Understanding how to choose pickups



Moderators: Ghost Hip, metalmariachi

Understanding how to choose pickups

Postby bennroe » Sun Jan 21, 2018 8:19 pm

I've been playing guitar and bass a long time, but I've never had much technical know-how. I'm mostly self-taught, and I've just picked up bits and pieces along the course of the last 20 years or so. For a variety of reasons I've decided to up my technical understanding game a bit, which is why I've started slowly accumulating parts to build and wire my first partscaster. The next step for my build is getting pickups, however, and after a fair bit of research I'm still feeling a bit perplexed. I understand the basic differences in construction between humbuckers and single-coils, but I guess I want help with understanding how a pickup's various specs affect its sound. What are the tonal differences between different types of magnets? What are the benefits and drawbacks of higher output pickups? Lower output? What other factors should I consider?

To help narrow the scope of information I'm requesting, here are some buzzwords that describe the tone I'm looking for: bright, well-defined, full, sustain, clear, crisp. Help me understand how to get there!
Former Bands: Lazy Gaga, Kadis-kot, Pyramids, In First Person, the Holy Fucking Spirit, Take Down Your Art, A Petal Fallen
bennroe

committed
committed
 
Posts: 218
Joined: Fri Jun 17, 2016 5:36 pm
Location: Philadelphia, PA


Re: Understanding how to choose pickups

Postby Chankgeez » Sun Jan 21, 2018 8:40 pm

From your description, seems like maybe a mini-humbucker to me.

Although, I can't help you get there because I'm untechnical as well. :idk:
Alice: balls have a ball to me to me to me to me to me to me to me to me
"You can't copyright circuits really." - Ed Sanner …………….0.............
"The effects market was really nothing more than a bunch of beggars and theives, all building off one another's work." - Dan Armstrong…...........................…
Sweet dealin's: here

"Flangers gonna Flange, though. There's no way around that." - Joel Korte
Chankgeez

User avatar
IAMILFFAMOUS
IAMILFFAMOUS
 
Posts: 31842
Joined: Tue Oct 11, 2011 1:40 am

Re: Understanding how to choose pickups

Postby kosta » Mon Jan 22, 2018 8:09 pm

What kind of guitar are they going into? What types of woods? And do you have a guitar tone you can reference for us from a recording or YouTube video? To me, it sounds like maybe something from Lace or Alumitone might be up your alley, but a reference song might help narrow it down.
Object Object : Soundcloud
A lil dreamy, a lil noisy.
kosta

User avatar
Supporter
Supporter
 
Posts: 5318
Joined: Tue Mar 31, 2009 11:00 am
Location: New York, NY

Re: Understanding how to choose pickups

Postby adamajah » Mon Jan 22, 2018 9:12 pm

If you're really starting from ground zero, have a skim of this basic guide: >>caution: non-ILF approved link>> https://www.seymourduncan.com/support-p ... sectionOne >>caution: non-ILF approved link>>
adamajah

User avatar
committed
committed
 
Posts: 215
Joined: Wed Dec 14, 2016 10:35 pm

Re: Understanding how to choose pickups

Postby Mudfuzz » Mon Jan 22, 2018 9:18 pm

adamajah wrote:caution: non-ILF approved link>>

I don't agree on this nonapproval... :thumb:
Mudfuzz

User avatar
HERO
HERO
 
Posts: 16281
Joined: Sat Jul 07, 2007 7:06 pm
Location: The gloomy lands of the northwest

Re: Understanding how to choose pickups

Postby bennroe » Mon Jan 22, 2018 9:30 pm

Thanks for the help so far, dudes! The wood isn't locked in yet, but my plan was a hard maple Warmoth telecaster body. I already have an EGC tele neck for it. I'm less concerned right now with the "what", though, than I am with the "how" and "why". I guess my big question relates to the effect of a pickup's output and/or resistance on its sound. I honestly don't even have any sense of scale here either, with regard to what constitutes "high" or "low" output.

I'll try to think of a song to share that might help, but I'm mostly just continuing to refine my own tone based on sounds in my head more than from any tangible reference. I just figured since I'm putting a lot of money into a guitar I'll never be able to sell I may as well dot all my 'i's and cross all my 't's when ensuring that I like playing it
Former Bands: Lazy Gaga, Kadis-kot, Pyramids, In First Person, the Holy Fucking Spirit, Take Down Your Art, A Petal Fallen
bennroe

committed
committed
 
Posts: 218
Joined: Fri Jun 17, 2016 5:36 pm
Location: Philadelphia, PA

Re: Understanding how to choose pickups

Postby kosta » Tue Jan 23, 2018 12:34 pm

Do you play solid state or tube amps? And what type? Pickup output will behave/sound a bit different depending on the type of amp as well.
Object Object : Soundcloud
A lil dreamy, a lil noisy.
kosta

User avatar
Supporter
Supporter
 
Posts: 5318
Joined: Tue Mar 31, 2009 11:00 am
Location: New York, NY

Re: Understanding how to choose pickups

Postby kosta » Tue Jan 23, 2018 12:45 pm

And yeah – the Seymour Duncan website is amazingly valuable for pickup and wiring info. Indispensable really.
Object Object : Soundcloud
A lil dreamy, a lil noisy.
kosta

User avatar
Supporter
Supporter
 
Posts: 5318
Joined: Tue Mar 31, 2009 11:00 am
Location: New York, NY

Re: Understanding how to choose pickups

Postby bennroe » Thu Jan 25, 2018 7:39 pm

I mostly play tube amps. My main guitar rig at the moment is a Fender Quad Reverb. I sometimes double up with a solid state Acoustic rig, though (usually a 270 into a 104, but I have a pretty large vintage Acoustic collection, so it varies).
Former Bands: Lazy Gaga, Kadis-kot, Pyramids, In First Person, the Holy Fucking Spirit, Take Down Your Art, A Petal Fallen
bennroe

committed
committed
 
Posts: 218
Joined: Fri Jun 17, 2016 5:36 pm
Location: Philadelphia, PA

Re: Understanding how to choose pickups

Postby repoman » Thu Jan 25, 2018 8:43 pm

It's something you kind of have to experiment with and see what floats your boat. It's pretty subjective and theres lots of marketing schpiel to sway you one way or another.
IMO the lower the output, the more articulate/well defined the notes are. I tend to like finding the lowest outputs possible, with the pickup as close to the strings as I can get them before it interferes with playing. I generally associate humbuckers with a tighter, punchier attack of the note, and maybe a little less complexity vs. a single coil. Single coils seem to have a slower attack and sound a bit more 'rounded.'
When you turn the knob, it does not sound bad. 
repoman

User avatar
FAMOUS
FAMOUS
 
Posts: 1417
Joined: Sat Sep 26, 2015 3:16 pm
Location: Edge City

Re: Understanding how to choose pickups

Postby Bon Hoga » Mon Jan 29, 2018 7:20 pm

Image
Bon Hoga

User avatar
committed
committed
 
Posts: 465
Joined: Tue Jan 22, 2013 6:48 pm

Re: Understanding how to choose pickups

Postby ibarakishi » Tue Jan 30, 2018 10:50 am

Bon Hoga wrote:Image


pretty much this
$harkToootth wrote:Long live the floor!

Invisible Man wrote:COGITO ERGO NON EST

Invisible Man wrote:
maybe home isn’t where you’re comfortable, but where you can be useful.




good deals with: JonnyAngle, rdw102
ibarakishi

User avatar
committed
committed
 
Posts: 459
Joined: Fri Dec 16, 2016 10:31 am
Location: Thailand

Re: Understanding how to choose pickups

Postby calfzilla » Wed Feb 21, 2018 1:43 pm

You'll probably run into someone saying "resistance doesn't matter"... I think it's great as a relative measurement between the same kind of pickup (single coil, humbucker, mini-hum, P90), but it gets tricky when you go between styles. A "hot" strat pickup is in the 8-10K range depending on position. 8K is on the edge of "vintage T-Top" for humbuckers. 5K is low for a single; I only know of one winder that does a humbucker that low.

Magnets can/will make a difference because of their strength. Stronger magnets are usually associated with more output (that's why you see A8 magnets in higher output humbuckers).

Another thing to look for is wire gauge. Some winders will use thinner wire, allowing them to get more winds and get "higher output readings", but it may not sound any hotter than something with thicker wire and less winds.

There's a lot of good winders with great prices. You'll probably end up having to buy a couple different kinds of pickups and pickguards and just experimenting.
calfzilla

User avatar
committed
committed
 
Posts: 200
Joined: Sat Jun 11, 2016 6:41 pm

Re: Understanding how to choose pickups

Postby Gone Fission » Wed Feb 21, 2018 8:31 pm

I'd be cautious about Duncan's pickup selection/recommendation content. Frequency-wise, they want everything to average out to vanilla. Decades have given me a rather firm opinion that is foolish to fight physics. As a matter of location, bridge pickups are gonna sound brighter and snarlier and neck pickups are going to sound bassier and smoother. I get further accepting that reality and just fine tuning a bit.
D.o.S. wrote:Broadly speaking, if we at ILF are dropping 300 bucks on a pedal it probably sounds like an SNES holocaust.
friendship wrote:death to false bleep-blop
D.o.S. wrote:
Chankgeez wrote:No idea what the Spacemen 3 were using
Drugs. All of the drugs.
Iommic Pope wrote:It's 2017.
Everything should be small and quiet.
UglyCasanova wrote:brb gonna slap my dick on my stomp boxes
Gone Fission

User avatar
IAMILF
IAMILF
 
Posts: 2999
Joined: Sat Dec 04, 2010 1:50 pm
Location: DC/MD

Next

Return to Guitar and Bass



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests


Sponsored Ad. (Please no inflated/repetitive clicking. Thanks!)

Advertisements help support ILF


ilovefuzz.com is not responsible for user-submitted content. Users participate at their own discretion and risk.