or Standard) as two different animals when it comes to tone and output. This is where the humbucker comes in, having been invented by Electro-Voice to ‘buck’ (or cancel) the humming sound inherent in single coil pickups. I was under the impression they wouldnt because the bridge humbucker cancels the phase in itself, only to go in parallel with a single coil that still carries 60 cycle hum. After looking around, I saw the Squier Bullet Stratocaster HSS. One of my favorite sounds comes from Chris Spencer (Unsane, UXO, Cutthroats 9, etc.). Single-coil pickups tend to have brighter, crisper tone. The Fender Strat, Fender Telecaster, and countless other guitars use the single coil pickup, which is known for its in-your-face sound, bite, and clear notes. Loved how it played and felt, but the neck HB did not sound good on its own. As soon as you click into position #2 (Neck and Bridge), the combined resistance will yield a very dark-sounding middle position. But the 2nd was unuseable , very metallic and wobbly… almost if the guitar was not set up properly and had some sort of buzz… but that only happened with certain types of distortion… not with a Muff or anythig like that… but a tube screamer or a tube driver it was awful… anyways… I decided to go back to my Les Paul, but this time I wasn’t so impressed… I really wanted the Strat sound and to use the whammy bar… but I wanted the distortion and fuzz to sound smooth, clean and articulate. I know these are cheap guitars but I’m don’t want to spend a lot of money since I’m still learning but I couldn’t find any info on the pros and cons of HSS vs SSS. Single coils are too weak in tone, I like the power of a nice humbucker way more! The HSS setup works for me for now. Single coils had the sound I heard on Made In Japan and that was good enough for me! The other drawback to vintage single coils is the fact that they are lower in output than humbuckers. Choose the most compatible pickup outputs and tone. Although, I’m thinking that the Partial Tap Resistor will do the trick. But I also had my gain up to 10. Click the link to hear this in a Strat. Or, get darker-sounding single-coils (Steel Pole 42 / Steel Pole 43, High Output) to compensate, and use a 500K pot on the whole guitar. This way when using widerange humbukers will see 500K volume pot, and when split the single coils will see 242K volume pot right? Do you use a 500K volume pot for your bridge humbucker and have brighter-sounding single coils, or vice versa? Single coils … Here I am nearly two years later, reading and appreciating this thoughtful post. You might also consider sacrificing a tone pot and use two volume pots. Humbuckers … I WIN. One isn’t better than the other, just vastly different, and as we work on becoming better players, it is easier to hear. Ask yourself: what position do I play the most? Specially on the neck … which the little 59 basically turned it into a 59 Les Paul! When exploring the differences between guitar types, it somehow always gets distilled down into 2 categories: Guitars with single coils and guitars with humbuckers. Trying to set up something similar…, Good article and honest opinions. Hello Tyler. The P90 in the neck will see the 500K volume pot as normal, and the bridge will see a 242K pot (close enough to 250K for us). Coil split on both of em – so I get the quack and the roar. I started out playing a Fender, and listening to those great single-coil players listed above. I have a similar problem and i think ill just add a little toggle switch instead. Ultimately, after you get your new guitar, and decide if you like the HSS sound, you can explore other options like pickup swaps etc. Before I decided to explore new pickups I recently discovered a Telecaster (70s) that has 2 humbuckers. I bought two 2009 Fender Telecasters with "modern" single coils that were noisy.I also have a 2006 Strat that is noisy. i have listened to a lot of grateful dead, which is humbuckers but when i play, i like the clarity of the singles. Single coil pickups are also known for piercing sharp tones that are brittle and harsh. I know more now than when I arrived at this page. If you have a 300K pot and a humbucker in the Bridge, you’ll notice your humbucker won’t be as dark, but your single coils will get brighter as a result. They hum. I know I want the Fralin Pure P.A.F. Fuck I love my JB jnrs!!! Suddenly solos could be heard and a new voice emerged- the horn-based lines of Charlie were an influence on the next generation of bebop players. The guitar sounds awesome and I’m really really happy. Humbucker pickups are just two single coil pickups joined together to cancel the 60 cycle hum produced by single coil pickups. Mixing these two in a guitar with a single master volume pot usually means you need to sacrifice something. Modern single coil pickups are simple in design. I didn’t know it at the time, but I used the same guitar for rock, metal and even jazz, and it all sounded great. Any recommended approach via pickups to get the Strat in a similar place as that Tele? Seymour Duncan Hot Rails. The differences are quite simple when it comes to Humbuckers vs Single Coil Pups. Let’s talk some basics first: Think of Single Coil Pickups (Vintage Hot or Stock Telecaster) and Humbuckers (Pure P.A.F. Very nice, very, very nice… although i did lose a lot of high end sparkle and bell tone… but the smoothness of my solos and aingle notes are just amazing with distortion… then on the 4th position I get a little of the chime back… thanks to the duckbucker… the middle position and 2nd position sound very similar but with dofferent dynamics… and of course the Bridge position is one pf the best tones known to me… but the 1st , 2nd, 3rd sounds totally Straty, the 4th… uhm… sounds good but I lost the quack, the twang… and the neck is my favorite even though it doesn’t aound very straty… but somehow in still kinda does… I still prefer aingle coil tones… next time I will probably buy an ssl-1 and another SSL-5 for the middle and have an all Si gle Coul setup again. Thank you for the detailed insight. So I have a 2012 American Standard Telecaster. I should just go to a store and try them out first. In more, like Fender did in that period, I put a ceramic cap, in order to cut frequency (PIO caps would be a mess in this situation). Instead of splitting the humbucker 50 / 50, it’s more like 70 / 30 and provides you with a warmer single-coil tone. Burned my brain to get it working….LOL, Interested in how you did this wiring; do you have a pic or illustration of the circuit that worked for you? This is great if you playing doesn’t use dynamics, but if it does, you will miss the touch-sensitivity of single coils. Will this work? I echo Peter’s words – really helpful in understanding the difference and also deciding which ones to go for. Many thanks!! In that period Fender changed specs to save moneys and sold pickups with underwound pickups. I swapped the bridge out with a Fralin split steel pole Tele. All rights reserved. Luckily, the pots are cheap! Well, I ended up researching just about all of his pickups. Blues and classic rock recordings are littered with great humbucker tones, and if you started playing guitar in the 80s listening to hair metal, then you wanted a colorful humbucker-equipped guitar to go along with your tiger-striped spandex. Nicely written. This guitar came with their whisper(?) * Or should i use a 500k volume pot with 470k resistor. … Required fields are marked *, 2015 W. Laburnum Ave, 2nd Floor I recently installed a CTS push pull pot for coil split into my HS charvel. All of these iconic players use pickups based on the single coil. So smooth … the twang! If I didn’t like it, I would just put the old pickguard back on- takes about 10 minutes to swap them. Thanks for providing so many options to handle any pickup situation. But I’m going to keep the standard wiring setup and was curious if I should try the 300K pot for the typical volume/tone/3-way or if I should leave the 250K or possibly even consider swapping for a 500K volume pot? There are other solutions as well, all with trade-offs. i could t find any wiring on this exact setup and after wiring it to the best of my ability i managed to get the pickups and push pull working but there’s a strong hiss that gets louder under overdrive. Related … not a techie here so I’ll have to have the new pups installed … assuming I go that way. I have a G&L Bluesboy. Now, there are pickups like the Hot Stack for Strat, and the Hot Rails which can easily compete in output with the humbucker. in the Neck position. Single coils used to react with stage lighting in the past.I replaced them with humbuckers to get rid of the hum. Read more – Humbucker vs Single Coil. Are usually brighter than humbuckers in tone, Usually need 250K Volume Pots due to their brightness. Thank you. Double Your Overdrive and Distortion Pedals. Hello, this is also a question like Mike’s above. I was considering installing a 500k tone pot to pair with the 250k Volume. Some players don’t mind. I can't talk about the technical aspects of 'em, but P90s definitely have their own sound, unique from single coils or humbuckers. Check out this reference: Confused on Pot Values? [email protected]. Or you can also go with guitar pickup types like a single humbucker in the bridge position and put two single coils in the middle and neck pickup positions. any help? I loved it. So we present to you four variations on the Tele … I’m not sure how much the amps have to do with it, but I rarely hear sounds this versatile come from just one type of pickup, let alone just one single-coil. But for now, I’m still experimenting with this setup and gettig used to it.., sounds conpletaly different than before… but I love to have the best of both worlds… I would like to experiment with the little 59 on the bridge, but I got the Neck voiced one… but maybe soon… I need to get a loaded pickguard so I don’t have to re solder everytime… anyways… Seymour Duncan makes the absolute best pickups… they just sounds too sweet… So even though I preffer the single coul strat sound, I think that every guitarist should have one of each if he can… a humbucker guitar and a single coil guitar… they are bith great they both do things differently and you will find yourself with a larger palatte for your music. He's powered by Jazz Guitar, Vietnamese Food, Hiking, and Beer. It’s really hard to tell – you can definitely experiment. HSS Strats, Telecasters, and other mixed-pickup guitars all have this problem, and most of the time, it goes overlooked by the guitarist. Now, things are easier. Options for North/South coil tap, series/parallel & more. *And* I get help from the Comments section. This guitar has a coil split on the humbucker and sounds very good without significant volume loss. The result is a generally quieter signal than humbuckers, but with clarity and lack of compression. Single Coil Pickups. A lot of famous guitars, like the Les Paul (humbucker pickup) or the Strat (single-coil… if not please advise. My Goal is to be able to get nice bright lead tones with some twang and fullness from the single coil that I choose, and a hard biting rock & roll sound from my bridge pickup. I play a '92 Fender Strat (yes I'm proud of it), and a Dean Vendetta XM. Translating that to pickup variables, not sure if I should get a lower output single coil (~6k) or a bit higher output, and if I should bother getting modern Humbucker in the bridge or get another PAF. I use both, but I tend to like at least one real ‘bucker in my guitars…whether it’s the Li’l Screamin’ Demon combined with the Alnico II Pro singles in my G&L Fullerton, or the Seth Lover in the neck position of a G&L ASAT Classic Bluesboy. Our Wide Range Humbuckers sound great on 300K. Let’s imagine this scenario: You have a Telecaster with a P90 in the neck and a Single Coil bridge. A P90 pickup provides users with a sound that sounds a bit like a single-coil pickup, a little bit like a humbucker pickup, with a vintage low output sound thrown into the mix. Bruce Kulick definitely one if my favorite humbucker users who was not listed in the article. If this can be done, could you send me a wiring diagram for such solution. I got this guitar new about three years ago. Bonus- all positions are dead quiet and work with 500 k pots. So, I use BOTH single coils and humbuckers. Using a resistor in parallel with your pickup can make a pickup “see” a different value pot than there actually is. I do have a guitar with Humbuckers that didn’t sound great from when I bought it new – I thought it was the guitar being crappy even though it looks great but now I realize that the muffled sound I was hearing is from the Humbuckers!! The article itself was interesting and informative. TLTR version: do what sounds good to you. When I bought my first Strat it drove me crazy, the hum, the weak signal, the getting out of tube easily, etc… when i bought my first Les paul I was blown away… the sustain, the amazing power of the humbuckers and the warm conpressed cleans… my Fender felt like a toy at times… I played Exclusively Gibson with Humbuvkers for a while… until I grabbed my Strat again just for kick… and yes… same as the writer, I missed the bell like tones, the chine , the whammy bar, and man… the neck! I came home and plugged in a Tele. The neck position is already dark as it us, and with a humbucker in there, it’s extra dark. These set the standard for what a guitar should sound like – and even look like. I would actually experiment with a 300K volume pot, a slightly darker Tele Bridge, and a slightly brighter Mini Humbucker. 94 Don’t usually use a tone control, so was thinking going with 2 volume controls. If I were to ever acquire a Les Paul, it’d be a ’56 reissue with the soapbars! There are trade-offs to this solution. Santa Barbara, California. Fender Eric Johnson Stratocaster Pickups. Don’t use any tonepot connected to the humbucker. Designed by pickup icon Seth Lover, these pickups used magnetized screws and two coils of wire wound the opposite direction to cancel out hum. I get it all. It’s hard to put this guitar down now. Back in the day, the single coil-equipped guitar had to be boosted after the fact to get some serious crunch going on, and boosting the signal also boosted the hum. In the same way, single-coils are thought to be better for clean sounds, but that doesn't mean humbuckers can't do it either. Keep watching the blogs for more informative articles! Very useful article. After that i can insert a treble bleed between the 2 lugs of the volume pot to retain the volume when it’s turned down. Humbucker: Bucking the Hum since 1934. Surprised I didn’t find one single comment asking about HSH pickup mix & match. After 10 years playing a Fender Strat with single coils, I needed a change. Or…my journey from single coils to humbuckers and back…. Also open to the idea of installing mods-ie 7 way switch, changing pots, etc. Thank you for the article, I enjoyed it! It has some good meaty low end but has lost it’s ability to cut through a mix a bit. Parallel instead if splitting coils so it’s still noise cancelling and single coil tone and output. Play lots of guitars, read forums, and watch videos on our site- we also have a pickup compare function to hear them side by side. It was too muddy due to the guitar having 250 k pots that only matched well with the bridge single coil. They are also devoid of hum (duh), and can be dead silent with lots of gain at a high volume. Fender developed this Stratocaster pickup set in close … While I don’t use its bridge pickup much, mainly using it in middle position to blend in more flavors, I do wish to upgrade the bridge to a beefier sounding option similar to one in a vintage Tele, if possible. I tend to use mid and bridge on the strat for rhythm, and mid and neck for lead. When it comes to the dirt section of your pedalboard. Your guitar has a 250K volume pot, and your bridge pickup sounds awesome. The pickups sound good, but there is room for improvement. When I was learning, this was a big deal. The only difference in construction, as I’ve already explained, is that humbuckers have two coils with wire wrapped around them versus one structure. For instance, you could get away with a Stock Neck with Alnico 5 and a Blues Special Tele Bridge. The most obvious that comes to mind with single coils is the Fender Jazz. It will stay this way for awhile, I think. Thank you for the kind words. It wasn't a freak thing because I have 2 of them in the same year that had identical hum problems. I hadn’t played a guitar with single coils professionally for 15 years. So called ‘stacked humbuckers’ like the Vintage Hot Stack Plus and others have kept the tone and canceled the hum, so single coil players can use all the gain they want while retaining the clarity that single coils are known for. I did it using underwound pickups and 1Meg pots, like Fender did in late 60s and 70s. Planning on replacing the pickups very soon. Thanks for your response. You’d get a pretty even tone out of both pickups and be able to forego the customization. There are a few reasons you might want to put humbuckers … I think I like that brighter sound since I already play acoustic guitar but also think the fuller sound of the humbucker pickup would be nice for variety. Article by Ted Alan Florence. It is my understanding that the first few Zeppelin records are all Telecaster through a Supro. Full disclosure … I have not played this guitar much live … opting for my #1 … an early 70s Les Paul. Think of Single Coil Pickups (Vintage Hot or Stock Telecaster) and Humbuckers (Pure P.A.F. When u have 250k pots you could cutoff the tonepot (1x250k = also 250k) Hello Tyler, I want to say your web page is great and very educational for us guitarrists. A single coil is usually 8-9,000 turns of wire on a single bobbin, whereas humbuckers are two single coils … My idea was to change the 250k volume pot into 500k and keep the tone pots as is. * Can i keep the 250k pots & install the hotrail I think I was able to preserve the essence of the guitar’s design without any compromises. I personally like single coils… I’ve found this works great, though it is an extra thing to manage, and I’ve thought about moving it to a 5-way switch that had 5 different resistance settings to make it easier to manage. Tony Iommi actually used P-90’s until recently. Humbuckers better suited my new jazzy/prog playing style (influenced by bands like Yes and the Mahavishnu Orchestra). What gets me is the lack of love the P90 receives… A lot of people tend to forget that Gibson made a WICKED single-coil pickup. If you have any questions about any of our products or blogs, please let us know! You’d certainly never choose them for playing heavier styles. neck humbucker with 7.6k DC Resistance and a Fralin Broadcaster bridge pickup with 6.0k. What am I missing? Humbuckers don’t have the brightness or clarity of single coils, and for certain types of music, like country, you need that Chime. The Main Differences Between Humbucker vs Single Coil are: Humbuckers have two coils which result in a thicker, deeper, and smoother sound, whereas Single Coils are brighter and crisper Humbuckers are preferred by Jazz, Hard Rock, and Heavy Metal guitarists, whereas Single Coils … Imagine you had a Telecaster with a Neck humbucker and a Bridge Telecaster bridge pickup. Higher powered humbuckers suffer from this more, as well as a compressed feeling when you play- in other words, they can make single notes about as loud as chords. I got a Seymour Duncan Little ’59 on the Neck, a low output Duckbucker in the Middle and I left the SSL-5 on the bridge… and wow! Like the single coil part of the HSS isn’t as good as pure single coil and the humbucker part of the HSS isn’t really a true humbucker sound? PAF-style humbucker. But stand next to a loud amp with lots of preamp distortion or compression and it can really squash the vibe. Thank you for reading. Humbuckers can be split, effectively making it a single coil. Then i insert a 510k resistor between the 2 single pickup inputs at the switch and the ground in order for the single pickups to see the 500k pot as 250k. Oripure Hot Rail Pickups Single-Coil-Sized Humbucker 16K Alnico5 Guitar Pickup Fit Fender Strat Squier Tele Electric Guitar, Black 4.4 out of 5 stars 21 $34.94 $ 34 . The single coil pickup was the first thing I was exposed to, and in the historical timeline of pickups, it was right there at the birth of electric guitar music. I have a Thinline 72′ Telecaster with 2 Wide Range Humbuckers Reissue (not Cunife), and changed the original 250K volumen and tone pots for 500K volume and tone, and also made the split coil with push/pull mod. HSS is more versatile, but it really comes down to what you like. I guess you could think of them as kind of a midpoint, a lot fuller, throatier, more growl than a strat or tele single coil, more midrange and easier breakup than a humbucker. … By using two 1M pots I believe it looks like a single 500k pot when the bleeder all the way up (if my math’s correct). Styles as diverse as jazz and metal are almost exclusively the realm of the humbucker. His single-coil guitars for this example are a Fender American Standard Telecaster and a G&L Tribute Series Legacy.His coil-splitting humbucker … All my pot are 250k. Humbuckers are generally accepted as better for high gain tones, but that doesn't mean you can't rock out on single coils. Instead of pitting one type of pickup against each other, I will be describing my own tone-journey between the 2 most well-known pickup types, and some general differences between them. The Dead (and Jerry) used single coils as much or more than HBs – from about ’71 on Jerry played a strat, then a custom guitar with 3 SCs, a Travis Bean with P90-ish things molded into hum bucker routes, then more customs with an SDS-1 and coil-split Super IIs…. (This guitar has a Tex/Mex Strat single oil for bridge and a Player series humbucker for neck). Single coils which are lacking power … and the Shawbucker is not working for me. I have a cheap custom HSH from a small company that uses Chinese parts. The list of single-coil players is far more illustrious in terms of “greats” – I will not argue that the Humbucker guys are not great – but their appeal is to a narrower group. One person might think humbuckers sound muffled, and another might think that single coils lack power. This is our most recommended solution. I’m in the market for an electric guitar, my first and after buying and receiving a Epiphone Les Paul Special II (based on reviews on Amazon), I looked more into different types of electric guitar sounds and found out about humbucker and single coil. This may involve using a brighter-sounding or lower-output humbucker to match with your single coils, or getting darker and more powerful single coils to keep up with your humbucker. A humbucker … Not too sure about the combination with the autosplit since then all pots and pickups are connected on 1 side of the 5way switch. There are no pros and cons of HSS vs SSS, it is just what you like. Just a small thing but it should be noted. When Charlie Christian put a pickup on his Gibson ES-150, and sent it to an amp in the late 1930s, that was the end of banjo players’ role in the Big Band. Modern single coil pickups are simple in design. This wiring changed the sound captured by the pickups, which is characterized as thick sound with more volume. Making the 500k vol and tone pots clear up some of the muddiness of the reissue WRHB and making the single coils sound less shirll and ice-picky. Tyler Delsack is the Manager of Fralin Pickups and spends his time editing and maintaining the website, designing graphics and ads, and making pickups. You could replace your volume pot with a 300K pot, and you might find that your pickups meet in the middle. This is what I do, and works great with low output humbuckers. Leo Fender was the first guitar builder to equip a solid body guitar with single coil pickups. All this is to be done taking into consideration that am choosing an hss auto-split mode. For the most part, choosing a type of replacement pickup is based on whatever already comes in your guitar. The result is a generally quieter signal than humbuckers… Your email address will not be published. Hair-thin wire surrounds magnetic slugs, sitting between a baseplate and a top piece, which holds the magnets in place. This was clearly humbucker-land, and occasional times when I picked up my old Strat, I couldn’t stand the weak hum-filled output. I was led to think that hum-buckers had a higher output than single coils but the Tele sounds twice as loud. Single Coil Pickups consist on just one coil. It might all change somewhere down the road. There are a lot of ways to get around this problem, and it’s worth taking the time to figure out which pickup combinations will work best with each other and take your guitar to the next level.