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  1. #1

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    So I recently traded for a Telecaster that has a humbucker in the bridge and I wanted to change it out to a single coil. I started to look up how much stuff costed (I need to replace the bridge for the single) and was instantly realized I don't know how I even go about picking out a pickup. Like how do you guys even side that you want one pickup over others? Do I watch videos on YouTube or something to find out if I want that sound? Is that the logical thing to do in this situation? LOL

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  3. #2

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    1. Yes, listen to the different pickups on You Tube.
    2. Seymour Duncan has an excellent "Comparison Audio" for their pickups: www.seymourduncan.com/comparison-audio; there are others
    3. But ultimately, you need to try the ones you initially like by installing in YOUR guitar. It's easy.
    4. And since we all do #3 probably WAY TOO OFTEN, there exists a plethora of used pickups available, so no need to pay bust-out retail

  4. #3

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    In the end, it’s just trial and error......
    Jazz, Funk, Soul & Boogaloo: My group | Listen to Hip Jazz a Go Go! | Jazz, Soul, Blues: Eva La Voix

  5. #4

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    Most yotube videos or sample recordings tell you nothing about the rest of the circuit on the guitar played, the pickup heights, string type and gauge, the type of pick (if not fingerstyle) they usually only tell you what the guitar is. These factors make a huge difference in the final sound we have not even ventured downstream to the amp yet. Your best bet is to pick based on approximate output and build quality and price and adjust all of the above parameters to taste.
    -----------------------------------

    "The instrument keeps me humble. Sometimes I pick it up and it seems to say, "No, you can't play today." I keep at it anyway, though." Jim Hall

  6. #5

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    I agree with Medblues. The pickup is not close to the dominant factor in your ultimate sound.

    Think about some of the classic giants of jazz. Take Barney Kessel for example. Listen to him use a Charlie Christian and compare it to his humbucker sound. Which sound do you find objectionable or inferior? Both are amazing.





    Pickups are a bit of hassle to change out, so that's the last thing I consider.

    Here are three old school players with three different single coil pickups. They all seem happy.

    MG

  7. #6

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    To my ear, single coils sound different from humbuckers, on average. Noting of course, that humbuckers can be coil-split, which confuses the issue a bit. Also, some guys can get single coils to sound pretty thick.

    So, for me, the first decision is whether you prefer the sound of single coil to a HB. If the answer is yes, then there are a couple of single coil types to choose among -- Fender (strat or tele), Gibson (CC, P90), D'Armond classic floaters and some others I'm not thinking of.

    Among HB's they don't all sound the same, but they all sound kind of close after I've adjusted the setup and amp. I like Gibson 57 reissues and I didn't like the Super Distortion HB -- which leaves most of the market unaddressed.

    If you aren't sure, I'd suggest going to the store and trying out a Les Paul with P90s and a Les Paul with humbuckers. They sound nothing alike.

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by ericlanser View Post
    So I recently traded for a Telecaster that has a humbucker in the bridge and I wanted to change it out to a single coil. I started to look up how much stuff costed (I need to replace the bridge for the single) and was instantly realized I don't know how I even go about picking out a pickup. Like how do you guys even side that you want one pickup over others? Do I watch videos on YouTube or something to find out if I want that sound? Is that the logical thing to do in this situation? LOL
    And I thought guys here didn't use the bridge pups on their Teles!
    Build bridges, not walls.

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by BigDaddyLoveHandles View Post
    And I thought guys here didn't use the bridge pups on their Teles!
    I've made a hell of a lot more $ with that bridge pup than the neck, for sure
    Jeff Matz, Jazz Guitar:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/jeffreymatz

    "Jazz is like life...it goes on longer than you think, and as soon as you're like 'oh, I get it,' it ends."

    --The Ghost of Duke Ellington

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by ericlanser View Post
    So I recently traded for a Telecaster that has a humbucker in the bridge and I wanted to change it out to a single coil. I started to look up how much stuff costed (I need to replace the bridge for the single) and was instantly realized I don't know how I even go about picking out a pickup. Like how do you guys even side that you want one pickup over others? Do I watch videos on YouTube or something to find out if I want that sound? Is that the logical thing to do in this situation? LOL
    A lot of pickup builders will listen you what you are looking for in tone and make recommendations based upon that. Thanks the reason I went with Pete Biltoft at Vintage Vibe Guitars. I know Jason Lollar does that too. Might be worth the time for a phone call or email conversation.
    Redeemed, Husband, Father, Veteran. Thankful for all four!

    I play a customized Godin 5th Avenue, Córdoba GK Studio, and a Hamer Korina. I also play a Kala uBass on occasion

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Little Jay View Post
    In the end, it’s just trial and error......
    I agree.

  12. #11

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    Alnico 2, lightly wax-potted and be there.

  13. #12

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    At the risk of sounding glib, I'd say the best way to chose a pickup is to know yourself. By that, I mean know your own ear, your own playing, your own relationship with the tactile and kinesthetic aspects of your instrument and know your own sense of your music. OK, none of this has to do with pickups, right? It just lets you know what's missing from your guitar when you're searching for your sound.
    Any recommendation is based on someone who's found their sound and is passing on the answers they've found.
    I play a pickup that a lot of people say is harsh and brittle when they play them, but it fits the needs I have for the strings I need to play the music I hear on the instrument I chose. And yeah, it was trial and error. It became clearer to me, the more I knew what came between myself and the music.
    Best of luck finding your sound
    David

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jabberwocky View Post
    Alnico 2, lightly wax-potted and be there.
    This is certainly my own preference. But the below post is still the right answer. That said, done you've already said you didn't know a lot about the process, I still HIGHLY RECOMMEND talking to a pickup maker and getting the best advice died for how YOU play YOUR guitar.

    Quote Originally Posted by TruthHertz View Post
    At the risk of sounding glib, I'd say the best way to chose a pickup is to know yourself. By that, I mean know your own ear, your own playing, your own relationship with the tactile and kinesthetic aspects of your instrument and know your own sense of your music. OK, none of this has to do with pickups, right? It just lets you know what's missing from your guitar when you're searching for your sound.
    Any recommendation is based on someone who's found their sound and is passing on the answers they've found.
    I play a pickup that a lot of people say is harsh and brittle when they play them, but it fits the needs I have for the strings I need to play the music I hear on the instrument I chose. And yeah, it was trial and error. It became clearer to me, the more I knew what came between myself and the music.
    Best of luck finding your sound
    David
    Redeemed, Husband, Father, Veteran. Thankful for all four!

    I play a customized Godin 5th Avenue, Córdoba GK Studio, and a Hamer Korina. I also play a Kala uBass on occasion