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Saturday, January 12, 2013

SINGLE COIL PICKUPS! PART 2/2 (a guide for dummies)



CLICK HERE FOR THE PART 1/2 OF THIS TUTORIAL!

According to the bridge of the particular guitar, strings may have a different distance between them, thus the pickups have to set the polepieces at a certain distance between them in order to intercept the vibration at best.
Here are the most common strings spacings: when choosing a pickup take notice of your guitar's bridge or you will degrade the overall sound of your guitar:


Guitar type                                                                             1st-to-6th string distance
                  
Standard spacing
(Vintage Gibson guitars)                                                                       48 mm
                                                                   
F-spacing
(Most Fender guitars, modern Gibson, Floyd Rose bridges)            51 mm
                                                                                                         
Very close to bridge, extra pickup                                                        52.3 mm
(Roland guitar synth hex pickups)

Fender Telecaster spacing                                                                     55 mm

Steinberger Spirit GT-Pro spacing                                                          60 mm
                                                                                                                                             

The three most famous types of Single Coil Pickups are: the Gibson P90, the Telecaster Single Coil and the Stratocaster Single Coil:

Gibson P90: the most famous Gibson single coil pickup, born in the '50s, features a traditional "Soapbar" shape,  alnico bar magnets lying under the coil bobbin and two screws to adjust the distance from the strings (the closer the pickup is to the string, the more vibrations it will catch).
The result is a snappy sound typical of the single coil pickup, but with some hum problem, that over time led Gibson to focus its production mainly on Humbucker pickups.
Today, anyway, there are still many manufacturers that produces P90 pickups with hum cancelling technology, so that it's possible to achieve this typical sound without hum.

Telecaster single coils: The Fender Telecaster features two single coils: the neck one produces a mellower sound, while the bridge pickup produces an extremely twangy, sharp tone with exaggerated treble response, because the bridge pickup is mounted on a steel plate (commonly known as "Ashtray"), which gives the tone a particularly metallic character. These design elements allow musicians to emulate steel guitar sounds, making it particularly appropriate for country music, and, lately, alternative rock.

Stratocaster single coils: The Fender Stratocaster is a guitar in production by more than 50 years, and through its long life it featured any kind of pickup in the market, yet if we refer to the Stratocaster set, we think of three single coils with magnet poles of different heights to compensate the different outputs of the strings, and a 5 ways pickup selector.
The particularity of this selector is that it lets the player to choose one of the three pickups or a combination between two of them (but the output will be the one of the lowest output of the two pickups), and this helps achieving a very wide range of tones.
It's typical for a guitar player to switch often between pickups while playing, according to the tone needed, and this is typical when using Single Coil pickups, more than with Humbuckers.
The masters of the classic Stratocaster sound, among the thousands of guitar player that used these pickups, are Jimi Hendrix, Marc Knopfler, David Gilmour, The Edge and Eric Clapton.

Bass pickups are very similiar to the guitar ones and shares the same problems (in some case, such as the original Fender Musicmaster, there was no difference between the guitar and bass pickups. They were exactly the same part), and a characteristic of some model is to feature oversized polepieces, on both Single coils and Humbucker, such as in the Music Man basses.

CLICK HERE FOR THE PART 1/2 OF THIS TUTORIAL!

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