Does excess pickup wire lenght affect tone?

teveinsene

Supporting Member
Messages
742
So I just installed a new pickup and instead of trimming the excess 3 or so inches of pickup wire i just left it. Do any of you guys in the know of such things here know if this produces any negligable difference in tone for the worse? Maybe a dumb question but I'm just wondering.
 

stuco

Member
Messages
848
I don't think so unless maybe if it was really long, I can't prove it though. I'd be interested to hear from the experts. I've wondered this myself because sometimes I know I may eventually remove a pickup so I will leave the leads as long as I can.
 

catpeople

Senior Member
Messages
3,177
What travels on the wire is electricity generated by induction, when the metal strings vibrates in front of a magnet in a bobbin. The bobbin metal length, magnets and string vibration affect the tone. Once that current is generated and leaves the bobbin, it's just electricity. Elctrons travel rrreeeaaallllyyy fast. So 3 inches of extra wire are nothing. Anybody who says otherwise is an idiot.
 

Corinthian

Member
Messages
1,913
I'm no electrical engineer but as I understand it:

Basically before the amplifier it's capacitance that makes the difference. After the amp (speaker cable) it's resistance.

An increase in capacitance before the amplifier will roll off some of the high frequencies. 30ft of cable between the pickups and the amplifier will have an audible effect (not necessarily in a bad way though, the 'sweet switch' in early PRS guitars was included at the request of Carlos Santana to replicate the sound of a long cable when in the studio and when using wireless systems). Contrary to what the emails in your spam folder tell you, 3 inches will have so small an effect it's probably not even measurable on sophisticated equipment.
 

David Garner

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
7,499
Yeah, I can't imagine it making a perceptible difference at all.

In fact, the only possible thing I could think of is having the wires all jumbled up could create excess noise. I just installed a set of Dimarzio Areas on mine and I was worried about that when I put it back together (I left all the leads long-ish). But I didn't even have noise issues, though I suppose I might have if they weren't noiseless pickups. I intend to cut the lengths down appropriately eventually, but it's for tidiness' sake, not because I think it affects the tone. I didn't want to do so for the test run since I didn't yet know if they'd be staying in the guitar and I figured resale value would be better with longer leads.
 

lpdeluxe

Member
Messages
1,529
I calculated something like this a few years ago, and discovered that, at the speed at which a signal is propagated along a wire (very close to the speed of light) an additional kilometer of wire would add 9 nanoseconds to the length of time it took the signal to get from A to B. Assuming that the signal is intact (a fact disputed only by marketers peddling wire for several magnitudes of their manufacturing cost), and taking note that humans can't perceive a delay of less than 40 nanoseconds, it's safe to say that there will be no audible difference.
 

EADGBE

Member
Messages
12,337
Do any of you guys in the know of such things here know if this produces any negligible difference in tone...
Very negligible difference in tone. Unless it's very long and unshielded. Think about it. The guitar's instrument cable is sort of an extension of the pickup's leads. As it's in between the pickup and the amp.
 

Guinness Lad

Member
Messages
15,853
Maybe if you had 100' of it, but then how would you get it into your guitar? Don't worry about trial matters like this, it's like herding gnats.
 

VaughnC

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
18,911
Theoretically, adding wire will increase shunt capacitance which, in turn, affects the higher frequency rolloff. But is the difference enough for you, me, or Eric Johnson to actually hear? Depends on who you ask ;).
 

hunter

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
8,712
Elctrons travel rrreeeaaallllyyy fast. So 3 inches of extra wire are nothing. Anybody who says otherwise is an idiot.

Actually electrons travel very slowly. Electrons in a wire are like toothpaste in a tube. Create pressure on one end of the tube and toothpaste immediately comes out the other end. But the toothpaste at the end you pushed hardly moved at all. Eectrons and electricity are the same.

The electrical effect travels very quickly.

Does this make me an idiot?

And the question at hand. I would not worry about it.

hunter
 

peskypesky

Member
Messages
6,722
the length of the pickup wire WILL affect your tone, but not as much as the color of socks you're wearing.
 

danelectro

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,260
You've already got fifteen or twenty feet of cable between the amp and the guitar. What's another 3"?
 
Messages
5,031
So I just installed a new pickup and instead of trimming the excess 3 or so inches of pickup wire i just left it. Do any of you guys in the know of such things here know if this produces any negligable difference in tone for the worse? Maybe a dumb question but I'm just wondering.
An extra 6" of wire in the control compartment will be of no consequence when you consider the 20' or more cable you plug in with
 

guitarz1972

Member
Messages
4,902
If you keep it in the hard case, you should be fine. If you're using a soft case though, you might have problems.
 




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