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How much of a guitar's dynamics come from the pickups?

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by nixpix, Sep 26, 2013.

  1. Gnobuddy

    Gnobuddy Friend of Leo's

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    Exactly. And this is called "equalization", not compression! :D

    It's amazing how one $35 Danelectro Fish-n-Chips EQ pedal in line between your guitar and the rest of your electronics can be more versatile than hundreds of dollars worth of pickup swaps. Changing the EQ changes the sound of the pickup.

    You can do it the hard and expensive way with different magnets and coils, or the easy, cheap, and convenient way with a good EQ pedal.

    You can do it even more effectively by doing some mods inside your guitar, such as replacing the tone control with a set of different capacitors you can switch in at will, but I can understand why most guitar players won't want to deal with that.

    -Gnobuddy
     
  2. Gnobuddy

    Gnobuddy Friend of Leo's

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    I agree with everything you've said, except I would use the word "weaker" where you used the word stronger, since the field falls away as you get further from the pole piece end.

    However, let's play devils advocate: if this effect exists, it will show up equally strongly when you bend a note by pushing the string sideways. And I don't hear a lot of guitar players complaining that their pickup is causing their playing dynamics to be expanded or compressed every time they bend a note. :D

    I think these little fads come and go. One year it's brass nuts, another it's "roasted" or "baked" fretboards, then its "compressing" pickups. They're all just fashions, like rising and falling hemlines over the years!

    -Gnobuddy
     
  3. Tele-phone man

    Tele-phone man Tele-Afflicted

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    Actually, note drop off when bending between poles is a real phenomenon, and with some pickups, it's a very real and frustrating issue. For a brief time, many years ago, I had a set of Lace Holy Grails. The polepiece spacing didn't match my guitar, and my "E" strings were noticeably weaker than the others. Additionally, the pickup had DRAMATIC loss of volume if I bent a note into the space between pole pieces. In fact, this was the primary reason I sold the pickups and moved on to something else. So, yeah, I think that such an affect adds weight to my argument.

    I'm just trying to account for the effect that Craig Anderton observed and recorded with his guitar and some very precise equipment.
     
  4. Gnobuddy

    Gnobuddy Friend of Leo's

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    Sure, I know that's why we have designs with "rail" pole pieces and so on. Presumably this problem is very much dependent on playing style, though Clapton seems to routinely bend up three half-notes without needing unusually wide pole pieces in his pickups.
    Sounds interesting, got any more info on that? Did I miss something you posted earlier?

    -Gnobuddy
     
  5. Tele-phone man

    Tele-phone man Tele-Afflicted

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    GP, October issue (Yngwie on the cover), p. 138, "Pickups and sustain." His basic thrust is that pickup distance to strings affects the ratio of the initial attack to the sustained portion of the note.
     
  6. dporto

    dporto Tele-Meister

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    "I must say that I LOVE the dynamics of Fender style guitars. In particular my Tele is very dynamic - more so than my P90 set neck guitar. On it the notes come out fast and clear, and varying my picking strength yields varying levels of volume and overdrive."

    IMO - Guitars don't have "dynamics" of their own. They have a dynamic response and/or dynamic range to the input of the person playing the guitar. You may see this as splitting hairs or semantics, but I believe this explains the difference in sound of the same guitar in the hands of two different players.
     
  7. Gnobuddy

    Gnobuddy Friend of Leo's

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    Makes sense, the magnetic field from each pole piece also spreads out (becomes wider) as you get further from it.

    Since good guitar amps are famous for not accurately reproducing transients, and most popular amps also compress dynamics (that's why they give us sustain) I remain dubious about how audible any of this is through an actual guitar amp, though.

    Poor Yngwie. I've rarely seen a musician so badly stuck in one place for so many years. He put everything into picking speed, and painted himself into the tightest corner I've ever seen, and he's probably never going to come out of it because his whole identity is wrapped up in it.

    -Gnobuddy
     
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