#1
Hi everyone,

My fiancee is really in to guitars, and he has complained about his pickups in the past, so I wanted to look in to getting him new pickups for Christmas.

I have an idea of what he wants thanks to some digging I've done, but I don't know how to choose just one because as he explains, they all make very different sounds.

Is there such a thing as an adjustable pickup, and if so is there a brand you recommend? I didn't see anything when I looked but I'm probably not searching for the right thing.

Thanks!
#2
Pickups can be a very personal choice. And without knowing more about what your finance plays- by which I mean musical genres and the gear played- then it would be very easy to foof up.

Without more info, in your situation, I'd figure out a budget, then buy a gift certificate for your fiancee's favorite music store.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#3
If he's really into guitars he probably has dedicated guitars to different types of music. A blues guitar will have a different style of pickups then say a metal guitar would use. Maybe you can elaborate more on the guitar it will be installed on and what kind of music he will be playing on it.
#4
^ +1 on the gift certificate idea.
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#5
DiMarzio (one of the best known pickup brands) has a cool "pickup picker" section on its official website

If you happen to know a little about guitars or your fiance's general music tastes you can get a pretty good idea of what to get him. If he complains about the pickups on one of his instruments in particular you can narrow it down even further

http://www.dimarzio.com/pickup-picker

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#6
Thanks! A gift certificate is probably the safest way to go, but not very exciting to open on Christmas, so maybe I'll give buying a nice pair of pickups a shot and just make sure we can exchange them if needed.

Does anyone make adjustable pickups?
#7
All pickups can have their height adjusted, and the guitar's controls can affect tone as well.

Some pickups can alter their output with special wiring via coil splitting/tapping, but that probably isn't what you meant.

And pickups like P-Rails are designed to sound like humbuckers, P90s or singlecoils, but again, they have to be installed a certain way.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#8
If you must buy pickups- which, btw, I think is awesome thoughtfulness- we can best help you if we know your budget and more about your fiancee's particular guitar(s) & amp, and what kind of music will be played on it.

(Also, see if you can get a "gift receipt" regardless of what you purchase.)
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#9
Quote by tinkerbell19
Thanks! A gift certificate is probably the safest way to go, but not very exciting to open on Christmas, so maybe I'll give buying a nice pair of pickups a shot and just make sure we can exchange them if needed.

Does anyone make adjustable pickups?

The only pickup I can think of that comes close is the Seymour Duncan P-rail it is almost like having 3 different pickups to choose from. But the guitar will need to be wired properly to do this. Seymour Duncan makes a pickup ring that helps give the most versatility (They have electronic's built in them)

But they may not be what he like either.

What type of music does he play ?
what is his current guitar?
What type of amp does he play?

These are all answers we need to proper suggest something though
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#10
Thanks! When I get home tonight I'll find out what type of guitar & amp.

I have heard about people adjusting their pickups, and I was hoping that meant there was one pickup that could be adjusted to achieve the same sound as several different types of pickups. Like, instead of having to buy a one-speed bicycle, a multi-speed bicycle with gears.
#11
Yeah, things like the P-Rails might be what you're looking for, but they require a bit of wiring work to get the full benefit.

Not only might they not be the right sound for your fiancée, the wiring work to properly install them may be more than that would be desirable.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#12
Ok, it's a white "PRS," lab series amp, and a California Blonde amp. I fished a little and he says that while he likes the guitar, the pickups are junk. He mentioned EMG, so I think I'll head over to the guitar store tomorrow to ask about that brand.

Does anyone know why they don't make pickups that you can adjust? They all look the same (to me, at least!) so I wonder why they can't have a range of sounds instead of having to pick just one.
#13
Quote by tinkerbell19
Ok, it's a white "PRS," lab series amp, and a California Blonde amp. I fished a little and he says that while he likes the guitar, the pickups are junk. He mentioned EMG, so I think I'll head over to the guitar store tomorrow to ask about that brand.


EMGs are a kind of active (battery powered) pickup, and installing them as replacements in a guitar that has passive (non-battery powered) pickups usually requires a bit of wood & wiring work.

Does anyone know why they don't make pickups that you can adjust? They all look the same (to me, at least!) so I wonder why they can't have a range of sounds instead of having to pick just one.


A lot of factors- physics, size, complexity, expense, etc.- make it relatively difficult to do. There ARE some pickups that are just now hitting the market that try to do this. However, according to some, they're a compromise- "jacks of all trades, master of none." IOW, while they do deliver a wide variety of tones, they're not particularly good at any of them.

That means they're pretty good if you need a single guitar to cover a wide range of tones, but not if you're trying to improve the tone of your guitar.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#16
Quote by tinkerbell19
Thanks dannyalcatraz! Do you know who makes the adjustable ones?

They are made by Seymour Duncan, but Blackfire's suggestion is probably closer to what your fiancée is looking for.

http://www.seymourduncan.com/products/electric/humbucker/medium-output/prails_shpr1/
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#17
I'd get him a POD xt by Line 6 and suprise him with something that can change a guitar's sound without having to tear the guitar apart first. Plug it in and play through many famous amps, as well as guitar effects galore. Check it out. Beats a set of pickups. And might be cheaper.
How far away from the strings are the poles of his pickups? Maybe they could be dialed in a bit? The closer the better, but not too close.
Merry Christmas shopping.
#18
Guitbuilder is right- a portable digital modeler like the POD is an excellent idea! The POD- as well as similar devices from Korg, Boss and others- are powerful tools for any guitarist. Regardless of maker, they'll incorporate a tuner, metronome, a headphone jack, and programs that simulate the sounds that result from using certain amps or effects pedals. Depending on the particular model, there will be recording capabilities, computer connectivity, and other features.

All in a package that fits in a guitar case.

Here are some examples:

Boss Micro-BR 4 track
http://www.guitarcenter.com/-i1169092.gc

Boss Micro-BR 80
http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/BR80/

Pocket POD
http://www.guitarcenter.com/Line-6-Pocket-POD-Guitar-Multi-Effects-Processor-104391875-i1173933.gc

Tascam GT-R1
http://www.guitarcenter.com/TASCAM-GT-R1-Portable-Guitar-Bass-Recorder-105125306-i1401677.gc
http://www.guitarcenter.com/TASCAM-DR-1-GT-R1-Accessory-Kit-105020473-i1402140.gc

Korg Pandora Mini
http://www.guitarcenter.com/Korg-Pandora-Mini-PXMINI-Guitar-Multi-Effects-Processor-H70754-i1746466.gc

Korg Px4
http://www.guitarcenter.com/Korg-Pandora-PX4D-Guitar-Multi-Effects-Processor-103381554-i1124641.gc

Korg Pandora Stomp
http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/PandoraSTOr/

Korg Px5
http://www.guitarcenter.com/Korg-Pandora-PX5D-Guitar-Multi-Effects-Processor-104821715-i1387080.gc

Here is a visual comparison of (left to right) Tascam, my PX-5 and one of my Px4s to my old Aiwa cassette player:



Only the Tascam has decent acoustic recording capacity. All DO have features like tuners, metronomes, drum synthesizers, and digital amp & pedal modeling.

So with decent headphones, you can rock out like you were playing Texas Stadium. And yes, they are all about the size of an old Walkman.

The ones I own: the Tascam has the external mics, a phrase trainer (loop & slow down stuff for practicing), and takes SD cards. Both it and the PX5 can connect directly to your computer via a USB port. The PX4 is discontinued, but it can still be easily found. It is less powerful than the PX5, but, oddly, the PX5 does not have a belt/strap hook.

The ones I don't own: The Line6 PocketPOD is, I believe, the most popular device like this; the Boss might be the most powerful (and priciest); the Pandora Mini is the smallest (its about the size of a stack of business cards), cheapest, and least powerful.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#19
I have the Pod x3 and its pretty cool for practicing. I wouldn't say its anything professional but its a dream if you are an intermediate or beginner player. So I also recommend a POD or something.
Just another Sheep in the design of the Almighty Machine.


-GEAR-
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Podx3
#21
You're a pretty legit fiancee! Good work.

Guitar Center has a 30 day return policy so if you got a set of EMGs in the next few weeks (the 81/85 set is a pretty safe bet) you could always swap them for a similar set after Christmas if they weren't exactly right, and then he'd have something to open. As mentioned before, there's some extra work for installing those, so unless he's done that sort of thing before you will want to budget $60-80 for installation.
#22
Either the 81/85 or a 60/81 set seem to be the most popular combo. But like someone said, a gift card is safe.
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