An online guitar pickup chooser provided me such a list of options:

  • More Output
  • More Harmonics
  • More Versatility
  • Cleaner/Brighter Tone
  • Warmer/Fatter Tone
  • More Sustain

I understand another options but not the bold one. Does it mean natural or artificial harmonics will be stronger or word harmonics means something else here? When I may want pickup with more harmonics and when not?

  • 2
    It seems to me that 'more harmonics' and 'Brighter tone' mean more or less the same thing...
    – Johannes
    Apr 21, 2016 at 9:38

1 Answer 1


Usually this is meant to mean something similar to 'Brighter Tone' as Johannes commented, but underlying that you typically have two factors:

  • wider frequency range (which allows more of the higher harmonics to be heard)
  • a frequency response which accentuates harmonics (by having a peak towards the higher end of the guitar range)

All pickups have different frequency responses, and you can alter them by changing strings, magnets, pickup height, pole height etc so this is one of those marketing phrases which should be taken with a pinch of salt - you may notice the sound difference, and if it works for you then it is good.

  • Aren’t these two factors two faces of the same coin?
    – Édouard
    May 8, 2016 at 0:30
  • Not quite, no. But they are closely related.
    – Doktor Mayhem
    May 8, 2016 at 0:40
  • When I hear “wider frequency range”, I understand “wider frequency band in which gain > -3/-6dB”. Am I wrong?
    – Édouard
    May 8, 2016 at 1:26
  • That is one valid meaning. My answer is talking about two things though. To simplify: width of frequency range and shape of frequency response curve
    – Doktor Mayhem
    May 8, 2016 at 8:14

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