#1
There are a lot of factors on choosing the right pick up.
I am planning to change the factory pick ups on my electric guitar. Hope you all can share your tips on choosing the right one for this is my first electric guitar.
Cheers!!
#2
Yeah I was wondering this as well. I have the Dimarzio Super Distortion in mind but I'm also wondering whether I should replace the entire electronics on the guitar to completely revamp the thing. Any input will be appreciated.
#3
What type of guitar is it?
Also, what music/sound ar you into?
#4
There is a few things you should consider when getting new pickups:

- Type of Wood (magohany, maple etc)
- Desired change (output, more/less bass, mids, treb, improved harmonics etc.)
- Type of amp (High output pups can push an amp into overdrive easily)
- Style of Music (youtube demos to help get an idea of how a pickup sounds)

As to changing the electronics in the guitar, I would suggest reading this article (http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/columns/the_guide_to/guitar_electronics_and_tone.html) it has a lot of informative information that is good to know. And since your replacing the pickups in your guitar it's probably a good idea to get your pots replaced while you or the tech is already there doing work.

Dimarizo is really good about answering emails, phone calls about questions if you can't decide what to get. They responded to me withing 2 days and helped me pick out my pups in my current shecter.
#5
Quote by BigHeadClan
There is a few things you should consider when getting new pickups:

- Type of Wood (magohany, maple etc)
- Desired change (output, more/less bass, mids, treb, improved harmonics etc.)
- Type of amp (High output pups can push an amp into overdrive easily)
- Style of Music (youtube demos to help get an idea of how a pickup sounds)

As to changing the electronics in the guitar, I would suggest reading this article (http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/columns/the_guide_to/guitar_electronics_and_tone.html) it has a lot of informative information that is good to know. And since your replacing the pickups in your guitar it's probably a good idea to get your pots replaced while you or the tech is already there doing work.

Dimarizo is really good about answering emails, phone calls about questions if you can't decide what to get. They responded to me withing 2 days and helped me pick out my pups in my current shecter.



Can you elaborate a bit on what replacing pots actually holds meaning to?
#6
The article I linked should have a section that, but the reason I mentioned replacing the pots/electronics when your swap out pickups is for a few reasons.

(take this with a grain of salt, I'm writing this with 3 hours of sleep)

- If your switching out your pickups it's probably because they are cheap (not always but most of the time), cheaper stock pickups usually indicate lower quality electronics in the guitar a whole.

Cheap electronics can effect everything from your tone, how much noise is made by switching between pickups, and how your guitar itself will react when you turn down the volume/tone knobs.

- The other reasons is because some pickups have suggested Pots they work best with, Active pickups for example require much higher<?> resistance pots compare to passives. And Single coil pickups require lower resistance pots compared to humbuckers, they do that to help manage the brightness and warmth of each pickup type respectively.

Again I suggest you check out the article, it goes into much greater detail then I ever could about why it's important to have quality electronics.
#7
Quote by BigHeadClan
The article I linked should have a section that, but the reason I mentioned replacing the pots/electronics when your swap out pickups is for a few reasons.

(take this with a grain of salt, I'm writing this with 3 hours of sleep)

- If your switching out your pickups it's probably because they are cheap (not always but most of the time), cheaper stock pickups usually indicate lower quality electronics in the guitar a whole.

Cheap electronics can effect everything from your tone, how much noise is made by switching between pickups, and how your guitar itself will react when you turn down the volume/tone knobs.

- The other reasons is because some pickups have suggested Pots they work best with, Active pickups for example require much higher<?> resistance pots compare to passives. And Single coil pickups require lower resistance pots compared to humbuckers, they do that to help manage the brightness and warmth of each pickup type respectively.

Again I suggest you check out the article, it goes into much greater detail then I ever could about why it's important to have quality electronics.


this is great advice (which I wish I got before I started opening guitars)

my biggest bit of advice is to understand what you want. in order to pick the best pickup, you need to have a strong understanding of what exactly is wrong with your current one: is it too bright? too hot? lack clarity? if you understand whats wrong with your current set-up, its much easier to start picking because you can use yours as a baseline and find products that solve the problems. I usually start by going to a shop and just asking the guys there "hey my pickups suck because they _____. what do you recommend?". from there, read review, see what other people think.

theres really no scientific formula that accounts for wood type, body shape (matters, really), hardware type, fret type, your amp and your hands. its all subjective. the best you can do is to understand what you want, and what options are available to you.
#8
Just want to correct BigHeadClan, not trying to be a douche or anything, but:
Active pickups usually use lower resistance pots than passives.

Active ~25kOhm - ~100kOhm
Passive singles are usually 250k or 500k
Passive humbuckers are usually 500k but I guess you could put 1M pots in if you wanted to.

These are just roughly the values though.
#9
It's why I added the <?> when I said they where higher :P, I couldn't recall what the actual value was and was to lazy to go check.
#10
There are so many factors in choosing the right pickups that it can't possibly be covered here in reasonable length. You need to think about the construction of the guitar, the wood, the scale length, the hardware, the other electronics, what (of any) pedals you use, the amp, speakers, your playing style (both the genre you play and your actual playing technique), how you like to use controls both on the guitar and on the amp, what you don't like about your tone currently, what you do like abother other peoples' tone, what direction you want to go in, etc.

There are simply far, far too many variables. Even if you have extensive knowledge of pickups, it's never as simple as "you want to play this kind of music so use this pickup".

Not to mention, as I said in another thread recently, pickups do not define your tone anywhere near as much as may people think. Simply changing pickups, more often than not, will not give you your dream tone.

In order to work out what sort of pickups will suit you, or to get/give good advice on the subject, you have to ask yourself/others these questions, and remember to answer each with as much detail as possible:
  • What guitar are the pickups going in? What wood is it made of, how is it constructed? What is the other hardware like?
  • What amp is being used? Has it had any modifications done to it? If it's a valve amp, what type and brand of valves do you use in it?
  • What pedals are being used? Do you use any rack effects?
  • How do you set up/use your rig? Are the pedals before the amp or in the effects loop? Do you use the guitar's volume and tone controls much or do you prefer to use pedals and different amp channels? How do you set your amp's EQ?
  • What genre(s) of music do you play? Giving examples of specific bands/players is a big help.
  • What is your playing style? Do you mostly play rhythm, only rhythm, mostly lead, only lead or an even mix? Do you use a pick or your fingers? Do you pick hard or soft?
  • What do you think is bad about your current tone, and in what way would you like to change it? More bass, less bass? Tighter, looser?


Once you get through all of that, then you (or we) will have a good picture of how every part of your rig interacts with every other part, and thus what it is you should change to alter your tone in the way you want.

For pickups specifically, there's so many different wires and magnets and construction styles that I can't possibly start listing every variation here, but basically there is something to suit everyone but all pickup advice is utterly worthless if the person doesn't know what your whole rig is.
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#12
Quote by BigHeadClan
There is a few things you should consider when getting new pickups:

- Type of Wood (magohany, maple etc)
- Desired change (output, more/less bass, mids, treb, improved harmonics etc.)
- Type of amp (High output pups can push an amp into overdrive easily)
- Style of Music (youtube demos to help get an idea of how a pickup sounds)

As to changing the electronics in the guitar, I would suggest reading this article (http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/columns/the_guide_to/guitar_electronics_and_tone.html) it has a lot of informative information that is good to know. And since your replacing the pickups in your guitar it's probably a good idea to get your pots replaced while you or the tech is already there doing work.

Dimarizo is really good about answering emails, phone calls about questions if you can't decide what to get. They responded to me withing 2 days and helped me pick out my pups in my current shecter.


-thanks man! appreciate it! will check it out... \m/
#13
Quote by Zaio
What type of guitar is it?
Also, what music/sound ar you into?

-I have a BC Rich Kerry King V Gen 2..i'm no longer satisfied with the factory pick-ups that I have and I want more power into it. I'm into heavy metal and thrash. Thank you! \m/
#14
Quote by krehzeekid
this is great advice (which I wish I got before I started opening guitars)

my biggest bit of advice is to understand what you want. in order to pick the best pickup, you need to have a strong understanding of what exactly is wrong with your current one: is it too bright? too hot? lack clarity? if you understand whats wrong with your current set-up, its much easier to start picking because you can use yours as a baseline and find products that solve the problems. I usually start by going to a shop and just asking the guys there "hey my pickups suck because they _____. what do you recommend?". from there, read review, see what other people think.

theres really no scientific formula that accounts for wood type, body shape (matters, really), hardware type, fret type, your amp and your hands. its all subjective. the best you can do is to understand what you want, and what options are available to you.


----thanks man! why didn't I think of that?? cheers! \m/
#15
Quote by MrFlibble
There are so many factors in choosing the right pickups that it can't possibly be covered here in reasonable length. You need to think about the construction of the guitar, the wood, the scale length, the hardware, the other electronics, what (of any) pedals you use, the amp, speakers, your playing style (both the genre you play and your actual playing technique), how you like to use controls both on the guitar and on the amp, what you don't like about your tone currently, what you do like abother other peoples' tone, what direction you want to go in, etc.

There are simply far, far too many variables. Even if you have extensive knowledge of pickups, it's never as simple as "you want to play this kind of music so use this pickup".

Not to mention, as I said in another thread recently, pickups do not define your tone anywhere near as much as may people think. Simply changing pickups, more often than not, will not give you your dream tone.

In order to work out what sort of pickups will suit you, or to get/give good advice on the subject, you have to ask yourself/others these questions, and remember to answer each with as much detail as possible:
  • What guitar are the pickups going in? What wood is it made of, how is it constructed? What is the other hardware like?
  • What amp is being used? Has it had any modifications done to it? If it's a valve amp, what type and brand of valves do you use in it?
  • What pedals are being used? Do you use any rack effects?
  • How do you set up/use your rig? Are the pedals before the amp or in the effects loop? Do you use the guitar's volume and tone controls much or do you prefer to use pedals and different amp channels? How do you set your amp's EQ?
  • What genre(s) of music do you play? Giving examples of specific bands/players is a big help.
  • What is your playing style? Do you mostly play rhythm, only rhythm, mostly lead, only lead or an even mix? Do you use a pick or your fingers? Do you pick hard or soft?
  • What do you think is bad about your current tone, and in what way would you like to change it? More bass, less bass? Tighter, looser?


Once you get through all of that, then you (or we) will have a good picture of how every part of your rig interacts with every other part, and thus what it is you should change to alter your tone in the way you want.

For pickups specifically, there's so many different wires and magnets and construction styles that I can't possibly start listing every variation here, but basically there is something to suit everyone but all pickup advice is utterly worthless if the person doesn't know what your whole rig is.


--WOW MAN! this is really helpful! thanks a bunch! cheers! \m/
#16
research is your best friend when choosing pickups. first and foremost though is making sure your amp is capable of demonstrating the positives of the pickups you choose. this means start with a reasonably good amp. budget practice amps and to a lesser degree modeling amps just won't show improvements. i know some will get pissy about the modeling amp line but many of them really don't show the more subtle nuances of any given pup. despite big differences in wood and pickups between my 2 strats when put through my Line 6 POD for recording there isn't much of a difference. when played through my amp the diff is very clear.
#17
It's such a stress point when you read a lot about changing pickups and then discover that the way in which they can be wired ALSO has effect on your tone, and on top of that realize that the electronics also have an effect and those also can be wired in different ways!

where the hell is a guy supposed to begin?
#18
Quote by 7end3r
It's such a stress point when you read a lot about changing pickups and then discover that the way in which they can be wired ALSO has effect on your tone, and on top of that realize that the electronics also have an effect and those also can be wired in different ways!

where the hell is a guy supposed to begin?


once again a little research goes a long way. if it's possible to play a guitar that is similar to your own loaded with the pups you are thinking about that's a good starting point. obviously this is often not possible. having a good idea of what you want soundwise is the best way to start. if you are just trying to duplicate another players tone that usually leads to disappointment as the variables go way beyond pickups. often the best you can do is to check out sound samples but bear in mind that they are often recorded with really nice amps that most of us can't afford. sometimes you can find a youtube vid of a guy playing something with a more common amp using the pups you are considering. bottom line unfortunately is that it's often a gamble as you won't know until you try them in your guitar through your set up.