+1 to multimeter
Call me Wes.
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well, IN GENERAL, the more turns of wire, the higher output the pickup. Generally, more turns means more wire, which means more resistance, so you can often approximate the output of the pickup. So if you have a multimeter you can measure the DC resistance of the pickup (measure the resistance from the hot to ground lead)

Keep in mind that DC resistance is not really a good indicator for pickup output but it is easily measured.
The simple answer is you don't.

There is no standard method of testing output so if a manufacturer does list resonate frequency or output it won't actually give you any clue as to how the pickup compares to pickups from other manufacturers. If I were to list one of my pickups as having an output of 300 and DiMarzio list the output of one of their pickups as 450, it's still possible that the output of the my pickup could be higher than the DiMarzio if I had used Dimarzio's testing methods.

It is possible to connect a dummy coil to a signal generator and place it over the top of a pickup that is connected to a voltage meter to measure output but the ohms of your dummy coil, the intensity of the signal you are generating, and the frequency will all have an effect on the measured output.

To complicate things even more your ears don't hear all frequencies the same and amps will distort more with some frequencies then others so just because a pickup has high output doesn't mean it'll sound high output. That is why hand wound pickups with significantly lower measurable output and lower DC resistance often times drive your amp harder than machine wound pickups that produce higher voltages.

These types of test are very good at helping designers figure out ways to shape a pickups tone but are pretty much useless to the public which is why I refuse to list output or even DC resistance on my site. It's better to just think in terms of vintage, moderate, and high output and then focuse on the tone within the general category. The specific numbers are too misleading.
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Last edited by CorduroyEW at Jan 1, 2009,
Amen to that brother!

Output isn't a particularly important aspect of a pickup IMO, at least not to the level of pointing out differences of 20mV like Dimarzio do. Like you said, vintage, moderate and hot is more than enough indication, and arguably it's the easiest thing to compensate for if it's not quite right for you.
Actually called Mark!

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thanks for the so far UGers!

I was wondering because........

1. Have one guitar that has a good sound but Feedsback is uncontrolable at the same level of gain as my other guitar...could that be from Higher Output of the other pickup?
(it was potted, but feedback remains uncontrollable at medium sized gig volumes.)

2. The second guitar I have has (I believe) less output and controllable (good) feedback. (not been potted)

to sum it up
1. Bad feedback on one pickup.
2. Good controllable feedback on another.

(both bridge picks, which I use most of the time)

Does the output affect the feedback in my pickups?
What could be the problem?
Last edited by ILoveGuitar07 at Jan 2, 2009,