Hard Mounted Pickups Vs Rings....
Hard Mounted Pickups Vs Rings... What does it do to the tone?
Lately we have seen a lot of guitars being released with the pickups mounted straight to the body with no pickup rings or pick guards. Some people really like the cleaner look, but wonder if it affects their tone.
The first thing to remember is the basic workings of a guitar pickup. We discuss this in detail HERE
. The short version is that the string disturbs the magnetic field and causes an excitement of electrons in the coil wire that creates an AC voltage and this goes to the amp.
What if the Pickup Moves?
Disturbing the magnetic field at an audible frequency will create a voltage and thus create sound. This is why if you tap on your pickup or touch it with a screwdriver... it makes a sound.
The string does not have to move. If the string stays still, and the pickup moves, it amounts to the same end result. A disturbance of the magnetic field and a sound. This time though... not a sound we want.
What we don't want is motion within the magnetic field of the pickup other than the string. Other parts can move as well within the pickup causing rattles and feedback. Wax potting takes care of a lot of this, but the mounting plays into it as well.
Why Would You Hard Mount?
Besides the look of the hard mounted pickup, one advantage is that the pickup moves less in the body, cutting down on unwanted sounds. Most of the time, there is either a mechanical device or a piece of foam underneath the pickup to retain adjustability. Remember, pickup height still needs to be adjustable. Learn more about how to do that HERE
There are a couple devices on the market that allow for this. The poor man's way is to get some cheap flip-flops and cut them up and put them under the pickup. This allows for some adjustability in the "Squish" similar to a P90. You can also do this with conventionally mounted pickups to cut down on the unwanted vibration and noise. This will give you very similar benefits to hard mounting. Watch the video above for more details.