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Pickups don't matter?

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  • Pickups don't matter?

    Well, this is gonna be controversial....

    Give it a watch, then discuss.



    Originally posted by Bad City
    He's got the crowd on his side and the blue jean lights in his eyes...

  • #2
    So - to be clear, we are talking about metal tone levels here...

    But yeah, this makes sense.

    1. Take a guitar with whatever EQ curve
    2. Put the resonance through whatever pickup
    3. Pickup adjusts that frequency response by cutting mids, boosting highs, or whatever
    4. New EQ curve hits preamp

    Then jack the gain up until EVERY frequency hits the ceiling, totally hard clipped and there is none more left to go....so yeah, maxed out frequency response is fairly flat with at best, only minor undetectable except to dog ears variation that is more a factor of the gain itself than the frequency curve...

    5. Every pickup sounds the same. For playing Uber-gained out metal.

    So to change the tone, you need post preamp EQ or Speakers - which change the frequency response.
    Originally posted by Bad City
    He's got the crowd on his side and the blue jean lights in his eyes...

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    • #3
      I like Glenn, but.... I think all he did was muddy the waters even further.
      ICTGoober
      Mojo's Minions
      Last edited by ICTGoober; 01-22-2023, 10:59 AM.
      aka Chris Pile, formerly of Six String Fever

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      • #4
        I find better pickups give me better touch sensitivity; crappy pickups feel flat. Therefore, the EQ is not the only difference between pickups when playing clean of high gain. Interesting video, but I think Glenn has a myopic view on the function of the pickups and styles of music.


        | Gear Reviews | Beer | Babes | The Internet's Only Unedited & Uncensored Musician's Forum | Sports |

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        • #5
          For the type of sound he is using there, the differences are less obvious, especially when using amp modelling, but still there. The Custom 5 in the Solar stood out to me pretty significantly. When using good old fashioned tube amps and less than super saturated gain levels however, the differences in pickups most definitely make a difference, in both sound and feel. I doubt this dude's opinion on the matter will make a bit of difference to Seymour or Larry D, or anyone else who makes great pickups!
          Jackson Dominion Bourbon Burst-Duncan '59 bridge, Screamin' Demon neck
          Jackson Dominion Wine Drunk-Super Distortion bridge, Custom Custom neck (don't hit me!)
          Dean Chicago Flame V Classic Black-Dimarzio Super Distortion neck & bridge
          Laney, Peavey, Marshall...

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          • #6
            Yep. No surprises there.

            If I take my fuzz pedal and crank it, then send it to my distortion box and crank it, then send it to by Blues Driver and crank it . . . all pickups come out sounding pretty much the same!


            A pickup is an early EQ applied to the guitar signal. When you get to the point where there's no dynamic range, and all the frequencies are being hella compressed the only EQ that matters is the final EQ the noise is put through . . . which in this case would be speakers and amp settings. This is surely not a surprise to anyone though?
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            • #7
              With so much compression and distortion, I believe he doesn't hear much of a difference. Videos like this don't help anyone.
              Dave, Ambassador/Writer/Artist for Seymour Duncan

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              • #8
                seems like one of those deals that when you hear it you say "why, of course that is the case."

                It would be nice if somebody put some time into developing a thorough hierarchy of tone in the chain.

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                • #9
                  Yah, beyond a certain level of gain you won't even hear much difference between humbuckers and single coils.
                  You can't cite that to say there isn't significant a difference in the tone of the pickups.
                  .
                  "Brains have been washed. Fear has been mongered. Now we prepare for the final stage of our conspiracy theory." - Isle Of Dogs

                  .

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                  • #10
                    I call my Big Muff “the great equalizer”. No matter what I put before, it ends up sounding pretty much the same. In any other case, pickups are the core of the tone for me.

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                    • #11
                      A pickup is an early EQ applied to the guitar signal.
                      Exactly. Well put!

                      aka Chris Pile, formerly of Six String Fever

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                      • #12
                        I kind of feel like we, the video watching public, have some responsibility for this kind of behavior... I intentionally avoid the videos that say "ignore scales, just learn with your ear cause that's the cool way" or "learn scales cuz your ear doesn't work" examples.

                        But this extremism gets clicks and people take the bait even though it's possible, or even likely, that the videographer will say whatever gets them hits.

                        And it always makes sense to accuse someone of something and pointing fingers at pup manufacturers just gets the more visibility. So the less troll feeding the better

                        In this case, it's obvious that these were different pickups, it's obvious that if you've squared the edge off of every overtone, it's all going to sound similar, and it's obvious that none of this has anything to do with good guitar playing.

                        But I think it's even more important to recognize that your average guitarist almost certainly has no clue. Beginners are not expected to understand the difference in a clean tele and a clean humbucker, much less heavily distorted noise.

                        So I ignore this kind of messaging because anybody that has developed an ear will understand he's wrong. It's far more important to me to invest time with players that recognize pup differences and want to grow. In a way, he's helping the better players differentiate themselves from the mediocre.
                        zionstrat
                        Ultimate Tone Slacker
                        Last edited by zionstrat; 01-22-2023, 05:33 PM.
                        What's so Funny about Peace Love and Understanding?

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Mincer View Post
                          With so much compression and distortion, I believe he doesn't hear much of a difference. Videos like this don't help anyone.
                          I think that is his point - with that much distortion, there is so much natural compression....

                          It's not just that it isn't live. Although the YouTube/etc. additional processing does not help.
                          Originally posted by Bad City
                          He's got the crowd on his side and the blue jean lights in his eyes...

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by zionstrat View Post

                            So I ignore this kind of messaging because anybody that has developed an ear will understand he's wrong. It's far more important to me to invest time with players that recognize pup differences and want to grow. In a way, he's helping the better players differentiate themselves from the mediocre.
                            The guitar player in me wants to say "Yeah - that's true.

                            The scientist in me says "There are very easy ways to really test this stuff. And no one ever does it. Hmmmm...."

                            I have said in this forum before; The Blind listening, with repeated randomized measures....that would be facts. We never see that, and I doubt we will, because the backlash would be unbelievable.
                            Originally posted by Bad City
                            He's got the crowd on his side and the blue jean lights in his eyes...

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                            • #15
                              I dumped three tablespoons of salt and an ounce of ghost pepper flakes on these five different plates of nachos, and now I'm convinced - ingredients don't matter!
                              Take it to the limit
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