Does a tapped/split humbucker sound like a traditional single coil?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by exodus, Feb 9, 2012.

  1. exodus

    exodus Member

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    Would a humbucker in a strat (bridge position) sound like a traditional single coil if tapped/split? (not sure of the right terminology here). All things being equal, I just wondering if you can have the best of both worlds here...
     
  2. mark norwine

    mark norwine Supporting Member

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    IMO, not even close.
     
  3. sfarnell

    sfarnell Gold Supporting Member

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    Yes, in the sense that a P-90 is a "traditional" single coil. It does not sound like a strat single coil. There is usually a substantial volume drop when coils are split.

    The best sounding HB pickups when split are the PRS DGT pickups. Seems like the volume drop is less and the bridge pickup when split does a pretty good imitation of a tele bridge pickup. But, to me, it still sounds more like a P-90.
     
  4. taez555

    taez555 Member

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    It depends what you consider a traditional single coil.

    Splitting has its own unique sound. To give you an idea, I think I played just about everything here in split mode.


    Here's another video I made about series/parallel/single coil splitting. In the second half I have a whole bunch of sound samples, with different gain pedals, to hear the difference.


    If you listen closely to some of the clean tone, you really can hear the difference between parallel and split, and how the the splits really do have that more traditional bright single coil sound.
    I've never had any significant volume drops.
     
  5. 27sauce

    27sauce Member

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    I think split coils sound more like **** than a P-90. I've never heard one that was even close to a P-90.
     
  6. SNick

    SNick Member

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    I have had coil splits in 4 different brands of guitars. To me they just sound like a weaker version of the same humbucker. Not worth it for me. If you need a single coil sound get a Strat. or Tele.
     
  7. Wayne Alexander

    Wayne Alexander Supporting Member

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  8. Chicago Slim

    Chicago Slim Member

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    +1

    The PRS Starla pickups, also sound good when split.

    I've owned a lot of guitars with splitable coils, including other PRSi. Most humbuckers just sound weak. PRS seems to be getting better at it.
     
  9. BlueHeaven

    BlueHeaven Member

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    Split coil buckers CAN sound good...given the right application. However, they will not sound "just like" a Strat, Tele, Junior, or whatever so don't expect that.
     
  10. RCM78

    RCM78 Member

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    No, I've never played a slpit bucker that sounded like a real single coil. But I do feel the hotter the humbucker the better it sounds when split...
     
  11. mark norwine

    mark norwine Supporting Member

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    Excellent idea.

    The Barden's secret is that it isn't split...it's tapped.

    Instead of simply killing one coil (which is what splitting does), it gives you half of the windings on both coils. Still humbucking, yet very strat-like.

    Of course it's a 6-wire pickup, and if you have no idea how to wire it, you'll have nothing but frustrations. But properly wired, the JB two-tone is about the best you'll find.
     
  12. RCM78

    RCM78 Member

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    So it gives you a weaker version of the same pickup?
     
  13. CharAznable

    CharAznable Member

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    If you unplug your HB guitar and plug in a Strat, it'll sound weak in comparison.

    People expect a split coil to have the same volume when you're cutting the output in half.

    That's the inherent limitation that you have to live with.

    Personally, I like the split coil sound in my Mira and in my GFS Dream 180 equipped Gretsch 5120.
     
  14. shredmiyagi

    shredmiyagi Member

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    Lace Dually is the best luck I've had with the SC/HB option. And it doesn't sound like a true SC nor HB.

    The PRS taps are OK until you grab a Strat and realize what you've been missing...
     
  15. CharAznable

    CharAznable Member

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    It certainly is no substitute, but it is handy.
     
  16. mslugano

    mslugano Supporting Member

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    A split humbucker will neither sound like a good single coil nor P90 (I've sure never heard anyone make THAT comparison) when split. Usually, the problem is that they sound too thin and lifeless.

    There are a couple that do sound pretty good and one, as sfarnell points out, is the DGT (but I am not sure they are on the after market) or the Fralin Unbucker. Both the DGT and the Unbucker are wound in a way that one of the two coils is wound fatter/hotter than the other and when the two are split, you are hearing the fatter/hotter coil. Suhr humbuckers sound pretty good when split too but I don't think they use the DGT or Fralin technique...could be wrong.

    Here's a good demo from our TGP friend Lance Keltner demonstrating a Verrilli S type with Fralin Unbuckers. For humbucking pickups, I think these sound fantastic.

     
  17. dangeroso

    dangeroso Supporting Member

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    It certainly can. Try a Big Apple Strat if you can find one.
     
  18. BlueHeaven

    BlueHeaven Member

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    :agree Yep!
     
  19. pepi

    pepi Member

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    I've found only one Humbucker that is close. A Seymour Duncan SH11 Custom Custom. Love this hummer split.
     
  20. Stringrazor

    Stringrazor Member

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    It depends. If everyone knows it's a split HB then nope not even close. If no one knows (stacked HB for example), then sure. :sarcasm

    I got decent results with the split wiring of my Duncan Hot Rails pup.
     

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