Pickups... what's what and what for...

Author: Raul-Alvarez  Date Posted:1 March 2013 

Greetings all,

It’s time to read up on the heart and soul of all guitars... the pickups. This is topic that I am most passionate about. I have tried almost all of them over my 20 years in the industry, so here is some info to get you started on your pickup journey and how you can improve the guitar to currently own.

Single Coil Pickup
Single Coil Pickup

The Single coil.

They come in various styles, sizes and output.  At Artist Guitars they come on all of our ST & TC styled guitars. These single coils are great for a variety of cleans sounds, from blues, funk, country and right through vintage and modern rock. Our pickups are Wilkinson single coils, with alnico magnets and have the standard single coil 'hum'.


The Humbucker.

These are more varied in different types than any other guitar pickup in existence. With our guitars they are found on some of our ST styled guitars, our AG guitars, SG, LP and FLY guitars. Humbuckers are TWO single coil pickups wired together in series and out of phase so that that the two coils cancel the 60cycle hum common to single coils, hence the name given to them by their inventor Seth Lover back at the Gibson factory in 1957, the 'Hum-bucker'.
Humbucker Pickup
Humbucker Pickup
Humbuckers have a fuller, more mid range sound than their single coil counter parts, plus with the 0 amount of hum, they are perfect for playing over driven and distorted guitar, regardless of style, whether your Jazz-fusion, Rock, Blues or Heavy Metal.

Neck humbuckers (the pickup next the fret board) are lower in output due to the excessive string vibration in that area of the guitar, and most of the time that have an ALNICO 2, 4 or 5 magnet, and generally have a DC resistance of approximately 7-8 Ohms - which is pretty much what the original PAF's from the 1950's were. This all means that they have a great sweet throaty/fluty tone for solo's and a very nice round sound for clean/jazz.

Bridge Humbuckers (next to the bridge) come in many different types of configurations, different coil wire gauges, different magnets and differing pole piece/blade styles: On our guitars they are all Alnico 5 magnets with a DC resistance of approximately 11-13 Ohms, and have the traditional PAF pole piece design. This gives them greater output than the neck pickups and means they have a good drive and kick needed for Lead Solo's, rock and Heavy Metal. They do clean up nicely too.

Our Bridge Humbuckers have a very 70's classic Humbucker sound which have a nice crunchy mid range with a solid pick attack for those palm muted heavy metal rhythms, without the harshness that some ceramic magnet humbuckers out there on the market have.

They are quality pickups and are great for starting you on the journey of TONE!

If you have any pickup related questions in regards to the style of music you play, or type of amp/Guitar you have, please contact us. And please feel free to ask for me, Raul, as I'm the pickup nut at Artist Guitars and know practically all there is to know about Pickups!!!


Thanks for reading this blog! to give you even more great content, check out our pages. 

I hope this article has helped. if you need any assistance please email:

sales@artistguitars.co.nz or call us on 0800 025 467


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