How Guitar Pick Ups Work

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Guitar pickups are important to any guitar, as they help convey sound from it. Learn exactly how guitar pickups work from a professional production artist in this free video.

Part of the Video Series: Electric Guitar
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Video Transcript

I'm Chay Alexander Wright, guitarist from Los Angeles, California currently working with Corbin Bleu. Today, we're going to talk about how guitar pick ups work. On this instrument, you'll find I have three pick ups. One at the neck, one in the middle and one at the bridge and the pick ups are like microphones. That's really what they are, they're microphones that pick up the vibrations of the strings to go to the amplifier and there's these here have a rod that goes all the way across the case. So you get the sounds all the way down. This pickup here at the bridge has little rivets, little divots rather that pick up the individual strings. There are six divots in each pick up. This is what they call a humbucker, it's a double pick up, two single coil pick ups strapped together and each one of these has its own divot to pick up each string that it coordinates with. And you can adjust the levels of the pick ups for, to get a consistent volume of the instrument. These here, these pick ups are special enough or particular enough to where you don't have to adjust them where for the lower string, the sixth string low E which is typically louder than the first string, high E. You don't have to adjust it so much so that there's balance but the humbucker here, the pick up is a little, slightly lower at the low E string and slightly higher at the first string high E and that helps that consistency in volume from low string to high string. And that's really how pick ups work. You can switch with, between them. This guitar here has a five way switch, toggle switch. So I can play just the, I can play just the pick up at the neck and then I can also play in the third position just the pick up in the middle and in fifth position I can play just the pick up at the bridge. And you can go in between, second position is going to be the pick up in the neck and the middle, a little softer. And the fourth position is going to be the pick up between the middle and the bridge, brighter but a little softer. And that's how pick ups work on the electric guitar. I'm Chay Alexander Wright.


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