Why do neck and bridge pickups sound different?

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Kyla Stark asked a question: Why do neck and bridge pickups sound different?
Asked By: Kyla Stark
Date created: Sun, May 30, 2021 4:53 PM
Date updated: Wed, Jul 27, 2022 2:11 PM

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Top best answers to the question «Why do neck and bridge pickups sound different»

The main factor for the difference in sound between the bridge and neck positions is the movement of the strings above the guitar pickups in those positions. This is something you can easily observe when you use the bridge pickup and hear the treble content increase and the volume decrease.

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What we are talking about here is how the sound of a given pickup would change if you shifted the same pickup at the same height from the bridge position up to the neck position. It definitely will sound different - you'll get a lot more of the fundamental (the "note" you think about playing when you play) vs. the harmonics (the overtones which are multiples of the frequency of the fundamental that give your note it's tone), but why?

Neck pickups sound louder than bridge pickups because the strings vibrate more around this area. When the strings get closer to the bridge, they vibrate less. Therefore, the volume is lower, because there are less vibrations for the pickups to detect.

The main difference between neck and bridge pickup is the bridge sounds brighter, sharper and more piercing used for riffs, lead lines, rhythm, and solos. In Contrast, the neck pickup sounds warmer, thicker and darker usually used for lead solos and melodies. This Video Explains all (Watch Below)

Sound of pickups changes in similar way to picking in different area on acoustic guitar. Sound from bridge pickup has more treble and it is often used as lead tone and rhythm playing while playing heavily distorted. Sound of neck pickup has more bass in it sound and is often used as clean rhythm and heavily distorted lead tone.

But because sound dynamics vary so much on the guitar, both neck and bridge pickups are calibrated slightly differently, relative to its position. The bridge pickup is wound ‘hotter’ (more turns) than the neck pickup so they have a higher output. This adds more mids more bite.

If you use the exact same pickup in the neck and bridge positions, then the bridge may sound thin and weak compared to the neck, or the neck may sound dark and too loud. In order for a balance to be achieved between two or more pickups in different positions on the same guitar, the pickups closer to the bridge are designed for higher output than the ones near the neck, as they are receiving less string amplitude or volume. So, one of the main differences in a designated pair of ...

Since the neck and bridge versions are wound to sound similar (but not the same of course!) the tone of the two will be close to each other, yet with subtle differences. In essence, neck and bridge versions of a pickup are chosen because they fit together in terms of output, resonance frequency and general voicing, simply to make it easier on the user.

A bridge pickup goes on the guitar’s bridge and the neck pickup on the neck, but the differences between these two types of pickups are more distinct than that. With a neck pickup, you get a warm but muddied sound while bridge pickups sound clear and crisp. Both the bridge and the neck pickup are favorable to use at different times, so you ...

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