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Are a matched set of pickups better?

chrisjnyc

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
6,310
I have done a few pickup swaps, but always bought a set of new PUs. If you wanted to put in higher output pickups, would would look for a matched set, or just two PUs that check off the boxes?
 

Down and Out in NYC

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
1,933
I’m curious what do you consider higher output ?

I’ve had success both ways.
Just swapped pickups in this D’Avanzo.

Checking it out for the first time now. Both pickups are Dimarzios but not a matched set. I went with a Dominion neck pick up and a super distortion in the bridge.
517279AA-9230-4321-8D94-EF980E48A76C.jpeg
I have a Les Paul kinda thing loaded with a matched set of Bare Knuckle Rebel Yells. A double cut jr kinda thing with a Wolfetone Dr V bridge pickup in the neck and an OBL L550xl in the bridge. A strat with a matched set of Lollars. Sold a Tele with a Duncan 78 bridge in the neck and a Saturday Night Special bridge in the bridge. That was a killer combo. Another Tele kinda thing w a traditional Arcane Tele neck pickup and a Duncan CS JB Tele in the bridge. And yet another loaded with a set of Wolfetone Dr. V’s. All work really well together.
I know I’m missing a few , just listing what I can remember of the top of my head.
Edit : I’ve also had good luck mixing a bare knuckle cold sweat neck with a warpig brisge
 
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skullfunkerry

Member
Messages
401
I‘d normally buy a set of pickups... but I have recently upgraded the bridge pickup in my Soloist. It’s an Oil City Djenerator, with a pair of Duncan Designed hot rails in the middle and neck positions. I actually like the look, and sound wise I have no complaints.

I need to upgrade the pickups in my Ibanez, and a pair of Djenerators is looking like the favourite option at the moment
 

Guitarworks

Member
Messages
10,163
I match my own set of "matched set" pickups. I can read a spec sheet telling me what magnet a pickup uses, read a multimeter, pick 2 or 3 mass-produced pickups and put 'em in a box to complete a set the same as anyone writing ad copy. You can too. In fact, you've probably already done just that in your life at least once. I can build my own matched set from the ground up by purchasing the parts and spinning my own pickups too.

The people selling you the matched set will tell you that you shouldn't settle anything other than a matched set...because, ya know, they'd rather profit off two or three pickups than just one pickup. So it comes off to me as phrase crafted by a marketing staff to con more money out of consumers. I realize sometimes it may make more sense for one reason or another to go with the matched set instead. But I don't think the fact that it is a matched set should be the deciding factor.
 

dogratt

Member
Messages
82
I’ve mixed pickups...usually from the same manufacturer. The one time I did mix manufacturers (Lollar and another small wonder) in my tele, I did have an issue with phase, so I had to flip the wiring on one of the pickups. But sound wise- I don’t believe you have to go with a ‘set’. Naturally manufacturers try to make their sets so the neck and bridge pickups work well together, but sometimes one type of bridge and another type of neck will be more suitable for what you are personally going for.
 

Tony Done

Member
Messages
5,740
I do both, matched and mixed. It depends on what I want from the pickups, but I would likely at least start with a matched set, then be prepared at swap one or the other at need.
 

jvin248

Member
Messages
4,885
.

Depends on the guitar and what I want it to do.

One LP style has a Gretsch style Dynasonic in the neck and a P90-HB in the bridge.

Another LP style I converted the HB neck to single coil for cleans playing and put it on a push/pull that when 'up' puts the second coil in parallel for some Strat Quack. Bridge HB has an Arlo Cocked Wah from Esquire circuits on it and is perfect for high gain.

Tele is an Esquire-HB with no neck pickup, but a four way switch runs both coils.

So, no you don't need matching pickups. You mostly need to figure out how you play and the tones you want. Then choose pickups from there.
 

Tone_Terrific

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
31,871
Matched is safe and normal and will yield expected results.
But why are you changing pups?
It's better to target your needs and choose right.
Unfortunately, it can take multiple tries to hit that target.
 

VaughnC

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
17,712
Flip a coin...only your own ears would know if one was better than the other. I've been surprised a few times that something didn't end up sounding the way I expected!
 

TP Parter

Member
Messages
997
I have done a few pickup swaps, but always bought a set of new PUs. If you wanted to put in higher output pickups, would would look for a matched set, or just two PUs that check off the boxes?
Sounds like you've already dipped your toes in the pool witb swapping matched sets. Time to dive in and mske your own custom set. You know what you're looking for, check the models that meer off
 

TP Parter

Member
Messages
997
.

Depends on the guitar and what I want it to do.

One LP style has a Gretsch style Dynasonic in the neck and a P90-HB in the bridge.

Another LP style I converted the HB neck to single coil for cleans playing and put it on a push/pull that when 'up' puts the second coil in parallel for some Strat Quack. Bridge HB has an Arlo Cocked Wah from Esquire circuits on it and is perfect for high gain.

Tele is an Esquire-HB with no neck pickup, but a four way switch runs both coils.

So, no you don't need matching pickups. You mostly need to figure out how you play and the tones you want. Then choose pickups from there.
After I finally came to the conclusion I am just a single coil type player I did a similar swap to my SG, and went with a T-Armond in the neck, and BG Pure 90 in the bridge.

Those Dynasonic/Dearmonds are just spectacular, never used my neck PU as much as I do now. And blending in different shades of Dynasonic + P90 in the middle yields a vast array of incredible tones.
 

ferrinbonn

Member
Messages
1,166
Buying a set takes some of the guesswork out of the decision. You're going to get a set that works pretty well together and is the same brand, so has the same wiring schemes. If you're new to swapping pickups, it's a good place to start.

Once you have some experience and know what you're doing, I don't see any reason to buy in sets. A lot of people start off swapping pickups because they think the stock pickups are "bad" and the aftermarket ones will be better.

But really, once you get past the low bar of making sure whatever you have works properly, choosing pickups is more like choosing a color of paint. Any pickup can be good or bad depending on the guitar it goes in and depending on your taste and needs. Popular aftermarket brands like Duncan and Dimarzio are good bets because they give a lot of information to help you understand how the pickup will sound and because the designers have good ears. To go further with the paint analogy, there aren't good or bad colors, but there are colors that are safer and are likely to work for more people in more situations. A good winder is going to have a range of products that are likely to be pleasing for more people.

Once you understand that, it's easier to make informed decisions about what type of pickup will work for you in a particular guitar. You should always know exactly what you're trying to accomplish with a pickup swap. Know what type of EQ and output you need to complement that particular guitar. If you have a good understanding of that you'll be able to effectively use different models or brands of pickups in the same guitar and still get good results.
 

JELIFISH19

Member
Messages
578
Honestly, it doesn't matter. Most unmatched pickups are better matched than a matched Tele set. And there are plenty of guitars that come with a P90 and a humbuckers. You also have HSS Strats that aren't matched at all. There are Teles with neck humbuckers. I wouldn't worry about it.
 

JB6464

Member
Messages
3,530
A Matched set only matters to me when I am concerned about the phase of each pickup going into the guitar .
You may want a reverse phase on the neck or middle position pickups for certain reasons .
 

DGA

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,323
My AV strat came with the same pickup in all positions, so it's not a matched "set" at all. I can balance them fine. The neck just gets put real low and the bridge pretty high.
 




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