About guitar pickups

The heart of your guitar

A guitar’s pickups are after the strings the most important element in an electric guitar. It is it (or those), which completely defines the sound, which is led into your amplifier. It is the pickups, which captures the smallest details in your guitar’s sound, that being choice of strings, wood types and design/shape of the guitar, and much more.

A pickups is shortly explained an electric-magnetic coil. A coil works the way, that it creates elecric signals, when the magnetic field within it is changed, either through turning the signal or around, or vibrating it around. A pickups is basically the same, but here the vibrations of the strings efects the magnetic field, and those vibrations are made into an electric signal through thousands of windings of copper wire, way thinner than a hair. This signal is sent through an amplifier and out in the room through the speaker.

A pickup is usually designed in 2 different ways. Either as a single coil as seen in Strats and Teles, where the copper wire is wound directly around 6 rod magnets, or as a humbucker or P90, where the magnet is placed under the coil(s) in the shape of a bar-magnet, which magnetizes the so-called “pole pieces”, which goes through the coil towards the strings.

The different types of pickups

A single coil pickup has a crisp sound with very responsive pick-attack and good string separation.

They have the minor issue, that they pick up bagground noise, which is at 50-60Hz. This noise can be reduced by grounding the guitar’s amp, grounding the pickup circuit, isolating the guitar’s cavity with copper-foil and by waxing the pickups.

A humbucker is designed to deal with this issue, by having 2 coils, which are wound reverse of each other, and having the opposite magnetic field. The effect of this is, that they neutralize eachothers noise, and therefore they “buck the hum”. The coils are wired in series, so their output are added ontop of eachother, which gives a more intense bass tone with loads of middle-tone. Meanwhile, they have a more powerful tone, with less treble, and more output.

The more windings or the thinner wire, the more resistance (kOhm). The more resistance, the more output.

Higher output results in less treble and more bass.

Why change pickups?

With different pickups, you can tweak the sound of your guitar in exactly the direction that you desire.

The quality of pickups can be very variating. The reason for this is, that cheap, big factories often has variating grade of quality check, and those who mass produce pickups for the big companies want to do it as cheap as possible, and therefore, there’s often faults and flaws in the production, like uneven alloys in the magnets, and uneven thickness in the copper wire.

They’re often wound on machines as quickly and as cheap as possible, resulting in dull-sounding, closed pickups. They’re often CNC wound, and the way too thin cheap wire is often laid in exact patterns not allowing air within the pickup, which causes the sound to be closed.

….And of the highest quality!

We started Lücking Pickups with the goal, to create pickups from scratch, in the best possible quality. End of discussion!

That’s the reason why we get most of our parts directly from England and other places in Europe and USA. Magnets from Manchester, copperwire from Switzerland, flatwork from Arizona, USA. Our humbucker parts comes from a former Fender factory manager in England. We always strive for the highest quality, and if the quality isn’t stable or good, we’ll source for other sources for our parts. Quality must be at top!

We make our pickups in the hand at Sydsjælland, Denmark, and wind them by hand like in the old days, to achieve the best possible tone. There is a reason why original vintage pickups sells for incredibly high prices (we’re often talking over $5000 for a single humbucker) – the sound is just way better than the same pickups made nowadays by the same companies. They just don’t make them like they used to! We don’t do mass production, we don’t use CNC or anything like that modern computer controlled stuff. We wind them like in the old days, but with modern stable quality!

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Lücking Pickups - Handmade in Denmark