Coil tapping vs splitting.

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by jimilee, Aug 17, 2019.

  1. jimilee

    jimilee Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    Dec 19, 2017
    Now as I understand it, coil tapping and coil splitting are 2 different things, yet used interchangeably. I had a Les Paul that had coil tapping which, from what I read, is when you are reducing the resistance I guess. It’s making a humbucker less powerful sounding. Coil splitting on the other hand is splitting 2 into one. I sold some coil tapping pickups on eBay that I ultimately had to refund because his “luthier” said that the pickup wasn’t working properly.
    Am I way off on this subject matter?

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    littlebadboy likes this.
  2. Verne Bunsen

    Verne Bunsen Tele-Afflicted

    Nov 29, 2008
    Sonoran Desert
    They are two different things and should not be used interchangably! A coil tap is generally found on single coil pickups and means there are more than one “hot” lead, taken from different locations in the coil for different output/tone. One will be less wraps/resistance, the other one will be more. A coil split means eliminating one coil of a humbucker.
    deus56, Steve 78 and dlew919 like this.
  3. Frodebro

    Frodebro Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Aug 17, 2012
    Coil tapping and coil splitting are indeed two separate things entirely. Most people use "coil tapping" when they are referring to cutting off one coil of a humbucker, and though everybody knows wheat they mean, it is still technically incorrect. "Tapping" a coil refers to a single coil with two leads in the winding, one at the end of the full winding and one 'tapped' in someplace in the middle. The tapped lead will result in a lower output and slightly different tonality than the lead at the end of the full winding.
    Verne Bunsen likes this.
  4. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 25, 2003
    Santa Barbara, California
    With humbuckers the typical options are coil split and parallel. With coil split you ground out one coil. With parallel you run the humbucker’s two coils in parallel rather than in series. Both options produce a thinner, brighter tone. I like parallel because it still bucks hum. With coil splitting the single coil produces 60hz single coil hum.
    dlew919 likes this.
  5. JD0x0

    JD0x0 Poster Extraordinaire

    Feb 22, 2009
    New York
    Split = Removes a coil (usually wired in RWRP for humbucking with both coils)
    Tap = Using less of a coil
    jimilee likes this.
  6. littlebadboy

    littlebadboy Tele-Afflicted

    Jun 25, 2016
    Midwest, USA
    Yes sir, they are different things. Tap is literally a tap halfway through the winding making the humbucker "weaker" while split is using one of the 2 coils of a humbucker.
  7. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Jul 18, 2010
    Western Connecticut
    What everyone else said.

    But... your mention of the Les Paul is interesting. I had a 2012 LP Standard that had 'coil tapped' humbuckers. I think they said 'tap'. They were trying to improve on the problem where you lose output when switching from full humbucker, to just one coil of the humbucker (split).

    What they did was add a lead (a 'tap') in between the two internal coils, and run it to ground. Now normally that's the recipe for a coil split. But in this case, they put a .01uf (I think) capacitor in that location. This caused the highs from one of the coils to be shunted to ground, but the full low end retained. So it still had the 'beef' like a humbucker (and it still bucked hum, mostly), but it had a faux-single-coil, woody kind of sound.

    I've done that in the past with the series position on a Telecaster. Pair of single coils, in series, is much like a 'spread out' humbucker. So, add the capacitor 'tap' (I called it a Fat Tap), and you get a more open-sounding series mode. Since the cap attaches between the coils, I'd put it on a three-way switch. Middle did nothing, no cap. Each of the other two positions ran the cap alternately to ground, and to hot. This would make the fat tap affect either the neck, or the bridge pickup, for another sound.
    Norris Vulcan likes this.
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