| Visit Our Catalog at SteelGuitarShopper.com |

Post new topic Single vs. multiple pickups
Reply to topic
Author Topic:  Single vs. multiple pickups
John Bobbitt


From:
California, USA
Post  Posted 29 Sep 2018 8:54 am    
Reply with quote

OK, I'm STILL a newbie builder and wanna' be player.

What are pro's and con's of single vs. multiple pickups? I understand the difference between bridge and neck pickups and locations. Do multiple pickups need to be "matched"?

I guess it really comes down to: "How does a newbie builder select pickup(s) for a particular sound?"

Is there a good reference for researching pickups (not necessarily for lap steels alone)?

You people have already been a wealth of knowledge.

Again, thanks a heap
-jbb
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Bill Groner


From:
QUAKERTOWN, PA
Post  Posted 29 Sep 2018 11:05 am    
Reply with quote

Let me ask you this....do you like the sound of this pickup?
It's an Alumitone Rifian pickup. It will run you around a buck twenty. Fits in a hole for a P-90. If you are new builder and are building a more modern looking lap steel I think this is a good choice. Very sleek looking and weighs next to nothing......NO WINDINGS!


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i7ur7MK8r4A&list=RDMMi7ur7MK8r4A&start_radio=1

_________________
currently own, 4 Gronertone lap steels.
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Noah Miller


From:
Rocky Hill, CT
Post  Posted 29 Sep 2018 12:04 pm     Re: Single vs. multiple pickups
Reply with quote

John Bobbitt wrote:
What are pro's and con's of single vs. multiple pickups?


Mainly, tonal flexibility. The same pickup, placed at different points along the vibrating string, will pick up different harmonics and therefore produce a different sound. Having two differently-constructed pickups in the same instrument can widen the tonal palette even further, but that's a lot more common in round-neck guitars than it is in steels.

John Bobbitt wrote:
Do multiple pickups need to be "matched"?


Sometimes. Pickups come with a wide range of output levels, so if you use two different pickups that are very far apart in output, you may have to adjust the volume control on your steel or your amp to compensate when switching between them. Even using the same pickup design in two different places will result in a difference in output as well as a difference in tone, since the string vibrates with greater amplitude toward the center than toward the end (i.e. the bridge). If you're selecting two different pickups for an instrument, it's therefore wise to choose two with roughly similar output and/or to put the louder one nearer the bridge to compensate. Many steels allow you to raise and lower the pickup, or sometimes the poles for each individual string, to let you adjust the output.

John Bobbitt wrote:
I guess it really comes down to: "How does a newbie builder select pickup(s) for a particular sound?"

Is there a good reference for researching pickups (not necessarily for lap steels alone)?


In the old days, companies like Fender and Gibson would have built their own pickups to produce their desired sound, but cheaper companies like Harmony often just bought whatever DeArmond model happened to fit. Modern pickup builders often put specifications and sound clips on their websites, but in the end it often comes down to trying a bunch and picking the favorite. Non-pedal steel players seem to be relatively content to play their stock instruments, but there's a whole industry out there supplying guitarists with aftermarket pickups based on a never-ending quest for the perfect tone.
_________________
www.OldFrets.com: the obscure side of vintage instruments.
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
John Bobbitt


From:
California, USA
Post  Posted 1 Oct 2018 2:24 pm    
Reply with quote

Thanks guys. Bill, the guitar you pictured intrigues me, as it looks like it's a hollow-body electric. Does the sound box influence the tone through the pickup? Also, are the sides of the sound box similar to an acoustic guitar's? Is the top (tone wood?) braced?

Thanks again
-jbb
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Andy Henriksen


From:
Michigan, USA
Post  Posted 2 Oct 2018 9:47 am    
Reply with quote

As a newbie builder, I wouldn't mess with multiple pups. Many wonderful sounding guitars have just one. What I would recommend is waiting as long into the build as you can before settling on a pup location. If you can string up the guitar and temporarily wire up the pup, and slide it back and forth, you can listen for the differences to find the spot that sounds the best to your ears.

Here's me doing that very thing on my DIY lap steel. I just have the lose wire ends taped to a guitar cable with electrical tape:
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
John Bobbitt


From:
California, USA
Post  Posted 2 Oct 2018 9:59 am    
Reply with quote

Thanks Andy. I will do that. You don't have much room between bridge and neck, what scale length?

Also, any more tips before I start? Did you build from plans?

Thanks a heap,
-jbb
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Andy Henriksen


From:
Michigan, USA
Post  Posted 2 Oct 2018 10:24 am    
Reply with quote

John Bobbitt wrote:
Thanks Andy. I will do that. You don't have much room between bridge and neck, what scale length?

Also, any more tips before I start? Did you build from plans?

Thanks a heap,
-jbb

Yeah, at this point in the build, the fretboard wasn't permanently affixed, so I could have lopped off a few frets, if I had wanted. But, I found that I liked the tone right about where it is in this pic. And that seems to be about where most end up - fairly close to the bridge.

I didn't build from plans, but rather just collected pics of guitars I like (or parts I liked - keyhead in one style, body shape from another guitar, etc.)

The scale ended up being 24.66666666". I was going for 24.5, and had my architect wife draw up a fret layout template for me in CAD, but when it actually printed, it was slightly bigger. Not a big deal, though. I just had to move the bridge back slightly.

That was my first and only build, but there will be more in my future, for sure.

Here's a thread with some pics of the completed guitar: https://bb.steelguitarforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=323994
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Brooks Montgomery


From:
Idaho, USA
Post  Posted 2 Oct 2018 11:40 am    
Reply with quote

I agree with Andy. I would go with one pup that has killer tone. I have a beautiful Duesenberg with two pickups, a 1939 Slingerland with one, and a Clinesmith with one,
and I prefer the tone from both the Slingerland and the Clinesmith, over the more adjustable set of Duesy pickups. Find a great pickup, and make it easier.
_________________
A banjo, like a pet monkey, seems like a good idea at first.
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Nic Neufeld


From:
Kansas City, Missouri
Post  Posted 2 Oct 2018 12:14 pm    
Reply with quote

I kind of think of the Stringmaster layout as two coil vs two pickup. They are wired in series and the most you can do is blend in / out the neck pickup with the bridge always on in full. I quite like it personally...you get the option of a fuller "series" sound with the added bonus of humcancelling.

I was never much tempted by the true "neck" pickup on a lapsteel...as far as I'm concerned that should be fretboard space! Very Happy
_________________
60s Fender 400 (A7), '57 Stringmaster (C13/B11/E13), SX 8-string lap, Republic tricone
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Jim Sliff


From:
Lawndale California, USA
Post  Posted 11 Oct 2018 12:38 pm    
Reply with quote

John the best thing you could do would be to buy a copy of Dave Hunter's "The Guitar Pickup Handbook". It covers how pickups works, various types, advantages, disadvantages and so on.

Also go to the Seymour Duncan website and read everything you can find.,
Your question simply is not something that can be answered in a forum thread - it's FAR too involved. The question regarding multiple pickups and "do they have to be matched" would take knowledge of the individual types, how they are voiced by the maker which position each would be in, what controls will be installed, the type of instrument, and on and on.

There are magnet types and/or physical shapes that are generally considered awful in one type of pickup but essential in another; impedance, numbers or coils, winding direction, bobbin types, potting vs not potting, mounting types and what's good or bad for a specific application., stringrtypes...


And simple positioning os absolutely critical - guitar builders need to understand string harmonics and where specific waveforms will be at their highest. lowest and average amplitude along the length of the string, selecting placement of each pickup's magnetic field to best sense the desired harmonic content (and not have a second pickup cancel it out or screw up the phasing).

So for builders understanding pickup voicing, magnetic field, relative output, structural mounting needs, impedance vs DC resistance, etc really requires knowledge of electronics, a bit of physics and some acoustic engineering. Many get by without it by just copying other maker's designs but to make quality instruments takes some focused knowledge in certain areas.
_________________
No chops, but great tone
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
ebb


From:
nj
Post  Posted 11 Oct 2018 9:42 pm    
Reply with quote

i use no effects and no volume pedal but all of my guitars have multiple pickups and i couldn't agree with jim more on this
View user's profile Send private message

All times are GMT - 8 Hours
Jump to:  
Please review our Forum Rules and Policies
Our Online Catalog
Strings, CDs, instruction, and steel guitar accessories
www.SteelGuitarShopper.com

Steel Guitar Music
Instrumental steel guitar CDs for your permanent collection
www.SteelGuitarMusic.com

BIAB Styles
Ray Price Shuffles for Band-in-a-Box
by Jim Baron

The Steel Guitar Forum
148 S. Cloverdale Blvd.
Cloverdale, CA 95425 USA

Support This Forum



advertisement