Tech Tip:What Determines The Output Of A Pickup?


Two factors contribute to a pickup's output - the number of windings of wire around the coil, and the magnet. The more turns of wire there are, the higher the output will be. However, if the wire is wound too many times, it won't fit within the cover. So, smaller gauge wire may be used to increase the number of windings and still fit under the cover. But, smaller wire has more resistance, which takes away some of the tone's high end. A stronger magnet also increases a pickup's output, but it can add high-end harshness. For this reason, Alnico-magnet pickups are preferred to ceramic-magnet pickups when a warmer tone is desired. In some cases, stronger magnets are used to offset the loss of high-end caused by using smaller gauge wire.