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I was thinking about an upgrade of my 24-fret RG guitar. Even though it's a «shredding» piece of instrument, I wanted to set up low-output pups on it, but then… some guy told me that this long neck will worsen the sound of the vintage-output pickup in the neck position. Is it true? Will 20-22 fret guitar with the same body sound differently that much? Especially speaking about low-output pups in the neck, if it matters.

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  • Doubt it............
    – Tim
    Mar 2, 2018 at 20:27

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tl;dr No - that guy is talking nonsense.

It doesn't matter how many frets there are as far as the strings go - the first 22 are still in the same positions on both.

The one thing that may change if you alter a guitar from a 20 to a 24 fret neck is the exact location of the neck pickup:

If you have more frets, the neck pickup will need to be closer to the bridge, and this will actually change the sound, as the frequencies picked up at greatest amplitude vary along the length of the string.

Whether or not that worsens it or improves it is entirely down to what you like, but there will be a difference, yes.

In your case, however, this is almost irrelevant. You have a 24 fret neck and simply want to replace your current pickups with low-output vintage pickups. This will provide a difference in tone from the pickups that far outweighs any difference between locating the pickup in the usual place on a 22 fret guitar.

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    On a lot of guitars with less than 24 frets, the neck pup is in the place where the 24th fret would be. Teles in particular.
    – Tim
    Mar 3, 2018 at 8:25
  • I guess that is what he was talking about. A neck pickup on this guitar will sound like a middle one, a middle one like a pup in a bridge position and the bridge will become even more «bridgy». Compared with more usual necks, of course. Mar 3, 2018 at 9:54
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    Bridge pickup is likely to be exactly the same as normal. But moving a neck pickup up 2 frets will take it towards a mid position, but not all the way.
    – Doktor Mayhem
    Mar 3, 2018 at 10:03
  • The thing is, if we are playing notes on the 20-22nd fret, those notes do not sound warm/fat on the neck pickup of a 22 fret guitar; the pickup is reading close to the end of the vibrating part of the string! The 24 fret guitar moves the pickup away, which those specific notes high on the neck fatten up.
    – Kaz
    Aug 7, 2023 at 7:44

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