PICK 'N' MIX
Guitarist|February 2021
The matched pickup ‘set’ is so last year, reckons our reviews editor Dave Burrluck, who suggests a pickup mismatch is the new black…
Dave Burrluck
PICK 'N' MIX

Combining a Gibson humbucker with a Fender single-coil – a benchmark mod-favorite – has certainly produced some stellar sounds, be it in the hands of Keith Richards or Andy Summers just for starters. Then there’s the allure of Fender’s neck humbucking/bridge single-coil Telecaster Custom. These are all invariably unbalanced pairings and it’s that mismatch that interests us here. While the matched pickup set still rules, actually mixing up the styles and different brands can be rather inspiring, especially to the many of us who have been stuck recording these past months – anything that kicks a new riff, lick or song is very welcome.

In recent years we’ve definitely seen an expansion of pickup styles that are available to us beyond the de facto humbucker and single coils. As a consequence, numerous guitar makers have been mixing it up for some time. A very common setup, for example, is pairing a standard-sized bridge humbucker with a single-coil P-90 soap bar at the neck. You’ll commonly find that setup on numerous boutique builds, but also on much more affordable instruments such as Gretsch’s lowly G2215-P90 Streamliner Junior Jet Club, which pairs a Broad’Tron BT-2S at the bridge with a soap bar P-90 at the neck. Nik Huber’s Piet – which has featured heavily in these pages over the past few months – uses a Telecaster-style neck single-coil and a P-90 soapbar in a very funky, almost Gold Foil-like cover. And judging by our email inbox, there are plenty of DIYers posing the question, “What if…?”

This story is from the February 2021 edition of Guitarist.

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This story is from the February 2021 edition of Guitarist.

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