Coil Tap Vs. Series/Parallel

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Arnie Guitar, Dec 23, 2009.

Coil Tap vs. Series/Parallel

  1. Coil Tap

  2. Series/Parallel

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  1. Arnie Guitar

    Arnie Guitar Member

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    Just wondering what guys prefer. As a long time vintage BC Rich player (since '81) I was exposed to Series/Parallel first. The few coil tap guitars I've tried, I didn't like. With S/P, you keep the humbucking, it's just a little "thinner" in the Parallel position, and if you're gonna run a ton of gain, sometimes you want that so your tone isn't muddy.

    Here's the layout on one of my BCR's, an '84 Mockingbird:

    [​IMG]

    Pretty much the same as my first BCR, a new '81 Bich that I still own. The Bich has an additional booster circuit.

    So, what'll it be, Coil tap or S/P?
     
  2. robertkoa

    robertkoa Member

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    Used to have a BC Rich Mockingbird in the 80s that was factory H-S-H with 3 -3 way toggles and the middle pikup was a Dimarzio Stack Hs 2 which went series/parallel or off.

    Some stacked humbuckers ( Hum Canceling Strat types ) sound really good in parallel(the two coils in Parallel to each other)-very transparent and twangy.

    I'm told the new Area series do not sound good in parallel this way however,since the coils are asymmetrical.

    On the BC Rich the 2 Humbuckers went Dual / Single coil /off.

    The switch from dual to single coil is more dramatic than series/parallel because you are changing the magnetic "window" to the strings,as well as the electrical characteristics of the pickup. There's a narrower magnetic field in single coil which accents different harmonics of the strings.
     
  3. Arnie Guitar

    Arnie Guitar Member

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    Really?

    I'm fairly up on old BCR's, and I've never seen one like that.
    Special order?
     
  4. Dubious

    Dubious Member

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    I just built a parts strat and put 3 way mini toggles on it. SO i get series / para / split. It has two overwound humbuckers (a GFS loud mouth in the neck and a drea m180 i nthe bridge) - i find all three spots pretty useful. This guitar has a 3 way tele toggle and when its in the middle position being able to kick in the single coil of either pickup while the other is in humbucker yields loads of cool tones.
     
  5. Help!I'maRock!

    Help!I'maRock! Member

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    tapping a pickup is not the same as parallel or splitting. tapping means the pickup is still running in series, but you're taking the output from a lesser number of turns. this will give a different sound than either parallel or split.

    i prefer parallel.
     
  6. GearPaul

    GearPaul Member

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  7. Arnie Guitar

    Arnie Guitar Member

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    I've asked the definition of tapping, and never got that explanation, that makes sense, although it sounds tedious to do...and I always thought tapping and splitting were the same thing...Thank you!

    I still gotta believe people erroneously use the term tapping and mean splitting.

    Thanks again.
     
  8. Help!I'maRock!

    Help!I'maRock! Member

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    i got that definition from Guitar For the Practicing Musician back in the 90s. and in that article, it mentioned that people misuse the term all the time. kinda like how tremelo and vibrato get misused.

    i have never actually played a tapped pickup. and the only one i know of is a version of the SD Quarter Pounder, which is obviously not a humbucker. there's a forumite who checks in from time to time named Baimun who loves that pickup for its versatility.
     
  9. Arnie Guitar

    Arnie Guitar Member

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    Well, maybe I spoke too soon, according to that Dimarzio pdf, Tapping and splitting are the same, right? that's the way I read it.

    I did find it hard to believe they'd interrupt the windings to allow you to use less windings...

    Now I'm ALL confused...:messedup
     
  10. 908SSP

    908SSP Supporting Member

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    Parallel is a great sound. Brighter than series slightly less powerful but no annoying single coil hum. I always go for parallel over split.
     
  11. Help!I'maRock!

    Help!I'maRock! Member

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    i think that's there to address the people who call it "tapped" when they mean "split". its so common in it's misuse that it has become accepted.
     
  12. bluesdoc

    bluesdoc Gold Supporting Member Gold Supporting Member

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    I think tapping is the same thing as splitting.

    I use the P-Rails in a couple of my guitars and use ALL positions but the parallel is a beautiful tone, esp clean. I like options :)

    jon
     
  13. dspellman

    dspellman Senior Member

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    Why make a choice?

    Back in the late '70's, the 2219 (later the AR-300) and above Ibanez Artists had Tri-Sound switches -- three-way switches that chose serial/parallel/single coil for each pickup:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Carvins have routinely come, since the 70's, with serial/single coil switches for each pickup and a phase in/out switch.

    The Seymour Duncan P-Rail, with one true P90 coil and one true rail-type single coil actually has four usable positions: serial/parallel/P90/rail coil. I just finished rigging one guitar with two three-position miniswitches (serial/P90/rail coil) for each pickup and put the parallel option for both pickups on a single push-pull (used rather less than the other three).
    [​IMG]
     
  14. Arnie Guitar

    Arnie Guitar Member

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    Ibanez? Ahem...

    Back to Coil Tap and Coil Splitting...I can't believe they interrupt the windings to let you use, say, half of the windings, if that's what I understand your explanation of "Tapping" to mean...I've never seen it, never heard of it.

    There are four wires, two from each coil, and sometimes an additional ground, that's pretty much it.
     
  15. Help!I'maRock!

    Help!I'maRock! Member

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    again, here is a tapped pickup. its a single coil, but still tapped.

    http://www.seymourduncan.com/products/electric/stratocaster/progressive/quarter_pound_f/

    [​IMG]

    application
    High output true single-coil. Recommended for blues, classic rock, garage, heavy rock, classic metal and nu-metal.

    description
    More than twice the power of a traditional single-coil. The result is a fat, punchy sound; similar to a P-90. It's clean at lower volumes and screamin' when cranked. The hand polished, quarter-inch diameter magnets are matched with a powerful coil winding to deliver great sustain, making this one of our most popular single-coil pickups. Does not use a cover.

    complete setup
    More than twice the power of a traditional single-coil. The result is a fat, punchy sound; similar to a P-90. It's clean at lower volumes and screamin' when cranked. The hand polished, quarter-inch diameter magnets are matched with a powerful coil winding to deliver great sustain, making this one of our most popular single-coil pickups. Does not use a cover.

    guitars
    For any acoustically balanced Strat®. Works especially well with rosewood fingerboards.

    available mods
    Reverse wound, reverse polarity (RW/RP) middle pickups for hum canceling in positions "2" and "4" on the five-way switch. Tapped version for dual output levels.
     
  16. Arnie Guitar

    Arnie Guitar Member

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    Well, I'm wrong again!

    According to Sweetwater.com:

    [FONT=verdana, arial, helvetica]"Coil Tap[/FONT] In general a coil tap is an access point somewhere along the wire that is wound in a coil or transformer. The tap could be anywhere along the wire, and the resulting voltage present at the tap will be related accordingly. Transformers may have their coils tapped to provide different voltages in a power supply that may be required for the operation of some device, for example. A coil may also be tapped at its halfway point, which in effect produces two coils of equal size. If the middle point is connected to ground, or some zero voltage reference, the two ends of the coil will appear to have equal, but opposite in polarity, voltages with respect to that center tap. The is one way balanced or differential signals can be created. Similar results can be achieved by taking a tap from a point between two identical coils wired in series with one another. In guitars a coil tap is a case of the latter. Humbuckers, or dual coil guitar pickups generally produce a fatter, warmer sound than their single coil counterparts. However, single coil pickups are known for their crisp and bright sound, and also for their propensity to pick up stray EMI. By the late 1970s manufacturers realized that musicians wanted both kinds of sound - crisp and bright along with fat and warm - and so they developed ways to split the coils, which is known as coil tapping. A selection between dual coil (humbucking) and single coil is provided by some type of switch on the guitar. Normally selection of the coil tapped mode causes one of the coils of a dual coil pickup to be turned off, and the signal is obtained between the other coil and the "tap," thereby making it into a single coil pickup. There are some other, more sophisticated designs that allow the single coil sound to be achieved without giving up the second coil — and thus the benefit of humbucking — but those techniques aren't, by definition, considered coil tapping, though they may be referred to as such."
     
  17. Arnie Guitar

    Arnie Guitar Member

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    ...and I've found this on the web, and it makes sense:

    "Strictly speaking, tapping is using only part of a single-coil. Tapped pickups are pretty rare because you have to actually bring a wire out from the middle of the winding.

    Many people use the terms "splitting" and "tapping" to mean the same thing, but most of the time what we're really talking about is splitting."


    Which is what we've said, people use tapping and splitting interchangeably, and they're two different things.





    I'm tired and am going back to standing at my window waiting for the big brown truck to arrive and give me my Christmas present from me to me...(NGD!!!)
     
  18. dspellman

    dspellman Senior Member

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    "Ahem?"

    The AR series of Ibanez guitars are, in most ways, better Les Pauls (even though the Ibanez are double-cut) than what came out of Gibson in the late '70's, early '80's. That AR 300 above has a mahogany neck and body (set neck) with a smooth, almost neck-through type transition from neck to body. Thus, far more comfortable upper fret access. There's a solid thick maple top and the Super 58 pickups on mine are outstanding. Fretboard is ebony, inlays are MOP and Abalone. Fretwork is excellent. In that period, most players were involved in a Search For Sustain, and only the Yamaha SG2000, Dan Armstrong Plex guitar and the Travis Bean will match an AR-300 in sustain. Thus you'll see a very heavy bridge and tailpiece. And if you look carefully, you'll see, below the bridge, the edge of a 10 ounce solid brass sustain block that's bolted to the body inside a special rout, and then the bridge is bolted to that. This is a relatively heavy guitar, over 9 pounds. These have become collector guitars; those knobs alone are worth about $45 each on eBay.

    The AR-105 was near the bottom of the line but is still better put together than Norlins. It has the same smooth neck heel, but no sustain block. The top on this one (designated by the "-5" in the model number) is mahogany burl, done in a vintage violin finish.

    [​IMG]

    Ibanez also had advanced electronics for the time. The AR-500 series had an active/passive preamp circuit, Tri-Sound switches, and a separate three-band EQ (treble/mids/bass) that would both boost and cut in active mode. The AR-5000 series was their top of the line and was a bit pimped out (vine of life fretboard inlay), but has the same electronics as the plainer AR-500 series. Steve Miller played and endorsed the 2622, which was the predecessor guitar to the AR-500:

    [​IMG]

    Both the AR-300 and the AR-5000 have been reissued (there was a Korean version of the AR-300 and AR-305 for a while, but the AR-300re and AR-5000re models are both Japanese custom-shop built). That's an "re" in the AR-5000 photo above; they'll run about $4K if you can find one. The AR-300re "Prestige" will run $2000-3000 on eBay ([​IMG]http://cgi.ebay.com/Ibanez-AR300RE-Prestige-Artist-Cherry-Sunburst-MIJ_W0QQitemZ180393601957QQcmdZViewItemQQssPageNameZRSS:B:SRCH:US:101 )
     
  19. Arnie Guitar

    Arnie Guitar Member

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    This is why there is more than one car made, in more than one color.
     
  20. dspellman

    dspellman Senior Member

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    I think a lot of great guitars get missed by people who know nothing beyond what's on the wall in a guitar center. Still more get referenced on the net by people who've never actually touched them, or who've touched just one example. And then there's the whole "endorsement" thing; there are insane levels of hero worship akin to teenage-girl worship of vampires (this season) and we end up with mindless sheep regurgitating the marketing drivel of the deep-pockets companies.
     

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