Crash Course on Guitar Pickups + Demo of the Spear NSG Relic Electric Guitar with Spear pickups

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check out this video for a nice “tutorial” on guitar pickups.
Also I demonstrate the Spear NSG. If you want an insane deal on this guitar, go here:



Hey, guys. Claude Johnson from How’s it
going? In just a minute I’m going to give you a demonstration
of this sweet Spear NSG Relic guitar. Before that, though,
I just want to take a minute and give you a quick rundown
about guitar pickups in general.

There are two main kinds of pickups: piezo pickups
and magnetic pickups. Piezos usually use ceramic
crystals to convert the mechanical vibrations of
your strings. So they can use any kind of guitar,
nylon strings or whatever, rarely used on electrics.
Most electrics use what’s called magnetic pickups,
which is basically a magnet wrapped in some wire
and when you play your guitar the vibrations alter
the magnetic field which the pickup then converts
into a sound signal.

Now within magnetic pickups there are two kinds:
active and passive. Active pickups are called
active because they have their own power source,
such as a nine volt battery and they actually
start with a cleaner, quieter signal, which
is then boosted with a pre-amp. So the result
is a very high-output signal which is popular
among metal guitar players. However, most
electric guitars use passive magnetic pickups.

Now, within that category we can further divide
into subcategories based on the material of the
magnet, such as alnico or ceramic and we can divide
by design such as signal coil or humbuckers. When
it comes to ceramic versus alnico, each of them
gives you a different tone, but it’s very subtle
and most guitar players would not be able to tell
you the difference. But that being said, ceramic
is supposed to be better for high output distortion
kind of sounds and alnico is going to give you more
of a classic, vintage tone.

As far as the design goes, single coils are your
traditional, classic pickup. You might see single
coils like in a Fender Strat, but what you’re going
to see are six magnets, one for each string, all
wrapped-up in a single coil of wire. So those little
magnets, one for each string, are also called pole
pieces. However, some single coils have just one big
magnet, also called a bar magnet. It just goes across
all six strings.

Now single coils are really nice because they give
you that clean, pure tone. That’s why they’re so
popular with blues players and also country players.
The main disadvantage of single coils is you get
that hum or background noise which can become very
annoying, especially if you’re using a lot of
distortion on your amp.

Another special kind of pickup is called a P-90,
also called a soapbar pickup which is basically
the very large, single coil pickup that produces
a powerful classic rock sound. There’s also the
so-called noiseless pickups which use special
winding and isolation properties to minimize
that hum. As a general rule, modern pickups are
going to be quieter than the older pickups, but
they’re still not quite as quiet as humbuckers.

Humbuckers were invented in the ’50s and they
basically consist of two single coil pickups
put together with opposite polarity and winding.
So what happens is that the hums of the two sin
gal coils cancel each other out. So the humbucker
literally is bucking the hum. That’s where they
got their name from. So the advantage is they
don’t have the hum. They don’t have quite as
much of a clean sound as a single coil pickup,
but you also get higher output as well.

Some humbuckers can be wired to split the coils,
letting you bypass a coil and give you more options
on your guitar, some can be wired with the coils
out of phase or polarity to give you a different
sound, and then there’s also the PAF-style pickups
which are just a different kind of design and gives
you more of a classic rock sound. Hopefully you
found that informative.

Now, on to the fun stuff. I’m going to demonstrate
this Spear NSG Relic for you. I wanted to talk
about pickups because I love the pickups on this
guitar. Before I plug it in and play it for you,
just a couple of words about the guitar. It’s a
Spear NSG, similar to a Gibson SG, but it has
its own unique shape, unique sound and it’s a
lot more affordable than the Gibson, even though
it’s still an awesome-sounding guitar.

It’s double cutaway and here’s where it’s cut
away, so you get those upper frets and the higher
and the lower strings. It has a set-in neck,
mahogany body, maple and mahogany neck and an
Indian rosewood fingerboard. The tuners are 18:1,
very accurate, tight and also you can see they’re
oxidized metal there so it gives it that relic look.
The paint is sanded away to give it also that aged
look. So it’s kind of cool. They’re all a little
bit different. Each one is unique.

Electronics, you have a volume knob, tone knob
and a three-way pickup selector so you can get
your neck pickup, bridge pickup or both of them.
The pickups are Spear pickups. These pickups
actually won in head-to-head competition against
the EMGs and the Seymour Duncans. I really like
them. They’re very clear, clean, articulate
sounding and you’ll hear it in just a second.
But the reason they sound so good is they use
great parts and they just take a lot of time
working with musicians to get the sound just
right. Some of their pickups took over two
years to develop. So let’s have a listen.

I’ll start off with a clean sound using both
the pickups. Pickup selector in the middle
position so I get both the neck and the bridge
pickup. Go to just the neck pickup, a little
bit warmer sound. And same chord progression.
Let’s go to the bridge pickup. you definitely
have some nice contrast.

Let’s hear some single notes using the neck pickup.
Bridge pickup. And both pickups. That’s nice.

So I’ll start off using both pickups on the distortion
channel. There’s no noise from the pickups. There’s
only noise when I touch the strings. Let me start off
with a couple of chords for you. Single notes. I’ll do
one pickup at a time. Neck pickup. Bridge pickup.
It really screams. Both pickups.

As you can see pickups give you their own unique
flavor, a very clear, clean, articulate yet bright
sound. So there you have it, the Spear NSG Relic.

Now, you can actually buy one of these from
Guitar Control. We have them in a variety of
colors, both with and without the relic look.
I’m going to actually give you the craziest
guarantee in the history of the guitar industry,
a full 90-day, unconditional, money-back guarantee
with free shipping both ways. So I’ll ship the
guitar to you for free, you try it out for 90
days and if you don’t love it I’ll pay for you
to ship it back and you’ll get all your money back.

So here’s how to get one. Just go to
It’s a killer guitar for a great price and I think you’re
going to love it. Once again, go to
Take care.

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