What kind of magnetic pickup should I use, if any, to be able to get clean tones out of my little 1 - 3w cb amps?

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Single coils generally give a cleaner tone.

I know, I'm new to using electronics, but I've been building a few little amps that have been really fun. Until recently, I've only used piezos in the instruments. I built one recently though to use a magnetic. The first I used was a used big honking humbucker. It simply blew all of the little amps off the table. Then I tried a smaller single coil, and it's fine, but it still overdrives to some degree at pretty much all volume levels. I have used, btw, either the Artec 2.5w circuit or lm386 1w circuit in all amps so far. Just wondering if there was a mag pickup which will not overdrive these circuits unless asked.

You could try lowering the pickup to reduce it's output. Or buy a lower output pickup. But I think it's normal for small amps to be easily overdriven, they don't have much headroom.

Yes, an amp with an lm386 is bound to distort any way you slice it. I suggest trying a bigger amp, it won’t distort so easily. Which lm386 circuit are you using?

I have a little Katana to play with when needed, but the cool factor will never compare with this:

Anyway, not a big problem, just learning more about my toys as I go along.

yes, very cool amp there

Fun amp you’ve got there, maybe try finding a 10w practice amp, it won’t start to distort until you really turn it up. They’re usually pretty cheap in used stores?Generally 0.5-7watt amps distort no matter what, I’ve got a honeytone & orange mini that distort right off the bat, but I enjoy a dirty sound over a clean sound. Cheers 

I have a Katana Mini which works just fine. I'm just still learning as I go along about these little low power amps I'm having so much fun with.

Disconnect pins 1 & 8 if they’re connected you’ll get less distortion, but a variance in volume.(lm386)

I have a 386 Ruby Amp with Gain pot on pins 1 & 8, it's able to get good cleans when I want them, but I'm using a 5 & 1/2" speaker from a 10 watt guitar practice amp. Small speakers will be overdriven easier. So if your speakers are small, then you'll want to leave pins 1 & 8 disconnected like BrianQ suggested and a low output single coil pickup would be best.

Might consider picking up a acoustic amp cheap at a local pawnshop or Craigslist/Reverb/Ebay.

What is the lowest power mag pickup among those sold here?

Low power pickups?..............I think I have a drawer full of the them, maybe15 or so. 

A customer of mine buys those knock off Chinese guitars for $350au, from China, and he swaps the pickups and he gives me the originals, I also have a collection of necks from the same guitars.

Go figure!?

Taff

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