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Help me diagnose this weird spike in my pick attack

Discussion in 'Backline' started by Jormyn, Feb 29, 2016.

  1. Jormyn

    Jormyn Member

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    (Crossposting from sevenstring.org)

    I've been trying for a good year at this point to figure out the cause of a really gross, noisy peak in this guitar's response. Maybe some of you fine gentle(wo)men can be of assistance.

    DI: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/7231524/harsh peak DI.wav
    Amp: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/7231524/harsh peak Amp.wav

    You can hear it a little in the DI, and it really jumps out through an amp (my Kemper, in this case). I can hear it acoustically, as well.

    The axe:
    Schecter Scorpion Tribal baritone, mahogany body, no idea about the neck
    26.75" scale
    Tuned up to Standard D
    Duncan SH-5 Custom in the bridge
    Wired to a 500k series/split/parallel pot --> 1meg volume --> output
    Strings are a fresh set of Ernie Ball 12-60, just normal Slinkys.
    Gotoh Tuneomatic bridge and saddles that were on it from the factory
    1mm Clayton acetal pick

    Notes:
    - With an EQ I've found it to live mostly around 1.3kHz and 2.6kHz, but simply notching out those ranges doesn't solve the problem without completely gutting my pick attack.
    - The peak is present regardless of string gauge or tuning. Bigger strings help a *little*, but even in B with 70s it was still pissing me off
    - I noticed it previously with an Invader installed. The guitar came with a Duncan Designed JB, I think, but I don't remember if I noticed it then. Come on, that was like ten years ago.
    - The peak was still noticeable with typical 500k tone + 500k volume wiring. The 1meg pot and Custom are my attempts to brighten up the guitar as it seems to be really fucking dark on its own.
    - I have a couple dozen random picks in my drawer, it's the same with all of them.
    - It's there on my G and C strings, but far less noticeable than on the D and not enough for me to give a shit.

    Any and all suggestions are appreciated. Thanks.
     
  2. Switchback

    Switchback Member

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    Hello,

    I'm in the same case.
    I stated that when I recorded guitars in my room, I got some interferences, but not in another room.
    Since the pc in the first case was near of a television, I assume that the issue came from some waves that caused interferences with my guitar's microphones. But maybe I'm wrong.

    I'd recommend you to record in diferents places, with differents microphone switch positions (maybe the problem come from your mics).
     
  3. Jormyn

    Jormyn Member

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    It's definitely not interference.
     
  4. tedtan

    tedtan Member

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    Try different picks - they have a major effect on this. Some pick materials make a much more noticeable "chirp" on the strings than others. If you want to tame that, look into mellower sounding materials like Ultex (this will still have some pick chirp, but less than acetal and many materials), Nylon (mellower) and, if you can afford it, the Blue Chip picks have almost no chirp in the pick attack. But they start at $35 each, so they're not for everyone.
     
  5. Jormyn

    Jormyn Member

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    As I said, I've got a box full of picks with different material, thicknesses, it makes no difference.
     
  6. newamerikangospel

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    Your gain is pretty high, but I hear the pick sliding a little bit on your strokes. The angle of your pick, and moving it around may help. You may also try seating the pickup down a little farther from the strings. It may also be exacerbated by tubescreamer tone settings or the pickup itself (i havent had an sh5 in 10+ years, so I dont remember much about it)
     
  7. tedtan

    tedtan Member

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    Actually, you said you have a couple dozen random picks, not an assortment of picks of varying material, tip shape and bevel designs. Had you assembled your collection of picks to achieve specific purposes like getting a variety of tones, reducing pick noise, etc. it would be anything but a random assortment.

    However, if you can't find a pick that works to eliminate the noise, look to picking technique and gain settings first. If that is no help, check your pickup (it may be emphasizing those undesired frequencies) and your bridge (it may have issues with burs or grooves that allow the string to move in the saddle, or just vibrate (like many TOM style bridges)).
     
  8. Korwent

    Korwent Member

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    Had exactly this problem mixing a project recently, it was really all due to picking technique, the pick was scrubing against the string making that weir resonance on the attack!
    As said, there's nothing much you can do after tracking, and retracing keeping that in mind and trying to attack the strings as clearly as possible was an option for the project I was working on so that's what the band did.
     
  9. bryan_kilco

    bryan_kilco Member

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    Yeah, pay real close attention to your pick attack. I tend to angle my pick slightly so it's not striking straight/flat on the strings which seems to cause a weird attack. I've just been doing it for so long, without noticing it, that it's super hard to try and correct now.
     
  10. Alex EShadow

    Alex EShadow New Metal Member

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    I can hear your strings snapping in the DI track. It's your picking technique to the extent that you're a heavy hitter like me when hitting unmuted chords. Best solution is to bring up the action (around 0.5mm on 12th fret low E) and set your neck up for a bit more relief (curved backwards, like a boat). At .012 I'd say going to a heavier string gauge wouldn't really help. You might also have to set your nut a bit higher, which is easy to do if it's a floyd, and if it isn't, well, you'll need a new one.

    What others said about picks is also true. I was using red Jazz IIIs and those things have the loudest and most piercing pick attack. I've found that moving back to bigger and thinner picks helped ease it out a bit for me. I'm now on Dunlop Tortex .088mm, the green ones, and the material along with the coating helps quite a bit. I believe James Hetfield used to use them exclusively up to AJFA.

    If all else fails, you might want to switch to Elixir strings. They're a bit more tame than regular ones due to the coating they use to make them last, and that kind of reigns in the pick attack (but will make pitch harmonics harder to get).

    Last but not least, I've found that for my picking style, since I punish the guitar so badly, it's better to have lower output pickups. Try something like a SD Pearly Gates or a Dimarzio PAF Pro, or even better, a Gibson Burstbucker 3.

    YMMV, those are recommendations based solely on my personal experience, I don't claim to be an expert or anything. Hope it helps :)
     
  11. Jormyn

    Jormyn Member

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    Cheers.

    I did end up tinkering with the action on the guitar a bit. Haven't tried a new nut yet, but I'd like to, since I'm unable to get the action anywhere near as low as most guitars have it without buzzing all the way up and down the neck, even with the truss rod nice and loose to push the neck forward.

    Two things that did make a big difference, though:

    - Swapped out the magnet in the Custom from ceramic to alnico-5, which killed the typical ceramic attack. Downside, the bass isn't quite as tight, but my Kemper is pretty good at compensating for that.

    - Took the foam pads from a pickup box and stuffed them between the bridge and the string-through holes. There was a surprising amount of ringing going on back there once I managed to trace it out, and for some reason open string palm-mutes really brought it out. I found a bit of ringing at the headstock as well, but nowhere near as much.
     

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