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Setting up single coils as "humbucking"? Wiring?

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by NoTeleBob, Sep 25, 2020.

  1. NoTeleBob

    NoTeleBob Tele-Meister

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    I recently heard that you could set your two standard single coils as humbucking (or maybe that's 'at least a bit humbucking' :- ).

    True? What wiring is this then? I understand parallel, series, and out of phase. Is it one of those or is there something else I'm not imagining?
     
  2. Peegoo

    Peegoo Poster Extraordinaire

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    It's done in series, but the magnetic poles should be opposite on one of the pickups (one pickup North Up and the other pickup South Up) and the coil has to be spun the right way to maximize humbucking operation: the ol' "RWRP" (reverse wind, reverse polarity) thing.
     
  3. NoTeleBob

    NoTeleBob Tele-Meister

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    Ah, makes sense. So physically turn the pickup around in the installation/holder?

    Is there any downside to this aside from the sound change normally associated with series wiring? In other words, if I have a switch for series-parallel, and I've flipped one of the pickups, would I notice a difference in sound in the parallel position when using both pickups vs. the normal orientation for the pickups in parallel?

    Does it affect sound even when using the single pickup that's been flipped (seems like it wouldn't with a single pickup, but I figure I need to ask).
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2020
  4. beanluc

    beanluc Tele-Meister

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    Humbuckers work in both series and parallel config. If you get the wind direction and the magnetic polarity right, you'll notice hum reduction in parallel mode in addition to the series mode.

    You can't just "flip" a pickup though. It's either already got the magnets pointing the right way, or, it doesn't. I don't recommend turning the pickup upside down so the other pole points up. I recommend taking the magnets out of them and putting them back in upside-down even less - unless you're 199% positive that it can be done without destroying your pickup by breaking the windings.

    What you CAN do, as long as one of your pickups has north polarity and the other one has south polarity, is, if necessary, you can connect the leads in whichever direction is the reverse wind direction compared to the other pickup.

    If you do have reverse-polarity pickups already, chances are they're already in hum-canceling config because if they weren't then they'd be out of phase.

    [​IMG]
     
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  5. NoTeleBob

    NoTeleBob Tele-Meister

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    OH, Doh! I misunderstood. I thought it was turning the pickup 180 degrees in the pickguard, not flipping it over. But, what you said makes a lot more sense now when I think about the magnets.

    So, in a Gibson type humbucking pickup with two sets of magnets, the top of one set is North and the top of the other set is South? I always thought it was the coils that were reversed, resulting in humbucking by virtue of the electromagnets being opposite, not the permanent magnets.
     
  6. Dacious

    Dacious Poster Extraordinaire

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    It's both. One bobbin has to wound clockwise, and one counterclockwise, one set of magnets point north and one set south.

    In old pre-66 Teles and Strats made at Fullerton they weren't hum cancelling, because Teles had no parallel position, and Strats were designed to have only one pickup at a time on.

    So old Fenders, all pickup magnets pointed south and bobbin winds clockwise until the WRHB appeared.
     
  7. DougM

    DougM Poster Extraordinaire

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    Most current Strats have the middle pickup RWRP from the other two, so when you use neck/middle or bridge/middle, then it's humbucking, but you lose a little more high end than you do without the RWRP middle pickup, and you lose some highs either way in those two positions because of the phase cancellation that occurs whenever you have more than one pickup in parallel. In a Strat, because the pickups are closer together than in a Tele, for instance, the frequencies that get cancelled are higher.
    That's one reason why HBs have less highs than single coils, because the coils in a HB are so close together, so the cancelled frequencies are even higher still.
     
  8. NoTeleBob

    NoTeleBob Tele-Meister

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    Tell me if I understand this correctly: the humbucker has two coils that are 180 out of phase so it is always cancelling a significant portion of the signal?

    If that's true I'm wondering why the humbucker has any output at all, but my electronics theory is weak.
     
  9. beanluc

    beanluc Tele-Meister

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    They're not out-of-phase regarding the vibrations it's picking up from the strings. They're out-of-phase regarding the ambient RF radiation (hum).

    The coils themselves are electrically out of phase but the magnetic pole pieces are also reversed, so, when the pair of inductors picks up the string vibrations, the signal you want is in phase (reinforcing) but the signal you don't want cancels itself out - because it's unaffected by the orientation of the magnets.

    I think the main reason for "less highs" from hummers is not a matter of phase, I think that it's 2 things: Extra resistance (since there's 2 coils instead of just 1, more wire), and also, think of it as "resolution" - a single-coil detects vibration from a very narrow region of the string, so it can "see" the smallest wiggles (highest frequency overtones) whereas a hummer's detection zone is wider, so some of the highest frequencies (shortest overtones) get kind of smeared away. Maybe this is a phase issue, maybe it's resolution, maybe it's both, not really too sure, but the resistance is part of it too.
     
  10. sjtalon

    sjtalon Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Two pickups 101


    Remember that RWRP is a relative term, one pickup to its mate. A pickup per se, is not RWRP.

    The real term should be RC RP; that is, reverse CONNECTED. How a pickup is wound doesn't really mean jack. What matters is how the MANUFACTURES wire them. That is, what color leads they use so that when wired, they are correct with each other PHASE WISE. For instance, Fender is usually black positive, white ground (or coil negative).

    There is no standard as far as connection, OR polarity in the industry of a SET, so it's a crapshoot when you mix brands.

    One can get any two pups IN PHASE by reversing the coil leads on ONE pickup of the set. Sometimes a modification to the pickup has to be done if one of the leads is connected to a cover or base plate, which is often done to both ground the coil and cover with one lead.

    If you want noise reduction, ONE of the two pickups must be of opposite polarity and CONNECTED in reverse (or opposite how the wind is as far as it's positive lead).

    If you don't care about the noise reduction, then POLARITY doesn't matter, only the correct connection (of leads) so the two are in phase with one another.


    So with two SEPARATE pickups, RC/RP, it's been wrongly characterized as humbucking you could say. Actually, it's more-so noise reduction, or noise canceling. Helps quite a bit with EMI.

    True hb is two coils in series, opposite polarity/connection.

    So to get close to the function of a real hb, one can wire two separate single coil pups in series, like what is commonly done with a 4 way switch on a Tele.
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2020
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  11. NoTeleBob

    NoTeleBob Tele-Meister

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    Thanks. Making sense now.
     
  12. ndcaster

    ndcaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    you can switch connections and polarity yourself

    the series option is great: it's like an extra wide range humbucker
     
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