#1
I decided after failing to find anything with the search bar, and briefing the tutorials, I decided I would just go and post, since it can't do any harm.

If this has already been posted, I apologize, I'm tired and desperate D:

Now, as for the question, what is the (tonal) difference between the "K" in Pick-ups?

In fact, what exactly does the K stand for, atm I think it's Kilo-Ohms, but I'm like wrong, knowing me.

However I was wondering, because me and my friend were going to buy a cheap guitar and generally turn it into a relic over time, but the main thing we were going to begin with was new pick ups. And I am absolutely confused.

I've seen that GFS pups seem to get good comments, and I also noticed Fralin seemed to get good comments, so for this Jazz Bass, it was a toss up between the two. Thing is, the GFS pick ups are wired "10k" and the Fralin are wired "8k" in the neck and "8.5k" in the bridge. With my experience with fender, I'm therefore guessing that the high K it is, the more trebly it will be, which throws my idea of the GFS pick-ups into confusion.

So I was wondering if someone could please tell this new guitar customizer what on earth kind of difference does the "K" make?
(And if you could give me a very brief run down on the Pot's K's too, if it's the same thing.)

(And I hope this is the right forum, I thought it was the most suitable...)
#2
The higher the number= the higher the output of the pickups= more distortion.

And generally for pots, its 250 K for single coils, and 500 K for humbuckers, its just the standard, you can use either with either.
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#4
The k's in question are kilohms which are = 1000 ohms, the si unit of electrical impedance/resistance.

For pickups it's the measurement of DC resistance which generally indicates the output level (higher ohm rating = 'hotter' pickup). There are other variables in the pickups (inductance etc) but it's a good, easy indicator. Neck pickups are usually lower rating because the strings move more at that point than the bridge and therefore require a less hot output. The higher the rating the easier it is for the pickup to drive amps to distortion.

The lower value pots (250k) bleed off highs to ground to produce a warmer tone so are used to counteract the harshness produced by single coils. Humbuckers generally use 500k. But any size can be used according to taste. Same with capacitors on the tone control, there are recommended values but you can (within reason) vary them.

Hope that helps.
#5
As far as units go "K" always stand for kilo. As far as I can tell pickups are rated in ohms, so it would be kilo-ohms. The higher the value for pickups, the "hotter" they are generally considered to be, which is why in sets you'll often see a higher value for the bridge pickup. So a higher value pickup won't give you a more trebly sound, just a higher output from your guitar. However, a single coil will give you a more trebly sound than a humbucker or active pickup. A higher output pickup can sometimes also cause a muddy sound with a poor amp or guitar setup. The pots, however, are what are usually changed to increase/decrease the amount of treble. I don't know for bass guitars what the usual value is, but for single coil pickups, you'll want values of 250K, and humbuckers 500k. Pots are rated in kiloohms as well, as they are pretty much just variable resistors. Hope this helps.

^What he said.
Last edited by Kentris.5 at Dec 31, 2008,
#6
Awesome, I am incredibly enlightened and am equally grateful.

Thank you very much.
#7
Quote by bellerophon
For pickups it's the measurement of DC resistance which generally indicates the output level (higher ohm rating = 'hotter' pickup). There are other variables in the pickups (inductance etc) but it's a good, easy indicator. Neck pickups are usually lower rating because the strings move more at that point than the bridge and therefore require a less hot output. The higher the rating the easier it is for the pickup to drive amps to distortion.


+1

Also, bear in mind that whilst the DC resistance of the coil(s) hints at the output, it's not the only factor that influences the overall inductance of the pickup. So, whilst you might have a bunch of pickups that are all rated at 15kOhm, they could have an inductance ranging anywhere from ~4-10H.