humbucking

This month we’re going to examine what you can do to tweak your pickups for their optimal performance

 Welcome back everyone. This month we’re going to examine what you can do to tweak your pickups for their optimal performance (that is, according to how you want them to sound). One of the very first things you will be faced with – as usual – is considering what type of sound you’re aiming for.

Pickup Covers
For example, if you want a classic “vintage tone” from a humbucking pickup, you might consider leaving the stock covers on. Yes, the covers make a huge difference in what comes out of the amplifier!

If you have already taken them off, you may have noticed that the pickups sound more aggressive this way. This is perfectly okay, if that’s what you are shooting for. Those metal (nickel or chrome-plated brass) pickup covers affect the pickup by yielding a more “flat response,” for lack of a better term. That said, please keep in mind that real nickel covers sound more “PAF-like” than the latter chrome-plated brass covers do. Chrome-plated brass (or just brass itself) tends to be a bit brighter sounding in timbre – so you will have compensate for that in other ways (which we’ll get to shortly). For the record, I really love the sound of nickel covers. That is indeed an important component of that old sound.

Pickup Adjustments
Now, one of the major tricks here is getting the polepieces adjusted properly. Do you want that “vintage” sound? In this case, it’s best to start with the base of each of the six polepiece screws adjusted flush with the pickup cover. Remember that if you raise any one of the polepiece screws ever so slightly (even an eighth of a turn, for example), it will have an effect on the treble frequencies, pushing them into the “front” of your guitar’s tone. Tonal balance from string to string is critical, so be aware that if one polepiece is raised, you will have to raise the others to get a nice, even balance and great string to string separation, which helps chords to sound better and makes lead lines much more distinct and clear.

Do you Want the "vintage" sound?  In this case, it''s best to start with the base of each of the size polepiece screws adjusted flush with the pickup cover

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