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Thread: AXIS/ALBERT LEE Pickups - Consistancy of Sound

  1. #1

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    AXIS/ALBERT LEE Pickups - Consistancy of Sound

    Moving this to it's own thread as it is an interesting dilemma. Question is...has anyone else had multiple guitars with the same pickups and not had similar tones as would be expected?

    So first gig last night with this Axis SS. I spent a couple hours cleaning the guitar up, it really is quite beat up, but functionally fit. I did change out the saddles for the Highwood Vintage Contoured. Even pulled the pickups to verify they were original. This has the solid rosewood neck like my ALs.

    I have to say, therein lies the problem...the pickups sound noticably thin, especially the neck and I spend most of my time on the neck. Not at all like the the ALs I have/had with the same pups. Wiring does not appear to be modified.

    I just happen to have a couple Dimarzios inbound (Air Norton/AT-1) in B/W Zebra that might take a test run in this guitar. I will say that the Virtual PAFs in my Silhouette are exceptional pups and I would be interested in finding some to swap into the Axis as the inbound pups were not intended for it..
    2005 EBMM Axis Super Sport Rosewood Top/Rosewood Neck - Hardtail FOR SALE
    2006 EBMM Silhouette - Egyptian Smoke - HSH/Trem - Maple/RW neck FOR SALE
    2017 EBMM Silhouette - White - HSH/Trem - Maple/RW neck FOR SALE

    20XX SbMM AX30D - Cherry Burst Quilt - HH
    2019 SbMM Albert Lee - Trans Walnut - HSH Mod - ever changing
    2017 SbMM LK100D LUKE - Black Metallic - Stock - Dimarzio Transition pups
    2019 SbMM Axis - Black - Dimarzio Air Norton/AT-1 pickups
    2015 SbMM Silo3 SUB - Black/Maple HSS

  2. #2

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    Quick question: Have you pulled the pickups to check if they are indeed the Axis pickups?
    EVH - Blue Quilt
    1995 - Luke I - Pearl Blue
    2009 - 25th Anniversary
    2011 - Luke II - True Gold BFR
    2012 - Axis Tribute - Trans Pink
    2016 - Cutlass - Vintage Sunburst
    2017 - St. Vincent - Stealth Black

    Take a break from playin' guitar and read a webcomic: nemu*nemu!

  3. #3

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    Might be the switch or wiring. It could be the pots. Maybe someone switched them out to 500k. I’d hardly describe axis p/ups as thin especially the neck p/up which can be muddy.
    2007 EBMM JP6 Mystic Dream w/piezo, matching headstock, dot inlays
    2002 EBMM Axis Sport Trans Gold, hum/hum, matching headstock, trem
    4 other non-MM gtrs

  4. #4

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    So the pots would originally have been 250K on this guitar due to the coil tapping? It does have 500K pots.
    2005 EBMM Axis Super Sport Rosewood Top/Rosewood Neck - Hardtail FOR SALE
    2006 EBMM Silhouette - Egyptian Smoke - HSH/Trem - Maple/RW neck FOR SALE
    2017 EBMM Silhouette - White - HSH/Trem - Maple/RW neck FOR SALE

    20XX SbMM AX30D - Cherry Burst Quilt - HH
    2019 SbMM Albert Lee - Trans Walnut - HSH Mod - ever changing
    2017 SbMM LK100D LUKE - Black Metallic - Stock - Dimarzio Transition pups
    2019 SbMM Axis - Black - Dimarzio Air Norton/AT-1 pickups
    2015 SbMM Silo3 SUB - Black/Maple HSS

  5. #5

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    Both guitars should have 500k pots. And they should sound similar; There are obviously differences due to the different wood and shape.

    I'd check the wiring again ... What you're describing doesn't sound right - "thin" isn't a word I'd use to describe those pickups wired in series.

  6. #6

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    I had an Axis neck pickup sound thin. Turns out one of the coils was shorted out and it was effectively a single coil. I took it apart and used a multimeter to figure it out. What did do then? I threw it out 'cause I'm a dumbass. I guess it never occurred to me to send back to Music Man to have it repaired. Anyway, I replaced it with an old Ibanez bridge pickup (IBZ/USA F3) I had lying around as a test to see if it was indeed the shorted wiring on the original pickup. I ended up liking the Ibanez pickup sound so I decided to keep it in there. Wish I would have been smart enough to keep the original though.
    Last edited by ThePod; 11-24-2020 at 01:37 AM.

  7. #7

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    All my four guitars have these pickups, all four sound a little different, very subtle.
    I tried to adjust the pickup height, or better: distance to strings as equal as I could, which only can be done by adjusting the action on these guitars.
    My ASS sounds the thinnest of all, if you will so, but it's not thin per se, but in comparison.
    The 2002 AS has noticeably more output than the other three

    I would not blame the woods for sculpting the sound of a solid body guitar too much; it has been scientifically examined and described in this book here:
    Gitec | Everything about the book “Physics of the Electric Guitar"

    The sound differences may come from tolerances in the pickups (although they are the same model on each guitar), and from nut and saddles (which is also something that has been elaborated in the a.m. book).
    To be honest I can't remember if there was aclear finding regarding the sound of bent saddle vs solid ones.
    My ASS as well as the 2001 AS have solid ones, where as the AL and the 1997 AS have bent saddles.
    2001 Axis Sport HH hardtail maple fretboard burnt apple
    2001 Axis SuperSport HH hardtail maple fretboard translucent gold
    1997 Axis Sport HSS hardtail maple fretboard translucent red (Pro Track in neck and Injector Neck in middle)
    2002 AL MM90 hardtail maple fretboard honeyburst converted to AL 2H (black Dimarzio Customs)

  8. #8

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    I just received a wiring diagram from MM and I will go through it and double check all. There is one odd ground wire coming off the ground tad that doesn't go any where and really isn't long enough to go any where...
    2005 EBMM Axis Super Sport Rosewood Top/Rosewood Neck - Hardtail FOR SALE
    2006 EBMM Silhouette - Egyptian Smoke - HSH/Trem - Maple/RW neck FOR SALE
    2017 EBMM Silhouette - White - HSH/Trem - Maple/RW neck FOR SALE

    20XX SbMM AX30D - Cherry Burst Quilt - HH
    2019 SbMM Albert Lee - Trans Walnut - HSH Mod - ever changing
    2017 SbMM LK100D LUKE - Black Metallic - Stock - Dimarzio Transition pups
    2019 SbMM Axis - Black - Dimarzio Air Norton/AT-1 pickups
    2015 SbMM Silo3 SUB - Black/Maple HSS

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