Was struggling with pickup balance, here's what I did

The neck pickup on the HH guitar was too woofy, part of the problem was this guitar doesn’t have dedicated tone knobs for each pup. So I took the neck pickup cover off, helped a bit, lowered it, reduced the bass side height, adjusted the pole screw heights, removed it from the tone circuit, adjusted the amp and reduced the tone on the bridge, boom, it’s now my number one guitar for sure.

Random demo.


I know this will sound strange, but why not wire your HH guitar in stereo, remove every knob and switch, and then process everything downstream? (And always record both channels “dry.”)

I have convinced myself that only Ibanez-like HSH makes sense and that two-pickup guitars should have no onboard controls at all! :rofl:

1 Like

Not a terrible idea actually, but I’d bo it more for foot switchable pickup selection. My basic sound is pretty simple, I use the volume control and pickup selection to get all my sounds. I’m old school :grinning:

Being old-school is great! But I was thinking, if I had HH in stereo I’d have the bridge pickup go through one “amp,” and the neck pickup go through another “amp,” and then I’d have a “pan” pedal to mix them together. This would be really interesting and nearly impossible to do with the switches on the guitar. So it could be a lack of imagination, but I can’t think of any controls that are needed on a guitar with two pickups (except perhaps a volume knob for swells if one doesn’t like a pedal).


I’ve done this - two humbuckers with separate outputs into their own amps. I used an ernieball pan/volume pedal - which you can switch between functions with the side of your foot.

It’s heavenly in rehearsal however the soundboard lords tend to…be unimpressive with managing - in my experience. I always end up back with a pedalboard and amp pointed towards my ears…and a mic on the cab.

TLDR; dual pick-up/ouput set up is really cool but can be difficult to translate live.

1 Like

Yeah sounds like it may be more trouble than it’s worth, basically what’s required is preamp/eq settings per pickup to get an even sound out. If we’re doing two amps, add wet stereo, that’s more than necessary I think. My solution is to fix it at the source. I’m not into monitoring dry but I don’t mind using a good splitter (lehle) for post work. In my case I’m not doing anything fancy.

I realised my problem was:

  1. learning a little about Humbuckers
  2. figuring out what the balance issue was
  3. finding a practical solution

Les paul players forever had solved the problem by simply adjusting the amp to the darker pickup and dropping the tone on the brighter pickup to balance it. Since my guitar is a two volume, one tone, all I had to do was ( a bit reluctantly ) change the tone control to operate on just the bridge, taking the cover off and adjust heights of the pickup and pole screws was some added fine tuning. I kind of like that about humbuckers, adjustable per string volume/response. Next string change I’ll take the cover of the bridge pup as well. This setup now works perfectly for me.

To get back to the hyper control over guitar/amp synergy, I really liked the direction Line 6 was taking it. It would have been better if they came up an ecosystem that fit traditional gear.

They already have all the tech, all they need to do is:

  1. Base Station: controls the wireless signal coming in from the guitar, this includes individual pickups etc, more on this later. Multiple analogue and digital outs, and full MIDI capability to control analogue and digital effects etc just like a good looper pedal.

  2. Onboard guitar mod kits per type of guitar: These should comprise of components that transmit each pickup’s output individually, and or with a signal using the guitar’s traditional onboard controls for pickup selection and tone, volume and blend. These go into the Base station wirelessly as they already have this capability with their HD AD converters, companders and other internal gizmos.

  3. An elaborate foot controllers, perhaps multiple versions for different duties and price points, that control the base station’s routing and other programmable features.

Hell the base station could be a fully kitted guitar processor with hybrid capabilities, again they have it all already!

They’re probably working on it maybe :smiley:

1 Like

A .047uf cap, soldered in line with the pickups ‘hot’ lead, will roll off the ‘woofiness’…


I will try that some time; for now I’m ok, next string change maybe. Thanks.

1 Like

I have a bit of an issue. On one of my guitars, I’m using active EMG’s. I lowered the bridge humbucker as sometimes I play back there and it was too close to the strings. I lowered the neck pup, as low as I could, but it is still considerably louder than the bridge pup. I don’t tend to switch between pups on the fly, but I’d prefer if they were closer in volume. I’m not great at the tech stuff so not sure how to fix it…

1 Like

I’m sure that you are right. I think that I could do this with an Axe-FX3. Two pickups would go in, and two XLR cables would go out to FoH (for stereo), although FoH would probably demand just one cable!

@jptk I actually had the same issue but backwards: the neck pickup I like is voiced like a single coil and low output, while the bridge is voiced like a mini humbucker and considerably louder. I have an active boost control that affects only the neck pickup as a fix. I actually dig it a ton for flexibility.


What guitar is it, I found going vol vol tone to be a decent solution for my situation, not familiar with active pickup at all.i was wondering if they trim controls internally.

1 Like

@Pepepicks66 @Twangsta

It’s and “Indie” guitar. I bought it second hand. I don’t think the company, Indie Guitar Co, exists anymore.
If I raise the bridge pickup, I could probably balance it out a bit better, I just don’t like when the pickup is so close to the string as I tend to whack off it then. The neck pickup doesn’t sound good as low as it is now, far too dull, but it’s still louder than the bridge pup even though it’s so low.

What’s the control scheme on it? Volume Tone?

1 Like

It has two volume and two tone controls, one for each pickup.
I suppose I could raise the neck pup so it doesn’t sound so dull and back off it’s volume to try match the bridge pup…

1 Like

Yes, that’s the simplest, ultimately I ended up with that a part of my solution. I did what I could with the pups etc but the 4 knob design is gold.

1 Like