On The Surface Fashion Has Little To Do With Politics Playing Guitar and the Pickup Selector Switch

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Playing Guitar and the Pickup Selector Switch

How many times do you change clothes during the day? Two? Three? Four? I recently tested it on myself. When I wake up, I put on my pajamas – that’s it. After showering in the morning, whether I’m going to dress appropriately for the day, whether I’m going out for meetings or sitting in front of the computer all day – these are the two. As the day ends, I might go back to “yard work” mode, or go for a walk or exercise, which requires another change—that’s three.

Then before dinner, another quick change into something comfortable for the evening, usually involving sweat pants and pullovers – that four. Drop in for dinner one night and you get another change – that’s five! Changing clothes five times in one day might seem, on the surface, a bit excessive – but the truth is, each set of clothes serves a specific and different purpose. You wouldn’t dress up for a business meeting; and your business meeting attire may not be the top choice for an evening around the house.

The electric guitar is the same. He has the ability to “change clothes” using a selector switch. And like the example above, each change – or setting – can serve a specific and distinct tonal purpose.

In order to understand the tonal options available with a pickup switch on an electric guitar, it is first necessary to understand how the switch works and why.

The guitar pick switch is attached to the guitars, and gives the guitar player the ability to choose different combinations of picks at any time. Each combination of pickups produces a different sound that the guitarist may want to use for the particular song they are playing.

Although there are many different types of pickup switches available on a variety of electric guitars, a good understanding of the subject can be gained by taking a closer look at two of the most common guitar models on the market. These are the Gibson Les Paul and the Fender Stratocaster. Each of these two legendary guitar models has its own legion of loyal fans who endorse the merits of one over the other. . Additionally, there are countless guitar manufacturers that make guitars that resemble either of these two famous models.

The differences between a Strat and a Les Paul are many, and really a topic for another discussion, so let’s just look at the differences in the pickup switches between the two.

The standard “Les Paul” type guitar is usually built with a two “humbucker” pickup configuration. This setup has a “neck” pickup and a “bridge” pickup. A neck pickup, as the name suggests, is the pickup closest to the neck or fretboard of the guitar. The neck pique creates a “dark” “full body” tone. The bridge pickup, also as the name suggests, is the pickup closest to the bridge of the guitar and produces a “brighter” or “thinner” sound. The pickup on a Les Paul style guitar is usually a three position or “three way”. The following are the three combinations of selected options available by changing the three modes:

Position 1 – Enables neck lift only

Position 2 – Enables bridge pickup only

Position 3 – This middle shift position activates a combination of both lifts

The standard “Strat” ​​style guitar is usually made with three “single coil” pickup configurations.

This set-up includes a neck pickup and bridge pickup, but also a middle pickup.

The pickup on a Strat style guitar is usually a five position or “five way” switch. The combinations of options available with the five-way transfer are as follows:

Position 1 – The switch in the lowest position activates the bridge pickup only

Position 2 – The last position activates a combination of bridge and middle scales

Position 3 – This middle position only activates the middle carry itself

Position 4 – This position activates a combination of neck and middle neck

Position 5 – This position activates neck lift only

A nice trick on changing a Strat-style pickup is to place the switch in the “in-between” position. It’s a little hard to see, but by moving the switch “in between” or positions 1 and 2, or positions 4 and 5 – you can get some “out of phase” tones. This is a technique made famous by Jimi Hendrix and, in essence, turns a five-way switch into a seven-way selector!

Whether playing Les Paul-style, Strat-style, or one of the many other versatile models on the market – changing the guitarist’s pickup gives the guitarist the ability to, so to speak, “change clothes” on the fly. Which selector position should you use? It depends. It’s really a matter of personal interpretation. Different songs call for different tones, and many times you’ll use different compositions within the same song. The key is to play around with all the tones you have and find what works best for you.

Some players get caught in a rut and get comfortable keeping the pickup selector in the same position all the time. Don’t let it be you. Always remember the tonal “change of clothes” you have in your wardrobe, and keep your game fresh and exciting by “changing into something more comfortable”, or “all your clothes” at every turn. moment strikes!

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