14k Single Coil vs. Humbucker

Beebe

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Can anyone explain some of the differences between an over-wound single coil and a single coil sized humbucker with similar output level?

Specifically, anyone know what specs a humbucker in a Tele bridge package might have to sound similar to the Mark Knopfler Schecter F520T?

I'm doing a build for a guy that uses the Harry Haeussel version of the F520T in his main Esquire. I found one for $60 on Reverb so I snagged it a few minutes ago.


These things have a resistance somewhere around 14k and bigger pole pieces than Fender.

I'd like to be able to recommend a hum-canceling version for him. It would need to look similar, or like a traditional single coil Tele bridge, (no rails or lil '59, etc.).

I love the Revel Humdinger Blackwatch hum canceling T-style bridge pickup that I used in another Esquire build. It has a 10.5k resistance and Alnico III magnets. I think the Knopfler Schecter F520T has Alnico 5. I have to do some more digging on this one.

I'm planning to do a comparison.

EDIT: Ignore the tapped setting. He only uses it full bore, the full 14k.
 
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Rob DiStefano

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Do not equate passive single or dual coil pickup resistance with output, or even tone - that's a deep dark rabbit hole that will take you nowhere fast. This is particularly true if the components used in a pickup build are unknown.

Two exact same single coil bobbins, both with A3 rod magnets, each wound to a metered DCR of 10k, but one wound with 43AWG coil wire and t'other wound with 42AWG coil wire. Different as night and day in terms of both tone and output.
 

dougstrum

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Generally speaking I find humbuckers lack the crisp attack that single coils give particularly noticable on the bottom two strings.
As @Rob DiStefano says resistance is just one factor in tone and output.
I love my DiMarzio pre b-1 it's a 14k and is crisp, loud and articulate.
 

Rob DiStefano

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For the extreme most part, passive dual coils wired in series - the common ubiquitous "humbucker" - will always attenuate the treble side of the signal because that's also where the humbuzz lives, in the peaks and valleys of an audio signal. This occurs to a lesser degree if the two coils are wired in parallel, where the treble is slightly augmented and the overall output slightly diminished. Passive pickups is what they is, can't change their dogma.
 

Beebe

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For the extreme most part, passive dual coils wired in series - the common ubiquitous "humbucker" - will always attenuate the treble side of the signal because that's also where the humbuzz lives, in the peaks and valleys of an audio signal. This occurs to a lesser degree if the two coils are wired in parallel, where the treble is slightly augmented and the overall output slightly diminished. Passive pickups is what they is, can't change their dogma.

I feel like the "what" here is probably right, but I always though the noise that humbuckers cancel is generally broadband. For example, don't they do a pretty good job of reducing 60 Hz hum from high voltage lines? That's a pretty low frequency.

I feel like the high frequency loss has something to do with capacitance or something else I don't fully understand.

I know highs are attenuated more in pickups with 43 gauge vs 42. And I think this is the case even if the resistance is the same... I'll have to research it again.

The "Walk of Life" pickup has 43 gauge wire by the way.

Jesse at Revel Pickups in Minneapolis is making up a clone for me.

I decided to not mess with the artist's magic sauce and give him what has worked for him in the past. Although my hypothesis is that a humbucker version would work even better for him with the heavy distortion and fuzz style he plays.

My other hypothesis is that high end loss has more to do with the gauge of wire and how much of it there is than with having half of the windings flipped around (it being a humbucker)... But I do not know.
 

Rob DiStefano

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The dogma for all passive coils is that the more coil wire around any bobbin, the less treble, the more midrange, the more output - and vice-versa.

It takes a lot more 43AWG coil wire around any bobbin to increase midrange - better to use 42AWG coil wire for a "fatter" treble tone. Probably one reason why Leo went to 42 wire in the Spring of '51 and shortly also upped the Gauss rate with A5 rod magnets instead of the much lower rate A3s, because his low wind 50's bridge pickups were screechers and you had to live off the tone pot - been there in '53 with a '50 Broadcaster, done that (major thanx to my Dad for taking pity on me and rewinding that screecher A3/43 bridge pickup). And so, 42/A5 became the standard for Tele/Esquire bridge pickups from '51 to the present.
 

hopdybob

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@Rob DiStefano
You wrote: The dogma for all passive coils is that the more coil wire around any bobbin, the less treble, the more midrange, the more output - and vice-versa.

I know it was not your design, but what was the effect of Bill Lawrence microcoil in this? those bobbins where flat, but as i remember the neodium tele neck pickup, still soundend warm dynamic
 

Rob DiStefano

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Way back when, Bill sent me a few of his prototype microcoils to test out, they were excellent. His passive hi-z transducer work, his designs, and the neodymium magnets, special coil wire, and the overall secured proprietary build he used were untouchable by any other pickup maker, they were all so unique, and so good in their own way. They do transcend classic Leo Fender "vintage" pickup builds and thus are in a class all by themselves. Yet still, all passive transducers abide by their dogma, however it's their component use and build design conditions that will affect overall tone and output. In at least some ways, it's an apples and oranges kind of comparison between certain pickup builds.
 

hopdybob

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Way back when, Bill sent me a few of his prototype microcoils to test out, they were excellent. His passive hi-z transducer work, his designs, and the neodymium magnets, special coil wire, and the overall secured proprietary build he used were untouchable by any other pickup maker, they were all so unique, and so good in their own way. They do transcend classic Leo Fender "vintage" pickup builds and thus are in a class all by themselves. Yet still, all passive transducers abide by their dogma, however it's their component use and build design conditions that will affect overall tone and output. In at least some ways, it's an apples and oranges kind of comparison between certain pickup builds.
thank you for your explanation!
 

kingvox

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A super overwound single coil can get pretty close to a humbucker tone. Rob's exactly right about DCR being just about worthless -- I'm currently using a 32k single coil bridge pickup I wound that sounds great, but the wire gauge I used is extremely thin, so 32k is a bit misleading.

Running two single coils in series makes a humbucker. The single coils aren't right next to each other like a humbucker is, though, so they're sensing vastly different portions of the string, so they're not going to sound like a *traditional* humbucker. But joining two single coils (with opposite magnetic polarity) in series is exactly what a humbucker is.

Typically Fender style guitars only work in parallel. I always set mine up with push/pull switches to get series/parallel *and* in phase and out of phase. Especially on a two pickup setup like a Tele you get a very compact and very versatile setup.
 

Beebe

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So take this thought experiment:

Pickup 1
Tele bridge bobbin
6 Alnico 5 rods
10 kohm
43 gauge wire

Pickup 2
Tele bridge stacked bobbin (same height as Pickup 1)
6 Alnico 5 rods
5 kohm top coil
5 kohm bottom coil (opposite wind)
Coils in series
43 gauge wire

Same winding technique on each.

Other than one cancels hum, how, and how much, would these differ?
 

Humbuckers

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I believe that in standard stacked pickups, where both coils are identical, the pickup is roughly “equivalent” to a true single coil that has specs like one of the coils.

So in your example, pickup 1 is a higher output telecaster pickup while pickup 2 is more like an unusually low output pickup at just 5k. The standard caveats apply as far as resistance only being an approximate indicator of certain things.
 

rigatele

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Sadly, that is not the case - the "balance" coil inductance is in series with the active coil inductance, resulting in a response that is not at all like one coil alone. I say sadly, because if that were true, it would be extremely easy to make stacked singles that are almost identical in response to single coil pickups. But it isn't.

Pickup 2 would have slightly less inductance (for reasons that tempt me to digress badly) than pickup 1. So it would be a little brighter. The output of Pickup 2 would be about half of Pickup 1, due to the cancellation effect of a weak string field in the balance coil. Pickup 2 might gain some inductance to end up closer to pickup 1, because the poles on a stacked are usually longer, or extended with additional pole material.

But the main aspect that affects peoples judgment of stacked coils, is the lower output. Even after knob twiddling, the damaged impression persists...
 
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Humbuckers

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Sadly, that is not the case - the "balance" coil inductance is in series with the active coil inductance, resulting in a response that is not at all like one coil alone. I say sadly, because if that were true, it would be extremely easy to make stacked singles that are almost identical in response to single coil pickups. But it isn't.

Pickup 2 would have slightly less inductance (for reasons that tempt me to digress badly) than pickup 1. So it would be a little brighter. The output of Pickup 2 would be about half of Pickup 1, due to the cancellation effect of a weak string field in the balance coil. Pickup 2 might gain some inductance to end up closer to pickup 1, because the poles on a stacked are usually longer, or extended with additional pole material.

What effect do longer pole magnets have? Greater inductance? I’m curious because I’ve wondered whether tall neck pickups like the Twisted Tele, which are supposed to sound more Strat-like, get their brighter tone from taller magnets, a taller coil, or the 42 gauge wire. Or is it a combination of all three?

Also, some higher output bridge pickups like Zhangbucker Paul Bunyans and Cavalier Huge/Humongous Lions have taller magnets/coils and I wonder what effect this has on tone.
 

rigatele

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What effect do longer pole magnets have? Greater inductance?
Yes, slightly greater. To your point, I would lean towards the 42 gauge as the cause, but probably only because fewer turns can fit on the bobbin.

A complication with that comparison, is that some Tele neck pickups have brass covers which suck away treble.
 

Humbuckers

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Yes, slightly greater. To your point, I would lean towards the 42 gauge as the cause, but probably only because fewer turns can fit on the bobbin.

A complication with that comparison, is that some Tele neck pickups have brass covers which suck away treble.

I believe the tall bobbins of Twisted Tele type neck pickups allow for the usual 7-8000 turns but in 42 gauge wire.

I’ve owned a few taller Tele pickups, for both bridge and neck, and it could be my imagination, but there’s something different about the way they sound compare to pickups with the usual ~0.6” bobbins.
 

Zenyatta

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Really depends on the inductance and overall capacitance of the pickup, which will determine its resonant frequency, which is really a huge part of its "voice." Most pickup manufacturers don't supply this information.
 




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