#2
each pickup (or combination of pickups) gives a slightly different tone.

the little lever selects which pickup is on. there are 5 positions (neck, neck and middle at the same time, Middle, Middle and bridge at the same time and just the bridge on it's own)

and those other 2 knobs are the tone controls, changing them will alter the tone slightly.
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#3
^ this sums it up.
i usually never use any of the pickups alone.
i use the bridge+middle for heavier rock tone and the middle+neck pickup for bluesier tone.
i have exactly the same gear like you.
i dont use the pickups alone because they dont sound very good this way (except the neck pickup) and they hum...
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#4
oh and i play with the tone knobs all the way up, otherwise it results in a muffled tone,.
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#5
cool, thanks guys.
I thought that's what the lever did, it's why i lumped the questions in the same thread.
I really see what you mean by the muffled sound, although it's quite useful to what i'm learning at the mo so i've got both tone controls down to 1.

has anyone got any more info on the tone controls, like why there are 2 of them etc ?

Thanks for the info.
#6
Generally Speaking, and this isnt a rule because some guitars are wired differently, but one knob is tone for the neck (top) pickup, and one for the middle pickup, and the bridge pickup is wired without a tone knob.
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#7
oh yeah!

that's how it works on my guitar, the top one is for the neck pickup, the bottom one is for the middle pickup and neither of them have any affect on the bridge pickup.

Weirdly it's really not that noticable on the low E and A strings, and it's really easy to hear on the other four, anyone know why?

while we're on topic, does anyone know why the bridge pickup is angled? I think I've seen guitars where it's not, eg Gibson SG... or is it some irrelevant/complicated acoustic reason?

why does the distance of the pickup along the string affect the sound?

how do the pickups vary? (#of loops in coils / height of pegs)

thanks for the reply kyle_katarn3
#8
I use every single one of the combinations. i tweak tone knobs every moment, even during songs. i twist the volume knob ever 4 bars too.

my personal favorite is the neck pickup, it gives a deep sound with a lot of high end brightness, making it my blues solo pickup. my least favorite is probably my bridge pickup, but with a decent fuzz pedal, it turns out to be a cranked marshall. neck+middle for me gives a stevie ray vaughanish bluesy quacky tone, but it gets a tad bit muddy. middle pickup alone is my solo pickup. the not too bluesy type solos, giving a bit more volume than the neck pickup. middle + bridge is an almighty little wing tone. i can't say anymore, but awesome quack from it.

u guys say tone changes "slightly" with different pickup combination or a twist of tone knob, but some people think its a BIG change okay? what ur saying is like every amp is only slightly different than others. a big no no.
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#9
cool, i still cant hear a massive difference, but it probably varies from guitar to guitar.
I use every single one of the combinations. i tweak tone knobs every moment, even during songs. i twist the volume knob ever 4 bars too.
sounds mad, guess that's why they put all this stuff on the guitar not the amp though.

my personal favorite is the neck pickup, it gives a deep sound with a lot of high end brightness, making it my blues solo pickup. my least favorite is probably my bridge pickup, but with a decent fuzz pedal, it turns out to be a cranked marshall.
ditto, it's all about the neck pickup, i like the idea of using different sounds for different parts of a song.

do you ever find urself hitting the lever (don't know what else to call this... pickup selector?) when you're playing? keeps happening to me.
#10
^no. i play further away from my controls (pick between neck and middle pickups) and i don't strum that far down lol.
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#11
k dude, that's going be an annoying habit to break, i usually strum between the middle and neck pickups, argh.
#12
^me too. but i dont strum that far down around the pickup selector...
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#13
I also got some questions:

I was taking away some plastic that had stuck between one of the screws that are holding my pick guard in place. But then I realised that the pick protection or whatever you should call it, you know the plastic that covers the picks themselves and surround the metal magnets on the pickups? Anyway, the angle of that cover changed, I don't know if I this will change the sound or something, and if it does, is there a "right" or "standard" angle the middle pickup should have? (it was the middle I accidentally changed).

Oh and those answers you guys have come with are very helpful, thanks
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#14
it hsould be the same angle as ur neck pickup, pretty much straight, but like 1/36"~1/16" higher.
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#15
Quote by Oliwashere
oh yeah!

that's how it works on my guitar, the top one is for the neck pickup, the bottom one is for the middle pickup and neither of them have any affect on the bridge pickup.

Weirdly it's really not that noticable on the low E and A strings, and it's really easy to hear on the other four, anyone know why?

while we're on topic, does anyone know why the bridge pickup is angled? I think I've seen guitars where it's not, eg Gibson SG... or is it some irrelevant/complicated acoustic reason?

This is because the closer you get to the bridge, the less the strings tend to vibrate, so Strat style guitars compensate the bridge pickup by angling it. The bass strings vibrate more than the treble strings do, so it'll be closer on the bass side to the bridge than on the treble side.

why does the distance of the pickup along the string affect the sound?

Again, because of how the strings vibrate. The pickup will be angled, height wise, in order to produce an equal volume from all strings under a constant pick attack.

how do the pickups vary? (#of loops in coils / height of pegs)

Generally speaking, the more coils the hotter the pickup, or the louder it can be. There's quite a lot about pickups, and there's ton's of them available. The height of the pole pieces(what you called pegs) on Gibson humbucker style pickups is adjustable to match the radius of the necks fretboard, and for equal volume from all strings.

thanks for the reply kyle_katarn3


If you want to learn more, google electric guitar pickups. There's a lot of data available.
#16
wow, thanks, it makes sense, I wasn't expecting to get replies for those questions.
#17
Quote by Oliwashere
cool, i still cant hear a massive difference, but it probably varies from guitar to guitar.
sounds mad, guess that's why they put all this stuff on the guitar not the amp though.

ditto, it's all about the neck pickup, i like the idea of using different sounds for different parts of a song.

do you ever find urself hitting the lever (don't know what else to call this... pickup selector?) when you're playing? keeps happening to me.

You won't hear a massive difference initially, however it's something that your ears become more sensitive to the longer you've been playing for.
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#18
Quote by steven seagull
You won't hear a massive difference initially, however it's something that your ears become more sensitive to the longer you've been playing for.

become more sensitive that it reaches the point where it gets annoying when it doesn't have the same tone that i liked from the day before.
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#19
Well, odds are the difference may not be as pronounced on cheaper guitars with weaker pickups, right? I tried a Deluxe Player's Strat when I was in GC a few days ago, and I was able to get very distinct sounds from all the different combinations (middle+bridge especially, a dead-on "Sultans of Swing" tone). Tried a used Mexican Standard Strat before I left (and had already made up my mind) and the difference wasn't quite as pronounced. still different, though.

Just some additional comments....
#20
when u have nice pickups (i have RockMonkeyGuitar handwound boutique pickups), it is very pronounced. and yes, middle+bridge is distinctively "Sultans of Swing"/"Little Wing" tone. I couldn't really hear a difference between the neck and the middle pickups with my old stock pickups, but now, i can hear a clear clear difference.
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#21
Quote by ECistheBest
This is because the closer you get to the bridge, the less the strings tend to vibrate, so Strat style guitars compensate the bridge pickup by angling it. The bass strings vibrate more than the treble strings do, so it'll be closer on the bass side to the bridge than on the treble side.

Your reasoning makes sense, but on my Starcaster and on all the Stratocaster pictures I looked for on google, it's the other way around, the treble side is closer to the bridge.


The difference between pickups is definitely more noticeable with good pickups and a good amp. I have a decent amp and ****e stock pickups, but I can definitey hear the difference. I use the bridge pickup for metal and anything with high gain (except for blues/rock, because the tweed setting on my amp makes everything too trebly). The neck pickup is good for anything clean that I play.
The middle pickup on my guitar is pretty much useless on its own IMO (I lowered all the way down so it's level with the pickguard). I'm glad it's there though, I use it to get rid of the idle hum (which is even worse on my guitar because the pickups are bad). However, If I want a really sharp metal sound I'll just suck it up and deal with the hum, because the bridge pickup by itself sounds better for that.
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#22
^lol that was either a typo, or a brain cell miscommunication. but ur right. (on the correction of my post)

and if u use ur middle pickup just to cancel hum, you're missing out!!! my middle pickup is not Reverse Wound Reverse Polarity, so it doesn't cancel hum, but i use every position cuz it sounds different. going from bridge pickup only to bridge + middle pickups combo, the sound gets way too quacky.


oh. and don't bump a 3 month old thread just for a tiny correction.
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#23
Quote by Jumboshrmp
Your reasoning makes sense, but on my Starcaster and on all the Stratocaster pictures I looked for on google, it's the other way around, the treble side is closer to the bridge.


The difference between pickups is definitely more noticeable with good pickups and a good amp. I have a decent amp and ****e stock pickups, but I can definitey hear the difference. I use the bridge pickup for metal and anything with high gain (except for blues/rock, because the tweed setting on my amp makes everything too trebly). The neck pickup is good for anything clean that I play.
The middle pickup on my guitar is pretty much useless on its own IMO (I lowered all the way down so it's level with the pickguard). I'm glad it's there though, I use it to get rid of the idle hum (which is even worse on my guitar because the pickups are bad). However, If I want a really sharp metal sound I'll just suck it up and deal with the hum, because the bridge pickup by itself sounds better for that.


My bad. I actually got a bit dyslexic on the angle of the bridge pickup. I am a lefty after all. I was thinking of my lefty strat, and trying to explain it to all u righty's out there. lol. So yea, anyway, the bridge pup is angled for the reason I stated, just that it's closer to the bridge on the treble side, rather than on the bass. It all has to do with balancing out the volume of that pickup due to the differences in how the strings vibrate down there close to the bridge. I know, it's an older thread, but since I screwed it up, figured I'd fix it.