Whaddaya use humbuckers for?

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by LGOberean, May 8, 2021.

  1. LGOberean

    LGOberean Doctor of Teleocity

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    You just had to do it, din'cha? :(:rolleyes:


    Okay, this reply articulates well my dilemma, namely, articulation. And clarity. I play clean tones, mostly.

    Mind you, my "clean" sound of choice is VOX AC tones, so my clean tone pretty much always has a hint of hair to it. My Rock music is the classic variety, that isn't generally heavily distorted or high gain. I have 5 teles, and one solidbody equipped with PAF-style humbuckers.

    Several replies have already addressed modern stereotypes, i.e., Teles for Country, Gibson for Rock, etc. referenced classic Country songs recorded using humbucker equipped guitars, and I'm quite familiar with that. Leon Rhodes was known for using an Epiphone Sheraton pretty much exclusively.

    And I like the beefier treble tones from my bridge humbucker. But even then, it doesn't respond like a single coil, and I have to be careful or it's starts breaking up on me. If I were going for distorted Rock tones on the bridge, I could use that, but most of the time, that's not what I'm after.

    I recently spent what seemed like an eternity not playing my teles just so I could log a lot of time in on my guitar with the 'buckers. I don't mean that to sound like the guitar is work to play; the guitar itself plays well. I really like the neck, and the look of the guitar. Well, here, this one...

    My Logan Custom Challenger, 12-22-2018 - 2.jpeg

    Love the old school vibe of the snakehead and the vintage Kluson style tuners. And speaking of "vibe," I call it my "Whataguitar," 'cuz it's got a Whataburger vibe going on. (You Texans will understand.) The neck is a bit chunky, but feels good to play.

    The only thing I haven't bonded with is the pickups. Like I said, PAF-style, not particularly hot. But it's real work for me to get the pickups to behave the way I want them to. My recent exclusivity with it didn't really alleviate that. And I've had the guitar for more than two years, play it quite a bit at home, and have even gigged with it on several occasions. So I'm guessing I'm just not a humbucker guy.

    Oh, another factor I failed to mention is that I am almost exclusively a solo performer. Not as in playing solos within the context of a band, but as a solo artist (and I use that word loosely), just voice and guitar. So the observation/recommendation of using humbuckers opposite a second guitarist with single coils doesn't apply to me.

    I've picked out about half a dozen songs that I'm comfortable playing on this guitar. If I could double that number of songs, it would make a decent set with this guitar at a gig. I guess I was hoping for suggestions along that line. Here's what I have so far.

    • On the Road Again (Canned Heat)
    • With My Face on the Floor (Emmitt Rhodes)
    • Fooled Around and Fell in Love
    • Up Around the Bend
    • Proud Mary
    • Rendezvous with the Blues

    I've noodled around on Cream's "Sunshine of Your Love," but I've never worked to get the lyrics down and sing and play it. Maybe that one would work on this guitar in my performance repertoire. Clapton's "Woman tone" was invented on guitars with 'buckers.

    Any other suggestions?
     
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  2. Happy Enchilada

    Happy Enchilada Tele-Meister

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    My first electric was a '62 Esquire which I bought new, and I replaced it about 10 years later with a '73 Tele Deluxe with the old school Fender humbuckers (wish I still had both of 'em). Then I transitioned to playing acoustic in coffeehouses and small clubs, and stuck with that for a decade or two ...

    When I started playing electric again, it was for a worship band, and I became a Les Paul guy. Hot rodded quite a few with Seymour Duncans ('59 neck, Custom bridge was optimal). I liked the sheer power that the humbuckers brought to the party, how they helped me cut through the mix, and I was quite content with them. Also learned about the joys of GraphTech nuts and saddles and how they helped me stay in tune and let my strings live longer without breaking.

    Then I quit playing electric for a couple years after I quit the worship band to become a Scout leader for my two boys. But after they earned their Eagles, I had time on my hands to mess with electrics again, and I decided to try a Player Tele out of fond memories of my first electric. I soon discovered that with a set of SD "Hot Tele" pickups, it was quite the capable machine. And I once again found that amp and effects have a LOT to do with tone (yes, and fingers, duh). In fact, I dug out my old POD XT that I used in church and found it was still a great effects device. However, I missed the humbucker sound. So I got my hands on a Special Edition Custom Telecaster FMT HH. With its set neck, a '59 neck and Pearly Gates bridge, not to mention the flamey maple top and mahogany neck and body, it's practically a Les Paul with a Fender headstock (for less than half the money).

    I look at it this way: Most of us have more than one guitar, right? So why not have one that generates great single-coil tone and another that brings the humbucker heat? Play hard and celebrate diversity.
     
  3. LGOberean

    LGOberean Doctor of Teleocity

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    This white boy don't play that funky music. But I do love a spanky clean tone.
     
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  4. Collin D Plonker

    Collin D Plonker Tele-Afflicted

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    I have a lot of variety in my collection. I like humbuckers for rock tones. They just distort so nicely. They have more bass than a single and have that punch that sounds so good. I always install coil splits so I can get a little twang when I want it. I have PAF style, hot hummies and P-Rails. Each has its place, but those P Rails may be coming out soon and swapped for Gibson modern pickups.

    I also play my tele a lot and my strat sometimes. They both sound great.

    My favorite guitar now has P90s. They sound great and can be rolled off a bit for lighter stuff. If they hum, I can switch to middle position.
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2021
  5. fozhebert

    fozhebert Tele-Meister

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    'Buckers are for helping me learn fingerstyle jazz chord melody from scratch. With flatwounds of course on my Epi Les Paul.
     
  6. Dave Hicks

    Dave Hicks Friend of Leo's

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    The last time I owned a guitar with HBs, I eventually realized that every time I played it I used the bridge pickup only and turned up all the treble available to me. I figured I was trying to tell myself something, and I eventually realized what that something was and sold that guitar.

    D.H.
     
  7. JL_LI

    JL_LI Poster Extraordinaire

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    I have 490 R and T pickups in my SG. I can use them for anything but not without an equalizer to roll off low frequencies and improve clarity. I was a little surprised this past week. I’m having a major home renovation and brought a SuperChamp XD up from the basement. I was pleasantly surprywith how good my Strat and Telecaster sound through it. I’ll keep it out as a front porch amp. I couldn’t find a model or setting I liked at all with my SG. The amp matters. Equalization matters. The hum bucket and guitar matter. There’s nothing simple or intuitive about it.
     
  8. dcos

    dcos Tele-Meister

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    To me, they're for everything. I just like the full sound of a humbucker over a single coil. I can pretty much get a tone for anything I want to play between the bridge and neck pickups, and I mostly play clean. I do have a custom shop Gibson LP, so it's a really nice guitar. My Strat and Tele don't get that much playing time since I go it 2 years ago.
     
  9. adjason

    adjason Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    I use them for a change of pace- just to mix things up but generally I am a single coil guy.
     
  10. littlebadboy

    littlebadboy Tele-Afflicted

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    Any love for coil sized rail buckers? I loved the one on my ex tele. Doesn't sound like a bucker or single, but halfway.



    (Would appreciate the subscribe too, if you don't mind :))
     
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  11. Dan German

    Dan German Doctor of Teleocity

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    But I already have a booster, so I guess I don’t need the humbucker. :D

    Higgy don’t do high gain.

    Until I sold it, my Reverend Buckshot was my ‘bucker guitar (I replaced the stock bridge SC with a rail HB). Neither pickup was a traditional HB, and it was probably my most versatile guitar, yet it was the one I was willing to sell. I am just not a humbucker person, I guess. All the things I thought I needed a HB for, I’m beginning to learn, I can get to with a hot SC/P90ish kind of thing. Although my current pickup transplant candidate may get SC sized dual rails just to see if that’s what I need.
     
  12. CV Jee Beez

    CV Jee Beez Tele-Afflicted

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    I look to emulate early Clapton (Cream and before). My tele does a valiant job but ultimately hum buckers are needed for that task.
     
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  13. stxrus

    stxrus Poster Extraordinaire

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    I have said for years that you can cover a lot of territory with a tele and a SG. Now add a P-90 LP to that equation and it’s a whole different world....at your fingertips
     
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  14. Lowerleftcoast

    Lowerleftcoast Friend of Leo's

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    It seems your playing style doesn't need a booster either.;)
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2021
  15. Dan German

    Dan German Doctor of Teleocity

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    My playing style needs lots of things. :(
     
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  16. RLee77

    RLee77 Friend of Leo's

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    Whenever I need to buck hum, my go-to pickup is a humbucker.
     
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  17. Jakedog

    Jakedog Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I don’t use any true single coils. Love the sound, hate the noise. Won’t tolerate it. Even with proper shielding it’s 100% unacceptable. Low-medium output hummies or noiseless (which are technically humbuckers) singles are all I will use.

    Good noiseless will get you so close to true single tones that nobody listening to a recording could ever tell the difference. Unless it was an isolated track that by default showcased the noise. That’s close enough for me.

    I have zero time in my life for noisy guitars.
     
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  18. mexicanyella

    mexicanyella Friend of Leo's

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    I play a hardtail solidbody guitar with a bridge HB only, and a volume knob. I like loud clean (or just barely past clean) amps. This maybe doesn’t sound like a good combination, and I thought of myself as a single-coil clarity guy before I got this thing...but I discovered with careful lowering of the pickup and listening as I went, the HB ended up pretty low, and sounding pretty crisp and detailed with a clean sound, and still a bit hotter in output than most single-coils. I can do what I need with picking approach and guitar-volume setting changes, and don’t feel limited by the HB or the simple instrument.

    Also, I like how effectively it bucks the hum.
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2021
  19. TokyoPortrait

    TokyoPortrait Friend of Leo's

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    Hi again.

    The hum thing is interesting. I get it that some really don’t like it, but I just don’t care.

    It’s also possible I don’t get to experience unacceptable overpowering hum* from any of my surroundings I guess though.

    But that regular hum noise, I just don’t care.

    Pax/
    Dean
    * :) autocorrect tried to make that ‘I don’t get to experience unacceptable overpowering humans...’ but of course, unfortunately that’s not true
     
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