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Thread: Testing Pickups

  1. #1

    Talking Testing Pickups


    This is something I have been thinking about the last few days...and that is how to "check" or "test" a pickup that is not installed in a guitar, or if there is even a way to do this?!?

    Reason I am asking is that I have some older guitars and have bought some guitars that I want to re-build and/or spruce up and I want to test the pickups to ensure that they are working good and/or properly....especically EMG active pickups!!!

    Any ideas, suggestions, or random thoughts are welcome?

    Thanx in adavance!


  2. #2
    Regular Fretter ZMAN's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    North of the Equator: I am a Southerner, Southern Ontario!


    I check the DC resistance on my pickups with a multi meter. They are usually installed in the guitar though. You just use a guitar cord and measure the reistance on the 1/4 plug. I don't think it would be any different for an uninstalled pickup. It would tell you if you have continuity in the pickup. At least you would know that electricity flows through the pickup.
    I am not an expert, and the pickup might still not work.
    I am sure some of the electronics guys here will know.

  3. #3
    Regular Fretter Ch0jin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Down Under


    Yeah ZMAN is spot on.

    With passive pickups at least (I don't have any active's to try this out on) you sure can do a basic test with a multimeter, measuring resistance between the top and bottom of each coil. If you look up the specs of the PU in question you'll likely even find what the resistance is supposed to be as well as the colour chart for the wires that'll make the testing a tiny bit easier.

    Further testing is a bit rudimentary. Two suggestions I've read both involve wiring the PU directly into a guitar cord and into an live amp and then using a tuning fork waved over the PU or even lightly tapping the PU with something metal like a screwdriver (gasp).

    If you -really- wanted to get hardcore though, I stumbled across THIS site. Caution. Engineering Content


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