I have an Ibanez RG170 and it has 2 humbuckers and a single coil and I've been thinking about getting new ones maybe. I know just about nothing about pickups so I thought maybe you guys would be able to help me out. I just have a few questions.

1. Are pickups kind of like strings in that you have to change them every now and then (probably not as much as strings) or do they just kind of work forever?

2. Do different pickups have different sounds to them such as some of them have a more metal sound to them while some have a more soft rock sound?

3. How much does a set? of pickups cost. I know that they probably have a huge range but I guess just a nicely decent set of them?

4. Would it be best to let a professional install them or are they really not that hard and could be done by someone that doesn't know too much about them? How much would it generally cost to let someone else install them?

5. Is it possible to pickups from humbuckers to (forgive me for not knowing the name) the ones that have covers on them and are about as wide as humbuckers i think? Would it not work at all or just sound really bad or actually work?

Thought I had one more but I'll just edit it if I think of it later. Thank you guys for the help and please just answer as many as you can.
(1) A pickup should work forever. Over time (a lot of time) the magnets will lose some of their strength, but some people prefer this sound. That's why so many pickups are marketed as "vintage" sounding.

(2) Yes. This has to do with the magnet material and the windings. Alnico II will give you the lowest output sound. Alnico V is in between. Ceramic is for high output, bright pickups. The more windings of wire, the more output. And if you want really high output, you can get "active," which puts a 9 volt battery (or two) in your guitar to power the pickups. If you're looking for versatility, you'd probably want a pickup with Alnico V magnets. Blues/jazz/soft rock, alnico II. Hard rock/metal/punk, ceramic. These of course are just generalizations.

(3) A decent set of three would cost you a minimum of $200. The H-S-H mod I did to my Strat cost about $320.

(4) Installing pickups is easy to learn. You should do it yourself.

(5) Pickups are built to size standards, so a covered humbucker will fit in the same space as an open (uncovered) humbucker (if that's what you were asking).
Hi, I'm Peter
Last edited by Dirk Gently at Jul 17, 2006,

For a very small investment(s) this guy's got some decent pups. I bought his hot nashville pup ($36) for the bridge on my agile al3000 and I got a cool crunchy distortions and crispy cleans. I enjoyed it but then later I wanted actives so I bought emgs.
Parker PDF30
Vox VT40+
how do you put the batteries into the actives? do you have to insert them into the sides? and what kind of batteries are they? also can you get the covered humbuckers or are they just single coils?
A lot of actives will have a battery compartment that pops out installed in the back, or you just install it in a cavity in the body and have to remove the access panel/pickguard whenever you want to change it. And it's usually just a regular rectangular 9v battery. As far as covers, humbuckers don't have plastic covers like single coils do, but you can get them with the coils different colors, or get ones that have metal covers that are either nickel or gold plated.
Hi, I'm Peter