#1
So i tried to google this question, but got mostly sexually related answers.

Anyway what are the disadvantages of a hot pickup? I moved my duncans very near the bridge, and it sounded excellent. Lots of natural feedback i loved it.
#2
Mainly the lack of tone when playing without distortion. It doesn't sound so warm.
#3
generally speaking:

they're hot because of one of two reasons

1: active pickups use a preamp to boost the signal & use weak magnets
2: passive hot pups use more powerful magnets, reducing sustain due to the magnets pulling on the strings

actives are not perfect though, as the majority of the tone then comes from the preamp in the signal booster, making most guitars sound very similar if they use active pups

that being said, strong magnets tend to be brighter due to higher output, but not always so, the actual tone of the pup will be clear from the resonant frequency, almost nothing else

lastly, hot pups have less dynamics as their only volume levels are loud and louder, sometimes overdriving the clean of an amp in an unwanted situation, but for distorted or crunch sounds they tend to do better as they are less muddy, dark, etc, but that's normally just because of how they are made to sound

hope that helps
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Quote by gumbilicious
thanks for making an old dude feel like his advice is actually taken into consideration
#4
I hate most high output pickups because they always seem to distort the preamp in a really harsh, strident way. Also, dynamics suffer as a pickup gets hotter. They can also get muddy, depending on the pickup.
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#5
Quote by Metalmaker
generally speaking:

they're hot because of one of two reasons

1: active pickups use a preamp to boost the signal & use weak magnets
2: passive hot pups use more powerful magnets, reducing sustain due to the magnets pulling on the strings

actives are not perfect though, as the majority of the tone then comes from the preamp in the signal booster, making most guitars sound very similar if they use active pups

that being said, strong magnets tend to be brighter due to higher output, but not always so, the actual tone of the pup will be clear from the resonant frequency, almost nothing else

lastly, hot pups have less dynamics as their only volume levels are loud and louder, sometimes overdriving the clean of an amp in an unwanted situation, but for distorted or crunch sounds they tend to do better as they are less muddy, dark, etc, but that's normally just because of how they are made to sound

hope that helps


#2 is wrong. They use the same strength magnets with more turns of wire around the core. The magnetic field of a very high output humbucker is actually smaller than a traditional Strat pickup, which is why they can be placed closer to the strings than Strat pickups.

One downside is that most production variety high output humbuckers are real dark and don't have a lot of clarity (more winds leads to higher inductance and capacitance, lowering the resonant frequency of the "system" aka pickup/volume and tone pots/cables), though there are some decent ones and some (BG, Motor City, Bareknuckle, etc) that have as much clarity as any good low output pickup.

Another downside is that they're typically more mid focused and less "open" sounding for cleans and lower gain stuff. They tend to not have the sparkle that lower output pickups have for cleans. A lot of guys use a high output pup in the bridge and a low-mid output pickup in the neck to compensate and as long as their levels are matched by messing with the proximity to strings, you won't have any problems there.

They can also make higher gain amps that already have a lot of gain distort nastily since the input stage isn't really meant to distort. Depends entirely on the amp though.
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#6
Quote by mmolteratx
#2 is wrong. They use the same strength magnets with more turns of wire around the core. The magnetic field of a very high output humbucker is actually smaller than a traditional Strat pickup, which is why they can be placed closer to the strings than Strat pickups.


ah but we're both kinda wrong, because it just depends on the manufacturer & magnet type

but yes, excellent contribution +3!
mmolteratx's comment is why I, as well as others, have been seeking a way to get good medium or low output pickups (dimarzio breeds, mid output Bare Knuckles, etc) and boost them so that if we wish to have the high output for metal (because generally speaking, metal amps use preamp gain, and higher input gain = more gain with less of the naturally occurring fizz from the amp) then they can be boosted to do so....

unfortunately, The Timmy is the most requested, and to my knowledge best transparent OD, and is also quite expensive and backordered
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Quote by gumbilicious
thanks for making an old dude feel like his advice is actually taken into consideration
#7
Quote by mmolteratx
#2 is wrong. They use the same strength magnets with more turns of wire around the core. The magnetic field of a very high output humbucker is actually smaller than a traditional Strat pickup, which is why they can be placed closer to the strings than Strat pickups.

One downside is that most production variety high output humbuckers are real dark and don't have a lot of clarity (more winds leads to higher inductance and capacitance, lowering the resonant frequency of the "system" aka pickup/volume and tone pots/cables), though there are some decent ones and some (BG, Motor City, Bareknuckle, etc) that have as much clarity as any good low output pickup.

Another downside is that they're typically more mid focused and less "open" sounding for cleans and lower gain stuff. They tend to not have the sparkle that lower output pickups have for cleans. A lot of guys use a high output pup in the bridge and a low-mid output pickup in the neck to compensate and as long as their levels are matched by messing with the proximity to strings, you won't have any problems there.

They can also make higher gain amps that already have a lot of gain distort nastily since the input stage isn't really meant to distort. Depends entirely on the amp though.


actually, he was right. The stronger the magnets, the more pull on the strings, so single coils will have less pull than say, a ceramic humbucker.

Other than that, you are spot on.
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#8
its a different tone, simple as that. if you want a warm jazzy tone, its obviously not going to sound good when using a pickup designed to push an amp into high gain metal
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#9
i have a guitar with a duncan distortion which is a very hot pick up, a disadvantage would be that its very hard to get a clean tone from it, it overdrives preamps very quickly. but on the other hand it sounds excellent for crunch sounds and high gain, and i mean it is called a distortion after all lol but i have it paired with a duncan jazz in the neck which does a great job of balancing the distortion for some clean sounds.
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#11
Quote by stonyman65
actually, he was right. The stronger the magnets, the more pull on the strings, so single coils will have less pull than say, a ceramic humbucker.

Except that with a single coil the magnet(s) are directly under the strings, because the polepieces are the magnets, rather than a bar magnet in a humbucker, which is much further away from the strings.

Single coils have a lot more magnetic pull than even extremely high output humbuckers, simply because the magnets are so close to the strings.

Matt is right.

The biggest downside to high output pickups is they're harder to get clean tones from, they don't have as much clarity for the most part, and they generally sound thin when you run them without a lot of gain.
#12
Quote by Metalmaker
ah but we're both kinda wrong, because it just depends on the manufacturer & magnet type

but yes, excellent contribution +3!
mmolteratx's comment is why I, as well as others, have been seeking a way to get good medium or low output pickups (dimarzio breeds, mid output Bare Knuckles, etc) and boost them so that if we wish to have the high output for metal (because generally speaking, metal amps use preamp gain, and higher input gain = more gain with less of the naturally occurring fizz from the amp) then they can be boosted to do so....

unfortunately, The Timmy is the most requested, and to my knowledge best transparent OD, and is also quite expensive and backordered


Oh ya, I should have mentioned that. If you're talking about all pickups from the same manufacturer, they're likely to use similar strength magnets. With different manufacturer's it's impossible to tell without having them in hand.

Quote by stonyman65
actually, he was right. The stronger the magnets, the more pull on the strings, so single coils will have less pull than say, a ceramic humbucker.

Other than that, you are spot on.


See Phil's post.
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#13
Quote by Sir-Shredalot
So i tried to google this question, but got mostly sexually related answers.



And you thought it would be different here because?.......

Sorry, just gotta interject a little humor now and then... carry on.
#14
Why not just use a low output pickup? They sound better and respond better to how you play. And you can always add gain, but you can't add clean
#15
Quote by plexi123
Why not just use a low output pickup? They sound better and respond better to how you play. And you can always add gain, but you can't add clean


that doesn't make any sense. you can roll down a hot pickup.

you can't roll up a low output pickup.
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#16
Unless it's not a very well made high output pickup, it'll sound just as good as any low output pickup if you just roll the volume back a bit.


But to get that true PAF sound out of a ceramic high output pickup, it just ain't gonna happen.
#17
Quote by ethan_hanus
Unless it's not a very well made high output pickup, it'll sound just as good as any low output pickup if you just roll the volume back a bit.


But to get that true PAF sound out of a ceramic high output pickup, it just ain't gonna happen.


Yea, some people have ridiculous expectations and want an 18k metal pickup to sound like a PAF clone when they play bl00z.
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#19
Quote by michaelbot9000
i find that my emgs (possibly other high output pups as well?) distort a lot of modulation effects (phaser specifically) in a way that doesnt sound good


Oh ya. Good point. A lot of non "pro grade" modulations, delays and reverbs don't have a ton of input headroom and can get some nasty clipping when the input is hit fairly hard.
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#20
Hot pickups normally more bassy. Their main disadvantage is only really apparent if you want twangy strat type sounds. The extra windings attenuate the top end.
I am talking exclusively about passives here.
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#22
Alnico 8 is an awesome magnet for the bridge. It has the good qualities of an Alnico 5, but with the clarity of a ceramic. Considering I can get one for $5 on eBay, and it takes 10 minutes to do the swap, I will probably never use a ceramic magnet again. I just prefer alnico, even over a good ceramic.

I honestly can't think of a good reason to not have a hot pickup inthe bridge position. The tone knob does well to tame it. In the neck, that's another story, The neck is a naturally louder position, so you do well to have a hotter pickup in the bridge to balance it out.
#23
Depending on what pickup you are using, some don't clean up very well when distorted. Some take a lot more rolling back then others which can lose some tone in the process. Just look around at pickups and if you have a good compliment pickup to go with a hot pickup, you should be set.
#24
the only disadvantage i've experienced is that i don't like to be hitting the input stage of the amp too hard.

with some tube amps it can mud up the drive, but hey, that's what the "lo" input is for, which i always use anyway. and as AM said you can always roll back the volume, although that does mud up the sound on some cheaper guitars.

with solid states it can also clip the input stage and give you nasty "transistor blast" distortion which isn't desirable at all because it's not a nice crunch tone or anything like that, it sounds like a crackling, popping sound, which has no musical application whatsoever.
I like analogue Solid State amps that make no effort to be "tube-like", and I'm proud of it...

...A little too proud, to be honest.
#25
I love how Blompcube is the only person who paid attention to Min's posts

Treble Bleed Mod or parallel wiring = Great low gain tone form high output buckers.

And in series with the volume all the way up my JB still twangs
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#26
Quote by AcousticMirror
that doesn't make any sense. you can roll down a hot pickup.

you can't roll up a low output pickup.


True, but at the same time, you can run a low output pup into a clean boost to hit your amp's front end harder.

On the other hand, with high output pups will have lower resonance frequency and lower high end. Although you can probably affect that by increasing your presence, there's only so much you can do when the sound isn't there to being with.
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#27
Quote by Cathbard
Hot pickups normally more bassy. Their main disadvantage is only really apparent if you want twangy strat type sounds. The extra windings attenuate the top end.
I am talking exclusively about passives here.


My BKP Painkiller isent' very bassy, it's extremely tight, and can get very twangy if I'm not careful. It's a high output passive too....I think it's just unique.
#28
Quote by ragingkitty
True, but at the same time, you can run a low output pup into a clean boost to hit your amp's front end harder.

On the other hand, with high output pups will have lower resonance frequency and lower high end. Although you can probably affect that by increasing your presence, there's only so much you can do when the sound isn't there to being with.


that's cuz you can't use a high output pickup with the same pots as a low output and expect it to do the same thing.
Prs se Holcomb is the answer
#29
I don't like high output pickups for cleans because they're almost always overly harsh and bright. Then again, I almost exclusively use my neck pickup for cleans anyway
#32
Quote by littlephil
I don't like high output pickups for cleans because they're almost always overly harsh and bright. Then again, I almost exclusively use my neck pickup for cleans anyway

I go for high output pups for the exact opposite reason. On most the top end is attenuated a bit. Which makes sense when you think about it - they have more inductance.

Never used a BKP, Ethan. But notice I did use the qualifying word "normally". I knew there had to be some exceptions.
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#33
Quote by littlephil
The one that sounds good clean.


tell that to the jazz guys and their actives.

Prs se Holcomb is the answer
#34
Quote by AcousticMirror
that's cuz you can't use a high output pickup with the same pots as a low output and expect it to do the same thing.


No, that's still 500k pots. This issue arises due to the design of the pups... not the components of the guitar. With pickups, the resonant peak can't be put back into the signal, when its not there from the beginning.

I know what I'm doing around pickups, I'm not some silly 11'er that plonks humbuckers into an SC guitar without changing the pots. I know you're into modding and design now, but don't treat me like one of the 11'ers, I've also studied quite a substantial bit about pickups.
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Last edited by ragingkitty at Jul 17, 2011,
#35
Quote by ragingkitty
No, that's still 500k pots. This issue arises due to the design of the pups... not the components of the guitar. I know you're into modding and design now, but don't treat me like one of the 11'ers, I've also studied quite a substantial bit about pickup designs.


well I know. But i'm just saying that most of the time people have a guitar with 500k/500k pots and a .047uf tone cap and stick a hot pickup in and are like this sounds all wrong.

1meg/1meg and a .001 cap hits the sweet spot.
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#36
Quote by Cathbard
I go for high output pups for the exact opposite reason. On most the top end is attenuated a bit. Which makes sense when you think about it - they have more inductance.

Bright may not have been the right word, but they are pretty harsh clean. I prefer warm, round neck pickup cleans.
#37
Quote by AcousticMirror
well I know. But i'm just saying that most of the time people have a guitar with 500k/500k pots and a .047uf tone cap and stick a hot pickup in and are like this sounds all wrong.

1meg/1meg and a .001 cap hits the sweet spot.


I'm not so sure about putting a 1meg / 1meg + 0.001 cap into an alder or maple guitar, unless the pickup is supremely dark to begin with.

On almost any other guitar, that's really a n00b fault. The issue is like I mentioned, the resonant frequency is not generated by your pickup coils so you can't "put" it back in.

With pots of a higher k... you're just putting less attenuation into the signal.

In any case, that's besides the point. Where I'm coming from is that, there are some ways of overcoming the front end push, lack of presence etc... regardless of whether SC or HB are used. Some issues can be resolved, some cannot.

There're some disadvantages, but if the TS knows what he's doing, these disadvantages should be rather negligible.
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Last edited by ragingkitty at Jul 17, 2011,
#38
Quote by ragingkitty
I'm not so sure about putting a 1meg / 1meg + 0.001 cap into an alder or maple guitar, unless the pickup is supremely dark to begin with.

On almost any other guitar, that's really a n00b fault. The issue is like I mentioned, the resonant frequency is not generated by your pickup coils so you can't "put" it back in.

With pots of a higher k... you're just putting less attenuation into the signal.

In any case, that's besides the point. Where I'm coming from is that, there are some ways of overcoming the front end push, lack of presence etc... regardless of whether SC or HB are used. Some issues can be resolved, some cannot.

There're some disadvantages, but if the TS knows what he's doing, these disadvantages should be rather negligible.


ya.

i've had pretty good luck putting hot dark pickups in really bright guitars.
Prs se Holcomb is the answer