There are certain things that we just take for granted.
The sky is blue, water is wet, and guitar pickups have as many poles as strings there are in the instrument.
But what would actually happen if you were to put a 7-string pickup on a 6-string guitar?
Putting a 7-string pickup on a 6-string guitar will work to an extent. First of all, you would need to carve out wood from the sides of the routing to make room for it. Second, and most importantly, the pickup will not align properly with the strings and will provide uneven signal levels.
Perhaps you have just taken out a pickup that you love from one of your 7-strings and you are wondering if it could be used to breathe new life into your dull 6-string.
Wonder no more, I’ve got you covered.
In this article, I will go in-depth about everything you need to know about mixing and matching 7-string pickups with 6-string guitars, what will work and what will not.
After leaving this page you will have a clear idea about what your options are and if taking on this mod is a good idea.
Are you ready to get started?
Would a 7-string pickup fit on a 6-string routing?
A 7-string pickup will not fit on a 6-string pickup routing because it’s longer since it has one extra pole piece.
To make a room for it you will have to carve out some wood out of your guitar, and this is obviously destructive work that can’t be easily reverted.
So, take this into consideration when deciding if this mod is really a good idea for you.
Would a 7-string pickup on a 6-string make sound at all?
Yes, a 7-string pickup will work as just any other guitar pickup, they are pretty straightforward.
The only issue is that the string spacing for which it is designed will most likely not line up properly with the strings of your guitar resulting in a lacking sound.
How would a 7-string pickup sound on a 6-string guitar?
The most common result that players who have tried putting a 7-string pickup on a 6-string guitar report is that the resulting signal levels from the different strings are not consistent at all.
And this is expectable since the string spacing for which the 7-string pickup was designed will likely not line up at all with the one from a 6-string guitar.
You have some choices about its position to decide on when installing it:
- Placing the 7-string pickup dead center
- Placing the 7-string pickup to line up with the lower strings
- Placing the 7-string pickup to line up with the higher strings
If you go for the first option you will have a somewhat even signal response towards the center strings, however, as you go to the first and sixth strings, the sound will get muddier and weaker since the pole alignment will be way off.
The alternatives to line it up with the higher or lower strings, in my opinion, are the superior ones, and most likely you will prefer matching the lower strings for cleaner rhythm sounds.
Another common way of trying to align the pole pieces with the strings better is by angling the pickup slightly.
This will require more destructive work on the body of the guitar, however.
Is the wiring for a 7-string pickup the same as a 6-string?
Yes, the wiring from most pickups is the same, no matter the number of strings they are intended for.
You will have no issues with the routing for the electronics, and the ones on your 6-string guitar will work just fine.
Is putting a 7-string pickup on a 6-string guitar reasonable?
I don’t think that putting a 7-string pickup on an extended-range guitar is a great idea.
First of all, and perhaps not important for most of you thinking about this mod, but this won’t ever look alright no matter how good of a job you do.
So, if the looks of your guitar matter to you, this might not work out.
Although I’m open for you to proving me wrong!
Secondly, there are no assurances that the end result of this mod will provide you with a usable sound at all.
Having a noticeable disparity between the signal strength of your strings can be unbearable for some players.
However, if you want to take on this idea just for fun, and as an experiment, by all means, go ahead, but please share your results with our community!
Hello there, my name is Ramiro and I’ve been playing guitar for almost 20 years. I’m obsessed with everything gear-related and I thought it might be worth sharing it. From guitars, pedals, amps, and synths to studio gear and production tips, I hope you find what I post here useful, and I’ll try my best to keep it entertaining also.