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do you think there are advantages to single pickup guitars?

 
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JakeJew



Joined: 30 Jul 2005
Posts: 2190
Location: Boston, MA

PostPosted: Tue Mar 09, 2010 2:17 pm    Post subject: do you think there are advantages to single pickup guitars? Reply with quote

I've heard some things here and there about the advantages, but I don't know what to take with a grain of salt. What do you think? What's the real deal?

Besides the obvious bright/dark tone difference, is there anything more significant about having only a bridge pup vs only a neck pup?

Same question goes for a minimal control-knob situation, like having just a tone and a volume or even just one volume in total, rather than 3 or 4 pots like on a typical 2 or 3 pup guitar. I've heard something to the effect of "less wiring = more tone."
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stratocasturbator



Joined: 17 Jan 2007
Posts: 286
Location: South Orange, NJ

PostPosted: Tue Mar 09, 2010 2:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I once bought a two-pickup archtop-type guitar and found that the bridge pickup tone didn't really thrill me, even after trying a replacement. so I ripped out the pickup and mount, removed the volume & tone pots and associated wiring, and now play it as is. I think the reduced weight on the top, along with the gaping pickup hole, produces a slightly livelier acoustic tone, which probably translates to the overall attack. but by and large, I think people make too much of these sorts of questions. the guitar doesn't sound radically different, but I do like the simpler control set for improvising. the less I have to think about, the easier it is to just let go and focus on the music. Cool
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JakeJew



Joined: 30 Jul 2005
Posts: 2190
Location: Boston, MA

PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2010 2:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

lgiro wrote:
i've always taken this as a "the tone we are looking for with jazz guitar isn't found back there so why bother?" argument.

yet clearly some people are looking for the tone "back there".

so i guess that it depends on the sound that you're looking for.


I guess a more apt way to ask my question would be:

If we took a two pickup guitar, set on the neck position pup, did a recording with some high quality gear, and then took out the bridge pickup (and all the wiring connected to the bridge pup) and recorded it again do you think there would be a notable difference in tone?

And I guess the same question holds the other way around (bridge pickup with or without a neck pickup) but that's less relevant for the tone I'm personally going for.

(edit: I realize SB basically did this and stated his opinion on it, but this being a forum and all I'm interested in multiple opinions)
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JakeJew



Joined: 30 Jul 2005
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Location: Boston, MA

PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2010 2:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

And actually an additional question I have is this:

Say there's a guitar with a crappy bridge pickup and a nice aftermarket neck pickup. Will the quality of the bridge pickup at all affect the tone from the guitar when the switch is set on the neck pickup?
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randyc



Joined: 14 Sep 2006
Posts: 407
Location: Eureka, CA

PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2010 3:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is what I believe to be the differences in the two configurations (backed up by my checkbook records), LOL Smile

The neck pickup has a relatively small effect on top resonance because it is located in an area of the guitar that vibrates almost negligibly (although not as negligibly as the tailpiece end of the top).

The bridge pickup is located at the nexus of the vibrating top (very nearly); the most sensitive area. The neck pickup both dampens and modifies the resonant frequency of the top. Neither of those effects is a good one, IMO.

The sound - accoustic or amplified - between single pickup (neck) guitars and dual pickup instruments with only the neck pickup selected is pronounced. It's especially different accoustically, however.

cheers,
randyc
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sunflower



Joined: 09 Mar 2007
Posts: 581

PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2010 8:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

JakeJew wrote:
And actually an additional question I have is this:

Say there's a guitar with a crappy bridge pickup and a nice aftermarket neck pickup. Will the quality of the bridge pickup at all affect the tone from the guitar when the switch is set on the neck pickup?


no
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sunflower



Joined: 09 Mar 2007
Posts: 581

PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2010 9:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
If we took a two pickup guitar, set on the neck position pup, did a recording with some high quality gear, and then took out the bridge pickup (and all the wiring connected to the bridge pup) and recorded it again do you think there would be a notable difference in tone?


Possibly owing to the physical mass of the bridge PU not
being there any more (see other posts)

But there'd be no electrical contribution + or - made by the removal
of the extra wiring and bridge pu

That's got to be right hasn't it Randy ?
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randyc



Joined: 14 Sep 2006
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Location: Eureka, CA

PostPosted: Thu Mar 11, 2010 1:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="sunflowerPossibly owing to the physical mass of the bridge PU not
being there any more (see other posts)

But there'd be no electrical contribution + or - made by the removal
of the extra wiring and bridge pu

That's got to be right hasn't it Randy ?[/quote]

If I understand your assertion, I agree that nothing associated with the electrical characteristics of the second pickup would affect the guitar when removed.

All accoustic and amplified differences would be the result of the mechanical differences in the structure.
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