14k Single Coil vs. Humbucker

Hodgo88

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Man I love this forum for threads like these. This Novak is a pickup that has been intriguing me lately:

Novak_TEL-HC_2 (1).jpg


How would this side by side configuration fair in comparison to the theoretical stacked coil experiment from above?
 

11 Gauge

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Shoot I have never played a humbucker with 14k of resistance.
I think a Seymour Duncan JB is like ~16K. IMO it's good for grindy, distorted rock, but not much else.

GFS makes sort of a copy of the JB with their 'Fat PAT', and it's actually fairly close to 14K, IIRC. As a result, it's a bit airier sounding, and you can get away with using it for stuff other than just hard rock. Adding a no load tone pot really works well, too.

I've got a cheapie Strat build with a massive neck and lightweight no-name body, with just a Fat PAT at the bridge, and a single volume control. It's turned out to be significantly more versatile than I would have thought.
 

Beebe

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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...

Really about half the output? Interesting. I think I need to do some further reading.

Anyone know of a good textbook, or website to read up on the science and engineering of guitar pickups?
 

Beebe

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Man I love this forum for threads like these. This Novak is a pickup that has been intriguing me lately:

View attachment 999646

How would this side by side configuration fair in comparison to the theoretical stacked coil experiment from above?

Great question! Let's call this Pickup 3 in the thought experiment.

Each coil 5k, 43 gauge and wired in series.
 

Beebe

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I guess I never really thought about how humbuckers work. A quick search gave me the obvious point I should have known:

"Humbuckers work by pairing a coil that has the north poles of its magnets oriented "up" (toward the strings) with another coil alongside it with the south pole of its magnets oriented up."

It makes sense that stacked coils would be different animals than side by side, as the stacked coils share magnets.

My guess is that the Novak pickup with the two coils in line (Pickup 3) would have an output closer to Pickup 1.

And it would not require the magnets poles to be opposite because they are working on different strings.

So I guess typical humbuckers work by magnetizing the same string with two different polarities in two slightly different locations so the opposite fields created by the moving string through opposite wound coils add positively... Like a double negative. Is this right?

Pickup 2, the way I imagined it, would have the same field through opposite coils. I feel like the output could be even less than half of Pickup 1. Pickup 2 would be outputting only the difference between what the two coils pick up.

Am I at all close?
 

Beebe

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And I would think the D and G strings could have a different character in the Novak pickup as there could be some crosstalk with the adjacent coil. ...maybe.
 

Antigua Tele

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And I would think the D and G strings could have a different character in the Novak pickup as there could be some crosstalk with the adjacent coil. ...maybe.

They have a dead spot right in between the strings, but since its the bridge pickup, I guess that will never be an issue in practice. The D and G have a slightly lower output, because some of their magnetic flux goes in to the neighboring coil and is cancelled against the portion of its flux that enters the coil directly beneath it. The drop in output is small, though, since the neighboring coil only sees a fraction of the magnetic flux change, compared to the primary coil under the string.
 
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Antigua Tele

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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.

Suppose for the sake of argument you have 14k worth of wire on a PAF humbucker, divided into two coils, and 14k on a Fender single coil, around AlNiCo pole pieces (the size of the pole pieces doesn't really matter). The PAF will have much higher output for two reasons. First, the two separate coils place more of the coil's volume closer to the magnetized guitar string. As everyone knows, the closer the pickup is to the strings, the louder the output, that principle applies to the geometry of the pickup, too. Having more of the coil's mass near the strings is the same as having the whole pickup closer to the strings. Second, the PAF uses steel pole pieces and screws, which are much higher permeability that AlNiCo, and that means the amount of reluctance or "magnetic resistance" is much lower in the PAF design (and every other pickup design with steel pole pieces or blades), less resistance results in a higher output also.

So the output of, say, a Seymour Duncan SSL-3, 4 of 5 is still not as great as a PAF type humbucker with the same length and gauge of wire.
 

Humbuckers

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Suppose for the sake of argument you have 14k worth of wire on a PAF humbucker, divided into two coils, and 14k on a Fender single coil, around AlNiCo pole pieces (the size of the pole pieces doesn't really matter). The PAF will have much higher output for two reasons. First, the two separate coils place more of the coil's volume closer to the magnetized guitar string. As everyone knows, the closer the pickup is to the strings, the louder the output, that principle applies to the geometry of the pickup, too. Having more of the coil's mass near the strings is the same as having the whole pickup closer to the strings. Second, the PAF uses steel pole pieces and screws, which are much higher permeability that AlNiCo, and that means the amount of reluctance or "magnetic resistance" is much lower in the PAF design (and every other pickup design with steel pole pieces or blades), less resistance results in a higher output also.

So the output of, say, a Seymour Duncan SSL-3, 4 of 5 is still not as great as a PAF type humbucker with the same length and gauge of wire.

I have noticed that there are circumstances where certain Tele pickups can at least *seem* as loud as a PAF style humbucker because they have a much more strident treble response. Naturally, the tone is much less full, though.
 

Antigua Tele

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I have noticed that there are circumstances where certain Tele pickups can at least *seem* as loud as a PAF style humbucker because they have a much more strident treble response. Naturally, the tone is much less full, though.

I'd guess it's because the Tele pickups are closer to the strings, because from a physics standpoint, everything else is working against them.
 

Humbuckers

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I'd guess it's because the Tele pickups are closer to the strings, because from a physics standpoint, everything else is working against them.

When I’ve tested this the pickup was not particularly close to the strings, and it’s only the treble frequencies that make the pickup seem competitive with the humbucker in volume. The low end and mids are definitely quieter.

And probably if you measured it with testing equipment the Telecaster would still be lower output in terms of voltage, but psychoacoustically, I suppose, it seems to be competitive with the humbucker.

It’s only with certain pickups (and maybe even only with certain amps/speakers) that accentuate a particular frequency range.

A surprise to me was that some ostensibly high output Tele pickups that likely have more than 15,000 turns of wire sound quieter than pickups in the 9,000-ish turn range because of the loss of sensitivity to high frequencies that comes with that much wire.
 
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Antigua Tele

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When I’ve tested this the pickup was not particularly close to the strings, and it’s only the treble frequencies that make the pickup seem competitive with the humbucker in volume. The low end and mids are definitely quieter.

And probably if you measured it with testing equipment the Telecaster would still be lower output in terms of voltage, but psychoacoustically, I suppose, it seems to be competitive with the humbucker.

It’s only with certain pickups (and maybe even only with certain amps/speakers) that accentuate a particular frequency range.

A surprise to me was that some ostensibly high output Tele pickups that likely have more than 15,000 turns of wire sound quieter than pickups in the 9,000-ish turn range because of the loss of sensitivity to high frequencies that comes with that much wire.

I doubt they ever get up to 15k turns, the inductance would be almost absurd, and the resonant peak would be very low. 15k turns on a single coil results in higher inductance than two coils with 7.5k divided between them, because inductance adds together from one coil to the next, but for the given coil, inductance compounds with each added turn of wire, due to mutual inductance between the turns of wire. There is mutual inductance between two humbucking coils as well, but its tiny compared to the compounding of inductance in the coils themselves.

I think it's uncommon for people to associate treble with loudness, since vintage output means more treble, and hot output means less treble.
 
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Humbuckers

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I doubt they ever get up to 15k turns, the inductance would be almost absurd, and the resonant peak would be very low. 15k turns on a single coil results in higher inductance than two coils with 7.5k divided between them, because inductance adds together from one coil to the next, but for the given coil, inductance compounds with each added turn of wire, due to mutual inductance between the turns of wire. There is mutual inductance between two humbucking coils as well, but its tiny compared to the compounding of inductance in the coils themselves.

I think it's uncommon for people to associate treble with loudness, since vintage output means more treble, and hot output means less treble.

These Telecaster pickups included some in the 16-17k ohm range (which I assumed would be in the 15k+ turn range if they’re wound with 43awg wire) and another where the manufacturer specifically stated it was 16,000 turns. The resonant peak certainly sounded quite low as there was tremendously less high end than Tele pickups of more vintage type specs. Significantly less high end than even the PAF type humbuckers I was comparing with.

I’d be happy to lend one of these to you if you’d like to test one. I’d be very interested to find out what the specific inductance and resonant peak readings are.
 

rigatele

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How would this side by side configuration fair in comparison to the theoretical stacked coil experiment from above?
(Curtis Novak split coil shown)
If it wasn't answered somewhere, it would compare exactly to a single coil with only one set of windings. Only, minor differences just because you can never make equivalent devices exactly the same. But, for practical purposes, identical to a single coil. If it wasn't hard to build, lots of people would be building it because the idea works so well.
 

11 Gauge

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Suppose for the sake of argument you have 14k worth of wire on a PAF humbucker, divided into two coils, and 14k on a Fender single coil, around AlNiCo pole pieces (the size of the pole pieces doesn't really matter). The PAF will have much higher output for two reasons. First, the two separate coils place more of the coil's volume closer to the magnetized guitar string. As everyone knows, the closer the pickup is to the strings, the louder the output, that principle applies to the geometry of the pickup, too. Having more of the coil's mass near the strings is the same as having the whole pickup closer to the strings. Second, the PAF uses steel pole pieces and screws, which are much higher permeability that AlNiCo, and that means the amount of reluctance or "magnetic resistance" is much lower in the PAF design (and every other pickup design with steel pole pieces or blades), less resistance results in a higher output also.

So the output of, say, a Seymour Duncan SSL-3, 4 of 5 is still not as great as a PAF type humbucker with the same length and gauge of wire.
Steel poles/screws/blades, with their higher permeability, and therefore higher output, seems to be disregarded oftentimes, regardless of the actual pickup design (e.g. double coil vs. single coil), and regardless of the magnet(s) used.

Case in point - P90s, with their non-magnetic polepieces/screws. One with a stock # of wire turns will have considerably more output than something like a DiMarzio FS-1 Strat single coil, wound to ~14K, with alnico 5 polepieces.

I think it's why I pretty much loathe Strat or Tele pickups with steel poles, regardless of the magnet(s) used, because the output is just too high. Again looking at a DiMarzio pickup as an example, their SDS-1 Strat pickup, with steel hex screws, has way more output than something like their True Velvet Strat pickup (with alnico 5 poles) does.

Maybe for the sake of this discussion, it might even be useful to consider a P90 wound to ~8.5K vs. one wound to ~14K (or ~17K, if we're erroneously assuming that you'll get twice the DCR if doubling the # of turns of wire).
 




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