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What's a pickup?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Stingisanoldman, Aug 23, 2000.


  1. Stingisanoldman

    Stingisanoldman

    Aug 21, 2000
    No jokes here folks.

    The heading just about says it.

    What exactly is a pickup?

    Or for that matter, what's a cabinet?

    Sorry to all the veterans who're wasting their time on me.

    -S
     
  2. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    a pickup, in it's simplest form, is a magnet wrapped with wire. when a magnetic metal (like a string) passes through the pickup magnet's magnetic field, an electrical current is induced in the wires that are wrapped around the magnet. the frequency of this current corresponds with the frequency (back-and-forth speed) that the string was passing through the magnetic field.

    a cabinet, other than a place to hold plates or guns, :D, is the term for the box that holds 1 or more speakers and possible some passive crossover components. usually a box that has both an amplifier and a speaker is called a combo or combo amp.

    interestingly enough, speakers operate under the same principal that pickups use, only in reverse. at the heart of a speaker is a magnet with a coil of wire wrapped around it, only this time the wire is fed an alternating current, and this induces a variable magnetic field, that will cause a piece of metal to vibrate at the same frequency as the current applied. attached to this "piece of metal" (shaped like a cylinder, called a "voice coil") is the speaker cone, which vibrates and thus produces the sound that you hear.

     
  3. Stingisanoldman

    Stingisanoldman

    Aug 21, 2000
    Thanks for the reply, John.

    But I'm still a little lost, is the pickup a separate thing altogether or is it actually a part of an amplifier or what?

    -S
     
  4. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    the pickup is the black rectangular thing under your strings on your instrument. inside there is the magnet wrapped with wire.
     
  5. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    for some reason i'm feeling pretty zen today :D besides, i'm not sooo old that i can't vaguely remember what it was like to be totally ignorant. :D (you know, like last week )
     
  6. A pickup is a big car with a flat back, big tyres and 4 wheel drive.

    Pickups, the way they are described above, are only used on electric basses, and are sometimes covered by a plastic or wooden plate, giving the instrument a nicer look. Pickups are also available for acoustic bass guitars and double basses and they are more like a microphone. Sometimes inside the bass and sometimes placed on the bridge.

    A cabinet is a speaker box. Simple as that.
     
  7. Stingisanoldman

    Stingisanoldman

    Aug 21, 2000
    Totally ignorant? Yikes, that hurts.
     
  8. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    just kidding, stingisanoldman. actually, it takes an enlightened individual to want to learn and realize they need to ask for information. i was just saying that i responded as best i could because i remember the not too distant past when i didn't know what a pickup was.

    ok, i'm getting old, it was more like the kinda distant past. but you get what i mean, right? :D
     
  9. Stingisanoldman

    Stingisanoldman

    Aug 21, 2000
    I know, no offense taken. It takes a lot to irk me. In any case thanks again for the help. I've gotten plenty of information from this site in the past week or so I've been a member, so again thanks to you and everyone who's explained what pickups and everything else I've wondered about is.

    -S
     
  10. mayfairmistress

    mayfairmistress

    Aug 19, 2000
    i thought a pickup was the thing that "picked up" the sound of the strings vibrating and put it through the amplifier, and thats what the cord is for. you ppl are all " the magnetic feild of the wires and the magnets are all transmitted through electrical impulses..." the guy asked a simple question and your showing off just cause you can, you, my freind, are an *******.
     
  11. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
  12. Stingisanoldman

    Stingisanoldman

    Aug 21, 2000
    Damn, man, thank god. That's all I needed to know. Thanks mayfairmistress. (Hope I spelled that right).

    -S
     
  13. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    well "*******", i explained it that way because that's what pickups do. the explanationt that i gave is the easiest there is to it. some things in life can't be described in the 5 words or less Mtv news version. of course i coulda just said "it picks up the sound of the strings vibrating" but then i would just be spewing bull$hit, like you.

    i'm not your "freind" kid, but i will offer you some "freindly" advice. keep that attitude and you are going to find yourself making many enemies here. furthermore, most of these forums are moderated. vulgarity like that will not be tolerated by the moderators. the only reason you haven't heard about it yet is that the pickups forum is presently unmoderated.

    grow up or go home.

     
  14. mayfairmistress

    mayfairmistress

    Aug 19, 2000
    i said the sound of the strings vibrating. i am right. get over it. if the guy doesnt know what a pick up is do you really think that throwing all that "magnetic feild" junk in his face is gona help him? use some common sense dude. and the "my freind" thing is a figure of speech. and that 'im not your friend' thing was pretty 8th grade-ish. okay so dont tell me i need to grow up just b/c i seem to understand what this guy is saying a little more than you do. okay, so were both childish, get over it.
     
  15. mayfairmistress

    mayfairmistress

    Aug 19, 2000
    and giving him a simpler, more understandable, explaination isnt lieing to him. i told the truth, if he wants to know all that technical crap i think he can find out for himself. he just wanted to know where it is and why its there, not how it works and what its made out of and why its made out of what its made out of. i dont think he plans on making one himself anytime soon.
     
  16. mayfairmistress

    mayfairmistress

    Aug 19, 2000
    sorry about calling you an *******. im not normally this stupid but your reply to the dudes question made me kindof angry. im truly sorry and i hope you accept my appology, however, i am still right. but then again so are you. but i just dont belive that he wanted to know all that. and to that paul dude that sent me that e-mail, when i say technical i mean stuff that isnt nessisary in knowing what somthing is, i didnt mean that magnets are complicated i meant that its usless information unless you have alot of free time and plan on creating a pickup yourself.
     
  17. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    no, you're not right. but i do accept your apology :D, i've been called worse, often in fact.

    sound is vibration of _AIR_. the pickups detect and transmit vibrations _WITHIN A MAGNETIC FIELD_. here's an example. try speaking close to your strings with your bass plugged in. you are making sound, but the pickup isn't detecting and amplifying it. if that explanation was sufficient ("it detects the sound of the strings vibrating" ) then it should also detect the sound of your voice too, right?

    saying a pickup detects and transmits sound, while seemingly correct, is not. it's like saying the earth is flat, cause that's what it looks like.

    the truth is never useless.
     
  18. mayfairmistress

    mayfairmistress

    Aug 19, 2000
    i know what it does and how it works but this guy doesnt and i was trying to make it simple. CAN YOU UNDERSTAND THAT?
     
  19. ross

    ross Guest

    Mar 17, 2000
    some pickups can work like a mic if you scream into it it will go threw to the amp i seen it done before,quite frankly it confused the me,how is that explained ?
     
  20. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    m'kay... how bout reading my second reply, when he finally made his question clearer? or did i still not UNDERSTAND HIM? :rolleyes: