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  • How do you measure the output of pickups

    I see pickups being listed at 8k ,7.6k, etc how would you meaure this?
    Nobody goes there anymore, it's too crowded-Yogi Berra

  • #2
    I see pickups being listed at 8k ,7.6k, etc how would you meaure this?


    Get yourself a digital VOM, set it to 20K connect it to each of the wires or the jack on your guitar with a short chord with the volume on 10. Read the meter, done.
    The biggest obstacle to your success is you.

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    • #3
      pickups aren't rated for output, rather, they are typically rated for their winding's resistance (resistance generally varies with output, but output isn't dependent upon resistance). if you want to measure that, you can do it easily with a DMM.

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      • #4
        pickups aren't rated for output, rather, they are typically rated for their winding's resistance (resistance generally varies with output, but output isn't dependent upon resistance). if you want to measure that, you can do it easily with a DMM.


        Thats true, output would be measured in mv, and would vary depending on it's adjusted height, strings, magnet strength and a few other factors. I think he just wanted to know how to measure resistance.
        The biggest obstacle to your success is you.

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        • #5
          Get yourself a digital VOM, set it to 20K connect it to each of the wires or the jack on your guitar with a short chord with the volume on 10. Read the meter, done.


          so basicly i take the ends of the multimeter and connect them to the ends of a cable?
          Nobody goes there anymore, it's too crowded-Yogi Berra

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          • #6
            so basicly i take the ends of the multimeter and connect them to the ends of a cable?

            Yeah. That will give you the resistance. You set it to ohms. The higher the resistance the more the output. Usually anyway. But not always. It can sometimes tell you whether a pickup will be bright or dark. But then again this isn't always true.

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            • #7
              Yeah. That will give you the resistance. You set it to ohms. The higher the resistance the more the output. Usually anyway. But not always. It can sometimes tell you whether a pickup will be bright or dark. But then again this isn't always true.



              well im just curious what the neck pickup in my sheraton is like> When i broke my stock pup doin the peter green mod, the local M&P was nice enough to give me a random pup they had laying around, and it sounds pretty good, though a bit crunchy, so im curious about the output
              Nobody goes there anymore, it's too crowded-Yogi Berra

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              • #8
                I just used this method to measure the pickups in my 2004 MIM Strat. The parts list has the bridge and neck as the same part number and the middle is a different part number.

                I got..


                • Neck 6.89K
                • Middle 6.93K
                • Bridge 6.85K


                I think they would all round out to 6.9K. So, the middle must be a RW/RP being a different part number?

                I can't find any similar resistance sets of PUs. So, I'm wondering, does the pot and cap introduce any resistance measuring the wound resistance of a pickup through the guitar cable this way in circuit?

                FYI, if it matters, I have upgraded the 2004 MIM Strat pots and cap. I went from a .022 to a .047 cap too when I swapped them out.

                Thanks for the heads up and a cool thread.
                Yamaha FGX720SCA
                Fender Stratocaster
                Mesa Express 5:25
                Roland Micro Cube
                Bikers and Bands
                For entertainment purposes only.

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                • #9
                  Yeah. That will give you the resistance. You set it to ohms. The higher the resistance the more the output. Usually anyway. But not always. It can sometimes tell you whether a pickup will be bright or dark. But then again this isn't always true.



                  So the use of the resistance numbers by almost all the pickup makers... this is pseudo science... used by marketing people to trick people?

                  Cool.

                  M
                  Check out my music if you like:
                  michaelsaulnier.com

                  There's LOTS of crazy stuff there!

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                  • #10
                    This is another one of those useless manufacturing buzzwords that means absolutely nothing. Measuring the DC resistance will tell you near nothing about a pickups output is or the tone of it.

                    Bill Lawrence (who has been making pickups since the beginning) basically said that the DC resistance tells you about as much about a pickup as the shoe size of the guy winding it does.

                    Not trying to be condescending, but I hate when misinformation becomes the standard.
                    AxeFXII with these: Axis | BMG RS | Strat |N4| LP Classic | SG Classic | Sheraton | Tele

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                    • #11
                      Oh well, I had fun with the DMM at least.

                      I was curious. But, I didn't learn anything? Damn!
                      Yamaha FGX720SCA
                      Fender Stratocaster
                      Mesa Express 5:25
                      Roland Micro Cube
                      Bikers and Bands
                      For entertainment purposes only.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        So the use of the resistance numbers by almost all the pickup makers... this is pseudo science... used by marketing people to trick people?

                        No. Not at all. There's so many variables. There's magnet strengths. Number of magnets. Some pickups have one magnet, others have three or more. There's the diameter of the wire used. Number of turns of wire. I find the resistance is an important specification to consider when choosing a pickup. For example a higher resistance pickup will tend to be bassier sounding because higher resistances tend to impede trebles. Another example, a DiMarzio super distortion has a resistance of 13.68K and a PAF will have a resistance of about 8.6K. Which one has the most output? But there's more going on than just the resistance. The super distortion also has a powerful ceramic magnet. Whereas the PAF has an alnico magnet. So there's all kinds of things at work.

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                        • #13
                          This is another one of those useless manufacturing buzzwords that means absolutely nothing. Measuring the DC resistance will tell you near nothing about a pickups output is or the tone of it.

                          Bill Lawrence (who has been making pickups since the beginning) basically said that the DC resistance tells you about as much about a pickup as the shoe size of the guy winding it does.

                          Not trying to be condescending, but I hate when misinformation becomes the standard.


                          But it helps manufactures to make more consistent pickups. After they know what magnets to use, what gauge of wire to use, etc., they can then put the proper amount of wire on the bobbins. And then trim it to the desired resistance of that particular pickup and they're done. Some pickup makers like to count the turns. But most believe that it is the resistance that is the best way to measure the amount of wire to use. Making pickups is sort of like following a recipe. For example the more two coils resemble each other in a humbucking pickup the quieter that pickup will be.

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                          • #14
                            so basicly i take the ends of the multimeter and connect them to the ends of a cable?


                            Well, no, you have to isolate the pickup leads. You can't have them in the circuit with the Volume/Tone pots, etc.

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                            • #15
                              So the use of the resistance numbers by almost all the pickup makers... this is pseudo science... used by marketing people to trick people?

                              Cool.

                              M


                              Correct.

                              All it measures is the resistance of the coil. It totally disregards the magnet strength and size. It also changes depending on the wire gauge used for the coil. The numbers are practically useless unless comparing very similar pickups. That's why you can easily find pickups with a resistance of 10K ohms that are higher output than ones measuring 30K ohms.

                              A pickups true output is in votlage, but there is no industry standard to measure voltage, the few companies who supply voltage information can't be compared and contrasted with each other because they all measure it differently.

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