Question about pickups for 12-string

Jeremiah

Senior member
Messages
249
Ok, first my apologies as this is not a Warmoth-related question, but is about replacement pickups for an existing guitar. I hope you don't mind me asking here.

I have asked on some pickup forums, but the members there tend to be biased in favour of that particular manufacturer's pickups.

So anyway, I've got this Squier Venus electric 12-string, and the problem I have with it is that some of the strings are much louder than others. I assume it is down to the pickups rather than problems with the nut or bridge, as the balance seems about even when I play it unplugged.

The guitar seems to have non-standard string spacing, and I am thinking that maybe the strings do not align properly with the magnets/polepieces, thus making the string response different depending on where they are relative to the polepiece. I cannot be absolutely sure of this because the pickups have plastic covers that don't seem to be removable, so I can't see exactly where the polepieces are. However, loosening the pickguard screws and moving the pickups from side to side does make a difference to the relative volume of the strings. (But I can't move them to a place where I get even response from all the strings.)

I've been wondering if maybe the best solution would be to use 'blade' or 'rail' type pickups, where the polepiece is a long rail under all the strings, as this should give an even magnetic field, and so even response no matter where the strings are. I also want fairly vintage-voiced pickups, as I don't think high output pickups would work well with a 12-string.

Two obvious pickups that I can find that would meet these requirements are the Seymour Duncan Vintage Rails and the DiMarzio Cruisers. I was wondering if anyone on here has any experience with using these pickups, what they think of them, and any other recommendations. I know there are also Joe Bardens, but they are horribly expensive in the UK (around double the price of the Duncans or Dimarzios). I have also thought about Lace Sensors - I don't know if they use a rail, but according to their website, the 'comb' magnet arrangement seems to give a more even magnetic field than the standard 6 polepieces.

 

Jeremiah

Senior member
Messages
249
Thanks, I didn't know about those GFS pickups. They look like good value; even with shipping and UK taxes I could get a pair for not much more than the price of 1 Duncan or Dimarzio, so maybe I'll give them a try.

Edit: hmm, looking at the GFS site, I also saw the lipstick tube pickups, I think traditional lipstick pickups use a bar magnet under all the strings, I assume the GFS ones would too - they could sound cool on a 12-string.
 
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