By Emely Greenfield. Guitar Electric. Published at Friday, August 03rd, 2018 - 12:00:28 PM.
In my opinion, the speakers are the primary thing that determine the tone of an electric guitar. The tone starts with the strings, and depends upon whether they are nickel or steel, roundwound or flatwound, heavy or light. Then the tone is governed by the pickups, which could be single coils or humbuckers, underwound our overwound, alnico V or alnico II. If you put a chain of effects between the guitar and the amp, the sound of the effects tends to dominate the tone and override everything else. Otherwise, the tone is then determined by the type of amp you have (solid state or tubes, and the type of tubes) and how you set the dials (bass, mid, treble, master volume, etc). But what has the biggest affect is the speakers (the type of cone, the magnet and the size of the speaker and voice coil). The speakers are the last link in the chain; the speakers are what actually move the air to produce the sound you hear.
Guitars with one humbucker and two single coils always seem to be a compromise. The idea is to get that chimey, jangly, quack from the neck and the middle single coils and the rock and roll from the humbucker in the bridge position. The HSS (which stands for humbucker-single-single) pickup configuration gained popularity in the 80s, much like everyone’s favorite haircut, the mullet. And much liked the maligned mullet, we get, in theory, business in the front and party in the rear. This article is my take on this pickup configuration, and how I came up with a way it could work for me.
Here's how you can get this effect: Set the neck pickup volume knob all the way down to zero. Set the bridge pickup volume knob all the way to maximum. Keep all tone controls on maximum. Then you do the following: Set your pickup selector switch to Treble (the bridge position). Play a note or a chord and let it ring out. While it's ringing out, flick the pickup selector switch back and forth between Rhythm and Treble. You will hear the sound cut in and out crisply. This is because when you switch to the Rhythm pickup, there is "no sound there" because its volume knob is all the way down to zero. When you switch the pickup switch back to Treble, the sound instantly goes back to full volume.
Yet another thing to consider is mixing and matching different speakers in a multi-speaker amplifier. For example, if you have a Super Reverb or Bassman, which has 4 x 10" speakers, you can put two bright sounding Jensens on top (like Weber 10A100's or Jensen P10r's); and then try to balance the sound with two bassier sounding speakers on the bottom (like Weber10A150's or Jensen P10n's). Another popular set up is to have a Celestion G12M on one side and a G12H on the other side of a Marshall Bluesbreaker 2 x 12 amp.
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