Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Low-Output Pickups for Heavy Music?

Many metal and hard rock guitarist are using electric guitars with some high-output humbuckers. However, we shouldn't forget also about those guitar players, who are using some low-output pickups, even single-coils, to get heavy tones. 

Do you know Yngwie Malmsteen, Brian May or Paul Gilbert? They've got quite „weak” p-ups in their gear collections.

As examples, here are some cool videos:

What advantages this kind of pickups has got?
  • They can be more bright sounding, so it's possible to get some nice, really screaming tone with them.
  • They can have cleaner, more transparent, or twangy tone, so you will get a little bit different character of distortion effect, than with hot humbuckers. For some of you it will be a huge disadvantage.
  • They have a low output, so if you have a good booster, you have a good control over the signal volume.
  • They have a low output, so their signal will not overdrive a tube amp too much. It gives a good control over the distortion effect, by using pedals and amp's knobs. You can get with them really clean sound, and hi-gain distortion as well.

Of course, advantages described above don't means, that low-output guitar pickups are better for metal music, than high-power humbuckers. They are just different, and for some of you, they can be better.

It's not good to buy some guitar gear because of its popularity. As you can see, everything is relative.