Pickup Polarity and Phase Made Simple

If you have only one pickup in your guitar, feel free to ignore this article and live your life in blissful ignorance, unhampered by phase and polarity issues. Everyone else, pay attention! This is important stuff, and it might save your sanity some day, or at least your tone.

Cage Match: Active vs. Passive Pickups

Pickups come in two basic flavors. One is active, and the second is passive. If your guitar requires a battery, chances are that it has active pickups. If it doesn’t, or will function without a battery, then the pickups would be considered passive. From what I have seen, guitarists generally prefer one or the other…

Guitar Bridges: The What And The Why

Guitars are stringed instruments, and as with all instruments that utilize strings, there has to be a fixing point for them. These points are called bridges and they come in several forms and shapes. Generally speaking, there are two major types of bridges: fixed bridges and moving bridges (the latter generally but erroneously called tremolos). Let’s take a look at the different types of bridges and what kind of unique feature they have.

What Does ‘Vintage’ Mean in Pickup Design?

In guitar circles, we hear the word vintage all the time. It has sold countless guitars, pedals, amps, and accessories. But what does this word really mean? And how can we reclaim a marketing buzzword from things that just look old, antiquated designs, things that were never good in the first place and are begging for improvement?…

The Anatomy Of Single Coil Pickups

We discussed the anatomy of humbuckers in a general sense a while back, and because there are so many varieties of single coil pickups, we thought it was time we should take a look at single coil designs too. Let’s have a look at the internal structure of the single coil in general as well as the various main…

The Zephyr Silver Pickups

Zephyr came from a challenge issued to Vice President of Engineering Kevin Beller to come up with a pickup that wasn’t constrained by the usual consideration of costs or materials – just dream it, design it and build it.

Top 5 Reasons Why I Love Strats

The Fender Stratocaster is a pretty unique instrument. I mean, just think: when it came out, natural finishes were all the rage, and other than its cousin the Telecaster, electric guitars contained their acoustic roots in the shapes, colors, and sounds. But the Strat changed everything. Leo Fender heard the music of the 1950s changing. He tapped into the Southern California hot rod culture for his color palette and refined his ‘easy to assemble with a versatile sound’ design in the Strat. While they were still available in natural and sunburst, he later added those colors we now call ’50s colors’ like Shoreline Gold, Seafoam Green, Shell Pink, and Daphne Blue. It is hard to imagine what they must have looked like on the walls of a late 1950s music store. With all the custom finishes available today, we have to give our thanks where it all began. This article is about the top five things I love about a Strat. Now, I’m using a pretty broad brush here, and including Strat-a-likes (I have a Warmoth, as well as an ’82 ‘The Strat’), as well as some shredsticks too, which wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for Leo and his design team.

Seymour Duncan SSL-1 California Set for Stratocaster

I’m a hardcore Les Paul lover. For years I refused to play anything else but Les Pauls. I tried to get all the tones I wanted from them, but three years ago that started to change. I got myself a hollowbody Les Paul and saw myself using that guitar for ‘hollowbody tones.’ With that guitar as a stepping stone, a small urge developed inside me to get a Strat and a Tele.

Tapping into Versatility With a Tapped Single Coil

If you’re like me, you love your Strat, but you’re not always in love with the traditional Strat bridge pickup. For many of us, the bridge pickup is the first one to get swapped out when it’s time for an upgrade. Alt rock, hard rock, punk, and metal tend to demand more power, midrange, and low end than a good ol’ vintage-style single coil can pump out.

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