Guitar pickups make a perfect gift for the guitarist in your life. These seemingly small items actually have an immense impact in the overall quality of the sound coming out of any electric guitar. While the mechanics of how a pickup works may be difficult for some people to grasp, their overall importance is easy to understand when you learn a little about them.
An electric guitar essentially uses electromagnetism to produce sound. While that may sound very complicated, it really isn’t. When the guitar is plugged into an amplifier, an electrical current passes through any pickup that is on the guitar. The metal nodes on top of the pickup conducts a very small amount of electricity to the string directly over it, creating a magnetic field. When the strings are plucked, the waves of sound are translated into electronic waves that are then expressed by the amplifier.
Different Types of Pickups
There are two major types of pickups that are commonly used by musicians today. First is the single coil, which is basically six magnets with several thousand turns of copper wrapped around them. The second major type is known as a humbucker, which is essentially two single coils put together side by side.
Single coils are known to provide a much cleaner, unobstructed sound than humbuckers. This bright tonality is why they are commonly used on Telecaster and Stratocaster guitars playing jazz, blues, folk, or alternative rock.
Humbuckers produce a heavier, crunchier sound due to their higher output. This is why they are most commonly used for music that requires more driving rhythm. The sound on humbuckers is also much more forgiving than with single coils, allowing the player to get away with a few more mistakes.
Why They Matter
Some single coils are known for producing a cleaner, brighter sound. Others are known for producing a warmer, harmonic tone. Different playing styles often call for one type of sound over another. When a musician has access to a pickup that more accurately expresses his or her musical style, it’s no small gift.
Popular Models Single Coil The DiMarzio DP415 has a great, bright sound. The Seymour Duncan STK-S9 has a warm, jazzy sound. The Seymour Duncan Little 59er provides great sound with quality noise canceling. The Seymour Duncan SHR-1 provides the benefits of a humbucker at the size of a single coil.
September 27, 2012 – 8:54 PM - | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Why Guitar Pickups Make Great Gifts