#1
Help with pickup DC resistance values for noob to electronics.

Seymour Duncan gives this webpage: http://www.seymourduncan.com/support/find-your-tone/digging_deeper/

Remember this is comming from someone who one month ago thought audio signals were pulsed DC and thought that it wouldn't make a difference if I connect my guitar to the speaker output of my guitar amp rather than the input of my guitar amp.

Seymour Duncan says that


What are pole pieces?

Pole pieces are elements of the pickup that sit beneath the strings and shape the magnetic fields that surround them. They can be either magnetic Alnico stock or ferrous steel. Generally speaking, individual Alnico magnet pole pieces deliver bright, tight tones, while steel pole pieces sound fatter and looser. That's one of several reasons why Fender® guitars with their magnetic pole pieces tend to sound brighter than Gibson® guitars with their steel pole pieces.

Alnico pole pieces are arranged as sets of individual magnets, usually one per string (though there are two per string on many bass pickups). Meanwhile, steel pole pieces extend upward from a central bar magnet or pair of magnets.

Most humbucking pickups have steel pole pieces in the form of screws and straight rods. Most single-coil pickups have individual Alnico magnets, though there are some single-coils with steel pole pieces, such as Gibson's P-90 pickup, a single-coil model that predates the humbucker, and many Gretsch® pickups.

Other pickups feature a single metal bar instead of individual pole pieces. Some guitarists find that this "blade-style" design provides more tonal consistency when bending strings. The pickups in our Hot Rails and Cool Rails series are blade-style. Back to top The Hot Rails for Tele relies on powerful ceramic magnets.


How does the magnet type shape a pickup's sound?

The magnet type is a major factor in a pickup's sound. The most common magnet type is Alnico, an alloy that includes aluminum, nickel, and cobalt. (Get it? "Al-ni-co.") The most popular types of Alnico for guitar pickups are Alnico 2, known for its sweetly musical sound, and the bolder, punchier Alnico 5.

Slash prefers the sweet vintage sound of Alnico 2 magnets.


It's fair to think of Alnico 2 as "the vintage magnet." Players who like the vintage sound, but want a little more "oomph" often choose pickups with Alnico 5 magnets. For example, our Alnico Pro II uses Alnico 2 magnets, and sounds just like a vintage Fender® pickup. But when David Gilmour wanted a thicker sound from his Strat's bridge pickup, he chose our SSL-5, which employs Alnico 5 magnets (along with a wire coil specifically wound to produce a fatter sound).

You occasionally encounter other Alnico grades in guitar pickups. One example is our Alternative 8 humbucker, which uses Alnico 8 magnets for an aggressive, high-output sound.

Hotter still are ceramic magnets. These combine iron and various rare earth minerals, formed into bars under intense heat and pressure. Ceramic magnets are usually deployed in loud, aggressive pickups designed for hard rock, such as our Invader, or the Dimebucker, which we created for the late Dimebag Darrell. But ceramic pickups don't have to be loud and distorted. For example, our ceramic-magnet Cool Rail pickups can sound quite clean and tight.

Another factor is the size and shape of the magnets themselves. Larger magnets tend to provide louder, more aggressive sounds. That's the reason for the large Å'-inch magnets in our Quarter-Pound pickups for guitar and bass. Compared to a strictly vintage P-Bass pickup, the Quarter Pound for P-Bass sounds louder and deeper, with more aggressive midrange "bite."

A good pickup designer experiments constantly with all these variables, searching for the perfect formula to bring out the best in a guitar or bass.


How does the nature of the coil affect a pickup's sound?

Most pickups contain thousands of turns of fine copper wire.


Dramatically! It's a key determinant of a pickup's tone.

The coil is simply a long strand of insulated copper wire wound thousands of times around the bobbin or coil-form. The greater the number of turns, the higher the pickup output. But too much winding results in weak treble response and a flat, un-dynamic sound. Other factors are the wire gauge (thickness) and the insulation material.

Nowadays coil-windings are extremely precise, with little variation between same-model pickups. Back in the vintage days, a pickup stood a greater chance of being "over-wound" or "under-wound." Sometimes these "mistakes" yielded great musical results. For example, our Pearly Gates model was inspired by an over-wound P.A.F. humbucker with an uncommonly raw, aggressive "growl."

A particular coil yields different results depending on the type and shape of the magnet(s). Coil and magnet have an incredibly complex interactive relationship. Much of the craft of pickup design boils to down to finding the right blend of these components. It's as much an art as a science.


What do the specs mean?

We usually use two terms to quantify the output and tone of a pickup: D.C. resistance and resonant peak. Their values are expressed in numbers.

D.C. resistance describes the degree to which the pickup resists the flow of direct current. Generally speaking, the higher the resistance, the louder the pickup. Vintage-style pickups usually have a lower D.C. resistance value: something close to 6.5k for a single-coil and 7.6k for a humbucker. Modern high-output pickups get as hot as 15k for a single-coil and 16.5k for a humbucker.

The resonant peak is the point at which a pickup's impedance reaches its highest level. Generally speaking, the higher the resonant peak, the brighter the pickup's tone.

You don't really need to understand the underlying physics. Just remember that a higher D.C. resistance value generally means a hotter pickup, while a higher resonant peak value means a brighter one. (Or at least up to frequencies of 7kHz or so. Electric guitars simply don't generate many frequencies above that point, so a pickup with a resonant peak above 7kHz is usually perceived as having a flat, even response.)

Using these numbers, you can make reasonable comparisons between pickup models, though this method is most reliable when comparing two pickups of the same general type-for example, two single-coil pickups, as opposed to a single-coil and a humbucker.

Whether or not you understand the science, be aware that these values tell only part of the story. These specs can steer you toward possible replacement pickups, but you really need to hear a pickup to judge it properly.


What is "potting?"

"Potting" refers to the process of dipping a pickup in wax, which prevents the components from vibrating against each other. Usually these vibrations aren't a problem, but if you play a non-potted pickup in front of a loud, high-gain amp, you may generate unwanted feedback. Not cool, Jimi Hendrix-type feedback, but a nasty, ear-piercing squeal. That's why almost all modern pickups are potted.

[shortened by dietermoreno]

A slightly microphonic non-potted pickup can have an attractive "honk," a sound many players love. We make several non-potted pickups. Two popular examples are the Seth Lover humbucker and the Antiquity humbucker, both faithful replicas of a vintage P.A.F. They're great-sounding pickups, and an excellent choice if you like vintage-style tones and play through a vintage-style amp. But they're probably not the wisest way to go if you perform in front of a wall of maxed-out Marshall stacks.


So Seymour Duncan says that increasing DC resistance value of the pickup increases the output of the pickup. That doesn't make any sense to me. Why would voltage increase as DC resistance increases? That seems to contradict Ohm's Law.

V=IR means that if current is constant (let's assume that the RMS AC signal generated by the pickups is equivalent to DC when the frequency is high), then increasing the resistance increases the voltage.

but then Ohm's Law doesn't make any sense, because I thought adding a resistor into a circuit would lower the voltage level?

and when Seymour Duncan talks about pole pieces versus hot rails, would it be correct to say that a 6 string guitar has 6 inductors per pickup if the pickup uses pole pieces versus a 6 string guitar has only one inductor per pickup if the pickup uses hot rails?

Wouldn't more inductors create a louder output because of more voltage generated by more coils?

Why would any one ever want to have less inductors?

Wouldn't having less inductors add noise into the signal? Is that noise desired?

Or is the inductance of a hot rail pickup equivalent to the inductance of a pole piece pickup?

Wouldn't a hot rail pickup sound messier than a pole piece pickup because there is not a discrete inductor each string? Or does it not matter because the ac goes every where in passive circuit if resistors and capacitors are not used to control the direction of the circuit?

Do guitars use resistors and capacitors to control direction of circuit so pickup does not infinitely generate its own feedback, which is not intended in a guitar pickup, compared to I think infinite feedback is intended in a regenerative radio receiver tube?
Last edited by dietermoreno at Mar 2, 2013,
#2
Not you again with the MG...

Ohms law does not apply the way you are thinking

What the hell are you smoking??




What are you trying to do?


Okay... here is an article that you should read.

http://www.guitarsite.com/news/features/Basic-Electric-Guitar-Circuits-Pickups/

I think you are confusing pick-ups resistance when using ohms law. It doesn't really apply the way you think it does here. Your pick-ups are generating the electricity in the circuit. Generally the more windings the more resistance the higher the output. However too many windings will cause poor sound characteristics.
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Last edited by R45VT at Mar 2, 2013,
#3
This can be summed up very simply:

A higher DC resistance will provide a stronger signal (more output) than a lower one, assuming the same wire, magnet, construction, strings, pots and set up are maintained.
The same DC resistance using different wire will create different outputs and different tones.
Different DC resistances with different wire can result in the same output and/or tone.



Basically, ignore DC resistance. Yes, a higher rating will give you more output, but it's quite possible to make a pickup with a high DC resistance and low output (see: Seymour Duncan Hot Stack for Tele) or a low DC resistance and high output (see: active pickups), or even have coils with two different wires wound to different DC resistances in the same pickup to create an unusual tone (see: DiMarzio Steve's Special).

What is far more important to the tone is simply whether the pickup is overwound comparative to the sort of wire it uses, how many coils of wire it has, the form of magnet(s) it uses and the strength/character of the magnet(s).
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Last edited by MrFlibble at Mar 2, 2013,
#4
Quote by dietermoreno
Help with pickup DC resistance values for noob to electronics.

Seymour Duncan gives this webpage: http://www.seymourduncan.com/support/find-your-tone/digging_deeper/

Remember this is comming from someone who one month ago thought audio signals were pulsed DC and thought that it wouldn't make a difference if I connect my guitar to the speaker output of my guitar amp rather than the input of my guitar amp.

Seymour Duncan says that


So Seymour Duncan says that increasing DC resistance value of the pickup increases the output of the pickup. That doesn't make any sense to me. Why would voltage increase as DC resistance increases? That seems to contradict Ohm's Law.

V=IR means that if current is constant (let's assume that the RMS AC signal generated by the pickups is equivalent to DC when the frequency is high), then increasing the resistance increases the voltage.

but then Ohm's Law doesn't make any sense, because I thought adding a resistor into a circuit would lower the voltage level?

and when Seymour Duncan talks about pole pieces versus hot rails, would it be correct to say that a 6 string guitar has 6 inductors per pickup if the pickup uses pole pieces versus a 6 string guitar has only one inductor per pickup if the pickup uses hot rails?

Wouldn't more inductors create a louder output because of more voltage generated by more coils?

Why would any one ever want to have less inductors?

Wouldn't having less inductors add noise into the signal? Is that noise desired?

Or is the inductance of a hot rail pickup equivalent to the inductance of a pole piece pickup?

Wouldn't a hot rail pickup sound messier than a pole piece pickup because there is not a discrete inductor each string? Or does it not matter because the ac goes every where in passive circuit if resistors and capacitors are not used to control the direction of the circuit?

Do guitars use resistors and capacitors to control direction of circuit so pickup does not infinitely generate its own feedback, which is not intended in a guitar pickup, compared to I think infinite feedback is intended in a regenerative radio receiver tube?


Oh my god dude. You completely missed the point. Go read up on Faraday's law and think about it for a few minutes.
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#5
Quote by dietermoreno
Help with pickup DC resistance values for noob to electronics.

Seymour Duncan gives this webpage: http://www.seymourduncan.com/support/find-your-tone/digging_deeper/

So Seymour Duncan says that increasing DC resistance value of the pickup increases the output of the pickup. That doesn't make any sense to me. Why would voltage increase as DC resistance increases? That seems to contradict Ohm's Law.

but then Ohm's Law doesn't make any sense, because I thought adding a resistor into a circuit would lower the voltage level?

Because the resistance is directly proportional to how many wound turns the bobbin contains. More wound turns = more resistance, but also = greater induced signal into the pickup winding which = greater output.

and when Seymour Duncan talks about pole pieces versus hot rails, would it be correct to say that a 6 string guitar has 6 inductors per pickup if the pickup uses pole pieces versus a 6 string guitar has only one inductor per pickup if the pickup uses hot rails?

Wouldn't more inductors create a louder output because of more voltage generated by more coils?

6 pole pieces, one overall winding. Not 6 windings around 6 pole pieces. While a pickup contains inductance, it's not the inductance which picks up the signal. It's the act of induced voltage from magnetic flux change. You need to do some actual research into this. Google some stuff at least.

Do guitars use resistors and capacitors to control direction of circuit so pickup does not infinitely generate its own feedback, which is not intended in a guitar pickup, compared to I think infinite feedback is intended in a regenerative radio receiver tube?

No. Pots and capacitors in the guitar are used to control the pickup response to the amp, there is (typically) no feedback path. Its an open loop, source to output

..
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Last edited by Phoenix V at Mar 2, 2013,
#6
Pass!
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#7
More coils means more wire which means more resistance. The more coils the higher the voltage it can generate. That is with everything else held constant likemagnet type and wire gauge. More coils also means higher inductance though so more attenuation of the top end which is why country chicken pickers don't use hot pups, generally speaking.

I hope that simpified explanation of the physics involved clears up your confusion.
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#9
Oh okay. So Ohm's Law is pretty much irrelevant here. Yes resistance in a resistor or a wire decreases the voltage in the wire after it passes through the resistor or resistive wire, but that is irrelevant here because even though more coil turns increases resistance it also increases voltage not because of Ohm's Law but because the pickups are alternating current generators.

So what I should read from the DC resistance value of the pickups is that higher DC resistance in an inductor (assuming the wire gauge and material is the same) means higher voltage generated when the magnetic field of the inductor moves in and out of an electric field (the strings conduct electricity and form an electric field).

I'm pretty sure that the strings conduct electricity. At least I'm sure enough that when a bassist touched my guitar strings in a basement that did not have GFI outlets there was a spark every time he touched the strings and it shocked him and every time I touched his strings there was a spark and it shocked me..
Last edited by dietermoreno at Mar 3, 2013,
#10
Quote by dietermoreno
Oh okay. So Ohm's Law is pretty much irrelevant here. Yes resistance in a resistor or a wire decreases the voltage in the wire after it passes through the resistor or resistive wire, but that is irrelevant here because even though more coil turns increases resistance it also increases voltage not because of Ohm's Law but because the pickups are alternating current generators.


That statement is only true if there is current flow.
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#11
Quote by dietermoreno
Oh okay. So Ohm's Law is pretty much irrelevant here. Yes resistance in a resistor or a wire decreases the voltage in the wire after it passes through the resistor or resistive wire, but that is irrelevant here because even though more coil turns increases resistance it also increases voltage not because of Ohm's Law but because the pickups are alternating current generators.

So what I should read from the DC resistance value of the pickups is that higher DC resistance in an inductor (assuming the wire gauge and material is the same) means higher voltage generated when the magnetic field of the inductor moves in and out of an electric field (the strings conduct electricity and form an electric field).

I'm pretty sure that the strings conduct electricity. At least I'm sure enough that when a bassist touched my guitar strings in a basement that did not have GFI outlets there was a spark every time he touched the strings and it shocked him and every time I touched his strings there was a spark and it shocked me..


nope.
Prs se Holcomb is the answer
#12
Quote by dietermoreno

So what I should read from the DC resistance value of the pickups is that higher DC resistance in an inductor (assuming the wire gauge and material is the same) means higher voltage generated when the magnetic field of the inductor moves in and out of an electric field (the strings conduct electricity and form an electric field).

No.

Since elec guitar strings have magnetic properties they shift the magnetic field of the pole magnets in the pickup in time with the string oscillations. The change in magnetic flux induces a signal in the pickup winding that is an electrical replica of the strings mechanical oscillations. The electrical signal is then sent to your amp.

Try swapping the strings with nylon ones. Nylon does not have magnetic properties. You will get no output, because they don't shift the magnetic field

This has nothing to do with inductance, even though inductance is a propery of the pickup winding, like the winding resistance. Inductance doesn't cause the pickup to work.

You really have to do some research into how pickups work. Google the question. There's lots of sites with fundamental explanations.

..
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Last edited by Phoenix V at Mar 3, 2013,
#13
I didn't say that inductance causes the pickup to work; I said that a changing magnetic field generates electricity.

Energy has been conserved. The energy to generate electricity has been inputed by me picking my guitar strings strings.

Oh I didn't know that electric guitar strings were magnetic. So electric guitar strings and pickup combination is like a dynamic microphone (except the pickup is potted in wax so no sound is picked up). A dynamic mic uses a magnet and an inductor, one of which is moveable. Lets's say that the inductor is chosen to be moveable because of its lighter weight than the magnet (the opposite case with the electric guitar pickup). As the inductor of the dynamic mic moves in and out of the magnetic field of the magnet, electricity is generated which is alternating current which is proportional to the oscillatory frequency of the inductor that was moved by sound waves. It doesn't matter which moves, the inductor or the magnet, as long as the magnetic field of the magnet is changing with respect to the inductor. So moving an inductor back and forth with a bar magnet inside it would also generate electric current.

As the magnets (electric guitar strings) oscillate the magnetic field oscillates and the inductors (electric guitar pickups) move in and out of the magnetic field of the magnets, electricity is generated which is alternating current which is proportional to the oscillatory frequency of the string that was moved by your guitar pick (or finger).

This happens because a changing magnetic field inside of an inductor generates electric current to flow from one end of the inductor to the other. I remember when my physics professor took a bar magnet and put it inside of an inductor that was connected to a flash light light bulb and then when he moved the bar magnet rapidly in and out of the inductor the light bulb lit up and the light bulb lit up brighter the faster he moved the bar magnet in and out of the inductor.

This is alternating current generated by an alternator, compared to dynamos have more complicated mechanical parts to synchronize the polarity changes to be the same polarity and have several coils wound out of phase so that the out of phase wave peaks sum out to be close to the DC equivalent current of a battery. If I remember correctly from physics class, I think a dynamo usually needs at least about 24 phases of coil windings to power DC devices.
#15
Okay, so not only are the guitar strings magnets, the pickups are also magnets.

The pickup is a permanent magnet like the guitar strings, that has coils wound around it.

The pickup is indeed an inductor, but it is important that it is a solid core inductor and it would not work if it was an air core inductor.

The coils are static and the magnet inside the coils is static. The dynamic part is the guitar strings. The guitar strings magnets change the magnetic field of the pickup magnet and the pickup magnet wrapped with coils induces alternating current into the the coils as the guitar strings magnets move in and out of the magnetic field of the pickup magnet.

The electric guitar pickup used to be a modified dynamic microphone connected to a modified amplified radio receiver in the late 1920s when amplified radio receivers started to enter homes, but it was too quiet (it was a passive device that did not generate a high enough line level to drive an amplification component); so in 1937 the guitar pickup was reinvented to pickup the electrical image of the mechanical oscillations of the strings directly by the strings themselves being the dynamic part in the dynamic microphone so that higher output was possible that could drive an amplification component.
#16
Guitar strings are not magnets.

They are metal, and thus the vibrations change the magnetic field of the pickup inducing a voltage signal.


Guitars for dummies:

http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/the-nuts-and-bolts-of-electric-guitars.html

The vibrating string is still the source of the sound, but a hollow wood chamber isn't what makes those vibrations audible. Instead, the vibrations disturb, or modulate, the magnetic field that the pickups — wire-wrapped magnets positioned underneath the strings — produce. As the vibrations of the strings modulate the pickup's magnetic field, the pickup produces a tiny electric current.

If you remember from eighth-grade science, wrapping wire around a magnet creates a small current in the wire. If you then take any magnetic substance and disturb the magnetic field around that wire, you create fluctuations in the current itself. A taut steel string vibrating at the rate of 440 times per second creates a current that itself fluctuates 440 times per second. Pass that current through an amplifier and then a speaker and you hear the musical tone A. More specifically, you hear the A above middle C, which is the standard absolute tuning reference in modern music — from the New York Philharmonic to the Rolling Stones to Metallica.
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Last edited by R45VT at Mar 4, 2013,
#18
No, if i remember correctly from my physics class demonstration, wire wrapped around a magnet does NOT generate electric current unless the magnetic field is changing, and the current generated is directly proportional to the inputed force moving the magnetic field so energy is conserved. Moving the bar magnet in and out of the coil of wire faster makes the lightbulb light up brighter, compared to the light bulb does not light up AT ALL if the professor stops moving the bar magnet in and out of the coil of wire.

A magnet with wire coiled around it generating electric current when the magnetic field is not changing would be a perpetual motion machine.
Last edited by dietermoreno at Mar 4, 2013,
#19



Trollolololololol
Quote by DeathByDestroyr
See, it's important that people clarify when they say "metal", because I pretty much always assume they are a Cannibal Corpse fanboi.
#20
Quote by dietermoreno
No, if i remember correctly from my physics class demonstration, wire wrapped around a magnet does NOT generate electric current unless the magnetic field is changing, and the current generated is directly proportional to the inputed force moving the magnetic field so energy is conserved. Moving the bar magnet in and out of the coil of wire faster makes the lightbulb light up brighter, compared to the light bulb does not light up AT ALL if the professor stops moving the bar magnet in and out of the coil of wire.

A magnet with wire coiled around it generating electric current when the magnetic field is not changing would be a perpetual motion machine.


you think the wire cares that there's a magnet moving around it.

The wire cares that there's a a moving electrical field.

Your prof, look let's just be honest and call him a teacher ok, a professor really implies a higher quality of erudition then what seems to be happening here, could easily fix the magnet and disrupt the magnetic field of the system and the lightbulb would light up.


I don't understand how it is possible to turn such a simple thing into the google translation tragedy it seems to have become...

A pickup is coils of wire wrapped around a magnet.

The strings are ferrous. When you pluck them then vibrate and disrupt the magnetic field of the pickup. The vibration of the strings causes an alternating voltage to be generated in the coil.

The pickup literally turns vibrational energy into alternating current.
Prs se Holcomb is the answer
#21
No no no. The strings aren't magnets. They have magnetic properties. As in, they are attracted to a magnet, like iron, or steel. Similarly, they warp and shift the magnetic field of a magnet when they pass in front of it. Wrap a coil around that magnet, and a voltage is induced in the coil.

Have a look at the below.

My head is starting to hurt.
Attachments:
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Last edited by Phoenix V at Mar 4, 2013,