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Pickups for e guitars
E guitars don’t have a resonance body like the acoustic guitars. The sound is transmitted with a guitar pickup and is amplified with a guitar amp.
In a pickup there is a permanent magnet wrapped around with a fine wire. If the metal string is vibrated, a tiny little voltage is induced in the wire coil.
This voltage can now be amplified with a guitar amp so that we can hear it.
Pickups are very sensitive to interference.
Not only pickups can transfer interferences, but also the guitar cable between the guitar and the amplifier. This cable therefore should be as short as possible, well shielded and fitted with good plugs.
A pick up that is provided with one coil is called a single coil.
For example, 2 single coils are used in Telecaster guitars and 3 in Stratocasters.
Normally one pickup is enough to transfer the signal of the guitar. Do you have more than one pickup, so you can switch between them and adjust the sound, because they are installed at different positions. Also possible is to switch them together to have more ability to have different sounds.
A Humbucker pick up has two single coils installed in parallel which are wrapped in opposite directions. As a result, the interferences are not there anymore and a higher output voltage is obtained.
Humbuckers are used when you want to achieve strong distortions.
Distortion is obtained by oversteering, which means that the guitar signal is amplified until it is distorted. If you add to much gain to a single coil pickup you will get too much feedbacks.
So you can say that the single coil is suitable for the clean and crunch guitar sounds and the Humbucker for harder rock and metal sounds.
Many people prefer the single coil pickups because of their clear, edgy and bell-like sound.