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Getting a "brighter" sound from humbuckers - is it possible?

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by Marcelo R, Dec 11, 2015.

  1. Marcelo R

    Marcelo R Tele-Afflicted

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    I've got a couple of Korean-made humbuckers from a Samick guitar that I sold long time ago. They are the two-wire kind of these pickups. Nowadays, I'm planning to get them installed on a cheap guitar for rehearsals, more for the image - they got a nice vintage PAF look with chrome cover- than for anything else.

    Now, for the burning question: is it possible to get a "brighter" sound from these buckers? The goal is to get a sound close to those of George Harrison on the first Beatles' albums - think of the guitar solos of "I saw her standing there" or "All my loving".

    Let me make it clear:

    * I'm not talking about turning the HBs into single coils - I've already read about this topic and I've found most of the opinions quite discouraging.

    * I'm not talking about using an EQ pedal, or any other pedal.

    * I'm not talking about getting the pickups "out of phase" - though I can consider this, if there's no other choice.

    * I'm not talking about buying another set of pickups.

    So, is there any way to wire these pickups in order to get that kind of sound? Or is there any device that could be added on-board to achieve this? (I've read about Bill Lawrence's "Q filter", but this is not available around here).

    Thank you very much for your kind replies.
     
  2. Zender

    Zender Tele-Meister

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    You can't get blood from a stone.
    The jingly jangly sound you may like and be able to buy one day may be the Rickenbackers. They make a bright sound. I see people in concerts still playing them for that jangly sound.
    Also Harrison used a 12 string Ricky. A Gretsch too. Then about 1965 a Casino with single coil P90s.

    My only suggestion would be to try a lower value capacitor so it doesn't filter out as much high frequency.
     
  3. Marcelo R

    Marcelo R Tele-Afflicted

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    Thanks for your reply. Would you please tell me more about this "lower value capacitor" thing? Maybe it could be what I'm looking for.

    (By the way, I already have a Rick-copy ;), but I intend to have a guitar that I could leave on the rehearsal place. Best regards.)
     
  4. waparker4

    waparker4 Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Three ideas:
    1) no volume or tone controls, or just a 1M volume pot. This is the brightest it gets of what I would call "pure" approaches where you still have a humbucker sound.

    2) Capacitor in series with the pickup. The cap will filter out bass. 0.01 should do something, or smaller for brighter

    3) Take out all the adjustable screw pole pieces.
     
  5. Nick Fanis

    Nick Fanis Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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  6. Zender

    Zender Tele-Meister

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    Get some decent electronics wire cutters. Those are electricians wire cutters. Throw away the Swiss army knife. We aren't at war with the humbuckers.
    http://www.all-spec.com/products/170-IIA.html?utm_source=bingads&utm_medium=pla
     
  7. stax

    stax Tele-Afflicted

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    Funnily enough I have a beautiful Samick jazz box that is really well made but for some unknown reason comes with a couple of their lifeless pickups and was thinking of doing the 4 conductor mod so I could put them in parallel and see if that would be an improvement.
     
  8. Marcelo R

    Marcelo R Tele-Afflicted

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    Thank you very much for your reply.

    I'll se if there are 1M pots available here. The guitar has a volume control and a tone control. I thought of changing this and have two volume controls, instead. Should I install two 1M pots?

    This sounds like something that it could be done. (I'll not try it by myself, I'll take the guitar to my tech.)

    Hmmmm... I don't think so :rolleyes:

    Thanks again. Best regards.
     
  9. 62 Jazzmaster

    62 Jazzmaster Friend of Leo's

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    Another vote for Parallel wiring the humbucker coils. I often will use a Series/Parallel switch to give the pickups the option for a brighter, cleaner sound.
     
  10. Marcelo R

    Marcelo R Tele-Afflicted

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    Thank you very much for your reply. Actually, I'm not sure that this conversion can be done in this case, because the coils in the humbuckers are completely covered by some kind of clear silicon - or something like that. I'll ask to my tech, anyway. Best regards.
     
  11. 62 Jazzmaster

    62 Jazzmaster Friend of Leo's

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    If you could post photos of the pickups, that might help.
     
  12. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

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    Taking out the screws is easily reversible. It turns one coil into a dummy coil. It may do exactly what you want and takes about three minutes to try. Why not give it a go?
     
  13. Tim S

    Tim S Tele-Afflicted Gold Supporter

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    How about using PTB (Passive Treble Bass) wiring like G&L uses? Using a bass roll-off pot on a humbucker is one way to brighten things up.
     
  14. Nick Fanis

    Nick Fanis Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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  15. bender66

    bender66 Poster Extraordinaire

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    I'd just do the 1meg pot. That brightened up some unknown pickups In a beater. Start with the tone pot.
     
  16. Tony Done

    Tony Done Friend of Leo's

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    ^^^^ Yes 1M or no-load tone pot - easy to make from a standard type.

    Take the covers off if they are covered. That had a dramatic effect on the ones on which I have tried it, but results apparently vary.

    You can sometimes isolate the wire for the two coils if you are careful, but I have broken a couple trying. It depends on how they are connected and or potted.
     
  17. Marcelo R

    Marcelo R Tele-Afflicted

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    All right, guys, you've finally convinced me that life will be easier with four wired humbuckers. So be it. I've bought a pair of cheap HBs - 30 dls each, I guess you would pay much less than that, but remember, this is Uruguay.

    So, here you got it, left to right: the original pair of coils (2 wires) enclosed on who-knows-what, the new cheap buddy (4 wires) as it is originally featured, and then, finally, the all-new looking bucker with the metal cover.

    I hope my tech will be as grateful as I am with all of you. Best regards.
     

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  18. jvin248

    jvin248 Doctor of Teleocity

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    In case you come back here when the new pickup sounds muddy too because of the electronics in the control cavity (it happens) ... The above is sage advice and will get you brightness for cheap. #3 is the easiest as all you do is unscrew the exposed screw heads. You will see wax in the pickup and it may flake a bit getting the screws out, not a problem, better pickups are vacuum waxed potted. The wax is in there to keep feedback at bay and clear up microphonics. #1b 1M volume pot could be brought back to 500k volume pot if you find a 250k volume pot in there (someone might have swapped it in), or measure the existing pot and find a similar rated pot that is higher within its tolerance band.

    Some find the covers darken a pup but if you play in gigs with a lot of electrical noise running around, the covers will reduce the chance for that noise getting into your pickups. Sit in front of a computer with your guitar plugged in and put on and take off the cover to know. The cover will need to be grounded/contact the grounded base plate to be effective.
     
  19. Tony Done

    Tony Done Friend of Leo's

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    You might want to take that cover off. :D


    When I did four-wire switching, I did series, single and parallel. As it turned out there is very little difference between single and parallel, but you never know. The advantage of parallel over single is that it retains the humbucking capability.
     
  20. jvin248

    jvin248 Doctor of Teleocity

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    I find some chime when switched in parallel - towards the Strat #2 or #4 position tones.
     
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