How accurate are guitar pickup output readings?

Can you blindly rely on the value of resistance when you measure the Ohm on a handheld multimeter? The Answer is no. Why? In this blog I will touch the basics on why we can’t solely rely on this!

First let’s look at multimeters that people can buy in various shops and online stores. When you try to buy a multimeter and search online, you will see there are thousands of different brands and models. The small cheapest multimeters can give you a rough pinpoint, but will ultimately give you inaccurate readings. The reason for this is that they are too slow at reading the signal itself. Therefore readings vary from multimeter to multimeter. We’ll create a video on this in the future.

The second and the most important thing that will give you different readings is temperature!

Our pickups are measured at room temperature and we use a laser thermometer to make sure the pickups have the same temperature as the room. You can check this easily yourself with a multimeter (again we will cover this in a future video).

If you measure a pickup on your bench and it reads 7.5k, leave it connected while you take your hand and different parts of the pickup for at least 15 seconds. You will see the value will rise from 7.5k really quick. This means the higher temperature of the pickup, the higher Ohm output will be. This also means, the colder it gets, the value will drop. We have seen a 7.5k pickup drop below 7.0k because of temperature change.

I have worked with a lot of artists that tour around the world and play both indoor and outdoor gigs under very different temperatures. Many have questioned the performance of their equipment when they can’t quite nail their tone, but the pickups in their guitars change a lot depending on the environment, something they had never considered.

So the output value of a pickup you read about on the web can vary depending on the environment. Therefore use these readings only as a guideline and not as a 100%.

Thomas Nilsen

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