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Musical Instruments

What is the difference between passive and active pickups?


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December 08, 2008 8:32PM

A guitar pickup uses a magnet and coil (either single or double) to generate a small electrical current when the strings are plucked. This creates a disruption in the magnetic field which is interpreted by the amplifier. This describes a "passive" pickup. The signal is sent this way. Active pickups simply use an on-board pre-amplifier that, when used with the coils, boosts the signal down the path to the amp. Basically it gives the signal a push. Active pickups are great but the quality of the sound depends a lot upon the quality of the preamp.