01 Jul Aftermarket Pickups
Not happy with your pickups? Change is easy…
Don’t think that changing those pickups on your Squier or Epiphone is not the done thing. Quite the reverse! Even expensive guitars have their pickups changed because the player is not happy with their ‘tone’…
Some of the guitars I have played sounded a bit ‘muddy’ and lacked clarity and sparkle because of their pickups, making them game for an aftermarket pickup; for a few hundred pounds at most you can swap in some quality pups and transform your sound.
There are loads of aftermarket pickup makers, quite a few being here in the UK, including Bare Knuckle, Frailin, The Creamery, TV Jones, Lollar, OX4, EMG, DiMarzio, Mojotone, Seymour Duncan, Monty’s, EMG, Sunbear, Lace Sensor, Fishman, Wilkinson and Cream T to name a few.
You can also go to the Fender Custom shop and now PRS to get pups direct from them as well. Schecter, Gretsch and EVH also sell pickups.
Which to choose? That depends on the sound you want and your style – metal, rock, blues, country, indie and funk – single coils, humbuckers and P90’s are all available, so you can find your sound.
Doing the mod
All you need to make sure is that the new pickups will fit in the cavity on your guitar; this means that, unless you are a handy woodworker/luthier and won’t be swapping back, you will need to replace a single coil with a similar sized single coil etc.
Some makers sell the whole scratch plate for a Stratocaster with the pickups and controls ready inserted – easy!
Skills needed? A basic ability to solder (or a handy mate), a bit of patience and a few tools.
Single Coil vs Humbucker
Most of the makers produce pickups for your Telecaster, Stratocaster and Les Paul guitar as well as FilterTron styles for Gretsch type guitars and P90’s for a range of guitars.
Some are copies of vintage pickups found on 1950’s classics such as Les Paul PAFs and vintage Fenders, while others are innovative such as some of those from Fishman and Lace Sensor.
Many metal style pickups are active and high output to get the massive gain sounds needed for the genre – check out EMG, DiMarzio and Seymour Duncan.
So whatever ‘sound’ you are after there is a pickup for you out there somewhere…
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