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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I'm pretty new to messing with electronics. Just looking for pickups which will work best with low power cigar box amps.

MGB has 2K humbuckers.

Some pickups offered on sites will list a DCR which is a level of resistance the coil will read. It's not an accurate gauge of a pickup's output, but it can give you an idea.

Original Lipstick Tube single coil pickups had a 3k ohm DCR and were low output pickups. New versions often have 5k to 6k DCR. Original Stratocaster type pickups were in the 5k(neck) to 6k or more range for bridge pickups. Original Gibson humbucking double coil pickups were 5k to 8k, P90 single coils 5k to 8k. Gretsch Filtertrons were 3k to 5k.

All this can be confusing because many factors come into play for a pickup's output. Most venders will advertise low output pickups as"Vintage Wind" or "Vintage Output" while the hotter pickups will be listed as "Hot" or "Overwound".

Been thinking of trying lipstick. Also, is it reasonable to assume that, all else equal, about any pickup will produce less distortion in the bridge, rather than the neck position?

When it comes to position, it's usually about the tone. Neck for more Bass, middle for more Midrange and bridge for more Treble.

You are correct for moving the pickup towards the bridge for less output. A Fender Strat will usually have a 5k neck pickup, 5.5k middle and 6k bridge pickup. More ouput for pickups closer to the bridge because of the node position. So a 6k pickup will most likely be overpowering for the neck, but spot on for the bridge position.

Low pickup height(further away from the strings) will also help.

Hi, thanks for the explanation Paul. I remember suggesting, what you have just put so well, in an earlier post about pickup positioning. I mentioned that pickups are often labelled neck middle and bridge for the reason you mention above. 

But others came back with comments that, that is to do with the spacing of the pole piece. But that it is not the only reason.

The strings at the bridge have less movement over the pickup, the string area that is over the neck pickup has more movement so creates more energy. So I understand pickups are wound, as Paul described above, differently due to the strings output being different at varying points in its length.

I see this when tuning/setting intonation on different guitars. I play an harmonic at the 12 fret and find it may not be loud as I would like. The obvious thing to do is turn up the volume. But if you left the volume alone and just switched to a different pickup [best with a 3 pickup system] you get extra volume due to the strings output being greater over a different pickup/string position.

I'll shut up now.  Taff

 

Don't shut up, it all gives me more stuff to think about.

That's the string nodes(vibration at different point position of the string length) I was talking about. Your correct in the way you explained it. 

Higher output for the bridge area - lower output for the neck area for best results. High output in the neck area can often lead to muddy sound - low output in the bridge will give low volume.

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