#1
Okay, so I got an SG copy, and it's got the usual pickup selector - rhythm and treble. The thing is,I have no idea which one is which pickup. I used to think the rhythm one was the bridge pickup, but I've come to doubt it, since the supposed bridge pickup has waaaayyyyy less output than the supposed neck pickup - which leads to me only using the "treble" pickup for rhythm and vice versa. I'm really confused right now.

As far as I know, manufacturers often choose a stronger pickup for the bridge so both PUs have somewhat equal output. Perhaps this isn't the case with my guitar? The other thing I could think of is that the bridge PU might be too far away from the strings (5mm).

Really confused right now.
#2
"Treble" should be the bridge and "rhythm" should be the neck.

Eventually you'll be able to tell just by listening, which is which. The neck pickup will have a much deeper, more rounded tone while the bridge pickup's tone will have more bite and 'edge' to it.

Bridge pickups are usually wound hotter to compensate for the fact that the strings vibrate across a narrower space nearer the bridge, this doesn't necessarily mean the bridge pickup is going to be audibly louder than the neck pickup (nor that it isn't going to be a little quieter), it just means that there's some compensation for the fact that pickups nearer the bridge detect a weaker signal from the strings than they do if they are closer to the neck, and the aim of that is to minimise the volume difference between them that there would otherwise be if the bridge and neck pickups were wound to the same specification.

It's actually pretty normal for the neck pickup to have a little extra perceived volume even if it has a little less output than the bridge, due to the stronger fundamental tone and the broader range of overtones that are detected in that position. But yeah, try adjusting the pickup heights a little to get the balance you want. That's what the height adjustment screws are there for!
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.
#4
Quote by HashtagMC
Well, the quiet one (bridge?) sounds really thin, and about half as loud as the other one.


How far is it away from the strings? Can you raise it up without the sound getting muddy?
#6
Have you checked which pickup is selected? For example, switch to "treble" and lightly tap the pickups with a screwdriver; only the bridge pickup should be live. Repeat with the other two switch positions. Also, this simple tap test can give a rough indication of the relative output of the pickups, and wheter the tone and volume controls are working properly.
#7
Standard labeling on Gibson designs is "Rhythm" for neck pickup and "Treble" for bridge, dating back, to my understanding, to the idea that a jazz player would use the warmer neck sound for rhythm playing, and that labeling has stuck even though the opposite sensibility is most often true in a rock context.
#8
Quote by HashtagMC
Well, the quiet one (bridge?) sounds really thin, and about half as loud as the other one.

the bridge pickup will sound a fair bit thinner than the neck pickup naturally, but if it's really really thin and quiet (to the extent where it doesn't sound like something you'd actually want to use for anything) then that suggests that there might be a bad connection somewhere - usually with the kind of toggle switches they put in SG style guitars the contacts get oxidized easily or they get dirt in them, and a bit of contact cleaner usually does the trick. In some cases it's just a little bit of dirt that can be dislodged by simply flicking the switch up and down quickly for a couple of seconds to solve it.
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.
#9
Quote by Tony Done
Have you checked which pickup is selected? For example, switch to "treble" and lightly tap the pickups with a screwdriver; only the bridge pickup should be live. Repeat with the other two switch positions. Also, this simple tap test can give a rough indication of the relative output of the pickups, and wheter the tone and volume controls are working properly.

This. You can use the guitar pic and tap it hard
#11
If it's an SG copy, and all other avenues of testing are exhausted, it could just be a really cheap pickup.
#12
Quote by Tony Done
geo-rage
True, but it will test microphonic output rather than string output.
the steel screw driver should pick up as being magnetic too.
#14
Quote by spacepizza125
If it's an SG copy, and all other avenues of testing are exhausted, it could just be a really cheap pickup.


This was my first instinct.
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#15
Okay, so the "thin" "treble" one is definitely the bridge pickup, so at least I now know which one's which. I'll try raising the bridge PU tomorrow.

The pickup is most definitely cheap, the whole guitar was 120 euros (130 dollars / 100 pounds), but the rest of the guitar works, so I'll try the above first before assuming it's crap.
#16
Alright, so I raised the bridge pickup a few millimetres, it's almost the same volume as the neck one -- which, unsurprisingly, still sounds fatter and warmer. In the process, I also found out that for some strange reason, the guitar -- remember, Gibson SG copy -- has Fender-spaced humbuckers in it (53mm E pole <-> e pole), but Gibson-like string spacing (4.9mm E string <-> e string). Weird. I guess I'll put new ones in it if I ever have money to spare.

Anyway, this thread can be closed now, since my question has been answered. Thanks for all the answers.