass, gucdude and 5 others like this.
  10. Lammchop93

    Lammchop93 Supporting Member

    I haven’t tried it myself, but I’ve heard good thinks about the Novak eb-bsx
    gucdude likes this.
  11. mexicanyella


    Feb 16, 2015
    Troy, MO
    That thing looks fantastic in the Seafoam green. Interested to hear how your wiring works out.
    spiritbass and gucdude like this.
  12. Welcome to the world of neck mounted mudbuckers..
    I fought that battle for about 6 years ( In a Epiphone Newport no less).
    Roundwound strings helped. An MXR 5 band EQ helped even more.
    You know what really helped?
    The day I bought a Pbass.
    Great lookin SG the seafoam! :thumbsup:
  13. That looks nice! Big SG fan here. Well done.
    gucdude likes this.
  14. NKBassman

    NKBassman Lvl 10 Nerd Supporting Member

    Jun 16, 2009
    Winnipeg, MB, Canada
    Love it.

    I think that's the whole reason why I would want one. That's the sound, for better or worse.

    The room can definitely have a lot to do with it. Or, it might be that it's just not going to be your weapon of choice for live performances.

    If the strings are making it worse, maybe try some different strings? I've always been a firm believer in finding the right set of strings for each bass. I love TI flats on my P bass but can't imagine putting them on a different bass and then saying "I don't like these strings on this bass, so I'm going to rewire the electronics". Maybe try some strings with a less pronounced low end... something like GHS Brite Flats or PressureWounds might help it cut through more.

    I have wired a passive bass cut circuit in a humbucker-equipped strat and loved it. So much more useful than the standard two-tone strat circuit. I stole the circuit from a G&L Legacy diagram. Never tried it on bass.
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2022
  15. LetItGrowTone

    LetItGrowTone Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2019
    I want to like that more than once.
    The sounds are there.

  16. It sounds like you didn't want teh sound of an SG type bass, but the looks. So it makes sense changing the electronics to suit, why not?
    kodiakblair and gucdude like this.
  17. gucdude


    Jul 19, 2020
    Had no idea that was their bass rig, always thought it was a P! Very cool
    DavidEdenAria and Pdaddy1978 like this.
  18. gucdude


    Jul 19, 2020
    I do like the sound of the SG bass in certain situations! If I was in a trio, Guitar Bass and Drums I think it would sit right. But I just want something I can use confidently live as well as in the studio.
  19. gucdude


    Jul 19, 2020
    Trying to get the best of both worlds with the standard SG bass sound, plus the SG bass with a bit of extra clarity
  20. Doug4321


    May 29, 2017
    I don’t know about major rewiring, but a couple thoughts…..
    If you lower the volume knob on the bass it can help. Those are hot pickups (at least my EB-0 has hot pickups). Then you can increase volume with the amp. You’ll get a cleaner less bassy sound.
    Also I just turn the bass eq way down on the amp. Easy! It takes an extreme eq setting.

    GHS brite flats or other ground wounds are often recommended. Seems like a good idea to me, more old school than round wounds with that growl, but also more mid range content than flats.

    I’d expect a high pass filter pedal like the Broughton would do the trick. Kill off some of those extra lows.
    DavidEdenAria likes this.