What Do Pick-ups Do?

Pick-ups. If you play and electric guitar or bass you have them but what exactly do they do?

Rock House co-owner John McCarthy explains the simple aspects of pick ups.

"The Pick-ups work like a microphone", McCarthy explains "they pick up (hence the name) the sound of the strings and send the signal to your amplifier through your guitar cable. The closer the strings get to the pick-ups the louder the sound will get."

There are a lot of different pick-ups to choose from but here are 2 of the most popular types:

Single Coil: This pick-up has a thin rectangle shape and generally creates a thin treble sound. Stratocasters usually have three single coil pick-ups and a five position selector switch which allows you to combine various pick-up combinations to create different overall guitar sounds.

Double Coil Humbucker: This is a pick-up that has two single coils put together and is grounded so that there is no hum when turned to loud volumes. This pick-up generally has a more full bass tone. The Les Paul guitar as a rule usually comes with two humbuckers.

You also have the choice of active or passive pick-ups. An active pick-up requires battery power and can give you a boost in tone. Passive pick-ups don't require battery power.

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