Humbuckers that Split for Good Single-Coil Tone

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by markesquire, Jan 15, 2011.

  1. markesquire

    markesquire Tele-Afflicted

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    I'm looking at building a tele and want to have both humbucker and single-coil tone available. Ideally, I'd have a 5-way pickup selector switch with (1) Bridge HB, (2) Bridge SC, (3) Both HB, (4) Neck SC, (5) Neck HB.

    Which Humbuckers split for great tone? Should I also consider tap-able pickups like the Duncan BG-1400?
     
  2. Northerntele

    Northerntele Tele-Holic

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    Pretty sure the Seymour Duncan Stag Mag is just 2 single coil strat pickups stuck together. made to split
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2011
  3. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    +1 for the Stag Mag.
    Rio Grande makes a Muy Grande humbucker that sounds great tapped, too.
     
  4. OaklandA

    OaklandA Friend of Leo's Double Platinum Supporter

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    Fralin Unbucker
     
  5. jjkrause84

    jjkrause84 Poster Extraordinaire

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    BKP Mule's split really nicely (to my ear). It's the only split humbucker (not that I've played loads, mind) that really sounds 'alive' to me.
     
  6. beep.click

    beep.click Poster Extraordinaire

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    Might want to try Seymour Duncan P-Rails.
     
  7. Agave_Blue

    Agave_Blue Friend of Leo's

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    Duncan L'il '59 in the bridge if you like a hot rock HB. Splits pretty nice too; has "residual twang", that is, it's a little twangy when split.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2011
  8. newmachine

    newmachine Tele-Meister

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    +1 for Stag Mag
     
  9. wildschwein

    wildschwein Tele-Afflicted

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    I always have coil tap and phase reversal options on all my humbucker-equipped guitars.The Wilde by Bill Lawrence L-90s sound great split. The L500s (R and L) by the same maker sound just okay. I also have sets of the Tonerider Generators and Alnico II Classics and they both sound great in single coil mode - I highly recommend either of these. Wilkinson Zebras - which if you can find with them with the 5 wire option - are a steal price-wise as they sound very sweet when split.
     
  10. TG

    TG Doctor of Teleocity

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    You can get any reasonably good humbucker to sound good split.

    The trick is to wire a resistor (about 2.5 ohm) into the wire that ground/earths the coil when you 'split' it....so that the current runs through the resistor in its way to ground. It means that only a percentage of the coil is grounded giving you 'one and a half' coils, so to speak. The end result is a sound much more like an actual single coil than you get with one humbucker coil. It works especially well on a neck pickup.


    I use a small variable resistor...a small pot basically...of a value in the 4K ohm range. You can then adjust it to get the sound that sounds best to you.

    It costs very little and it's easily reversible if you change your mind. It's easy to do as well. You just disconnect the relevant wire at either end, ie, at the coil splitting switch or where it attaches to ground, solder on the resistor and resolder the wire onto that.
     
  11. octatonic

    octatonic Poster Extraordinaire

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    Tom Anderson does the best split-buckers to my hears.
    The H1 and H2+ are excellent split.
     
  12. markesquire

    markesquire Tele-Afflicted

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    Thanks for the suggestions!

    BUT, what about the bridge position? If I stay with a traditional tele rout, I'm looking at either (1) a lil 59 or (2) tapping a stacked pickup like the BG-1400.

    Which of these options do you suggest?
     
  13. Breen

    Breen Friend of Leo's

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    The ones Malmsteen uses. Don't know what their called. I think they sound pretty cool. I know their stacked singles/humbucks, or humbucks in singular, or singularly bucking.
     
  14. JDO

    JDO Tele-Holic

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    trying to make sure I understand you correctly. are you saying....
    - you don't split to coils but get a "single" coil sound by putting a resistor between the pup and ground? so switched on way the pup gets full ground and the other way it's not fully grounded?
    or
    - you still split the coils but put a resistor between the ground only for the single coil to help with it's tone?

    I'm thinking the first, but I'd like to make sure.
     
  15. Teleterr

    Teleterr Friend of Leo's

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    Don't you mean 2.5K not 2.5 ohms? Thats like a Duncan Spin a Split on his website.I agree w all the dual singles in 1 housing sugestions. 1/2 a humbucker is 1/2 a good idea.The HB is a pickup system using 2 coils; and using both is intergal to its design.
     
  16. TG

    TG Doctor of Teleocity

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    Not sure it's either. When not split, ie, normal humbucker mode, the resistor will have nothing to do with the pickup.

    You just put a 2.5 K ohm resistor into the wire that grounds out the coil when you switch the coil tap switch. The wire will go from the switch to ground/earth. Cut the wire (or disconnect one end) and solder the resistor in so the signal goes thru it when you hit the coil tap. Or use a small 4k variable resistor, ie, a very small pot. You can then adjust it to where you think it sounds best.

    Essentially it means that when you split or tap (or whatever it is) you don't ground/earth one of the coils...just a part of it. So instead of going from 2 coils to 1 you will be going from 2 coils to '1 and a half'. Still a clearer and single coil-like sound compared to a full humbucker, but not as thin and useless as a lone humbucker coil.
    Easy, cheap and reversible.
     
  17. TG

    TG Doctor of Teleocity

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    Incidentally, in my experience it works better with neck pickups than bridge pickups. Just my opinion...
     
  18. JDO

    JDO Tele-Holic

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    Forgive the ignorance but I haven't spent a lot of time with pups. I think I have it. Each coil has two wires... a + and a ground. Rather than taking one hole coil out of the mix you're simply lifting it's ground slightly. So both coils are in play regardless of humbucker or "single" coil mode. Is this correct?
     
  19. TG

    TG Doctor of Teleocity

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    I think so. Not electronics savvy myself really. Dunno what 'lifting a ground' means. :oops:

    All I know is that when wired normally there is a 'hot' wire that's connected to the selector switch, and a 'ground' wire that goes to the back of a pot.
    Between the 2 the current goes through both coils, one after the other since the end of one is connected to the beginning of the other.

    When you 'split' or 'tap' (not sure what the difference is) a humbucker the signal is diverted to the ground after the first coil so only one coil is 'working'.

    I'm assuming that's correct.

    But really all you need to know is to be able to identify the wire that goes from the coil split switch to ground.

    There's the switch.
    There's the wire going to the back of a pot or wherever.
    Disconnect and reconnect with the resistor in it.

    Someone else can explain what actually happens. I just think 'equals one and a half coils'.
     
  20. Teleterr

    Teleterr Friend of Leo's

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