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I Don't Like Bridge Pickups - How 'bout You?

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by Grandy, Nov 30, 2017.

  1. Grandy

    Grandy Tele-Meister

    174
    Sep 18, 2010
    Finland
    I just realized I don't like any bridge pickups on any guitar. Tele bridge is the best but I rarely us it. On strats bridge pups are often thin. Putting in a hotter one helps a little. Bridge humbuckers aren't thin but they are "stiff" or "rigid", same goes for higher output single coils. For me bridge pickups are there to enable in-between positions which are my favorites.

    The only bridge pickup I like is on my Classic Vibe Duo-Sonic. It's a little farther away from the bridge and that's what makes middle and neck pickups sound so much nicer. There's a wider frequency range there and I think that what makes the sound a lot livelier.

    I can understand using a bridge humbucker for high gain sounds but since I usually don't do that I don't need those either.
     

  2. homesick345

    homesick345 Poster Extraordinaire

    Jan 20, 2012
    Beirut, Lebanon
    It's something we end-up liking further down the road. Takes time to master bridge pu playing. We all start on neck pu :), then we "get" it... There's a lot of beaty in clean bridge pu playing. A hell of a statement. And yes it takes mastery
     
    Obsessed, ftbtx, Chanan and 1 other person like this.

  3. chiefline

    chiefline Tele-Holic

    756
    Mar 18, 2014
    new jersey

  4. NWinther

    NWinther Tele-Holic

    Age:
    50
    723
    Jul 16, 2007
    Denmark Solbjerg.
    I have always liked the bridge pickups.....
    The neck is an everybodys sound.....too easy to use all the time.....
    Then again I spent alot of time using my fingers and picks all over the place, touch and how drive it or pick/pluck less and all that....

    Can even get a neck to sound spanky and snarly like the bridge!
    There is a lot of nice colours in both!
     

  5. raysachs

    raysachs Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

    Age:
    58
    708
    May 21, 2017
    Near Philly
    I almost never use a bridge pickup by itself. I use them in combination with other pickups pretty frequently, but not on its own. Back when I was playing with bands, I used it more because finding a place in the mix mattered, but on my old guy re-entry to playing, it just me jamming with myself (mostly with a looper) or one other guy and it’s easy to work out with the darker sounds. And, as an old guy I’m just a lot mellower in terms of what I play and the deeper sounds of the neck pickup (and center on my strat) just work better for me more of the time. Evolving away from the bridge pup also caused me to evolve away from teles, where the bridge is such a strength. Even on a strat, which I’ve been mostly playing for 40 years, I used to live in the 2 position and now I tend to spend way more time in the 4 and 5.

    I never used to like humbuckers either, BTW, and now I’m finding I love em on my semi-hollow body... it’s all related.

    -Ray
     
    Bob Mc and Chicago Matt like this.

  6. nic'o'caster

    nic'o'caster Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    Apr 10, 2004
    Middle Earth
    Tastes and colors !

    That said I was exactly like you the first 15 years of playing : bridge pup was just here for the middle position...

    As I became slowly a better player (playing in bands helped a lot !), I discovered that the easiest path to cut through the band was to to get there. And James Brown was right : take 'em to the bridge ! This became obvious when riffing or soloing with overdrive or fuzz, the only way to get rid of the mush was to go to the bridge pup.

    Incidentally that was also the exact time I understood why Leo had invented the tone knob ;)
     
    RyCo1983 likes this.

  7. littlebadboy

    littlebadboy Tele-Holic

    704
    Jun 25, 2016
    Midwest, USA
    Neck and bridge have their distinct characters. I use bridge to go wild (I have single sized humbucker) and neck when I want to be somewhat mellow. But each person has their own interpretation.
     

  8. guitarsgreat101

    guitarsgreat101 TDPRI Member

    Age:
    17
    5
    Oct 31, 2017
    Worcester, UK
    i recently built my own telecaster (First build) and i really did it because my strat wasnt giving me the twang i wanted.... i put in the tonerider hot classics and it sounds insane... great thick tone and it sounds great clean or distorted... perfect all round....
     

  9. Grandy

    Grandy Tele-Meister

    174
    Sep 18, 2010
    Finland
    I like it bright and clean and I set my amp so that the neck pickup is as dark (which is not very dark at all) as I ever want it because I can always cut the treble if there's too much of that. I'd rather have a too bright/thin bridge pickup than too dark sounding neck.
     
    guitarsgreat101 likes this.

  10. 3-Chord-Genius

    3-Chord-Genius Friend of Leo's

    Apr 3, 2015
    Winchester, VA
    Here's my take on bridge pickups: I use that position most, but they can be touchy. Strat pickups can sound thin, and as you've said, replacing them with a hotter overwound pickup helps to some degree, but I've found that whether they sound great or sound thin and shrill has more to do with the amp, with Top-Boost types being the worst. Humbuckers are the opposite; if there's a problem, it's usually with the pickup not the amp, with the main problem I encounter being that bad ones sound muddy.

    I should note that the best strat bridge pickup tones I've had were with high gain. It seems to knock down some of the shrillness.
     
    Chicago Matt likes this.

  11. MrCairo46

    MrCairo46 Friend of Leo's

    I looked at your post and tried to figure why you didn't like the sound, then realized you live much closer to the North Pole than most TDPRIers. I'll bet your pickup magnets need their south poles strengthened.
    ;-)
     

  12. Chicago Matt

    Chicago Matt Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    68
    Aug 23, 2014
    Woodstock
    Interesting to read everyone's take. What I've ended up with:

    On a Tele, I like the bridge alone sound very much for some things, usually in the rock or country genre. The Tele bridge sound is unique. But as a "bluesish" player I typically find myself on the neck 80% of the time and the middle position and bridge alone for the remainder.

    On a Strat, I never use the bridge alone unless it's for high gain with a mid boost of some kind or another. I use the neck the most, middle second, and then bridge and middle together.

    On a Gibson type lower-wind humbucker guitar, I use the bridge or middle position the most, and the tone controls on the guitar always end up at 10. I really don't like humbuckers with a higher wind count.

    The other thing I gravitate towards is setting the amp so it has plenty of treble. Then my sweet spot with the Tele is with it's tone control rolled off about 1/3 turn. There's more treble on tap should I want it, but I seldom do unless it's the neck only position.
     
    thegeezer likes this.

  13. HoogieHar

    HoogieHar TDPRI Member

    89
    Sep 26, 2013
    SE Oh
    Guitars have NECK pickups?

    Ok seriously -- thanks to my Strat, I know that. But other than my Strat, I <3 bridge.
     
    Zeonoid likes this.

  14. dkmw

    dkmw Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    Age:
    62
    Mar 30, 2016
    Florida USA
    Don't tell the guys who play Esquires and Juniors!
     
    Ira7, Zeonoid, krowbot and 5 others like this.

  15. thegeezer

    thegeezer Tele-Holic Gold Supporter

    Age:
    65
    658
    Jul 5, 2010
    West Michigan
    Ditto on all counts...I'm using a mid-prominent tweed amp which may contribute some to these settings but...yup.
     
    Chicago Matt likes this.

  16. ricardo1912

    ricardo1912 Tele-Afflicted

    Jul 26, 2011
    Kent, UK
    I tend to switch between neck and bridge pups as the song or the mood take me. They both have a lot to offer. But I vary my picking and am pretty lazy with controls and stuff - mostly play with the pups flat out and never fiddle with the tone knob.
     
    NashvilleDeluxe likes this.

  17. Strato50

    Strato50 Tele-Meister

    Age:
    50
    428
    Mar 30, 2017
    Port Arthur TX
    I went through this...three strat pups that sound good to me back there are...the GFS Grey Bottom vintage wound...the Robert Cray model...I think MIM...and the Fat 50...I use mine a lot and I use the tone control to dial it back some. Another thing a lot of players do is turn the treble down on your amp...I also wire all my Strats with a blender pot...so I can dial in a little neck to fatten it up and get that middle postion Tele tone if needed....good luck!
     
    3-Chord-Genius likes this.

  18. 985plowboy

    985plowboy Tele-Afflicted

    Feb 5, 2012
    South Louisiana
    It took years, but I have learned to like it.
    I started on strats and I couldn't stand bridge position. Still can't on a strat. It really was just there for in-between.
    Moved to a tele 16 years ago, started using bridge pickup AND played with the tone knob and now I use it a lot.
    Guitar I am actively keeping an eye out for is a Junior.
     
    Teleterr likes this.

  19. crossroader

    crossroader Tele-Afflicted Gold Supporter

    Age:
    61
    Sep 24, 2004
    Endicott, NY
    The secret to using the bridge pickup - on ANY guitar - can be summed up in 2 words.

    Tone control.
     

  20. 41144

    41144 Tele-Meister

    Age:
    64
    245
    Sep 5, 2017
    West Midlands, GB
    Regarding the OP ... isn't part of the answer here ... Use the tone control to (hey, here's a good idea) tone down the bridge pickup and/or use a 2 channel amp!

    On a Tele ... personally I leave bridge and neck pickups on full tone but use clean channel for the neck and gain channel (with hardly any gain and suitaby eq'd to taste) for the bridge.

    End of problem ;)
    (Btw - never had a single channel amp in my life ... but am now of an age where I'm curiously getting drawn towards a Princeton ... Curses!)
     
    t guitar floyd likes this.

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