What makes a good pickup?

Jason Lollar of Lollar Pickups
Jason Lollar crafting a pickup in his workshop (Image credit: Lollar Pickups)

Jason Lollar is so often named in discussions of great electric guitar pickups that he’s almost a kind of Old Master of the craft. His Imperial humbuckers have become a benchmark for how a modern recreation of a PAF should be so, with many guitarists upgrading pickups themselves, we asked him what the ingredients of a great pickup are?

“I like the pickup to be able to follow any kind of input that the player puts on the string, rather than the pickup itself dominating the sound,” Jason explains, speaking from his Tacoma manufacturing headquarters. “That takes a certain amount of attack and clarity,” he adds, “especially when you’re playing real close intervals. You also want a real open, even high-end and midrange.” 

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Jamie Dickson

Jamie Dickson is Editor-in-Chief of Guitarist magazine, Britain's best-selling and longest-running monthly for guitar players. He started his career at the Daily Telegraph in London, where his first assignment was interviewing blue-eyed soul legend Robert Palmer, going on to become a full-time author on music, writing for benchmark references such as 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die and Dorling Kindersley's How To Play Guitar Step By Step. He joined Guitarist in 2011 and since then it has been his privilege to interview everyone from B.B. King to St. Vincent for Guitarist's readers, while sharing insights into scores of historic guitars, from Rory Gallagher's '61 Strat to the first Martin D-28 ever made.