Sometimes itâ€™s just too cold to do anything sensible. We were supposed to be working on some new songs yesterday but it was so freezing cold that we just gave it up. Our brain cells just couldnâ€™t heat up. Anyway, as we already was there we bashed the hell out of some old Floyd tunes. Not much thinking going on there as weâ€™ve been playing these songs for… erm… 10 years or so.
We did Echoes, Atom Heart Mother, Coming Back to Life and a couple of others. It was fun and I got the chance to try out my new Duncan SSL5 bridge pickup. I installed it last weekend and Iâ€™ve been amazed over how much it change the tone in my guitar. Iâ€™ve always loved the CS69s but I felt that the bridge needed some balls. A bit more meat to the bone. Iâ€™ve tested it on my home rig â€“ the old Marshall 5210 50w combo and the â€backup boardâ€ â€“ and with the POD X3 and I must say that Iâ€™ve fallen in love with this pickup. Instant love! It sounds warmer and fuller (in lack of a better word) than the CS69 and really does wonders to my â€home toneâ€ as I have to keep the volume at a neighbour friendly level. I get the sustain I need without cranking the compressor and the clean is incredibly rich.
OK, back to yesterdayâ€™s rehearsal. I was especially eager to hear the SSL5 on my live rig and how it sounded with my main pedal board. Naturally, since the pickup has a higher output than the CS69, I needed to make some minor adjustments on some of the pedals to maintain my usual tone. It made a huge difference on the Muff+TD combo and I got some really nasty feedback, which was a cool â€whoa! Animals, dude!â€ moment but a bit too much when I came to my senses.
If I was to point my finger on something, I would have wanted a bit more top… just a hair. On some stuff it can be just a tiny hint too dark and I donâ€™t want to turn up the treble on my amp too much. Maybe Iâ€™ll try the SSL1 one day and just compare the two.
What I loved was the tone I got from the Sun Face+Colorsound combo. I have struggled a bit with the Sun Face and its pronounced treble but now it sounds incredibly sweet. I get the smooth sustain and that earpinching attack you can hear on some bootlegs from the Dark Side 1973-75 tours. With just a bit more gain from the Colorsound it sounded wild and I had to bend down and tame the beast! The SSL5 is extremely responsive and dynamic when you roll down the volume on the guitar. You get less gain but keep the tone and body from even the most exaggerated settings on the Muff and Sun Face.
The SSL5 also gave new life to the Tube Driver. Again, I have felt that it needed some balls when I used the CS69 bridge and it was difficult to balance the Hi/Lo EQ on the pedal without getting a muddy neck tone. The SSL5 adds the rich lower end and a hint of mid range. I mean, – listen to Take a Breath from Albert Hall. There you have it!
Iâ€™m extremely pleased with the SSL-5. I feel that it has taken my guitar to a new level… sadly it doesnâ€™t make me a better player though LOL! I will give it some time and decide whether to keep it or not but Iâ€™m on the right track and I warmly recommend it!