Single Coils Suck. Humbuckers Rule.

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by Bluego1, Jun 6, 2019.

Single coil or humbucker? Yes, those are your options, though discussion is encouraged

  1. Single coil

    162 vote(s)
    83.9%
  2. Humbucker

    31 vote(s)
    16.1%
  1. DHart

    DHart Friend of Leo's

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    Tone matters most to me.

    LOUDNESS... I look to my amp for.

    And if I need to hit the amp's first stage hard, rather than use "hot" pickups, I would use a clean boost pedal. But that's just me. There are a lot of different approaches to electric guitars and amplification.
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2019
    Bruxist likes this.
  2. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    Whoa!
    I’m massively in the minority now.
     
  3. Rufus

    Rufus Tele-Afflicted

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    Like...really!!!

    That guy from the Rolling Something or others knows NOTHING about getting good tones.

    Micawber.png

    :p
     
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  4. Obelisk

    Obelisk Tele-Afflicted

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    Where is Choice C for both? If pickup makes a sound I like, I will use it regardless of how it makes its signal.
     
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  5. Irondog

    Irondog TDPRI Member

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    certain tones and styles are mastered by each pickup.
    beautifully blooming Moderate gain power chords simply required a Les Paul with the 59 PAF, Late 60s and 70s rock 'n' roll seemed to predominantly require that sound. you could get away with a rock 'n' roll band with limited musical skill by purchasing a Les Paul & just play power chords and the occasional pentatonic and you sounded fantastic.
    Then came a whole bunch of musical geniuses at the same time who seem to love the extreme versatility of the single coils.
    Slightly less thickness in the power chords, but wow! much less compression allowing the string attack and string dynamics to be fully displayed by Hendrix, Jeff Beck, David Gilmore Country players Eric Clapton.

    I ended up switching predominantly from a Les Paul to a telecaster, the telecaster single coil was the PAF humbucker I've been looking for, for years.
    by carefully controlling the gain & using coil splits artists like Jimmy page, made his humbucker's clawback some of the string dynamics. 21 tone Jimmy page circuit.

    Jeff Beck and David Gilmore have made the same statement, I sound like somebody else when I play humbucker's,
    Single coils allow me to sound like what I want me to sound like.

    Beck " Les Paul feels like a guitar, and I play differently on that and I sound too much like someone else.
    “With the Strat, instantly it becomes mine, so that’s why I’ve welded myself to that. Or it’s welded itself to me, one or the other"

    Gilmore" The Stratocaster tends to enhance the personality of the person playing it. People playing Fenders are more recognisably themselves than people playing some of the other well known guitars."

    Humbucker's can be awesome, (I just listened to Jefferson starship "Jane"simple but fantastic humbucker) but single coils seem to offer more versatility, they can do more of everything slightly better than a humbucker can do everything.

    But it's getting blurry these days coil splitting humbucker's & stacked single coils that are humbucker's, we are trying to create pickups that will do literally everything:)

    but wow the voting, seems we have a consensus single coils are awesome! humbucker's are slightly less awesome.
     
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  6. stratcatt

    stratcatt TDPRI Member

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    'Buckers, p-90s, single coil......I want it all. So, I have a Stratocaster that is HSS with coil tap, and a series-parallel switch. Very similar to the David Gilmour black strat. Of course that only adds to the Telecaster, Les Paul, Ibanez Prestige, Taylor, ect. I want it all....and I have it! They all have their time and place for use. Judicious application is the key. I just love the sound of a guitar, that has been tastefully applied. But remember, your guitar's tone is only as good as your amplifier's tone mixed with your guitar, as well as all other items in your signal chain. To me, that is the complete answer. Contemplate this when next you fret my friends. :cool:
     
  7. Jay Jernigan

    Jay Jernigan Tele-Meister

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    I just read all 146 posts and I fully agree and disagree with everyone.
    I currently own (too) many guitars and none of them have the same pickups. I can pick up any one of them and dial it in for a gig.
    I'm notorious for changing p'ups, if I think that I might like something else better, but you'll have to excuse me for not voting.
     
  8. Zepfan

    Zepfan Poster Extraordinaire

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    I've had many guitars with neck position HB's over the last 40 years and have only come across one that was muddy/woofy. Some can be dark and be fixed, but dark isn't muddy/woofy.
    If you put overwound Humbucker or single coil in the neck position, you may run into problems.
     
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  9. soulman969

    soulman969 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I've yet to find a neck humbucker I can live with. I didn't hate the one in my ES339 if I tapped it but then I figured what sense does that make? So my search for one I like is still ongoing.

    For a meatier sound I much prefer P90s and the MFDs on my G&L ASAT. So I guess I'm a single coil guy.
     
  10. Plumber

    Plumber Tele-Holic

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    Depends on the particular pickup/guitar

    I have singles/humbuckers/single coil space humbuckers/P90s that I can get exactly the same sound out of :)

    I am blessed of course:D
     
  11. Zepfan

    Zepfan Poster Extraordinaire

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    Some people are single coil only people, but if you haven't tried a Firebird or a Deluxe type Minibucker your missing out. They are HB's with single coil tones.
     
  12. awasson

    awasson Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

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    I guess it depends what you’re looking for in terms of tone and the overall EQ of the frequencies, overtones etc... I’m no good at describing the sounds or deciphering the words others use but I know what I like when I hear it.

    I’ve got an Ibanez Artist semi-hollow body I bought in 1981 and played exclusively until about 2015 when I started building Tele’s and buying and hot rodding Strats. My Ibanez is like a 335. I have had a number of different pickups in it. Currently I’ve got a set of SD Phat Cat Humbucker sized P90’s because of my single coil kick but I did have a SD Screamin Demon in the neck for about 15 years. It’s not as hot as the name would suggest and it really made that guitar sparkle. I could play it clean and it just sounded amazing. It had a very smooth and full delivery. Sounded great with a ton of gain too and had Clapton’s “woman” tone to spare. I’ve still got the pickup. I’m planning to put it into a Telecaster neck position to see how it works out.

    These days I’m on a single coil kick and have been for the last few years. I consider myself more of a lead player than rhythm and I like some breakup so that the sound has a vocal vibe to it without being over processed. Single coils and a tube amp are the solution for me.
     
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  13. DugT

    DugT Tele-Holic

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    How are Minibuckers better than single coils? Is it because they have less noise or are they also more capable of humbucker growl?

    I imagine they are better because they have less noise but noise is never a problem for me. My pedal board can tune out noise and low noise reduction settings are always enough for me.

    With low output single coils I'm finding that I can crank up the gain to get as much or more growl than I want and noise isn't a problem so I don't see any advantages of humbuckers. However, I have never tried minibuckers.
     
  14. Zepfan

    Zepfan Poster Extraordinaire

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    Less noise and more growl. These pickups are very much like P90's or some Tele Bridge pickups, they can deliver nice cleans lightly picked and then deliver the growl when digging in. Minibuckers are more mellow while the Firebirds have that high-mid attitude.
    Noise can be a problem with singles especially in certain instances while HB's have less problems.
     
  15. soulman969

    soulman969 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I actually found the humbuckers in a friends Ibanez AMV10 to my liking but passed on buying one in favor of my Casino. And one of my Teles has a Kent Armstrong Rag Top 'bucker size P90 in the neck position and a SD Quarter Pound bridge. That one takes me as close to humbuckers as I'll presently go.

    But with that guitar I'm always on the hunt for a different pickup combination. I may try a Bill Lawrence L500 or an L90 in the neck next but whatever direction I go that guitar is built to loud and nasty but still very articulate and not too muddy or mid heavy. As a rhythm/riff guy that's where I need to be sonically.
     
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  16. DugT

    DugT Tele-Holic

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    I think I can get "Less noise and more growl" out of my single coils by turning up the gain a little more and, if necessary, turning up the noise suppression a little more.

    I wonder if the difference in opinion between single coils and humbuckers is because some people use tube amps while others use digital amps. With tube amps enough gain for good growl and make it too loud and they might not have noise suppression. With digital amps you can have it all except the exact tone of a tube amp.
     
  17. Obsessed

    Obsessed Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Oh how I struggled with this poll. I ended up thinking which one I could not live without on a deserted island, so I voted humbuckers. I enjoy the complexity they deliver, but it took me a long time to find the right ones. That said, I play single coils more often, but probably because they are easier to adjust to taste.
     
  18. Zepfan

    Zepfan Poster Extraordinaire

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    Back when I first started playing guitar, I was disappointed in single coils and switched to HB's. I had solid state amps back then. Now that I have a tube amp, I'm starting to like the single coils again and that actually lead me to the minibuckers and Firebirds. I just find them to be the best of the 2(singles and humbuckers).
     
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  19. 65 Champ Amp

    65 Champ Amp Tele-Afflicted

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    Whenever I play buckers, I catch myself trying to dial them in to sound like single coils.

    That said, I have a tele copy build coming that’s going to have a bucker in the neck.
    And I modded a Squier Strat to a tele configuration- tele bridge and pickup, tele controls (350k pots, I think), and a Benson p90 in the neck. Great combination.
     
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  20. DugT

    DugT Tele-Holic

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    I'm relatively new to electric guitars and I tried for a long time to get my single coils to sound like humbuckers. I'm amazed and a little embarrased that it took me so long to realize that I just had to turn up the gain more. Edit: I had neglected to mention that one of the reasons my single coils sound fatter now is now I have stereo output with different delays per channel and it turns any guitar into a wall of sound.

    Fortunately my guitar with humbuckers has split coil switches so I can get decent single coil tones out of it. I'm surprised that split coils switches aren't more common.
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2019
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