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Why Are Some Guitar Pickups Slanted or Angled? (Explained)

Why are some guitar pickups angled? This is a question that many guitar players ask themselves. In this article, we will provide you with the answer.

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Do you often find yourself struggling to get the right sound from your guitar? It might be time to check out your guitar’s pickups. Pickups are responsible for capturing the sound of your strings. Using angled pickups might be the right call for you. But why are some guitar pickups angled or slanted? And how can you adjust them to get the perfect sound?

This article will cover what guitar pickups are and why some of them are slanted. So whether you are a seasoned guitarist or just starting, this post is for you.

Image of a black electric guitar with an angled guitar pickup. Source: rombo, pexels
Image of a black electric guitar with an angled guitar pickup. Source: Rombo, Pexels

Why are some guitar pickups angled? Angled pickups are used to enhance the overall sound of some guitars. The angled pickup emphasizes the brighter frequencies of the high string, while the straight pickup emphasizes the bass frequencies of the low string. This makes the lower strings sound warmer and richer, while the top strings have a brighter tone.

What are guitar pickups?

A guitar pickup turns the vibrations of the guitar strings into electric signals. A guitar amplifier takes these electrical impulses and boosts them so the audience can hear them. Pickups can also add color to the signal depending on their position.

How do angled pickups work?

Now that you know what angled pickups are and aren’t, you may wonder how this setup works. First, you’ll want to brush up on the science underlying optimal pickup placement.

Generally speaking, two pickups are standard on electric guitars. Even if two pickups of the same brand, model, etc., are installed in different places, their sound will be different. Pickups may be located at the instrument’s bridge, neck, and midsection.

The neck pickup makes a lower-pitched, smoother sound by emphasizing the bass frequencies. This sound is usually used for playing rhythm. The bridge pickup focuses on the high frequencies, or treble, which makes the sound brighter and sharper (usually used for playing lead).

Playing bar chords will get a warmer, richer sound from the bass strings. Also, when you play a solo on a single string, the top strings sound clearer and crisper.

Guitar pickups come in all different shapes and sizes. If you’re building out a new guitar and are looking for some great pickups, check out these popular options below.

Why do guitars have angled pickups?

Some guitars feature tilted pickups to better emphasize the high and low frequencies. Also, pickups that are placed at an angle make the treble volume of the higher strings louder while at the same time making the bass volume of the lower strings louder. As a result, the brighter upper strings and warmer bass strings provide a better overall tone.

Why are single-coil pickups angled?

Solitary coil pickups rarely use an angled configuration. What gives, then? If angled pickups are so great, why don’t humbuckers and P90s use the same design?

Several factors contribute to this conclusion. First, it’s important to note the width difference between single-coil pickups, humbuckers, and P90s.

Single coll pickups

The angle of the single coil pickups is designed to improve the treble response of the upper strings and enhances the bass on the. Because single coils are inherently bright, the bass response must be angled in this way to prevent the tone from becoming too harsh.

P90 Pickups

P90s are single-coil pickups with a wider design and a different magnet disposition. Their assembly and size allow for more output and midrange response while maintaining a twangy tonal flavor. They’re often seen as a cross between humbuckers and regular single-coils.

Humbuckers

Humbucking pickups, also known as humbuckers or double coils, are a type of guitar pickup that use two wire coils to reduce the amount of unwanted noise picked up by the instrument. Humbuckers provide a cozier, more laid-back tone. So, the bass response of the lower strings is already pretty clear in the bridge position, so there’s no need to tilt the pickup to emphasize it.

Why is only the bridge pickup angled?

Bridge pickups are often angled to soften the bridge position’s sharp treble and boost the weak bass frequencies that come with single coils. No matter how the pickup is angled, a bright single coil in the warmer neck position makes a balanced tone because the neck position makes the single coil sound smoother and mellow.

Why are humbuckers not angled?

Angled humbuckers are very rare. This is because if you tilted a humbucker, the pole pieces would no longer be in a straight line. The pole pieces must be placed under the string to pick up the vibrations and send them as an electrical signal.

If you tile a humbucker, it would have to be redesigned to be parallelogram-shaped, which would reduce its size and alter its form. Most humbuckers, therefore, are made in a parallel configuration to save on manufacturing costs.

The final justification is just superficial. If the neck pickup was vertical and the bridge pickup was at an angle. There would be an asymmetry between the pickups. It wouldn’t be aesthetically pleasing to have pickups that are perfectly symmetrical. Since humbuckers have a much bigger footprint than single coils, the tilted shape would also stand out more.

It is common knowledge that a guitar’s aesthetics significantly contribute to its overall attractiveness. Knowing this, making a guitar with “tilted pickups” might be bad for sales.

Which guitars typically have angled pickups?

Telecasters were the first electric guitars to come out with angled pickups. They were once called “broadcasters.” These angled pickups are also a defining feature of the Stratocaster. Also, this is a common way to tune Fender guitars. It accents the lows and boosts the highs.

Gibson guitars also have angled pickups. Even more modern guitar designs, such as ones with fanned frets or seven strings, have included this method. The same logic applies to the slanted pickups found on Stratocaster and Telecaster.

Why are some single coils not angled?

On some electric guitars, the bridge pickup is a single coil, while on others, it is vertical. Strats and Teles have angled pickups partly because of their long and storied history. Leo Fender started the trend, and it has caught on.

However, other manufacturers don’t see the big deal and would rather have all the pickups lined up in a row. So it’s up to the manufacturer. Additionally, some single-coil pickups have a balanced and warmer tone than Fender pickups, so you don’t have to tilt the pickup to make the low strings sound wider and bassier. So it might be seen as a waste of time and resources for the manufacturer.

What happens if you flip the angle?

If you flip the instrument over, the bridge-facing pickup will pick up the lower E and A strings. It makes their tones more effervescent but also less full. On the other hand, the top strings (G and B) will have a smoother, more relaxed tone. Some guitarists like this flip in tone, and nothing stops you from making this modification. It comes down to personal opinion.

If you want even more tips and insights, watch this video called “Whats The Difference? Angled Vs. Straight Pickups” from the littleredguitars2 YouTube channel.

A video called “Whats The Difference? Angled Vs. Straight Pickups” from the littleredguitars2 YouTube channel.
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Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Do you still have questions? Below are some of the most commonly asked questions about why some guitar pickups are angled.

Are guitar pickups supposed to be slanted?

Not necessarily. Some guitars feature tilted pickups to better emphasize the high and low frequencies. Also, pickups that are placed at an angle make the treble volume of the higher strings louder while at the same time making the bass volume of the lower strings louder. As a result, the brighter upper strings and warmer bass strings provide a better overall tone.

Does pickup angle affect tone?

Yes. Angled pickups are used to enhance the overall sound of some guitars. The angled pickup emphasizes the treble frequencies of the high string, while the straight pickup emphasizes the bass frequencies of the low string. This makes the lower strings sound warmer and richer, while the top strings have a brighter tone.

What happens if pickup is too high?

Your pickups won’t capture every nuance of the string’s vibration if they are mounted too high. Tuning and intonation problems might arise if the pickups are placed too high. Pickups are like magnets, so if you set them too high, the string will be pushed down.

Conclusion

Knowing why guitar pickups are slanted can help you better understand how they affect your tone. Be sure to adjust them accordingly when you have new guitars and amps so that your sound is as beautiful as ever.

This article covered what guitar pickups are, how guitar angles work, and why guitars have angled pickups. Here are some key takeaways:

Key takeaways

  • A guitar pickup turns the vibrations of the guitar strings into electric signals.
  • You’ll want to brush up on the science underlying optimal pickup placement.
  • Some guitars feature tilted pickups to better emphasize the high and low frequencies.

So, is your guitar pickup angled? And did I cover everything you wanted to know? Let me know in the comments section below (I read and reply to every comment). If you found this article helpful, check out my full blog for more tips and tricks on music production. Thanks for reading, and never stop making music.

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Audio Apartment Author
Written By Andrew Ash
Hey there! My name is Andrew, and I've been making music since I was a kid. I now run this blog all about home studios and music production. If you want to improve your home studio setup, this is the place for you!

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