How to test pickup output

Discussion in 'Pickups' started by TNT, Nov 3, 2007.

  1. TNT

    TNT Active Member

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    This will go with CB's sticky on the subject. As requested by a member I will further try to explain how you can see what output your guitar's pickups have. The readings should be close to what the manufacturer's specs are.
    First you need the guitar, a patch cord (shorter the better), and a multimeter.
    Second make sure you have all volume and tone knobs set at "10" like below.
    [​IMG]
    Failure to dime the controls will result in a much higher reading as the purpose of the pots are to add resistance to the circuit. At "1" the pots are introducing a lot of resistance into the circuit.


    If you have a two-pickup model make sure that the selector switch is set at "rhythm" or "treble" - whichever pickup you want to test. For those who may not know, "rhythm" is your neck pickup and "treble" is the bridge pickup. The center selector has both pickups on and is therefore useless for this method. Note SG Customs have three pickups and there is no way to test the center pickup using this method. The setup is similar to the two pickup models except that the center position has the neck and center pickup on at the same time.

    Next, set your multimeter to 20K ohms.
    [​IMG]

    Put one lead on the shaft of the patch cord end and one lead on the tip of the lead. It does not matter what color you use on either side. Hold the leads steady on the patch cord end to get a proper reading.
    (Much easier if you're not holding a camera BTW) :)
    [​IMG]

    As you can see my Bare Knuckle P91 is at 8.5K Ohms. It's that simple!
     
  2. Bonfire

    Bonfire Active Member

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    Keep in mind though, that DC resistance doesn't have a direct correlation to output, it can just be used to compare the windings of different pickups and give a 'rough guide' to output.
     
  3. TNT

    TNT Active Member

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  4. sgtbeefheart

    sgtbeefheart Well-Known Member

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    Can we assume that in the instructions in the link, 200k is a typo?
     
  5. TNT

    TNT Active Member

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    Yes I will change it.*DONE* You would know that it would be wrong when you test. It would be like .08 sumthin'.
     
  6. Bonfire

    Bonfire Active Member

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  7. 1Way

    1Way Active Member

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    I wonder how much of the guitar cable (materials, new-used-last leg-broken, wound up close to fan/TV/power supplies/florescent light/etc.) is factored in. Thanks for the pics TNT! I've never checked my pups yet. I have a multi-meter around here somewhere. Hopefully results later. :)
     
  8. ESSER

    ESSER Active Member

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    you could poke the probes into the jack hole and take the cable out of the equation, or even take the conrtol plate off and do the wires of the pickups themselves.
     
  9. 1Way

    1Way Active Member

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    Right on ESSER, appreciate it. I'm lucky, I have a little 9" stomp box jumper cord.
    But it might be a good idea to try more than one cord just in case. ;)


    Anyone know the specs for the pups we often talk about here, like the stock Gibson SG pups, 57 Classic, Iommie, Angus, P-90, etc?

    I'll be looking for the specs for my 490/498 stock '01 SG Std set.
     
  10. TNT

    TNT Active Member

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    I used a stomp box cord for testing.
    If you open up the back you would still have resistance from the pots when you put the leads on the pickup wires because you have a complete circuit.
    You would have to take the back off to test the resistance at the jack because you can't fit both leads (or any lead really) into the jack hole. There again you would have to touch one lead to the hooked part and one to the inside sleeve of the jack. You also would have resistance as above.
    The difference is probably not that much if you use the patch cord method.
     
  11. ESSER

    ESSER Active Member

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    One probe only into the hole to touch the spring thing. the outside with the nut is earth so the other probe to that. :)



    probe......... ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;)
     
  12. sgtbeefheart

    sgtbeefheart Well-Known Member

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    Ooh! you are awful, but I like you. :D
     
  13. 1Way

    1Way Active Member

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    Ok, I get 10.2 bridge and 5.8 neck. That can't be good... Is it? :?

    Now to search for the SG Std 490-498 pup specs, maybe they are listed in another topic.
     
  14. TNT

    TNT Active Member

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    Looked around and I see 7.5K Ohms impedence for the 490R and 8.2K ohms for the 498T. Make sure volume and tone knobs are turned up on the 498T and make sure you have a good contact on the leads. Make sure you have a good battery in the multimeter as well.
     
  15. mr_dj07

    mr_dj07 Member

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    I tried it on my Epi LP Std Plus with stock PUs,

    ~10 ohms Bridge
    ~5.5 ohms Neck.

    I'm quite surprized !
     
  16. 1Way

    1Way Active Member

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    Shoot, I can't get a decent reading from either meters. I'll keep looking for batteries and power adapters, but so far no luck.
     
  17. 1Way

    1Way Active Member

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    I tried three battery replacements, keep getting similar results.
    7.3 neck
    13.1 bridge
    Mr_dj07 and myself have roughly 2-1 ratio in favor of the bridge pup. But that's a far cry from TNT's stats. Still need to try different cables.

    Anyone else check there SG Standard? :-\
     
  18. ESSER

    ESSER Active Member

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    Ive got 498/490 in my tricked out LP copy ;) . Unfortunatley my meter has bitten the big one or I would oblige 1way.
     
  19. Rafael

    Rafael Member

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    Well....don't have a standard but checked my '61(RI) and I get 7.81 on the neck and 7.78 at the bridge on those '57s.

    Out of curiosity checked the ones on a '98 Epi G-400 and got 8.11 on the neck and 8.36 at the bridge. Have no idea what any of this means :?....I guess the higher the impedance the hotter they are suppose to be? LOL....now I have to check my other ones, especially curios about my P-90s.

    ....thanks for the "how to do it" TNT :coolsmiley:.

    Raf
     
  20. cudamax2343

    cudamax2343 New Member

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    Well I know this is an old post but I have plenty of Gibson factory pickups out of guitars and I'll list all the readings for anyone that needs them. Here ya go.

    P-90-------------------------------7.7K
    57 Classic--------------------------7.7k
    Burstbucker III---------------------8.2K
    Burstbucker Pro neck---------------7.4k
    Burstbucker Pro Bridge--------------8.0k
    490r-------------------------------7.7k
    490t-------------------------------7.9k
    498t-------------------------------13.4k
    P-100 neck-------------------------6.1k
    P-100 Bridge------------------------9.4k
    Burstbucker I-----------------------7.5k
    Burstbucker II----------------------8.0k
    Brustbucker III #2------------------8.4k
    Burstbucker II #2------------------8.1k
    Remember these were all taken with the pickups out of the guitar and the pickups were all between brand new to about 3 years old I have a 496 and a 500t laying around somewhere just can't find it. To my ears I love the 57's and the burstbuckers with the 498t. Got-a get a Angus soon.
     

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