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Pickup mounting rings: Important to tone?


Silver Supporting Member
I'm curious as to whether changing pickup rings (usually in a humbucker mount) makes a difference to a guitar's tone.

We all seem to be constantly changing out other guitar parts - bridges, stoptails, or trem blocks or springs, nuts, pickups, tone caps, etc etc ... but I almost never see any discussion of pickup mounting rings. For that matter, there doesn't seem to be a big aftermarket for makers of pickup mounting rings.

Are we all happy with the cheap standard plastic mounts that come with our guitars? Or doesn't it matter?

Seems like a humbucker kind of "floats" in the ring that connects it to the body, and that the mounting ring therefore would make a small difference in sustain or tone. Anyone experimented with this and noticed any differences?



Senior Member
I haven't experimented with it. If there is a difference I'd say it's miniscule. Les Pauls since the 50s have used plastic. Fender strats have their pickups mounted to plastic. Some companies have used metal for pickup rings. Some have used wood.


Well, EVH mounted a humbucker to the wood for less magnetic vibration and more sustain. I feel that a plastic-mounted pickup adds to the known Strat sound, though.


Silver Supporting Member
On an SG, rings vs. pickguard mounting may make a difference in the angle between the strings and pickup. That will affect how much you can adjust the position of the pickup.


The short of it in my opinion is that the effect would be mostly negligible. If you are going from a ring mount to mounting direct to the body you might notice a small difference but the reality is that the way you hold your guitar and press the guitar to your body will change the resonance and sustain more than the material a pickup ring is made from.


The pup rings make not a jot of difference...

IF the body and neck are adding anything to the tone it's through the strings. The strings make a direct connection to the rest of the guitar via the nut and bridge so there's going to be that interacton. All the pup is doing is sitting underneath the vibrating string and trning the flux of the magnetic field into an electrical signal. Yep, it's connected to the body and maybe it'll vibrate a little but in the grand scheme of things any change in tone caused by the rings or different types of rings would be negligable.

Happy to be proved wrong but... Just can't see how the pup ring can have any effect.


Play It Forward
Silver Supporting Member
Yeah, about as much as how long your toenails are.


Senior Member
I think the OP is on to something. I can't help but think that pickup rings of different materials would give a slightly different sound. I have an old pickup ring made of brass. I think pickup rings made of wood (I know that some have been made and may be available) might be interesting. Or what about concrete or stone? Seriously! I'm not kidding.



Wasn't there something about marshmallows in a football field or crystal lettuce and electrons?


Not at all.

People take these things to the point of the absurd and this is an example. I suppose someone will swear that a switch tip will affect tone. Yeah right.

I've been playing electrics for almost 35 years and the biggest variables are in amp settings and pickups (and to a degree guitar construction), but IMHO anyone who thinks there's a difference either has the ears of a dog, are under the influence of a hallucinogen or are just plain lying.


Silver Supporting Member
i find onion rings have a big impact on my playing. The McDonalds ones have a bit more top end, but allow me to slide up and down the neck. Burger Kings, especially the extra large size, give me quite the mid bump.


Platinum Supporting Member
There is a slight mechanical difference with rings, in two cases as far as i can tell.

One, sometimes metal rings can be a little microphonic with high gain.

Two, tall rings like the historic pauls use cause the pickup springs to be less compressed at a given pickup height, allowing the pickup to flop around more in the ring. I changed my R8 rings out for regular Gibson rings for this reason.

The extension of this idea is direct-mounting the pickup to the wood EVH-style, with no "springing" at all. This immobilizes the pickup, reducing the low-mid howl that sometimes happens at insane volume when the whole pickup begins vibrating.


Gold Supporting Member
Seymour Duncan Triple Shot Mounting Rings on my guitar.
Makes a HUGE difference tone.


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