Resistance [R] specs as a means of pickup comparison


“What are the resistance specs of your pickup”?

The question is routinely asked as a way to compare pickups of different manufacturers before making a purchase decision. Publishing the spec on our website would be an easy way to convey that information, but it would also be misleading, because resistance alone should not be used to compare pickups among different manufacturers and designs. Nor if a pickup from manufacturer A will mate well with pickups from manufacturer B. You need more information.

Resistance as a measure of output


[R] continues to hold sway across the internet as a proxy for output, despite the fact that JBE and other reputable sources within the industry all caution against using [R] alone when comparing pickups.While resistance does have some relevance to the ‘loudness’ of a pickup, it is often marginal. In fact, doubling the resistance for example, does not equal a doubling of the power or output as some may want to believe.

We can however, say a few things about [R] relative to tone and performance. Generally, depending on the design, the higher the resistance, the darker and more muted the tone may become. A high [R] rating can render the pickup less musical, compressed, and have poor tactile responsiveness. In fact, pickups like JBE’s with lower resistance specs can actually sound louder than those with higher ratings while having better tactile response. The benefits in JBE performance result from differences in design and the materials used in our pickups.

For example, guitarists are often surprised to find that our Gatton Tele pickups measure around 4.2k ohms. What??? Certainly, at this comparatively “low” [R] level, the pickup must sound thin and anemic with low output and little punch and articulation! But, JBE players will tell you that just the opposite to be true! JBE pickups offer high-fidelity tone with performance that bring out every nuance of a musician’s playing…and the pickups are plenty powerful as well without being compressed or dull. So much so, that they find that JBE users can even do battle with Les Paul guitarists in the band mix without turning up to 11 to do it! And, still as important, JBE pickups a fully hum-cancelling.

JBE will always give you our resistance specs when you ask for them.

…but, the information will always be referenced to the foregoing discussion to ensure that you reach your goal without relying on a single comparative metric like [R] that might lead you in the wrong direction. You owe it to yourself to check out JBE pickups at a local JBE dealer or by playing a friend’s guitar or bass equipped with a set of JBE Pickups.