Modern Gretsch Guitars

Symbiotic Relationship Between Guitar and Pickups

1

The TV Jones T-Armonds were too dark in my 6120DS but nice and open sounding in my Falcon. The TV Classics in the Falcon were nondescript but wonderfully fat and dark in a good way in the 6120DS. Complex entities, these guitars.

2

Some major factors that effect the sound of the same pickup in different guitars.:

The guitar's scale length and location of the pickup along that scale length.

The pot values and wiring that the pickups have to go through to reach the amp.

The pickup height and polepiece adjustments.

After that maybe things like the guitar being hollow or soild body

Forget about woods, country of manufacture, mojo, finish, bolt-on vs. glued-in neck etc...

3

My friend bought an Cheapish guitar recently with humbuckers and didn’t like the sound. He has many guitars and many parts so he threw in some new pickups he had lying around... still sounded bad. Out of curiosity he took his fav pickups out of his les Paul for it and it still sounded awful.

I would not have thought this possible

4

Ive had that same thing happen, two alder strats with rosewood boards and somehow the same pickups sound better in one than the other

5

Ive had that same thing happen, two alder strats with rosewood boards and somehow the same pickups sound better in one than the other

– Chmason85

that’s why I’ll only buy guitars if I like the way they sound when I buy em. Spent too much time and money trying to make guitars into something they will never be

6

"Forget about woods, country of manufacture, mojo, finish, bolt-on vs. glued-in neck etc..."

Why?

There is so much misinformation online that electric guitars are only about the pickups and electronics. This is absolutely false. Everything matters. Like John Mayer said in his PRS video, "It's a game of inches."

7

The TV Jones T-Armonds were too dark in my 6120DS but nice and open sounding in my Falcon. The TV Classics in the Falcon were nondescript but wonderfully fat and dark in a good way in the 6120DS. Complex entities, these guitars.

– Journeyman

Not arguing with you but that seems counter intuitive. Perhaps that's your point though

Is the Falcon Trestle braced? That + scale length could explain this to some extent. I am scratching my head a bit about the T'Armonds sounding dark though.

8

Wood definitely matters, to those with ears

So does weight.

I used to think pickups were 90% of a guitar's inherent tone. I was wrong. And I learned it the hard way- by doing umpteen pickup swaps myself, not by reading it on an internet forum. Some here even tried to tell me I was wrong, but I foolishly didn't believe them.

Now, in the end, we may be talking about that "last 5%" or "last 10%", then you have to factor in whether that matters TO YOU or not, but indeed, as someone said above:

EVERYTHING MATTERS.

9

The string vibrates between two points , and disrupts the magnetic field made by the Pu magnets ,wich in turn is creates a signal via induction in the Pu coil . How can wood have anything to do with that ? - I'm not saying It can't - I just wonder.

10

The string vibrates between two points , and disrupts the magnetic field made by the Pu magnets ,wich in turn is creates a signal via induction in the Pu coil . How can wood have anything to do with that ? - I'm not saying It can't - I just wonder.

– archtopisking

I'm not a physicist, so IDK. But it does. And way too many pros agree- player and luthiers.

By that reasoning, nothing but the nut, bridge, and pickup would matter. Which would mean every single Fender telecaster in existence would sound exactly the same... well, of a certain model... for example, every single Fender American Standard Telecaster in the world would sound EXACTLY the same. They most assuredly do not.

Altho I will say- if there's a builder who has come the closest to making every guitar (of the same model) sound exactly the same- it's Paul Reed Smith (for better or worse, LOL)

11

"every single Fender telecaster in existence would sound exactly the same… " Don't they ? Just kidding ! By the same token , Shouldn't every telecaster (identical wood and otherwise ) sound the pretty much same if it was down to wood ? I think pros and players will also tell you that - no two identical Guitars sound the same ? Yes everything matters ! This is a Hot Topic - Shouldn't be talking about it - It's got me in to trouble before. A little funny story . One playing buddy of mine was always looking for the right tone. Raving about body, fretboard and neck woods and how could hear the difference. Things I can't - . One day I put new speakers in my 2 x10 cab that he liked to play on and I didn't tell him. He didn't seem to notice . When I asked mr Tone why he didn't hear the difference right away , he didn't speak to me again for a long time.

13

Thanks Buddy! I love that he managed to restrain himself to playing the same chords. Noticeable differences too.

Archtopisking - i dont think you should be concerned about this being a hot topic. If someone lacks the requisite emotional maturity to discuss a difference of opinion on tones without rage ... they probably should be confined to their room with a yo-yo.

14

Some major factors that effect the sound of the same pickup in different guitars.:

The guitar's scale length and location of the pickup along that scale length.

The pot values and wiring that the pickups have to go through to reach the amp.

The pickup height and polepiece adjustments.

After that maybe things like the guitar being hollow or soild body

Forget about woods, country of manufacture, mojo, finish, bolt-on vs. glued-in neck etc...

– guitarcapo

This is pretty spot on, I think, with one added quality. I think it has to do with resonance. The physical aspects of a given guitar create resonances that can accentuate or diminish parts of the frequency spectrum of the vibrating string. We all know how different various types of strings can sound on an electric, even with the same gauge.

I've noticed some small-bodied semi-hollows having peculiar tone qualities. I spent years tweaking a guitar of mine with a semi-hollow 'Strat' configuration trying to get rid of an annoying upper mid/treble 'edge' that was wrecking an otherwise wonderful guitar. At least three different sets of pickups -all great sounding in and of themselves- and it was still there. I'm thinking it has to do with the small cavities in the horns but I really have no clue.

What finally worked was the combination of WCR Godwood pups, flatwound nickel strings and an ebony bridge. Wacky as hell but now it's lovely sounding.

15

If a guitar sounds bad and is a lifeless dead "thud", pickup are almost never going to help.

16

maybe this is why I focus on the mechanical connections first. good setup, bridge and nut before the electronics and lastly, the pickups.

pick ups are more satisfying to shop for and replace, but after doing all that other stuff, it isn't always needed. the other stuff is cheaper, too.


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