The Best Single-Coil Pickup Electric Guitar for Beginners

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  • Topic: Electric guitar, Gibson Les Paul, Rickenbacker
  • Pages : 7 (2372 words )
  • Download(s) : 150
  • Published : March 4, 2013
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This report investigates the popular single-coil pickup electric guitars and examines suitability of an electric guitar of type mentioned for a beginner guitarist. A brief history and introduction to the electric guitar is also included in the report. The report then goes on to talk about advantages and disadvantages of a single-coil pickup. Next, the report goes on to analyze the suitability of the guitar for beginners based on three criterion: weight, user comfort, price and sound quality. This report also gives reasons why buying cheaper guitars is a bad idea. Names of reliable guitar shops and brands will also be listed in the report.


1. Introduction4
2. How the single-coil pickup works5
3. Popular single-coil pickup electric guitars
4.1. Gibson Les Paul Junior (and variants)7
4.2. Fender Stratocaster (and variants)8
4. Why shouldn’t you buy a cheap guitar9
5. Reliable guitar shops 10
6. Conclusion11
7. Reference list12

1. Introduction

The purpose of this report is to analyze two of the most popular single-coil pickup electric guitars and find out which is the most suitable for the beginner guitarist. This report will also briefly discuss how to select a good guitar and why buying cheap guitars is a bad idea.

By examining online journals, credible wikis, guitar forum websites, guitar company websites, personal experiences, opinions from the common guitarist as well as various videos on popular online video sites such as, this report will analyze the two electric guitars as well as come to a conclusion on which single-coil pickup electric guitar is best for the beginner based on three criterion: comfort, price and sound quality. Sound quality will be further judged based on tonality on different amplifier settings. It will not be based on guitar settings as the different guitars have different flexibility in terms of setting choices on board the guitar itself.

The idea of an electric guitar first came about when George Beauchamp started experimenting with electric amplification of guitars. He tested with many different coils, including one out of a washing machine when he finally decided on using a single magnet coiled with copper wire. He was supported by wealthy businessman and engineer Adolph Rickenbacker. Beauchamp eventually produced the first successful single-coil pickup. The pickup consisted of two horseshoe-shaped magnets and one coil and was nicknamed the "horseshoe pickup". The two horseshoe-shaped magnets surrounded the strings that passed over a single core plate in the centre of the coil. In 1931 Beauchamp founded the Ro-Pat-In Company with Rickenbacker and his associates. Ro-Pat-In eventually became The Electro String Instrument Corporation and finally the Rickenbacker International Corporation. The company introduced its first "Electro-String Instruments" to the public in 1932 (Richard R. 1987).

2. How the single-coil pickup works
Figure 1 (mikesiah)
The common single-coil pickup consists of six steel nails wrapped with very fine copper wire, as shown in figure 1. A strong cell-shaped magnet is placed above each nail. This magnet is usually made of Alnico (either Alnico II or Alnico V) or Ferrite (A.K.A Ceramic) but in some rare cases, Neodymium is used. The pickup in figure 1 is a homemade one. Factory-made Figure 2 ( pickups are more polished and visually appeasing, as shown in figure 2. When the guitar is plugged into an amplifier, an electric current passes through the pickup thus forming an electromagnetic current. When a string is plucked, it creates a disturbance in the magnetic field. This disturbance also affects the electrical current. This...
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