How can one pickup be better than another?
Just a pre-post note: I have no experience with engineering or being a luthier so I am speaking off of nothing except personal knowledge. Now into the thread:
I have read online and from people IRL that pickups from, for example, a custom shop Fender will be better than an Affinity series Squier. No s**t, right?
But why? How can a pickup be better than another? I'm not for one second saying that one of them is better than the other but just how is it better? They're made from the same stuff right? So how can it make a difference?
(No, this is not a troll thread)
The good ones use nitrogen-free wire.
I've always wondered this. I mean, I'm sure understanding how magnets turn vibration into sound would help, but I'm curious to follow this.
Here's to hoping it stays on track. Fingers crossed for you.
It should be fairly obvious. Good pickups sound good, bad pickups sound bad. It takes knowledge and skill to be able to wind a pickup to a particular voicing.
There are many variables between pickups which will give them a different tone.
Eg. Magnet materials, strength of magnets. The number of turns of wire around the core, the scatter of the wire when turned around the core. Thickness of the wire to some degree.
If you look at it in theory, you need three things to generate electricity.
1 - a conductor, or wire
2 - a magnet
3 - movement between the two
Pickup works this way with the string doing the moment, the wires in a coil with a ceramic or similar magnetic core acting as electro magnet. String moves and changes the electro magnetic field.
Eh... I don't know exactly why, but if they were all equal in quality, they would all be about the same price. Then you think, okay, maybe some work just as well, but have a slightly different tone. But there still wouldn't be a huge fluctuation in pricing.
My experience with electronics in general is that there is the really cheap stuff. And it sounds like cheap stuff. Then there is mid range to hi-mid range, and in that category you will find that prices don't exactly correspond the quality, but it can be close. Then there is the way hi-range, very expensive, big-name, highly renown products, and they are definitely the best of the best. However, you may pay much more for just a little bit more quality. Still, there are many people who want to pay a lot more for that little bit of separation from the pack, and that's fine. If I had the cash, I would pay way more for the best of the best.
To assume that a $10 pup is as good as a $1000 pup is just silly. Like I said, there are some things that are better deals than others, but they are NOT all equal, just because they do the same thing, essentially.
It's the same as why audio transformers sound different from each other. Exactly the same. Everything down to distortion levels is different between two pickups.
Yep, a pickup is an inductor and differences in construction will cause different tones through frequency attenuation.
The cost comes down to who built it, with what materials, where they built it, and whether they sprinkle dust on it, age it and call it antique. Also the main one is how much a company think you will pay for it.
Some pups are muddy sounding, some have a harshness to them, some have mid scoop, some are crunchy voiced and some are smooth voiced. Pups are a major componant for basses voice char. And changing them to something else is the easiest way to make a bleh sounding yet otherwise liked bass, much better. There are stock pups whose voicing I like much better then some very popular aftermarket ones. In part thats cause stock pups are more often crunchy voiced rather then smooth. I like crunchy high output pups best..
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