#1
Just read the pickup guide sticky, and it made a very clear point about some pickups to be avoided if your guitar is made of a certain type of wood. It just happens to be that I'm interested in a pickup not mentioned in the sticky, so I would like to know how do you do determine whether or not a certain type of pickup will or will not work with a certain kind of wood? In my case, I would like to put SD Nazgul (6 strings) in an alder wood body.
#2
two things to consider because you can put pickups on anything as long as you are picking up vibration you're fine.

#1 - spacing , this is very up for debate how important it is of course but some guys insist on it , with SD pickups there is regular and trembucker , the poles people argue should be under the strings

#2 - the EQ of a guitar plugged in finding stuff your amp / pedal setup cannot do that you want it to, when you put it into your guitar essentially you're fine tuning what the stock (or previous) pickups couldn't do. Whether it be output or say not enough bass, too much mids ..etc.

Honestly I'll take a guitar processor any day or a bunch of pedals over a pickup swap any day and I've soldered enough pickups into peoples guitars to build dinner tables out of. I'd be like the Ikea of heavily marketed magnets and copper windings.
Last edited by Tallwood13 at Dec 2, 2015,
#3
In the years since that sticky was written, especially over the last 2 or 3, prevailing opinion has come to be that tonewood has minimal effect on solidbody guitars as far as I can tell. It's not something you can test perfectly scientifically, but the closer attempts people have made to doing so would suggest that the difference is negligible, and probably easily within the range of different tones you can achieve simply through the way you pick.

It's still something people disagree about, but I think very few of our more experienced members on here would tell you today that body wood should affect your pickup choice

Tallwood makes a fair point too, pickup swaps won't always have a particularly dramatic effect unless they're very different, so whether the swap is worth it depends mainly on what you've got in there already.
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#4
^^^^^ Yes, not much weight is put on tone woods in the choice of pickups these days. I can hear a differences between my very dark sounding 335 knockoff and my strat-type bari, with identical pickups, tunings and tone controls, but that is fairly extreme, and any differences are quickly lost when clipping Fx (OD, distortion, fuzz) are used.

In any event an alder body would be fairly forgiving, even if you did believe in tone wood effects. As already noted, it is a good idea to understand what you are trying to achieve by swapping pickups before you do it.
#5
I totally agree with everyone who posted on this (especially K33nbl4d3's comment about scientific proof). I do like and appreciate the subtle difference in different woods, but it is not profound enough that you can pair wood and pickups in the way that fine wines pair with food, and certainly adding amplifier distortion IMHO swamps anything notable in the transient responses of different woods.
#6
Quote by K33nbl4d3
(a) In the years since that sticky was written, especially over the last 2 or 3, prevailing opinion has come to be that tonewood has minimal effect on solidbody guitars as far as I can tell. It's not something you can test perfectly scientifically, but the closer attempts people have made to doing so would suggest that the difference is negligible, and probably easily within the range of different tones you can achieve simply through the way you pick.

It's still something people disagree about, but I think very few of our more experienced members on here would tell you today that body wood should affect your pickup choice

(b) Tallwood makes a fair point too, pickup swaps won't always have a particularly dramatic effect unless they're very different, so whether the swap is worth it depends mainly on what you've got in there already.


(a) I dunno if that's true or if the "tonewood doesn't matter" brigade is just getting louder and more confident, possibly helped because it thinks it has science on its side and I'm not sure it does (as you said, it's hard to test this scientifically, and there have been a few iffy tests doing the rounds online, including one where, IIRC, the graphs in the paper showed a difference in tone yet the conclusion said there was no difference, WTF?).

Kind of like a lot of these things, they kind of lurch from one extreme to the other a lot of the times, and just because the previous extreme was wrong doesn't mean the antidote is the opposite extreme.

Now, whether that means I'd actually advise against using certain pickups with certain woods, I dunno. I haven't done good enough scientific tests. I've definitely heard pickups sound better in some guitars than others, but obviously that's not necessarily the same thing.

(b) Agreed.
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#8
The reason why I want to swap pickups: years ago when I just started playing I bought a guitar because I thought it looked cool. Now I can see that I was fairly lucky: I could have ended up with something far worse. I like the neck and fretboard, the weight, the shape of the body etc. but the one thing that is killing the entire guitar is the empty, waay to bright tone that comes out of it. Even my first guitar, some rip off strat sounds better through the same amp. Since my main guitar sounds great through my amp, I figured it must be the pickups.