I Personally Use Gibson Pick-Ups – Equipment To Reinforce Your Personal Musical Style
For years or decades I’ve played guitar in bands at bars, educational institutions, concert events and recording sessions, but I couldn’t explain to you what pick-ups (p/u’s) were about. After all, I did not have a clue as to what a pick-up did to my sound. I spent my youth in a Gibson family.
I mean that my family members, when they didn’t make fun of me for my participation as a rock and roll guitarist, said if I played a guitar, it had to be a Gibson. So, I only had a clue about Humbucker type pick-ups Gibson used. Oh yeah, it’s little brother, the P-90.
My first electric was a Tiesco Del Ray I received for Christmas in 1967. I did get a Mattel Tiger guitar that was made of plastic and used a contact type pick-up. My brother and I both got one that Christmas so frequently we’d use one of the pick-ups as a microphone.
With the limited information as to how the stars were getting “that sound” we just kept attempting to learn guitar without having “how to” magazines and poor sounding phonograph players playing 45’s on a little speaker. You could say there was no reason to discern between p/u’s.
As I began to record in big recording studios I’d learn to discern my sound. I listened to hard rock artists on the radio. Now I tune in to rock radio stations online and even surf through yutube.com occasionally. I did not have those how to magazines to hip me to that elusive vintage “sound”.
However, I could hear my Gibson Explorer and my Les Paul Junior distorting at all volume levels in addition to the attack approach. It just wouldn’t smooth out. I was baffled. Still attempting to connect the look with the sound, I stumbled in the maze for years.
Not having the tolerance, or the money to purchase and compare p/u’s, I just tried to create a sound with what I had. I had all of the right pro equipment. Yet I had been looking back, “wagging the dog”.
A good sound starts from the fingers, to the guitar to the p/u’s. If you don’t begin there, you’re spinning in circles and you will wind up with a transparent (fuzzy) sound without body and response.
“Your fingers are your tone generators”. Not the amps or pedals. Those are tools to augment your expression. And if you learn anything about trouble shooting on the fly, you go down the line to locate the problem with your sound or rig. The same goes for obtaining your sound.
When developing your sound you start off with you, through the pick-up on down to the amp. With problem solving on stage, you need to start with the amp and go down the line back to you. Which makes sense given that you’ve established your rig set up, and you are trying to fix what was working, you back track. If not, you are spinning in circles, again!
Which brings us full circle, “I use Gibson Pick-ups and I’m positive that the other brands quality Alnico pick-ups are a great sounding product. I do know what sounds good to me and what I know from “my” practical experience. I’m a guitarist who’s been around the block and my ears possess a sense as to what a pick-up really should sound like, that’s what I go for all of the time.
Make yourself happy and keep the communication open!
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