On Single-Pickup Guitars

Noah Berends

Stairway to Heaven Tab Studier
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  • Nov 11, 2019
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    Fort Wayne, IN
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    What's up everyone! It's definitely been a while since I've posted, but I thought I would share something interesting I've been thinking about lately, and maybe get peoples' opinions as well.

    Recently, I picked up a guitar with a single bridge pickup, and it's been an interesting experience in a really good way. At first it seems like something that would be really limiting, but with very little break-in period it feels really normal. That aside, it also forces you to get creative beyond your equipment to achieve a certain tone. You focus less on your gear and more on your technique and playing to get to the end result. "Tie one hand behind your back, and you get doubly skilled with the other"-type deal, if you will.

    I figured I'd write down my thoughts, and maybe hear input from other people!
     

    Ed Seith

    Supreme Galactic Overlord
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  • Nov 11, 2019
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    No shortage of great players love the simplicity of 1 pickup, 1 volume, nothing else guitars. Like you say, it can spur creativity and finding manual ways to eke out different tones.

    Personally, I like three positions and not much else, but how different they are requires a more complicated setup. My favorite three are:

    Bridge humbucker only - heavy rhythms and general goodness
    Bridge humbucker and split-coil or single coil neck pickup - cleans
    Neck humbucker - some leads.

    The existence of option 3 requires that for option 2, I have a coil tap on a neck humbucker, but if I had ONLY those three combos, I'd be in love.
     

    Noah Berends

    Stairway to Heaven Tab Studier
    Supporter
  • Nov 11, 2019
    378
    44
    Fort Wayne, IN
    13
    No shortage of great players love the simplicity of 1 pickup, 1 volume, nothing else guitars. Like you say, it can spur creativity and finding manual ways to eke out different tones.

    Personally, I like three positions and not much else, but how different they are requires a more complicated setup. My favorite three are:

    Bridge humbucker only - heavy rhythms and general goodness
    Bridge humbucker and split-coil or single coil neck pickup - cleans
    Neck humbucker - some leads.

    The existence of option 3 requires that for option 2, I have a coil tap on a neck humbucker, but if I had ONLY those three combos, I'd be in love.
    Absolutely. And to talk about the great players (and whose guitar I picked up), Alexi Laiho stands out. He almost always played with one bridge pickup. Some of his new signatures coming out have a single coil in the neck, but I figure that's more to appeal to versatility. When you hear a Children of Bodom track, it's a bridge pickup. And he made a whole career out of it.

    There's always a use for every position. And I don't think I would ever use a single pickup guitar as my main guitar. But they have a really unique value.
     

    Willard D. Veator

    Hot Topic Tourer
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  • Nov 11, 2019
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    Before learning here I only used the humbucker for everything, now I like to use the neck pickup for solo stuff and the humbucker for riffs.
    I can't really hear or maybe am not used to the sound for the other 3 I have. I might try to experiment more. I agree with the "tie one hand behind the back" I try to do stuff like that but not literally for example I'll train my strumming technique only with dead notes. After training things separate I need to resync both my hands so they work together. :geek: