Can you mix and match guitar pickups? Can you have 2 different pickups on a guitar? Can any pickup go in any guitar? Are all pickups compatible with all guitars? Can you mix humbuckers? When it comes to pickups, they are one of the most important parts of an electric guitar, as they have more of a say on how your guitar sounds. This is why there is always the question if you can mix two of your favorite pickups on your guitar, and that is what we are going to find out today.
But first, what is a guitar pickup, and how was it invented? Considered by many as the heart of all electric guitars, it is a device that is designed to convert the vibrations produced from strumming the strings into electricity. They are most of the time implanted on the guitar’s body beneath the guitar strings.
When you talk about the first creator of the electric guitar pickup, then that would be the American inventor, George Beauchamp. The pickup was first made in 1931, and at the time, it was made of magnet and wrapped in coils of copper wire.
He saw the need for some instruments to be louder at that time so that you could hear them when they were played in a band. One of the instruments he thought should be louder was the guitar, so the primary purpose why electric guitar pickups were made was for the people to hear the instrument when it is playing along with woodwind, percussion, brass, or other family instruments.
The first electric guitar pickup was not that loud yet compared to the latest ones that you see in the market, but however, it was a massive help in the industry to turn things around, especially for electric guitars; as the years went by, there was also a rapid improvement on the making of electric guitar pickups.
Can You Have 2 Different Pickups On A Guitar?
Though the wood used in making an electric guitar’s body, neck, and fretboard can influence its tone, in the end, the pickups that come with it are still the major whether it will sound good or not. As musicians, you will always have a preference compared to others, and it includes having an electric guitar pickup that you would love to use on your guitar. However, the question is, would it be okay to use another pickup on my guitar?
You can mix and match guitar pickups if you really want to do it with yours; however, there are some things that you should consider before going forward with the decision. Even if you want to have a pickup setup from different manufacturers, that would be alright as long as it follows the usual rules regarding guitar pickups.
So, what are these rules? The first is that the new guitar pickup must fit into your guitar’s pickup cavity. If your guitar uses a humbucker, but you plan to use a single coil pickup or the other way around, that could be a massive headache for you. You should always check if the guitar pickup you are planning to buy will fit your electric guitar or not.
Though you can still do some modifications to your electric guitar, it can still be a hassle, as there is a chance that you can change your guitar’s appearance for the worse. If you also do not know what to do, please do not try to do things on your own just to save money or because you want to do some experimentation on your own, as you risk damaging the guitar, and that could be more expensive in the end.
Another thing is that you should not use pickups that are inappropriate for each other. What I mean by this is that when you have a 12-string or a 9-string electric guitar, do not replace your stock pickup with one that is used for six-strings, and it also has the same rule as vice versa. One thing is that these pickups won’t fit because of their size, and another thing is that they are not really made for each other.
The last thing you should check out on your guitar when replacing pickups is whether it is using an active or passive set. So, what is an active and passive pickup? An active pickup is a type of guitar pickup that needs a powered circuit to be able to generate a signal. Usually, it has a higher output, which leads to a higher gain capacity. Electric guitars that have a battery compartment mean that they use active pickups.
On the other hand, a passive pickup is the most common of the two, as they are usually cheaper and they typically come with many electric guitars that you see on the market. Passive pickups do not need an electrical source to do their job, as they are only made with a mix of magnets and wires and will not need any battery to power them up.
So, can you mix a passive and active pickup in your electric guitar? Ideally, yes, but you will have to make an adjustment to your guitar setup before you can really make it into a playable instrument. Active and passive pickups really differ in the number of pots they use. Active pickups usually have way higher pot value than passive, so it means that you will have to use a different set of volume and tone controls for each other, or else it will not work.
Another thing that you also have to remember when mixing a passive and active pickup is that you can use them one at a time, but it will be difficult for them to be used at the same time. One of the reasons for it is that active pickups saturate the signal produced by the passive pickup. So, you would have to ask yourself if it would really be worth it.
Can You Mix Humbuckers?
There is really no problem in mixing humbucker pickups, even though they have different brands; as long as it fits with your electric guitar’s pickup cavity, then you are probably good to go. You should also check whether it is an active or passive humbucker and whether your guitar uses an active or a passive one so that you will know if you have to make some adjustments or not.
Are All Pickups Compatible With All Guitars?
So, can any pickup go in any guitar? Ideally, yes. As long as it fits with your guitar’s pickup cavity, then everything would be fine. If not, then maybe you should make an adjustment with your guitar so that you can have the pickup into it. You also check about the passive and active things so that you can replace some guitar parts if needed, especially volume and tone controls if you are using an active and passive guitar pickup in your electric guitar.
So, can you mix and match guitar pickups? Absolutely, yes. Although you will need to check out its size, whether it will fit your electric guitar or not, and whether it is an active or passive pickup, but all in all, you can mix and match guitar pickups.