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  • High-output vs. Low-output pickups

    Heya. 

    I'm not very knowledgeable in guitar technicalities. Could someone give me a rundown, as detailed as you like, of everything one may need to know about pickups as far as output goes? 

    Such as, difference in tone in general, difference in clean vs difference in gain.

    High-output humbuckers vs high output single coils. 

    Most specifically, I'm looking for the tonal difference between low-output pickups into a higher gain amp vs. high-output pickups with the gain dialed not-as-high.  And also, if i wanted to increase the output of my pickups artificially (whether they be low or high to begin with), is placing a volume boost effects pedal in front of the amp an option?


  • #2

    lilfoolish50 wrote:

    Heya. 

    I'm not very knowledgeable in guitar technicalities. Could someone give me a rundown, as detailed as you like, of everything one may need to know about pickups as far as output goes? 

    Such as, difference in tone in general, difference in clean vs difference in gain.

    High-output humbuckers vs high output single coils. 

    Most specifically, I'm looking for the tonal difference between low-output pickups into a higher gain amp vs. high-output pickups with the gain dialed not-as-high.  And also, if i wanted to increase the output of my pickups artificially (whether they be low or high to begin with), is placing a volume boost effects pedal in front of the amp an option?


    Depends on the amp and type of music you play.  What amp do you use? What style music do you play?

    Comment


    • lilfoolish50
      lilfoolish50 commented
      Editing a comment

      guh.  This is where i start taking flak...

      I play rock, alternative/pop-punk.  Kinda rise against / yellowcard / silverstein , on the off-chance that that helps.

      ..........................And i play a single coil strat... through a line 6 spider valve combo... with a digitech multifx pedal.

      And despite what I know I'm going to hear from people, I actually do like the way I sound.  Not conventional by any stretch of the imagination, but I like it.  But I want to try different things--both with what i already have, (hence the raising output with volume boost question) and with what i want to buy in the future (probably humbuckers for a different sound).


    • billybilly
      billybilly commented
      Editing a comment

      Generally, low output pickups have better definition and don't sound muddy.  Better note separation comes to mind.  High output pickups can drive a tube amp better and generally, have a thicker tone.  However, there are always exceptions.  Most pickups can be dialed in to suit needs, as long as they are not too over the top. 

      I like medium/low neck pickups and medium/high bridge pickups and can get them to accommodate pretty much any music style.


  • #3

    I have two guitars, one with low output and one with high.

    The strat has Fat 50s pickups.  I think the DC resistance was around 5-6 kiloohms the time I measured.  They sound great clean, like a real nice balanced colorful sound.  With distortion they can get tough sounding, like imagine the tone on RHCP Dani California.

    The Blacktop Jaguar has much hotter pickups, and they're humbuckers.  They have around 13K resistance if I remember correctly.  The clean tone is a lot plainer and simpler sounding, and to be honest I don't care for it much unless I roll back the volume knob to about 6-7.  (and I replaced my volume pot with one that has an audio taper).  Then it's kind of a more laid-back sound, warmer than the strat but a little boring.  With distortion these pickups sound great though.  I can turn it up to 9-10 and it gets this electrified sound more like the Offspring.  That mid spike that is annoying and strident with clean tone somehow smooths out and sounds powerful and ballsy with a lot of gain.

    This is simplifying in my case but I like the low output pickups a better in most situations but I'm glad I have both.  One day I'd like to own another guitar, with low output humbuckers because I'd love to be able to get nice clean humbucker tones that sound sweet like Chet Atkins.  Also a lot of classic rock has low to moderate output humbuckers.  But I'm really not a good enough player for it to make that much of a difference at this point.

    <div class="signaturecontainer"><font size="1">Guitars: Fender Wayne's World 2 Stratocaster w/Fat '50s pickups • Fender Blacktop Jaguar HH<br><br>Amps: Fender Champion 110 w/Lil' Buddy • Fender Princeton 112 Plus w/Red White and Blues • Crate Palomino V8<br><br>Effects: Way Huge Swollen Pickle Jumbo Fuzz • Pro Co You Dirty Rat Distortion • MXR Carbon Copy Delay</font></div>

    Comment


    • #4
      I would suggest modding your Strat so that a tone knob is connected to the bridge pickup. Rolling it back a few notches really warms it up without becoming muddy.
      <div class="signaturecontainer"><font size="1">Guitars:<br><br>G&amp;L Tribute ASAT Classic Bluesboy<br><br>Fender 50th Anniversary Strat, Classic 50s Telecaster, and others.<br><br><br><br>Pedals:<br><br>Pitchblack&g t;EP Booster&gt;Classic 108 Fuzz&gt; SD-1&gt;OCD&gt;Keeley Rat&gt;Hoof&gt;DLS MKiii&gt;Small Stone&gt;TR-2&gt;Flashback&gt;Spring Theory<br><br><br><br>Amp:<br><br>Peavey Delta Blues<br><br></font></div>

      Comment


      • Sparky Coldfire
        Sparky Coldfire commented
        Editing a comment

        I don't think changing the pickups will really get you where you want to go, but it will probably be a small step in the right direction.  Here is a video that compares the tone of humbuckers with single coils. youtube link  There are lots of these, so watch more if you need to.  Just be careful when comparing tones from different videos because all the other factors (guitar, amp , pedals, mic, etc.) contribute to the overall tone a lot more than just the pickups alone.  That being said, I think a particularly versatile guitar (tone wise) is a fat strat. A humbucker in the bridge is a totally heavy rocking tone. And if you get a noiseless single coil pickup (really a humbucker voiced to be more jangly like a SC) for the neck, with possibly a sort of medium to light wound hummer (in single coil size and shape) for the mid position, your guitar would be capable of putting out a wide array of sonic possibilities without much noise.  Some single coil folks will scoff at this because it doesn't truly represent a single coil sound, which is true, but IMHO it's very close.  So close that for me that I favor the lower noise over the slight tonal compromise, but like I say opinions will be varied on this.  However, again, I note that the pickups are just one piece of the puzzle, and a small one at that.  I also like the idea of a tone control on the bridge pup.  Nice to have for sure.


    • #5
      If you can keep the highs from piercing your ear drums. I like the JB, but in the wrong guitar it sounds ****************ty.

      <div class="signaturecontainer">................The <i>REAL</i> Brah<br />
      <br />
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      <b>Good trades/deals with:</b> Fusion1, SOLARPIMP, Lonnie99, twotimingpete, Tupelo Sun, moon shadow, Florbastang, shooter 123, Wolfboy1, almost enough, meowy, ntmo, lovellintn, fulcrumpoint, matt rhoades, kojdogg, cadfael, Daveydude, DaveAronow, Smithshred</div>

      Comment


      • billybilly
        billybilly commented
        Editing a comment

        Bro Blue wrote:
        If you can keep the highs from piercing your ear drums. I like the JB, but in the wrong guitar it sounds ****************ty.


        That's exactly what I don't like about them.  Mahogany or really warm wood only, in a strat they are deafening.

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