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  1. #1
    Forum Frontman Double Down's Avatar
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    11.17.17 @ 12:11 PM
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    Default Question about pickups

    I've almost always had an acoustic and I just got an electric. What's the deal with pickups?? What's the difference between single coil and humbucker?? How are the square one's used in Les Pauls different than the thin ones on strats?? What has Eddie always used?


    Also, my nephew just got one of those very cheap starter guitars. It is an absolute bitch to keep in tune. If I get it in tune using the standard 5th fret way, it'll sound fine going down string to string. But then if I make an open chord like A, D, C, or whatever, it sounds like shit. So then I'll tune it so the chords sound good, but it'll be out of tune in other areas of the guitar. It makes me NUTS!!! Is it the tuning pegs or does it just need some kind of neck adjustment or something.

    I know these questions are pretty basic and embarrassing, but I'm just trying to feel my way around the electric.

    Mike
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  2. #2
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    08.06.08 @ 04:31 AM
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    re: pickups: I'll spare you the larger physics lesson in regards to the magnetics of how "Les Paul" pickups work differently than "Strat" pickups do ... but Strat pickups are usually single coil pickups, meaning that they are a single coil of hair-fine wire wrapped around a series of magnets. As the strings vibrate over the coil of wire, the coil actually produces a small electric current. That current is fed into the amp and gets amplified to a point where we can hear it.

    The "Les Paul" style pickups are called HUMBUCKING pickups in that they have 2 coils, one coil being "out of phase" with the other. This being out of phase causes the noise to effectively be cancelled out, thus giving you a more clear signal from the pickup without the noise inherent in a single coil design. Some humbuckers are COVERED with a metal cover and some have the coils exposed. The cover ducks even more noise but at the cost of cutting some of the "bite" of the sound.

    As for tuning issues, the reasons could be many. I personally love the Floyd Rose tremolo system simply because of the locking nut which makes tuning issues almost disappear. Les Paul's are notorious for losing tuning quickly. If you suspect the tuning pegs are causing the problem, try replacing them. They make some locking tuning pegs (kinda expensive though) which might help. Otherwise, just get a good professional setup done on the guitar (including a truss rod adjustment) and see if the tuning issues are better or worse after that.

    Good Luck.
    Don't be afraid to ask more questions.

  3. #3
    Forum Frontman Double Down's Avatar
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    11.17.17 @ 12:11 PM
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by HipCat5
    re: pickups: I'll spare you the larger physics lesson in regards to the magnetics of how "Les Paul" pickups work differently than "Strat" pickups do ... but Strat pickups are usually single coil pickups, meaning that they are a single coil of hair-fine wire wrapped around a series of magnets. As the strings vibrate over the coil of wire, the coil actually produces a small electric current. That current is fed into the amp and gets amplified to a point where we can hear it.

    The "Les Paul" style pickups are called HUMBUCKING pickups in that they have 2 coils, one coil being "out of phase" with the other. This being out of phase causes the noise to effectively be cancelled out, thus giving you a more clear signal from the pickup without the noise inherent in a single coil design. Some humbuckers are COVERED with a metal cover and some have the coils exposed. The cover ducks even more noise but at the cost of cutting some of the "bite" of the sound.

    As for tuning issues, the reasons could be many. I personally love the Floyd Rose tremolo system simply because of the locking nut which makes tuning issues almost disappear. Les Paul's are notorious for losing tuning quickly. If you suspect the tuning pegs are causing the problem, try replacing them. They make some locking tuning pegs (kinda expensive though) which might help. Otherwise, just get a good professional setup done on the guitar (including a truss rod adjustment) and see if the tuning issues are better or worse after that.

    Good Luck.
    Don't be afraid to ask more questions.
    Awesome answer....I really appreciate it.

    Regarding the tuning issues, it's my 10 year old nephews cheapo that he got for Christmas. He's at the point where he's learning how to pluck a string and make a few notes, so upgrades won't be necessary. But there's no doubt a setup by a guitar shop could work wonders for it. If nothing else, so I can use it when I'm over there! It's a no-name starter pack guitar...not exactly a Wolfie.
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    VH with Sam ('86-'96) - Incredible era....."We have renamed this town 'New Halen!'.
    VH with Gary ('98) - Fucking disaster. WTF was that??
    VH with Wolf/Dave ('12-'15) - Amazing comeback. Smokin' album and tours.

  4. #4
    Baluchitherium sisca's Avatar
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    06.12.16 @ 07:51 PM
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    i love my f-150 supercrew. it's got a ....ohhhhhhhhh ok. GUITAR pickups. my bad .
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  5. #5
    Good Enough kowski's Avatar
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    12.03.17 @ 11:54 AM
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    Default

    Are the factory strings still on your nephew's guitar? I have never played a new guitar and had it stay in tune without taking the crappy no-brand strings off and restringing.

    If that doesn't help, you could get an Earvana compensating nut. These help by setting each string at a slightly different and better scale length. Notes and chords should be in tune in different positions and all the way up the neck after installation.

 

 

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