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Nasty after-tone w/palm mute


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  • Nasty after-tone w/palm mute


    My son has 3 guitars, all with EMG 81s in the bridge: the cheapest is an EPI SG, the middle is a Schecter Diamond (both of which have maple necks which we thought might be part of the problem??) and his new one is an ESP EC1000 Deluxe. He plays through a 6505+ tube head and a Marshall 1960, although he had the issue I am about to describe playing through one of those Line 6 HD150s. I figured it would go away when he got the better amp.

    He plays detuned to B with Ernie Ball Not Even Slinkies (12 on the top, 56 on the bottom) and he plays metalcore, heavy on the palm mute. With all three guitars, after a palm mute there is kind-of an after-tone. The sound doesn't die instantly, there is a sorta clanking squealy noise after the mute. It's only a fraction of a second; I'm not talking about the sort of squeal you get from standing 6" in front of the amp with the gain on 11. It's more like a nasty harmonic blip that you don't want.

    He does plug into an ISP Decimator pedal, and frankly I think I'd like to get rid of that. We ain't talking a 57 Strat with fluorescent lighting and filthy AC etc, which this box would deal with admirably. Of course, they rehearse in my basement so if he shut off the decimator there would be some feedback howl from time to time, but I'm wondering if a better place for that box would be in the fx loop between the pre and power stages...opinions?

    Anyhoo, FWIW, these are the settings he came home with after a gig with the EC1000 in a fairly big room where they were miked (and the noise was still there, so it isn't just a product of a big amp in a small space, there's something else:

    Gain 6
    Lows 7
    Mids 5
    Highs 8
    Master 3.5
    Resonance 7
    Presence 7

    That is a lot of highs (although of course it's all mahogany with an ebony neck for hardcore) and that might be a result of the Decimator pedal sucking tone. Could perhaps do better by reducing the highs and cranking the master volume a little if he feels he needs to keep the Decimator maybe? I set the 81 so that it is level beneath all strings, but I wonder if I could set it so that the high strings are a bit closer to emphasize the treble a bit?

    I'm fully prepared to believe that the pup is set too close to the strings. I know that EMG suggests pulling it up way close because it doesn't work like a humbucker, but I have an active single coil in the neck position of my telecaster and I can get plenty of signal with the pup set a half-inch below the strings. In fact, I know he has tried raising and lowering the pickups and the cursing says that it makes no real difference. Not that it should, with all the balls in this tube beastie.

    Finally, one of the guitarists at the gig said he had had the same trouble with this clanking ring noise and he had cured it by putting a piece of foam in the cavity underneath the 81. Anything in this theory please, before I go hacking into three guitars and restringing them all?


  • #2
    I have heard this before when people are playing. Don't remember what their setup was.

    It happens at home too so that rules out it being the sound guys problem or anything like that?

    And it happens with different amps, so its def the guitar?


    • #3
      Could just be way too much gain, and tuned that low the intonation is most likely not dead on for those guitars so you are getting some extra unwanted harmonic overtones.
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      • #4
        Originally posted by Alchemist
        Could just be way too much gain, and tuned that low the intonation is most likely not dead on for those guitars so you are getting some extra unwanted harmonic overtones.

        This could be enhanced by where he is muting, or if he is muting it quick enough or hard enough.


        • #5
          To answer your final question in the original post, the foam in the back of the guitar is to dampen any tremolo spring noise. From time to time, some guitars will do this. Give it a shot..if the springs are vibrating a bit, foam is a nice cheap fix!

          Good Luck!!
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          • #6
            Is that the wolf howl I've heard about???
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            • #7
              To take all the replies, there are no tremolo springs, so I guess the foam isn't going to do much. It's coming out of the amp, so it isn't an issue with the PA or the engineer.

              I try to keep them pretty well intonated, but I just realized that being unfamiliar with his tunings I put it in standard, fix the intonation, then give it to him to detune. Perhaps not the best idea.

              I don't think there's too much gain. For the music they play I think he's being pretty restrained to keep it at 6, although the high output from the 81s does seem to rewrite all the rules. I'm just not sure if he would get the same tone if he turned the gain down to 4 and the master up to 5-6. I can't actually play guitar or I'd try it myself, but he probably has it boobytrapped.

              Tell me more about where and how he should palm mute please? I know he rests his hand on the bridge while he plays, so I suspect he just rolls his hand forward. Not enough or in the wrong place you think? I wonder if there is a tutorial just on palm muting somewhere around these or other forums.


              • #8
                This tends to happen. Take a hot bridge pickup, turn the tone down to 0 or 1, and crank up the distortion and gain, and you'll get some squeals after your notes. When I play a song that features this kind of sound, generally the sound is useful to the solo or hard riff I'm playing.

                If it sounds out of tune, it may just be the way the amp or effects are making it sound.

                As was said, he might be palm muting on a harmonic node of the strings, that would cause the squeal to be more harmonic, but it should still sound "good".

                I'm thinking you need to intone the guitar IN his tuning. This is easy, just get the notes he uses, and get a guitar tuner. play the string open, play it at the 12th fret. The notes should both be the same when the guitar's in (de)tune.

                You might see what note comes out when the harmonic at the 12th fret is hit, too.


                • #9
                  If he palms mute too close to the neck , he will some harmonics everytime he mutes ( same principle as pinch harmonics ) .

                  Why can't you try his guitar and see ?


                  • #10
                    does the same thing happen if you play the same muting stuff, with the same amp settings but the guitar in standard tuning ?
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                    • #11

                      I don't think he's palming too close to the neck. His hand doesn't appear to move off the bridge.

                      He knows how to do the pinch harmonics, no problem. The problem isn't doing harmonics when he wants them, it's that he can't slam a palm mute without this totally unwanted aftersound. If it sounded like Zakk Wylde, he still wouldn't want it where it is. He wants the palm mute to sound like everyone elses palm mute, and that's like its gated. Except that nobody else seems to need a gate.

                      But I will try intonating the guitars in his tuning tho.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by mozzer

                        I try to keep them pretty well intonated, but I just realized that being unfamiliar with his tunings I put it in standard, fix the intonation, then give it to him to detune. Perhaps not the best idea.

                        You must set the intonation in the tuning he is using. Otherwise, you are wasting your time.


                        • #13
                          Sounds to me like the intonation may be screwey thanks to the low tuning.

                          Try intonating it with his tuning and see if it goes away.

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                          • #14
                            I have had the same problem before... All I did was intonate to CGCFAD and it sounded way way better. Also make sure he is using heavy enough strings...

                            Another thing you may want to keep an eye on.. I had a Jackson that for some reason when I would palm mute, my pinky would just BARELY slide against the higher A & D strings and would cause some unwanted noise. After I focused on keeping my pinky still, it was fine.

                            Intonate to his tuning.

                            Make sure he is using a big enough string guage.

                            Make sure his pinky or any other fingers aren't sliding against any other strings.
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                            • #15
                              He's using Ernie Ball Not Even Slinky (12 - 56, with 56 being the heaviest that will go through a standard Sperzel locking tuner). I don't think he's married to them if anyone has had this problem and cured it by changing strings.

                              I can try the intonation in the lower tuning and see if that is an issue. Inadvertently touching other strings is also a possibility. I keep trying to get him to jam with older guitar players, but he is concerned about the ownership of great riffs that might ensue I may have talked him into a couple of lessons as long as the guy doesn't give him a scale book.