How to Buy Pickups

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How to Buy Pickups

Postby Sniper1 » Mon Jul 03, 2006 7:53 am

Want to buy great sounding pickups?heres how,the trend about guitars seems to be a lot of people on the guitar forums are asking what are the best pickups for their guitar because the ones they have sound chitty,even the guy that bought a new guitar wants his stock pickups replaced.seems the stock pickups are all crappy,NOT SO! the fault of a bad sounding guitar may lie in the wiring,pots,caps and switches or even a bad setup.Some people a willing to shuck out a couple of hundred bucks for high end pickups only to find out that the high end pickups sound worse that the stock ones did.Where do all these so called crappy stock pickups end up? Why on eBay and traded in the local music shops.At 10 or 20 bucks a set I buy all I can get.I got a set of Fender custom texas specials loaded on a guard for 18+ship,Seems someone installed them in an Affinity so the guy I bought them from thought they were EL Cheapos,there are a lot of great stock pickups to be had cheap.
If your guitar sounds like crap,check it over before you trash the stock pickups
you might be surprised that its just a chitty 2 dollar capasitor that makes it sound crappy.
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Postby ricochet » Mon Jul 03, 2006 12:30 pm

You're exactly right. Buying a new guitar and immediately trading pickups is one of the stupidest things you can do. The pickups aren't the most important thing in the signal change by a long shot. And people usually have no idea what effect the pickups do have on the tone, or what they want to change. They just read on some forum, "DeExpensivo Super Extortions are DA BOMB, dude!" That's all it takes.

"A fool and his money are soon parted."

"There's a sucker born every minute."
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Postby 1four5 » Mon Jul 03, 2006 1:03 pm

or even a bad setup


Being relitively new to electrifying a couple of my instruments...quite amazing the difference the simple height adjustment can make.
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Postby blues power » Tue Jul 04, 2006 1:45 am

I never really liked the BB's on my 02 LP so instead of chaning pups, I saved myself a bundle just by replacing the $2.00 caps.

so for $4.00 to tonally shaped the guitar and how the tone pot reacts in the 4-8 range. now im happy with the way the tone rolls on and off.
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Postby ricochet » Tue Jul 04, 2006 7:34 pm

You've discovered one of the things that makes a lot more difference to the tone than the pickups. Isn't it nice that it's so much cheaper, too? :lol:
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Postby kennyp52 » Wed Jul 05, 2006 3:36 am

I was going to post on just that subject. It's uncanny how u were reading my mind...lol. I was looking at 2 different strats, online (musicians friend and others). One was the SRV signature model at about $1300.00 and the other was a deluxe model for $589.00.the biggest difference was the pups and tuning heads between the two. So i was thinking of buying the deluxe and put the SRV pups on itfor an extra $130.00. But maybe all i would need would be to tweak the cheaper stock pups on the deluxe strat.
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Postby ricochet » Wed Jul 05, 2006 3:42 am

You might be happy with 'em just as they are. Actually, there are no crappy pickups. Just different electrical and magnetic characteristics. No magic. No mojo. Just find an output level, bandwidth, peak response frequency and height that you're happy with and you've got it nailed.

They're very simple devices. Electrical generators with a band pass filter and resistance in series.

Pickup makers aren't going to make it simple for you to determine their true electrical characteristics, though. They give you bits and pieces of the info.
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Postby leftyguitarman » Wed Jul 05, 2006 7:07 am

The pots on my LP are kinda crappy, and when I switch to Treble mode, the neck pup sounds twangy. Cleaning em out (the pots) and such could change that?
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Postby blues power » Wed Jul 05, 2006 3:42 pm

if you want that SRV bark then your hearing or liking a pup thats mid heavy. instead of buying pups try the stock ones for a few weeks.
then if you still want more mids you can tweak them with an EQ pedal. The GE-7's are all over ebay for about $35.

I took that route instead of buying the SRV set. Besides imho the only the middle and neck pup are worth anything. the bridge is too over treblely and bitey unless you can wire it to a tone pot.

so there are many cheaper options that you can try b4 you go run out and spend unnecessary $$$$
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Postby jellyroll baker » Thu Jul 06, 2006 2:36 am

ricochet wrote:You might be happy with 'em just as they are. Actually, there are no crappy pickups. Just different electrical and magnetic characteristics. No magic. No mojo. Just find an output level, bandwidth, peak response frequency and height that you're happy with and you've got it nailed.


I have a sneaking suspician that a lot of the changes in tone that people report from switching pickup actually comes from adjusting their stirng height during the process rather then the new hardware.
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Postby ricochet » Thu Jul 06, 2006 2:52 am

Bet you're right.
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Postby Sniper1 » Fri Jul 07, 2006 2:19 pm

leftyguitarman wrote:The pots on my LP are kinda crappy, and when I switch to Treble mode, the neck pup sounds twangy. Cleaning em out (the pots) and such could change that?


Remove the access covers on you LP and have a close look at the electronics
setup,ie wiring,caps, and connections,You have to remember that most guitars come off an assembly line(mass produced) they are not handmade one by one,company quality control varies from maker to maker,So no matter what company made your guitar it would be to your benefit to check it over right out of the box,as for used guitars ths same applies even more so,the local music shops do not tear into every guitar that comes through the door,mostly they just wipe it down, tune it up and hang it on the wall with a price tag.New or used check it out.Its your money.
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Postby bek1 » Fri Jul 07, 2006 10:11 pm

I'm had two US-made Strats and just never could live with them (weak, unappealing tone). Won a Squier Strat Bullet (hardtail) in a raffle and it's the best of the three. You could buy one anywhere for no more than $100, new. All I did was put in a Deaf-Eddie Fat-O-Caster switch, do the master-tone conversion and get it carefully set up. It's a tone monster, and I turn to it just about as much as another guitar with two Van Zandts and an FAS in it. I was recently playing my Epiphone LP copy, dead stock, pretty much common as dirt; I just loved it. I have a Hamer Archtop Studio that's supposedly 10 times the guitar, but there is nothing wrong with the Epiphone. Maybe I just get lucky, but mostly I just change the strings and adjust pickup heights and intonation.
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Postby sweetness » Fri Jul 07, 2006 11:57 pm

I've got a Squier Affinity Fat Strat. While I didn't mind the stock pickups, I decided to buy a wired pickguard off ebay that used to be in an 87 Japanese Squier. I had my tech guy swap them, and I really love the sound of these new ones. They sound a lot quackier and glassier. Strat players know what I'm talking about!

It was a bit of a crapshoot, but I'd read a lot about the Japanese Squiers from the 80's, so I rolled the dice. Lucky for me, I guess I came up 7's!

I admit I was pretty nervous when I played it the first time after the switch, since we had to drill new holes and everything. But it's all good!

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Postby straightblues » Sat Jul 08, 2006 4:30 am

Use whatever works for you. Just because it is cheap or expensive doesn't make a lot of difference just as long as it sounds good. I have some very cheap pickups that I love and I have a $300 set of humbuckers that I love. I just seek out the best pickup for my ears for each guitar I own. I read a lot of stuff but in the end I trust my ears. When buying pickups, I try to buy them used so if they don't work out, and many times they don't, I will be able to get rid of them without losing much if any money.
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