#1
Hey, I understand guitars a lot better after joining UG, but I'm still having trouble understanding pickups.

1) So, is it standard for the pickups toward the bridge to be the hard, pounding ones, and the neck pickups to be more clean and jazzy?

2) I was looking on Dimarzio's website... what's the difference between high power, medium power, and 'vintage' output?

3) Can you put any pickup (assuming it's passive and the right kind of pickup) in any guitar? Like, for example, could I buy any humbucker and put it in my G-400 no problem?

4) How do you choose the right pickup? If you're trying to decide what pickup to get, how do you find out without hearing them all in real life? Going on company websites? Youtube?

5) What is the point of the soapboar and tele pickup?

6) Anything else you think I should know?

Sorry for being a noob, and thanks in advance for your help!

EDIT: Also, I don't want to change pickups, I'm just hoping to know more about pickups in general.
Epiphone G-400
Roland Cube 30X
Last edited by Royal_Brick at Jul 24, 2009,
#2
Quote by Zacher
It has ofen been said on here that unless you have a really nice amp, changing pickups won't make much difference. I've never owned one but I'm not sure how much you would notice with a Roland Cube 30X.

I know, I'm not thinking of changing pickups, I just want to know more about them.
Epiphone G-400
Roland Cube 30X
#3
^he didn't want to change pickups. He just wanted answers..


Which I don't have
#4
1) Neck pickups are generally bassier with less treble and fewer harmonics, and have a more 'fluid' sound. Think "Sweet Child Of Mine" - that's a neck position humbucker with distortion. Most jazz, as you mentioned, is done with this type of pickup as well.

Bridge pickups are generally 'hotter' sounding when calibrated with the neck pickup properly, and are richer in harmonics and have tighter (read: less) bass and more treble. Most distorted electric guitar rhythm is done with one, and with surf music a single-coil bridge pickup is used for leads. Metallica and similar metal bands also like to use a humbucker bridge pickup for cleans, but I personally do not like this sound.

2) The output is the strength of the signal into the amp. This determines how much the sound 'breaks up' for any given gain - the higher output, the more 'crunch' and less headroom.

3) Generally speaking, yes. With 7 strings pickup form factors are an issue, but with 6 string guitars the only real issue you'll run into is pickup depth, if at all.

4) You are correct in your assumptions. Reading specs also helps determine sound. Read Bill Lawrence's site for more about this.

5) A soapbar P-90 is a rich-sounding single coil generally thought of as in between a humbucker and a Fender single-coil. A tele pickup is a single coil designed for a telecaster.
Steinberger GU/Spirit w/ Moses Graphite neck, EMG 81-85
"Fireball" Pacer/RG hybrid

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Yamaha S112V
Peak FCB4N
Last edited by Mo Jiggity at Jul 24, 2009,
#6
You can choose the right pickup by looking on youtube, and there should always be samples on the company website. High output, s mroe to the hard rock, metal kinda sound. Med output is to the rock (GnR?) low output are very good for cleans? Tele pick ups fit in telecasters, also slightly smaller than single coils, soapbars have a punchy tone and they are slightly smaller than a humbucker.
Gear!
Jackson RR3 with EMGs!
B.C. Rich KKV
Yamaha F-310 Acoustic

Digitech Bad Monkey.

Peavey Valveking 112
#7
1) So, is it standard for the pickups toward the bridge to be the hard, pounding ones, and the neck pickups to be more clean and jazzy?
This is often, but not always the case. The bridge pickup will always sound brighter and twangier, purely because of its placement. If you put two identical pickups in the neck and bridge position, they will still sound different. This is because they pick up different overtones along the string, which produces different kinds of tone.
A lot of guitar makers put two different kinds of pickups in so you can switch between them for a wider range of tones.

2) I was looking on Dimarzio's website... what's the difference between high power, medium power, and 'vintage' output?

"High power" pickups are more sensetive and produce a higher voltage output than "vintage" pickups. Higher output pickups generally have stronger harmonics and a fatter tone, aimed at rock and metal styles.
High power pickups were designed in order to have a stronger signal flowing into the amp, to allow for distortion to occur.

3) Can you put any pickup (assuming it's passive and the right kind of pickup) in any guitar? Like, for example, could I buy any humbucker and put it in my G-400 no problem?
Yes, humbuckers are all of standardised sizes.

4) How do you choose the right pickup? If you're trying to decide what pickup to get, how do you find out without hearing them all in real life? Going on company websites? Youtube?
Those help. Unfortunately, you can't try replacement pickups yourself, but you can get an idea from the information on their websites and from other people's experience. Tell us what kind of sound you're aiming for and we'll suggest you some pickups.

5) What is the point of the soapboar and tele pickup?

Same point as any pickup: to convert the vibration of the strings into an electrical signal. They're just different types of pickup, each with their own specific sound.

6) Anything else you think I should know?
Research that shit. Wikipedia helps.
Last edited by sashki at Jul 24, 2009,
#8
Quote by sashki
3) Can you put any pickup (assuming it's passive and the right kind of pickup) in any guitar? Like, for example, could I buy any humbucker and put it in my G-400 no problem?
Yes, humbuckers are all of standardised sizes.


It's worth noting that some guitars like Parkers and Ibanez S series have shallow bodies and can't always fit 'normally'-sized humbuckers without routing, if there's even enough wood in the body to accomodate.
Steinberger GU/Spirit w/ Moses Graphite neck, EMG 81-85
"Fireball" Pacer/RG hybrid

Furman Power Conditioner
Axe-Fx Standard
ART SLA-1
Yamaha S112V
Peak FCB4N
#9
Quote by Mo Jiggity
It's worth noting that some guitars like Parkers and Ibanez S series have shallow bodies and can't always fit 'normally'-sized humbuckers without routing, if there's even enough wood in the body to accomodate.

Serious?

Isn't that why the have pickup rings?
#10
Ok, I'm just gonna lay everything out for you. A pickup works similarly to a solenoid. The strings vibration within the magnetic field produce electrical vibrations. When transferred to a speaker, that makes sound. Single coils are one row of magnetic poles wrapped in wire. This can produce hum though, so they also offer humbuckers, which is two rows of poles with opposite windings and polarities. This cancels hum. Any pickup can be put in any guitar, as long as it can be mounted. Meaning you may need to route out a section, or buy special mounts. Pickups at the bridge are picking up a different section of the string, with a different harmonic property. Same with the bridge. Because of this they sound different, and yes, the bridge is typically harsher. Active pickups basically use electromagnets to pick up string vibrations, making them much more sensitive, and usually a bit harsher. They need a power source however. High power is more sensitive, medium a little less, vintage can mean anything, it just is made in a classic configuration. Choosing the right pup is just a try it out thing really, a preference thing. A soapbar pup is basically a thick sounding big single coil. Look up p90. And a tele pickup is a telecaster pickup. And that's about it...
#11
Quote by sashki
Serious?

Isn't that why the have pickup rings?


Even with pickup rings. If you read the angry leprechaun Ed Roman's site he talks about being butt buddies with Seymour Duncan and how he had to perform all sorts of homosexual acts to get them to cram a normal pickup into a Parker form factor. And on Sevenstring.org people complain about having to do some depth-wise routing to install 707s in their S-series.

Haha, forgive all the 7-string references... I was just reading up on them the other day xD
Steinberger GU/Spirit w/ Moses Graphite neck, EMG 81-85
"Fireball" Pacer/RG hybrid

Furman Power Conditioner
Axe-Fx Standard
ART SLA-1
Yamaha S112V
Peak FCB4N
#13
Quote by Vlasco
707's are what are unusual there.


They're no deeper than regular EMGs... they were talking about routing INTO the guitar, besides what you would normally have to do to fit the extended bass form factor.
Steinberger GU/Spirit w/ Moses Graphite neck, EMG 81-85
"Fireball" Pacer/RG hybrid

Furman Power Conditioner
Axe-Fx Standard
ART SLA-1
Yamaha S112V
Peak FCB4N
#17
Sorry about that, confused this thread with one a few down, I have no clue why I posted it in this though
...
#19
Quote by Mo Jiggity
1) Neck pickups are generally bassier with less treble and fewer harmonics, and have a more 'fluid' sound. Think "Sweet Child Of Mine" - that's a neck position humbucker with distortion. Most jazz, as you mentioned, is done with this type of pickup as well.

Bridge pickups are generally 'hotter' sounding when calibrated with the neck pickup properly, and are richer in harmonics and have tighter (read: less) bass and more treble. Most distorted electric guitar rhythm is done with one, and with surf music a single-coil bridge pickup is used for leads. Metallica and similar metal bands also like to use a humbucker bridge pickup for cleans, but I personally do not like this sound.



Really? I always though they used their neck pups for cleans since there neck pups are generally EMG 60 which are noted as the EMGs for cleans ... unless their sigs are totally misleading, which wouldn't be the first time that happened.
#20
Wow, I learned something new. Thanks Mo Jiggity for the incite.
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#21
Quote by Mo Jiggity
They're no deeper than regular EMGs... they were talking about routing INTO the guitar, besides what you would normally have to do to fit the extended bass form factor.



I´ve put non EMG pickups into s series guitars with no problems - I have had to rout several guitars to make EMGs fit into them though.
#22
Quote by Shabadoo
Really? I always though they used their neck pups for cleans since there neck pups are generally EMG 60 which are noted as the EMGs for cleans ... unless their sigs are totally misleading, which wouldn't be the first time that happened.


I'm using my ears to judge here so I might be wrong... but the clean part in One sure sounds like it. If it's not then they must have had the bass knob on 0 and the treble cranked xD
Steinberger GU/Spirit w/ Moses Graphite neck, EMG 81-85
"Fireball" Pacer/RG hybrid

Furman Power Conditioner
Axe-Fx Standard
ART SLA-1
Yamaha S112V
Peak FCB4N