Crash Course on Guitar Pickups + Demo of the Spear NSG Relic Electric Guitar with Spear pickups

Guitar Control
6 min readMay 25, 2021


Hey, how’s it going this is Claude Johnson with Guitar Control, I’m going to give you a demonstration of this sweet Spear NSG Relic guitar. Before that, though, I just want to take a minute and give you a quick rundown about guitar pickups in general.

Check out this video for a nice “Tutorial” on guitar pickups. Also I demonstrate the Spear NSG. If you want an insane deal on this guitar, go here:

There are two main kinds of pickups: piezo pickups and magnetic pickups. Piezos usually use ceramic crystals to convert the mechanical vibrations of your strings. So they can use any kind of guitar, nylon strings or whatever, rarely used on electrics. Most electrics use what’s called magnetic pickups, which is basically a magnet wrapped in some wire and when you play your guitar the vibrations alter the magnetic field which the pickup then converts into a sound signal.

Now within magnetic pickups there are two kinds: active and passive. Active pickups are called active because they have their own power source, such as a nine volt battery and they actually start with a cleaner, quieter signal, which is then boosted with a pre-amp. So the result is a very high-output signal which is popular among metal guitar players. However, most electric guitars use passive magnetic pickups.

Now, within that category we can further divide into subcategories based on the material of the magnet, such as alnico or ceramic and we can divide by design such as signal coil or humbuckers. When it comes to ceramic versus alnico, each of them gives you a different tone, but it’s very subtle and most guitar players would not be able to tell you the difference. But that being said, ceramic is supposed to be better for high output distortion
kind of sounds and alnico is going to give you more of a classic, vintage tone.

As far as the design goes, single coils are your traditional, classic pickup. You might see single coils like in a Fender Strat, but what you’re going
to see are six magnets, one for each string, all wrapped-up in a single coil of wire. So those little magnets, one for each string, are also called pole pieces. However, some single coils have just one big magnet, also called a bar magnet. It just goes across all six strings.

Now single coils are really nice because they give you that clean, pure tone. That’s why they’re so popular with blues players and also country players.
The main disadvantage of single coils is you get that hum or background noise which can become very annoying, especially if you’re using a lot of
distortion on your amp.

Another special kind of pickup is called a P-90, also called a soapbar pickup which is basically the very large, single coil pickup that produces
a powerful classic rock sound. There’s also the so-called noiseless pickups which use special winding and isolation properties to minimize that hum. As a general rule, modern pickups are going to be quieter than the older pickups, but they’re still not quite as quiet as humbuckers.

Humbuckers were invented in the ’50s and they basically consist of two single coil pickups put together with opposite polarity and winding.
So what happens is that the hums of the two sin gal coils cancel each other out. So the humbucker literally is bucking the hum. That’s where they got their name from. So the advantage is they don’t have the hum. They don’t have quite as much of a clean sound as a single coil pickup, but you also get higher output as well.

Some humbuckers can be wired to split the coils, letting you bypass a coil and give you more options on your guitar, some can be wired with the coils out of phase or polarity to give you a different sound, and then there’s also the PAF-style pickups which are just a different kind of design and gives
you more of a classic rock sound. Hopefully you found that informative.

Now, on to the fun stuff. I’m going to demonstrate this Spear NSG Relic for you. I wanted to talk about pickups because I love the pickups on this guitar. Before I plug it in and play it for you, just a couple of words about the guitar. It’s a Spear NSG, similar to a Gibson SG, but it has its own unique shape, unique sound and it’s a lot more affordable than the Gibson, even though it’s still an awesome-sounding guitar.

It’s double cutaway and here’s where it’s cut away, so you get those upper frets and the higher and the lower strings. It has a set-in neck, mahogany body, maple and mahogany neck and an Indian rosewood fingerboard. The tuners are 18:1, very accurate, tight and also you can see they’re oxidized metal there so it gives it that relic look. The paint is sanded away to give it also that aged look. So it’s kind of cool. They’re all a little bit different. Each one is unique.

Electronics, you have a volume knob, tone knob and a three-way pickup selector so you can get your neck pickup, bridge pickup or both of them.
The pickups are Spear pickups. These pickups actually won in head-to-head competition against the EMGs and the Seymour Duncans. I really like them. They’re very clear, clean, articulate sounding and you’ll hear it in just a second. But the reason they sound so good is they use great parts and they just take a lot of time working with musicians to get the sound just right. Some of their pickups took over two years to develop. So let’s have a listen.

I’ll start off with a clean sound using both the pickups. Pickup selector in the middle position so I get both the neck and the bridge pickup. Go to just the neck pickup, a little bit warmer sound. And same chord progression. Let’s go to the bridge pickup. you definitely have some nice contrast. Let’s hear some single notes using the neck pickup. Bridge pickup. And both pickups. That’s nice.

So I’ll start off using both pickups on the distortion channel. There’s no noise from the pickups. There’s only noise when I touch the strings. Let me start off with a couple of chords for you. Single notes. I’ll do one pickup at a time. Neck pickup. Bridge pickup. It really screams. Both pickups.

As you can see pickups give you their own unique flavor, a very clear, clean, articulate yet bright sound. So there you have it, the Spear NSG Relic.

Now, you can actually buy one of these from We have them in a variety of colors, both with and without the relic look. I’m going to actually give you the craziest guarantee in the history of the guitar industry,
a full 90-day, unconditional, money-back guarantee with free shipping both ways. So I’ll ship the guitar to you for free, you try it out for 90 days and if you don’t love it I’ll pay for you to ship it back and you’ll get all your money back.

So here’s how to get one. Just go to It’s a killer guitar for a great price and I think you’re going to love it. Once again, go to


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