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Do mini humbuckers have a distinctive sound?

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by blowtorch, Dec 2, 2017.

  1. blowtorch

    blowtorch Telefied Ad Free Member

    May 2, 2003
    Or is it just a humbucker sound?
  2. Nickadermis

    Nickadermis Friend of Leo's

    Dec 18, 2016
    Camden Point, MO
    I find them to be snappier and a tad brighter. And Firebird pickups even more so. Maybe brighter isn't the word I'm looking for......... Dryer or crisper maybe......

    But yes a different feel and sound. But all of mine are lower output types so maybe that makes a difference?
    RoscoeElegante likes this.
  3. Dacious

    Dacious Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 16, 2003
    Mini humbuckers from the LP Deluxe which are a single magnet in the base like PAFs with steel polepieces through the winding screwed into metal blocks alongside (basically Epiphone minis) do sound thinner or treblier or more nuanced than a PAF.

    Firebird mini hummers are bright and punchy - different animal altogether. The Firebird doesn't have pole pieces, the dual magnets are blades inside the windings.
    RoscoeElegante likes this.
  4. Nickadermis

    Nickadermis Friend of Leo's

    Dec 18, 2016
    Camden Point, MO

    Yes ! Punchy, Firebirds =punchy and I like that , I like the warmth of PAFs as well but Firebirds make me smile.
    RoscoeElegante likes this.
  5. 3-Chord-Genius

    3-Chord-Genius Friend of Leo's

    Apr 3, 2015
    Winchester, VA
    Certainly a different sound. I actually like them better than full-sized humbuckers. A bit grittier and brighter, but not thin like single-coils.
    MDent77, RoscoeElegante and Zepfan like this.
  6. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Telefied Ad Free Member

    Nov 15, 2009
    Austin, Tx
    I think they do.
    Clear and articulate, perhaps a little bright.
    I love em'.
    Plain ol' Gibsons are my favorite.
    RoscoeElegante likes this.
  7. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Jul 18, 2010
    Western Connecticut
    Yep, different. Gritty, bright.

    It almost sounds like we're describing a P90: gritty, bright, not thin sounding. Imagine if a full humbucker and a P90 had a baby...
    RoscoeElegante and dougstrum like this.
  8. Wayne Alexander

    Wayne Alexander Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    To my ears Mini Humbuckers (at least Gibson ones and SD Antiquities) sound closer to a louder, slightly dirtier Tele pickup than they do to a PAF type humbucker. I like them a lot.
    rob2 and RoscoeElegante like this.
  9. Dacious

    Dacious Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 16, 2003
    P90's are a bit fatter and girthier. Bit more bass, a bit ruder. Mini hums are sort of more refined to me.

    Neil Finn from Crowded House often uses a 70's Deluxe with them - they definitely have a punch, deeper than his Gretsches but more defined than a fat single coil.
    RoscoeElegante likes this.
  10. archetype

    archetype Fiend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Jun 4, 2005
    Williamsville NY
    Gibson minis have more high end and are more defined that Gibson full-sized HBs, but they're not one-trick ponies. Remember that Pete Townsend played an LP Deluxe with minis through a Hiwatt stack and sounded like thunder and lightning. Harvey Mandell played an LP Deluxe through heaven knows what and with a combination of fuzz and/or just the tone control always got a smooth, liquid tone.
    RoscoeElegante likes this.
  11. robt57

    robt57 Telefied Ad Free Member

    Feb 29, 2004
    Portland, OR
    I have always found they exhibit a tighter compression and more focus VS Full size HB. I have not yet been happy with a full size HB in a Tele in the neck position but have two with mini HB for years. [with usual SC bridge PUs]
    RoscoeElegante likes this.
  12. Andy B

    Andy B Tele-Afflicted Gold Supporter

    Mar 16, 2003
    Duncan Vintage Firebird has been my favorite pickup for close to 30 years. I currently have them in two Tele’s. Gibson mini humbucker is in a third.
    RoscoeElegante likes this.
  13. Tonetele

    Tonetele Friend of Leo's

    Jun 2, 2009
    South Australia
    Had a good friend, died of Heroin use, who had mini-humbuckers in his '61 Epiphone Casino. Wow it sounded as good as his playing- he was gifted.

    The best way to describe the sound is just that little more brightness and clarity.
    My last Tele build will have a mini in the neck and a single coil in the rear- and it will be a thinline.
    LPTyler and RoscoeElegante like this.
  14. Zepfan

    Zepfan Poster Extraordinaire

    Nov 30, 2013
    Horn Lake, MS
    I love the Firebird pickups, especially in the neck position and I prefer them over the mini-buckers.
    Today's Mini-buckers have changed to my ears compared to the 70's LP Deluxe Mini-buckers. Don't know why, maybe they are too hot, different magnet choice or both. The old ones sounded good in either position to me, but the new ones just make me want a full size HB or a Filtertron.
    RoscoeElegante likes this.
  15. sjwieczorkow

    sjwieczorkow Tele-Meister

    Jun 10, 2008
    I am selling a guitar with mini-humbuckers in the classifieds. I am your neighbor. Life can be kind of cool sometimes.

    RoscoeElegante likes this.
  16. Antigua Tele

    Antigua Tele Tele-Afflicted

    Jun 2, 2014
    west coast
    I've heard they tend to be wound to lower inductance than full sized humbuckers, such as the 57 Classic. My experience with them is an Epi Sheraton I, 80s style. The lower wound, brighter sound puts them in the direction of Fender single coils, but not quite.

    Part of the distinctive "humbucker sound" comes from the fact that they see harmonic content further towards the area in between pickups, covering a wider area. Since mini HB's are more narrow, they come closer to a single coil in that respect also.
    RoscoeElegante and CFFF like this.
  17. Obelisk

    Obelisk Tele-Holic

    Apr 1, 2013
    NW USA
    The mini humbuckers don't drive amps with as much authority as classic PAF/T-Top type Gibson humbucker. The mini humbucker have bit less output and have far more clarity. I actually like the Guild mini humbucker from the 60's better than the Gibson as they have a bit more snarl & bite. A Gretsch Filtertron is probably closer to a mini humbucker than a standard humbucker. The Filtertron sound clear & crisp-excellent pickup. Some people have suggested the Firebird pickup which is another great mini humbucker. The Firebird pickup sounds & responds more like a single coil pickup. Then you can start getting into magnet type & wire gauge which will make all of these pickups sound different as well. Any of these mini-humbuckers all will work great as neck pickups in a Telecaster. Each one will have a distinct sound from one another and they won't sound or behave like a larger Gibson humbucker.
    mad dog and RoscoeElegante like this.
  18. Journeyman22

    Journeyman22 Tele-Meister

    Dec 11, 2014
    Piute County, Utah
    Put some GFSs in a "Lyle" (official 1960s Japanese guitar) Oh my, She was in rockabilly Heaven! Bryan would be proud sound. 4 25 17 1.jpg
  19. 3-Chord-Genius

    3-Chord-Genius Friend of Leo's

    Apr 3, 2015
    Winchester, VA
    My first experience with mini humbuckers was a 2005 Gretsch Electromatic Pro Jet that I bought a couple of years ago. I was blown away at the clarity and grit. I was surprised to discover that Gretsch aficionados don't think too highly of those particular pickups, because I thought they were pretty awesome.
    RoscoeElegante likes this.
  20. Golem

    Golem Tele-Holic

    There are three mini hums, firebird pickups, Johnny Smith minis, and numerous other designs that night all be called mini hums. The firebird is pretty distinct. Minis are usually designed to be brighter than typical humbuckers.
    RoscoeElegante likes this.
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