Pickup balances

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Posts: 61
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 4:37 am

Hi there,
I was just thinking about pickups coming in sets (like EMG Zakk Wylde's/81s, DiMarzio Evolutions, Seymour Duncans being combined like with 59/Jeff Becks for instance), which made me wonder if this is to do with balancing the neck and bridge position outputs. Is this necessary?

I've noticed that sometimes the middle pickup, where guitars have them, can be different to the neck and bridge ones but although the bridge pickup is often of a higher output than the neck, they tend to be similar or designed to go with one another. I was thinking though that S/S/H style pickup combinations mustn't have this balance in many cases. It's confusing!

What I'm getting at is, is there a reason for no-one choosing a combination mixing pickup manufacturers or for the neck and bridge pickups usually being co-ordinated in this way? Why for instance do we not see guitars with a Gibson '57 humbucker in the neck and an EMG 81, Seymour Duncan Dimebucker or DiMarzio Evolution in the bridge? Has anyone tried out anything like this, like having really mild pickups, maybe singlecoil as well in the neck and having a really hot humbucker in the bridge? Does it create a drop-off in performance at all?

I'm just trying to understand how combining pickups works as I intend to get a new guitar and put my choice of pickups on it soon if necessary.
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Posts: 1561
Joined: Fri May 28, 2004 2:43 pm

to get different sounds and tones! the neck pickup is usually set lower into the guitar than the bridge cause it has more of an output, and EMGs are active and louder pickups, which make a good boost for solos and mostly for tone prefrences, I wudnt really recomend a EMG with a passive pickup, but whatever u want man

but yes combining pickups will effect the sound and tone probably
Posts: 423
Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 4:59 pm

Skyscraper, those EMG's are active pups which need a battery in the circuit. Those are usually installed in sets, for example, an 81 and an 83 for the neck and bridge.

Also, I think people tend to be brand loyalists at times and they feel like mixing a DiMarzio with a Duncan is like putting a Chevy engine into a Ford chassis. :o That said I have seen them mixed.

One other thing, the neck pickup doesn't have more output than a bridge model, it's just that the strings vibrate more intensely (move across a larger area of the magnetic field) over the neck pup than they do over the bridge pup. This makes them louder so it's common to lower them into the body more to match volume levels when switching between pups.
Posts: 616
Joined: Sun Nov 23, 2003 5:22 am

actually bridge pickups are more powerful technically, but as you said, neck pickups give more output naturally by virtue of their position. as an example though, the Evo Bridge a 404 mV output compared to the Neck's 294.

what's the moral of this story? i'm not completely sure to tell the truth. all i'd really say is to keep these factors in mind, consider the manufacturer's recommendations but mostly just go with your ears and if necessary simply adjust the pickup heights to even things out.

all of that said i'm definitely no expert.
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