Leads: bridge vs neck pickup

Discussion in 'Beginners/FAQ' started by HungryGuitarStudent, Dec 28, 2018.

  1. HungryGuitarStudent

    HungryGuitarStudent SS.org Regular

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    Im back with another noob question. For leads, which pickups do you use (neck vs bridge), when and why ? Personally, for shred I'm a bridge for everything guy, but I see a lot of people switching to neck for sweeps (easier to be clean) or for picking runs. I'd like to have a better understanding of the various point of view.
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2018
  2. lewis

    lewis SS.org Regular

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    there just isnt a one size fits all answer.
    Both have their uses for specific styles and even then its subjective and other players would disagree.
     
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  3. Lorcan Ward

    Lorcan Ward 7slinger

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    My preference is bridge for most and neck for sweeps and smoother leads when needed, depends on the pickup, guitar, rig and context really. On some of my guitars I don't like using the bridge cause it's too bright and attacky while others have the rounded high end that's perfect across the board. Then sometimes the neck is too bloated sounding on the lower frets and fuzzy on the wound strings. Often I'll just flip back and forward during a solo or best of both worlds double track using the bridge and neck.
     
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  4. HungryGuitarStudent

    HungryGuitarStudent SS.org Regular

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    Yeah, I'm aware of that. My aim was to hear those points of view.
     
  5. budda

    budda Guiterrorizer Contributor

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    The POV is "use the one that sounds best for the application." Unfortunately that doesn't make for a very interesting thread, but there it is.
     
  6. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    I probably use the bridge (on a H-H guitar) a LITTLE more than the neck... But I use both, often within the same solo. They sound different, and that can be cool for effect.

    Strat, almost always the neck singlecoil, but honestly even then I'll switch it around here and there. SRV may have been known for the middle pickup position on a Strat, but if you listen closely to his playing, he tends to switch positions a LOT, sometimes even within the same phrase.
     
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  7. BenjaminW

    BenjaminW SS.org Regular

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    I pretty much swear by my bridge pickup on virtually all my guitars.
     
  8. Strobe

    Strobe SS.org Regular

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    Agreed with those saying it depends on what the situation calls for, and that the neck is the thing for the fluid stuff. I kind like starting with the neck and then maybe ending with the bridge.

    That said, a lot of the time live I just stick to the bridge pickup because it works for about everything and cuts a little more without dialing in the EQ just right. Us plebs do not get the luxury of a pro sound guy. :)
     
  9. A-Branger

    A-Branger SS.org Regular

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    the answer is, you go switch to the neck and play, you would hear the difference, and eventually find in your playing style where it fits best

    I personally like the neck the most, and switch to the bridge when I need an extra "bite" for a mroe "agresive" part of the solo. I like the cream/smooth/round sound the neck gives. But I also dont "shred" so I only play simple leads, more melody based slow leads which the neck is the way to go (for me)

    see a Petrucci playtrough of one of his solos (or someone doing a proper cover), and you would see how often he changes back and forth between the two and how it helps sonically the solo
     
  10. Scordare

    Scordare SS.org Regular

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    I typically use the neck pickup for leads. It makes the thin, higher notes sound fuller/thicker and the notes bleed together better when sweeping and legato. It really depends on the pickups too... One of the few bridge pickups I've used that was also great for leads on a single pickup guitar, is the DiMarzio D-Sonic.
     
  11. KailM

    KailM SS.org Regular

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    For me it depends on what else is going on in the song most of the time. Most of my music is real heavy/distorted with crushing rhythm riffs. So the bridge pup cuts through that better and kind of smooths out because of what it's cutting through (some of the shrillness and sizzle disappears in the mix). If the rhythms aren't as dense, then the neck pup can sound sweeter, but almost as a rule I only use it above the 12th fret and on the lighter strings. If I need a warmer lead tone but still need it to cut through a dense mix, I select both at the same time.
     
  12. FwLineberry

    FwLineberry User of Registers

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    I used to be a one humbucker, one volume control player, but now I'm using pickup combinations a lot more, I've been switching to the neck pickup when getting up around the 12th fret and either neck and bridge or just bridge below the 12th fret. I'm also backing off the tone control at times to take some edge off the bridge pickup.
     
  13. KnightBrolaire

    KnightBrolaire schadenfreude

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    depends on the riffs, and depends on the pickups. some neck pickups are better suited to shreddy lead work (liquifire, cold sweat, vhii, dragonfire screamer neck, etc) and others are definitely not as well suited (sentient, emerald) due to their voicing. it's rarer to find a bridge pickup that can be smooth enough for leads, yet aggressive enough for rhythm parts.
     
  14. TheWarAgainstTime

    TheWarAgainstTime "TWAT" for short

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    Usually bridge for me, but it really depends on the song/application. I love me some juicy neck pickup tones when the moment is right
     
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  15. Hollowway

    Hollowway Extended Ranger

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    I use the bridge pickup 99% of the time. I find the neck pickup really works when I want to do a free form jazz exploration in front of a festival crowd.
     
  16. juka

    juka SS.org Regular

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    Why not look at what your guitar hero's do and copy that?

    Mine (John Petrucci, Andy James,...) often switch to the neck humbucker as soon as they move beyond the 12th fret.
     
  17. HungryGuitarStudent

    HungryGuitarStudent SS.org Regular

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    I'm already aware of what my idols do. As for me, I'm a bridge guy 99% of the time and I'm not looking to change that. I want to know the point of view of users on this forum.
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2018
  18. primitiverebelworld

    primitiverebelworld SS.org Regular

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    For me it depends on the volume too. On higher volumes the sound you know requires different approach than on bedroom levels or with headphones(another topic). Leads might become too piercing to sound pleasing so neck pu is the remedy for that. Much smoother and fuller. Overall I can say - neck pu is more forgiving and has less overtonez. Suggested for speedwork and if you are a bit tired/eardeaf....bridge for solos beyond 12th - you have not so speedy material or you want to melt some faces...or just like more cutting tone this time.
     

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