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Gibson Mini-Humbuckers

smolder

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
14,391
Forty some years ago I had minis on a deluxe. Always had big bucker envy. Years and quite a few Les Pauls later I don’t have a tone of applications for full deep thick humbuckers. I like the humbuckers in my PRS guitars. And I’m back to my ‘73 LP deluxe, the they can be a tad hot. I bought a bran new mini and put it in the neck of a LP junior special... real nice. Just grabbed a Lollar and put it in the same place... more clarity. We’ll see if it stays.
 

rwe333

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
16,394
I like the Gibson minis' tone - kinda between a full-size humbucker and single coil - but the original minis in my '78 LP Deluxes squealed pretty mightily. Not fun. I prefer the current DiMarzio vintage minibuckers.
 

John Quinn

Member
Messages
2,194
I'm not a big fan.

They are more polite than P90s and not as full-sounding as reguiar humbuckers.

My question to folks who gravitate toward them is, what kind of sound are you looking for that you can't get with the other two options?
''


The middle ground between single coils and humbuckers. I have couple of Les Paul Deluxe's and they really hit the sweet spot for me.
 

KRosser

Member
Messages
14,083
Ty again for mentioning a distinction between the mini's in the old Firebirds being different than the other mini's Gibson installed in their other models .. It made for some cool reading and listening

For anyone interested:

"The Firebird pickup uses a pair of long 'rail' magnets whereas the Les Paul Deluxe mini-humbucker uses a single bar magnet below one ferrous rail and six threaded ferrous pole pieces. The Les Paul Deluxe mini-humbucker has adjustment screws for the pole pieces; the Firebird mini-humbucker does not."

Artists:

  • Johnny Winter used an Epiphone Wilshire equipped with mini-humbuckers early in his career.
  • Pete Townshend of The Who used a number of Gibson Les Paul Deluxe guitars in the 1970s that featured the mini-humbucker.[6][7]
  • Scott Gorham (Thin Lizzy) and Barry Bailey (Atlanta Rhythm Section) are users of the mini-humbucker.
  • Caleb Followill from Kings of Leon uses a Gibson ES 325 with mini-humbucker, which he only uses when playing live.
  • Jeff Carlisi of 38 Special used a 1969 Gibson Les Paul with mini-humbuckers as his primary studio guitar.[8]
  • Neil Young is also a user of the mini-humbucker fitted in his “Old Black” guitar.
  • Clarence Gatemouth Brown switched to the Gibson Firebird shortly after it was introduced in 1963 and used its mini-humbuckers and his finger-picking style to create a signature tone for his swing blues.
  • As part of Motown's original, 3-guitar, Funk Brothers rhythm section, Eddie "Chank" Willis used a Gibson Firebird with mini-humbuckers to complement the tones of Robert White's Gibson L-5 and ES 335 and Joe Messina's modified Fender Telecaster.
  • Paul Gilbert uses the PG-13 mini-humbucker pickups designed for him by DiMarzio, in his signature model Ibanez Fireman guitars
Ty again, bdm
I was always more of a jazz guy, but in the 70s both John Abercrombie and Bill Connors played Les Paul Deluxes with the minis, and those remain some of my favorite solidbody jazz guitar sounds.
 
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Messages
3,132
I was always more of a jazz guy, but in the 70s both John Abercrombie and Bill Connors playing Les Paul Deluxes with the minis, and those remain some of my favorite solidbody jazz guitar sounds.
Yeah .. They both really had their respective tones in pocket .. I have nothing against the Mini's .. I rather liked them .. btw Abercrombie and Commons .. Great stuff .. Two big guns
 

monkmiles

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,111
I very recently got an Epiphone 1962 Reissue Sorrento with Gibson usa mini humbuckers. I never played minis before getting this guy but I can definitely agree that they are a nice middle ground in between humbuckers and single coils. I prefer the thicker tone of humbuckers to those of single coils and only own humbucker guitars otherwise. The mini humbucker is a nice compromise. I need to try it in a band context yet, but I'm very happy with it. I can get a great clean tone on the neck for sure and they're VERY QUIET (definite plus compared to p90s I've tried).

 
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Strummerfan

Member
Messages
1,222
I met with some friends at a local studio. .. They were in the area and they wanted to catch up over a cup of our favorite coffee shop - damn we love Mary Lou's coffee.

We talked among ourselves but slowly new studio folk joined the meandering conversation. We landed upon guitars and pickups topic and i was surprised to learn that Gibson Mini-Humbuckers are just completely dismissed. I do not have a wealth of experience with them but i have played a few ..
< shrugs > .. I liked them

In the late '90s, an old friend was in the process of buying an old Firebird and asked me to visit the shop that had it .. it was in beautiful shape and this thing was a player .. I really liked it .. The pickups were different .. Clear .. Bright .. Nice

Years later, i played a LP KM .. and there they were .. Gibson Mini-Humbuckers .. I played this guitar significantly longer than I played the Firebird .. I got to play them clean and dirty and again I liked them

I don't own a guitar with Gibson mini humbuckers but I can't say that I don't like them because my two experiences with the mini humbucker were quite good .. I liked them

What's up with people's perception of these pickups? I mean, -to me - theyre like .. Somewhere between P90s and standard humbuckers .. I just don't understand why people don't see a place for these things .. Tonally speaking
The problem is that humbucker guys aren't really looking for clear and bright, they want full, round, and somewhat compressed tones. The guys who go for that mini-bucker tone are usually single coil guys like me. I love humbuckers in the right setting, but prefer single coil pickups. But the one guitar I own with a mini humbucker sounds great, not a Gibson, but similar in it's tonal pallet to the mini's on my buddy's Epiphone. Mine is a Washburn.
 
Messages
3,132
The problem is that humbucker guys aren't really looking for clear and bright, they want full, round, and somewhat compressed tones. The guys who go for that mini-bucker tone are usually single coil guys like me. I love humbuckers in the right setting, but prefer single coil pickups. But the one guitar I own with a mini humbucker sounds great, not a Gibson, but similar in it's tonal pallet to the mini's on my buddy's Epiphone. Mine is a Washburn.
Cool .. What year is that? .. I dig the finish
 

Strummerfan

Member
Messages
1,222
Cool .. What year is that? .. I dig the finish
Bought it new in '03, was actually looking for an Epiphone Joe Pass, but this one caught my eye. I played it acoustically at first, and was not blown away by the sound, laminated top and all. But when I plugged in and ran some blues licks on it I was sold. Don't think they make them anymore, at least I haven't been able to find one.
 

GrungeMan

Member
Messages
6,520
In regards to said pickups, peoples taste in tone volume speakers & amp being utilized...

I don't find the pups to be polite @ all as I play a 5E3 usually between 7-9 on the volume, in other words loud & crunchy, turn the volume down & they're twangy.

I use a number of cabs, 2x10 2x12 3x10 4x10 1x15 & a monster 6-speaker cab, they're all loaded with small wattage, small ceramics mags, smooth cones, the sound is less compressed, tighter than an alnico & very crunchy again volume down & they're twangy.

I don't find the pups muddy like a fullsize humbucker or thin & shrill, there's definitely lots of bite bottom end, mids, crunch & twaang...

Again, it all depends how they are being utilized in the chain of gear, guitar & the type of music one wants to play.
 
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ToneProspector

Senior Member
Messages
325
I've had 3 experiences with Gibson mini humbuckers and liked them each time. It's worth pointing out that 2 of these 3 were in Semi-hollow guitars and the other in a 2019 SG Special. The 2 Semi-hollow guitars were a 1962 Re-issue Epiphone Sheraton I and the other a Gibson ES-390 (smaller 339 size body, but full hollow like a Casino, some come with the minis and some with P90's). Both of those had the New York style minis (with visible magnet screws on top), but they are different than the Firebird pickups that look similar from what I've read. I think the NY style minis work very well with a semi hollow guitar, maybe partly due to the inherent more bass tonal characteristics of a semi. I still have the '62 RI Sheraton and it loves being cranked through a Marshall or Marshall type amp just starting to break up. It roars. No lack of balls whatsoever. I've tried it through a DSL-100 with 4x12 and currently playing it through a Tone King Royalist 15. It also loves a Blackface Deluxe Reverb using the neck pickup with an OD pedal.
 
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Messages
3,132
Bought it new in '03, was actually looking for an Epiphone Joe Pass, but this one caught my eye. I played it acoustically at first, and was not blown away by the sound, laminated top and all. But when I plugged in and ran some blues licks on it I was sold. Don't think they make them anymore, at least I haven't been able to find one.
Christmas and they captured the Retro look of those old bursts .. I've always liked what Washburn has done I am a huge fan of the old matsumoku produced instruments .. I really wish a Japanese manufacturer, preferably, would re-release the Wing series .. they were great players .. and offered a tremendous value

Good luck with that guitar it looks like it will be a lot of fun to crank out some chord progressions on that
 

Endr_rpm

Member
Messages
3,214
I had a Hansen Firenze guitar with triple mini hums for a few years. I really wanted to love the guitar, but it had a very stiff action, and always seemed like the right guitar for someone who only had one guitar, if that makes sense? You could rock reasonably well, bet nice out of phase sounds, do a tele on the middle setting thing, very versatile, but also kind of in search of its own voice. My other guitars are a tele and an SG for reference.

But in a previous band the guitar player had a reissue deluxe with minis and I loved that guitar. singer played a 335 most of the time, and the minis chime and cut really helped differentiate.
 




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