HOME > Different types of guitar pickup


Since the 80ies, when the era of replacement parts started, the market is offering lots of different types of guitar pickup for any musical style and tone. Let's put some order on this matter.

The first electromagnetic pickup was probably invented, around 1931, by George Beauchamp and Adolph Rickenbacker during the construction phase of the first electric solid body lap steel guitar which they called the Frying Pan.

The first electric guitar built by Adolf Rickenbacker
e George Beauchamp.

We can divide guitar pickup in two main categories:

Magnetic pickup may feature a:

Finally pickup may differ in:

There are finally many different types of magnetic pickup just like: humbuckers single coil active and passive Among standard magnetic pickup we find soapbar pickup like Gibson P90 and their hum-cancelling version P100, a sort of fat single coil which tone is very close to a humbucker and bass pickup in the style of EMG or Bartolini which most of the times are humbuckers.

An Alumitone pickup produced by Don Lace a genius and forerunner
of pickup construction.

Last but not least there is the huge family of different types of noiseless single coil looking pickup for guitar. This pickup take advantage of different technologies to avoid the typical 50cycle hum of single coil pickup.

Among the various brands producing noiseless single coil we find: Don Lace, Kinman, Dimarzio, Fender's "Noiseless" series and many stack humbuckers produced by Seymour Duncan.

Noiseless pickup are not beloved by purist of vintage single coil tone which consider the hum an important part of the tone.

Dimarzio Virtual Vintage noiseless single coil.

Galeazzo Frudua

Galeazzo Frudua

As a luthier and lutherie teacher, since 1988 he has been making about 350 boutique guitars and basses priced from 2,900 to 5,600 Euros and repaired and customized thousands of string instruments. His instruments and amplifiers are used by flagship artists, such as Chick Corea, Peter Gabriel, Ennio Morricone, Vasco Rossi. He owns two YouTube channels—where he teaches music—that count up to 25+ million views and almost 140.000 subscribers.

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