Q: “I recently got a new guitar with single-coil pickups and noticed that the G string is noticeably louder than the rest of the strings. Is that normal?”
A: Your guitar is more than likely equipped with staggered-pole single-coil pickups, meaning pickups with pole pieces at different heights. If that’s the case, then yes, it’s definitely normal! Early vintage guitars were regularly fitted with pickups that featured staggered pole pieces in order to compensate for the common string gauges used at the time, creating pickups with a different blend of individual string volumes. In fact, a loud G string, like in your situation, is pretty much expected from them. Staggered-pole pickups are still very common today, especially with vintage-style guitars that aim for an era correct response. A lot of players actually prefer the tonal blend of staggered-pole pickups as they are said to have a more familiar, classic sound to them.
But there are of course many guitarists who prefer pickups with string volume balance. Unfortunately, most staggered pickups don’t allow you to change the height of individual pole pieces. If you really want to quiet down your G, you can try using a wound G string if your current setup doesn't already have one. You can also try different string gauge sets to help even out the volume. Or better yet, you can also try switching to flat-pole pickups. Many metal guitarists play with flat-pole pickups as they tend to give deeper, fuller notes along with superior resonance.
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What do you do to combat a loud G string? Do you use any of the suggestions we mentioned or have a method of your own?