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Mini Humbucker advice

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by Marc Morfei, Nov 10, 2020.

  1. Marc Morfei

    Marc Morfei Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I have a Michael Kelly Tele that I really like. Plays and feels superb. It has Rockfield pickups, which I guess are the "house brand" for Kellys. I like the bridge pickup but do not like the neck pup at all, which is a mini HB. It is way too muddy, to the point of being unusable. I have played with the height, up down and everywhere in between. And EQing the amps only goes so far. It's just not working for me.

    Question 1: is there anything about the wiring I can check or change, that might have an effect? If not, then I guess I just don't like this pickup.
    Question 2: can someone recommend a good mini HB? It's only routed for a mini, so I just want to stay with that. I am not sure how much money I want to invest in a guitar that's only worth about $500. But I like the guitar, and dislike just this one thing.
    Thanks,

    IMG_6977.JPG IMG_6972.JPG
     
  2. Dacious

    Dacious Poster Extraordinaire

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    Not familiar with this guitar - I'm presuming the neck pickup is a firebird clone but with a ceramic bar magnet in the base.

    If you like the bridge pickup then changing the cap will affect both. You could try that, simple swap. If it's .047 which is a typical Tele value a .033 or even .022 might brighten it.

    You could also try 1 meg volume pot if they are 500kohm pots, or if they're 250s, def try 500.

    You did try dropping just the bass side of the pickup?
     
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  3. dougstrum

    dougstrum Friend of Leo's

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    If you like the guitar is worth putting a true firebird pickup in the neck position!
    You will find the muddyness gone;)
     
  4. Marc Morfei

    Marc Morfei Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Thanks, yes I tried all manner of height adjustments.
    I can open it up and see what the cap and pot values are. Can you explain to me what changing the pot value does?
     
  5. Buckocaster51

    Buckocaster51 Super Moderator Staff Member Ad Free Member

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    Seymour Duncan SM 1n
     
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  6. Dacious

    Dacious Poster Extraordinaire

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    Usually, changing the volume pot to a higher numeric value makes pickups brighter. A new cap is a few cents, a pot a couple bucks and easier to change than a pickup

    Two screws, pop off the control plate. Have a looksee what's there. Most people like 500k pots and .022 or .033 caps for hummers, .033 is the traditional Strat single coil, .047 the traditional Tele cap value, but there's no real rules.

    Your other option is a TBX tone control. I had a PRS and the neck pickup tended to mud. A TBX control is two stacked pots, 0-5 is 250k, 6-10 is 1 meg. It solved the problem, for coil splitting I used 250, and 1 meg for the hummers
     
  7. zombiwoof

    zombiwoof Tele-Afflicted

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    Changing pots is the way to go, changing tone cap value will not appreciably change the overall tone, mostly will affect the amount of bassiness when tone is rolled off.
    Al
     
  8. loopfinding

    loopfinding Friend of Leo's

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    i don't think changing the pot values is going to do anything dramatic for you if you dislike the pickup. i find it's something that works better on tuning pickups you already like. changing the tone cap will do barely anything.

    you can though put a capacitor in series with the neck pup hot lead to shave some of the bass off and cut down on mud early in the signal path. start big and adjust to taste. kind of a lame fix but if it works, it works.

    otherwise i second the recommendation of the duncan sm-1n firebird pup.
     
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  9. bendercaster

    bendercaster Tele-Afflicted

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    Marc,

    If you want to try a new pick up, talk to Rob at Cavalier. He makes great pickups, and last I heard, in addition to killer telecaster and stratocaster pickups, was also making real firebird pickups

    Another option, if you want to see if it's really the pickup, or just the wiring, is to bypass the tone control. I have a minihumbucker in the neck position of my telecaster too. It is part of a set of two that I got on Amazon for $10. I tried one in the bridge position of a Les Paul Jr. and it sounded great. But after trying the other one in my Tele I was disappointed. It was super muddy and sounded nothing like it did in the other guitar (pickup placement was a big part of that of course.). Anyway, I eventually got it sounding pretty good by making three different modifications:
    1) I wired it to bypass the tone control
    2) I put a capacitor between the hot wire and the pot that I guess acted as some kind of filter. I don't remember the exact value of the cap, but I got the idea from a poster on here. I understand Rickenbacker used to do something similar.
    3). I rotated the pickup 180 degrees.

    I also lowered it as much as I could while still keeping it balanced in volume with the bridge pickup. Each trick, individually, helped reduce the boominess of the pickup, but all three together made the pickup sound much more balanced and useable.
     
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  10. Jlwctn

    Jlwctn Tele-Meister

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    20201027_210536.jpg
    I'm pretty happy with this set of Artec Alnico IIs (6.3K and 6K) that I got from Guitar Madness. He also has the neck pickup only available for $27. (I had higher output minis in this previously, and I thought they would be better suited in another guitar.)
     
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  11. LoveHz

    LoveHz Tele-Holic

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    I have a Wilkinson minihum in my Partscaster Tele. It is fitted into a P90 mounting ring to fit the pickguard cutout. Nice pickup and not expensive. And it seems to mix OK with the Duncan Broadcaster bridge pickup.

    Telecaster Partscaster.jpg
     
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  12. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity

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    A mini should not be muddy at all. Cheap pickup . The Genuine Gibson with the pole screws or a SD Antiquity ll with the pole screws will have you in good shape. The SD sounds identical to the Gibson.
     
  13. DrASATele

    DrASATele Poster Extraordinaire

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    Cavalier Pickups . . . Rob's Phoenix neck p'up (fire bird type) is super articulate, I'd say it's the best neck pickup I have ever used. If I had the money that would be my standard neck pickup for all my builds. Oh and Rob is super nice too! He's here on TDPRI . . .
     
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  14. Blues Twanger

    Blues Twanger Tele-Afflicted

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    Last edited: Nov 12, 2020
  15. Wildeman

    Wildeman Tele-Meister

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    I'm thinking of putting those in my Sheraton, even though he don't offer gold. Do they have the sound? Kinda twangy and bright?
     
  16. jvin248

    jvin248 Doctor of Teleocity

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    .

    Series cap on the pickup hot lead cuts the internal capacitance of a too muddy pickup. Use the 0.047uF you pulled off the guitar when swapping in the 0.03 or 0.02uF cap on the tone knob.

    As for the the smaller cap on the tone circuit: it gives you more brightness, sparkle, 'presence' -- even when the knob is dimed. You'll see some players, like EVH, got rid of the tone pot entirely or used "no load" tone pots and such ... but having a tone control is useful.

    I found mini hums as a group are too muddy. I haven't tried the original Firebird ones that people rave about but I think few players have actually tried those too. The series cap works.

    .
     
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  17. Mark the Moose

    Mark the Moose Tele-Afflicted

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    You could replace it, but maybe try wiring the coils in parallel first.
     
  18. 39martind18

    39martind18 Friend of Leo's

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    My partscaster has a minihum in the neck, however, I have a traditional Tele bridge pickup instead of a full HB at the bridge. I used a Jazz Bass style control panel with separate volume controls for each pickup, allowing for infinite combinations of Tele twang from the bridge and the girth and fullness from the neck, without the mud of a full sized humbucker. 20200611_170819.jpg
     
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  19. Elmore

    Elmore Tele-Holic

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    I enjoy a Gibson mini humbucker in my Tele. 500K pots. Good clarity. 64484CC3-BF50-4718-8D8C-9C0685D2561F.jpeg
     
  20. ultrasun

    ultrasun TDPRI Member Gold Supporter

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    That's interesting... It's a purely cosmectic issue, but I do prefer the looks of the Firebird chrome cover to the standard 6 poles mini... Could you elaborate on that? What would be a great standard mini with an immaculate chrome cover?
     
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