I'm thinking about start playing electric guitar by my own. First I would, obviously buy the guitar, but, what kind of guitar pickups is the most useful for playing all kind of music?

I read about the combination HH, but I heard it and it sounds like distorted. Also, I heard the SS, and it sounds really basic. There are a lot of combinations, so I think that a basic-for-every-type-of-music would exist.

Probably I will play much more rock, punk-rock, that other type, but to start playing I will be passing through every type of music.

  • If you're a beginner you needn't worry about p/ups for a year or two. It's like asking what colour of guitar to buy - it depends what you like. .
    – PeterJ
    Commented Dec 18, 2019 at 14:22

2 Answers 2


Pickup type is all about the tone of the sound rather than skill level. Meaning there isn't an introductory pickup type.

In terms of puck rock you could go either way re. humbucker versus single coil. In The Clash Joe Strummer played a Telecaster with single coil pickups and Mick Jones played a Les Paul with humbuckers. One band using both of the classic pickup configurations.

The body type matters too.

Heavy body with humbuckers, the classic Les Paul, has characteristic sustain and deeper, bass sound. Lighter body with single coil, the classic Fender types Stratocaster or Telecaster, has a lighter sound.

If you play with a clean sound, the difference will be noticeable. If you use a lot of effects you can dramatically change the tone away from the characteristic tone.

You can also split the difference and buy a model with both single coil and humbucker. That is a common option.

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One last point of detail...

...combination HH, but I heard it and it sounds like distorted

It won't be distorted unless you overdrive the amp or use a distortion effect and this is the case for either humbucker or single coil pickups.


I've had dozens of guitars in my lifetime and the pickups I like best are those found in American guitars, either Fender or Gibson. I've put Fender American and Gibson pickups in cheap guitars and the difference in sound is amazing making the cheap guitars to sound great! You can get used Gibson pickups in the $50 range, and American Fender pickups even cheaper. Now you just have to figure out if you want the Les Paul humbucker sound or the American Fender single coil sound. Myself, I'm a Strat guy and like single coii pickups more than the Gibson humbuckers.

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