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Do PUPs matter when ....?

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Do PUPs matter when ....?

Postby ManFromGlass » Wed Jan 23, 2019 2:57 am

Confession - I’ve never played a guitar through an amp for live performance or recording. When I need to record guitar I go into a Boss GT001 or Adrenalin lll which both have line level out into my computer interface. Or if I record dry there are wonderful plugins to get me the sound I want.
Perhaps I have too much hearing loss but recording this way I can’t tell if it matters if I use the guitar with single coils or the one with humbuckers. The effected sound is the same to my ears. How hard I hit the effects with volume does give me some great colours and that I can hear.

But for effected, not clean sound, I can’t tell if pickup choice matters. I feel like it should make a difference. Perhaps the simulations are that good these days? Or the subtleties are beyond me.
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Re: Do PUPs matter when ....?

Postby Sam Spoons » Wed Jan 23, 2019 10:31 am

Heavy duty fx mask the basic tone of the guitar to an extent but there is still a difference. The more fx/distortion you add the more subtle the difference becomes. To train your ear to recognise the difference start by recording a riff with a Strat bridge PU then do the same with a LP Neck HB through the same fx chain. Line the tracks up in your DAW so you can switch between them and have a careful listen. If you only have one guitar try going from bridge to neck with a little tone rolled off on the guitar. With loads of fx the differences may be so subtle as to not matter but they will be there if you listen hard enough.

Heavy duty modelling systems which take the basic guitar input and process it to match an impulse response are, obviously, exceptions as they only use the guitar input to extract pitch/velocity/duration data and then, effectively, synthesise the tone they output

ATEOTD It probably doesn't matter, I have played Dire Straits on a Les Paul and Santana on a Strat and been complimented on the authenticity of my tone in both cases. Guitars always seem to sound like guitars (and before some smartarse digs out his collection of saved Fripp youtubes..........)
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Re: Do PUPs matter when ....?

Postby CS70 » Wed Jan 23, 2019 10:44 am

The differences are not in the timbre you can achieve. With a bit of FX, nobody can really say what guitar or pickup is playing what (perhaps active humbuckers on a seven strings.. but even there there's ways to get the sound from a single coil signal by working it in post). The differences are in the playing feel you get, which in turn drives the way you play and what you play.

For example, with the same setup, a humbucking pickup will generally have a higher output and will load the amp more and may result in a more sustained sound, which will suggest to you lines which would sound ridiculous with faster decay. You may be able to do pinch harmonics more easily and therefore you will do them. And so on...

Whether or not that has a big effect, and how big, depends of course on you and the chain you play.

If you play on a DI and work the result in post, your playing will be "printed" and you're gonna change only the timbre .
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