#1
Hi forum,

I am new here, so I hope that I am posting this thread at the right place.

I always have a question about scooped-mid pickups. Given that guitar is a mid-range instrument, what is the purpose of having a scooped-mid pickup? For example, Seymour Duncan TB-14. What kind of music, or play-style, does scooped-mid pickup cater to?

If I want to boost the mid-range performance of my guitar output, should I avoid using mid-scooped pickups (meaning I may have to change my pickups someday)? Or, is there a way to compensate the loss of mid-range by adjusting EQ pedal, for example?

Thank you!
#2
Scooped mids are typically found in metal music. Became very popular in the 80/90/early 2000's era, bands like Metallica and Pantera are two that are very popular.

Just because your pickup has scooped mids doesn't mean that your tone has to. If you look, I would say almost half of the humbuckers on the seymour Duncan site have a "scooped EQ" on the mids. This is basically going to make the guitar slightly less harsh (not sure how to word that). Your mids are ultimately controlled by your amp, and if you have any pedals that affect the eq.

My favorite example for pickups is a plate of food:

Your amp is the substance of the meal
Your effects are the way the meal is prepared
Your pickups are the seasoning
#3
I have a poplar-bodied guitar that is ALL mids, and until I played with the Custom 5, I couldn't find a pickup that worked. The scooped mid pickup worked perfectly, and now it sounds a lot more balanced. 
Dave @ Seymour Duncan
#4
scoop can often make the pickup seem less compressed etc.- that can be useful if you want a more versatile pickup, and quite a lot of the more vintage-voiced pickups are actually pretty scooped (PAF-types are often scooped, so are strat pickups). It's not just for higher gain tones, in fact arguably the opposite is true (a lot of higher output pickups are actually middier).

Quote by Rykilla

(a) If I want to boost the mid-range performance of my guitar output, should I avoid using mid-scooped pickups (meaning I may have to change my pickups someday)? (b) Or, is there a way to compensate the loss of mid-range by adjusting EQ pedal, for example?


(a) Yep if you know you want more mids then getting a scooped pickup is going to fight against that

(b) That being said, there are definitely things you can do to compensate... using an eq pedal, as you said, or using a tubescreamer-style overdrive pedal as a boost (as they're very middy). Or just turning up the mids on your amp.
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#5
It's worth noting that even though the midrange frequencies are the fundamental range of the guitar and it's therefore a good idea, generally, to preserve the midrange rather than cut it out, there's a difference between scooping out a narrow selection of the midrange frequencies to focus the tone into a particular 'space' in the mix and separate it from other instruments, and scooping all the mids on your amp - doing this with the amp's EQ is generally a bad idea simply because it cuts out a wider selection of midrange - practically all of it, as a matter of fact, with most amps, so you lose all the definition of the fundamental tones and only the overtones cut through, resulting in an anemic, fizzy/shrill kinda sound that just lacks clarity and seems to get buried underneath everything else very easily.

It's useful to have a bit of the midrange scooped out when you're working with a dense mix, basically, to prevent things from getting too cluttered.
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