humbuckers do you need them?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by sssmile, Dec 9, 2005.


  1. sssmile

    sssmile Member

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    I have always had guitars with humbuckers. But as of late I am having guitar problems. Everything I own has intonation and tuning problems and I am frustrated. I have come to the conclusion I need more stable guitars i.e fenders with individual saddles so I can finely tune them. anyway most fenders don't have humbuckers and I have mostly single coils but I am convinced that I need at least 1 or 2 humbucker guitars in my stable. But the question is why? I am in a rock pop band and just feel weird playing only single coils, the other guitar player also has only single coils so its one of those situations where its just me obsessing over a stupid detail, to have a humbucker guitar or not. I mean you can rock with single coils, lol I am sorry for the silly thread but any feedback will help :)
     
  2. mbratch

    mbratch Member

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    Why do you attribute the tuning problems to the saddle? A lot of humbucker-based guitars have tune-o-matic bridges (individually adjustable saddles).

    I think some tuning problems (like certain strings that don't stay in tune) are due to how the string is strung through the tuner. I've found, particularly with the smaller guage strings, that if you don't wrap them right in the post, they will, over time, nudge a little.

    As far as whether humbuckers are needed.... I guess that depends upon your taste. Some guitar players only want single coils. Some really want that fat crunch in their bridge setting, so there are numerous strat type guitars with the S/S/H configuration. Also, there is such a huge array of single coil pickups out there now that I don't think it's a question of one sound (single coil) versus another (humbucker), but there's a 3D spectrum of sounds in between. My strat, for instance, has Blue/Silver/Red Lace Sensors that are closer to a warmed P90 sound than a single coil sound.

    But if you really like your humbucker guitar and strings detune on occasion, you may want to try a set of locking tuners.
     
  3. Antero

    Antero Member

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    If the intonation issues are bridge problems, it might be easier to change out the bridges?
     
  4. axpro

    axpro Member

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    +1 on the locking tuners...

    Less string winds, less room for the string to shift/stretch sssmile.

    Personally, I like Humuckers, but I also like single coils, I end up adding parallel switching to most of my humbucking guitars (single coil sound... that still bucks hum... ) TUning problems/string breaking is usually something in the bridge or headstock.... proper intonation (tune-o matic bridges can be intonated, just takes some time...) proper break angle on a stop tailpiece (too steep an angle leads to breakage) loose winds at post (I usually put only 3-4 winds, very tight on each post) and binding at the nut (if the nut was cut for 10-46 and you have switch to 1-=52, or 11's it may be binding and not "sticking" when tuning)

    Pretty much any guitar can be made to play in tune and keep it's tuning, it just depends how much work/prep or money you want to dealw ith the problem.

    Dave Mc
     
  5. mrfjones

    mrfjones Member

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    I find that the added mass of locking tuners changes your tone, some like it, but i don't. Also if you don't have a floyd or really abuse a trem you probably don't need locking tuners.

    A simple thing to do that always gets over looked is lubricating the nut.

    It also could be that you have a little weather related problem and you just need to do a simple setup.

    I wouldn't jump at buying a new guitar or even changing tuners without looking over these things.
     
  6. mbratch

    mbratch Member

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    Did you find that changing to locking tuners on one of your guitars actually changed the tone that noticably? What kind of guitar, and were the original tuners plastic knob?
     
  7. CharlieNC

    CharlieNC Member

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    sorry to jump in here, but more mass/weight in the headstock does produce more sustain. however, it takes away a little of the vintage pop that many associate with the older sound, particularly on vintage Fenders. that's why I cringe everytime I see a reissue or vintage replica strat with sperzels or some crap like that. it's the same principle as having the double trussrod in your guitar neck. way more stable and capable of producing more sustain, but definitely thicker sounding than a single rod.

    however, for those not seeking a strictly vintage tone, that could be an awesome improvement in their tone.

    just not me.
     
  8. mbratch

    mbratch Member

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    I think of tone and sustain as being two orthogonal dimensions to the sound.
    The purpose behind my question was to seek a concrete, first-hand example to changing tuning mechanisms (if they are both all metal) making a noticeable change in tone (sound quality).
     
  9. Dave Orban

    Dave Orban Gold Supporting Member

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    No.

    I got rid of my humbucker guitars a long time ago, and have never regretted it.

    Just recently, I briefly owned a Baker with Fralin Unbuckers, and I have to admit that they were the first humbuckers I've actually liked in a LONG time.
     
  10. mbratch

    mbratch Member

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    What's in your ES-175? Is it P90s?
     
  11. twoheadedboy

    twoheadedboy Member

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    Up until about a year ago I played strictly humbuckers. They always bothered me a little bit because the phase cancelling between the two coils resulted in a loss of clarity and definition. Since then, I've switched to all P-90s and have been very happy. I was basically just wanted a really nice classic rock crunch along the lines of early ZZ Top but with a bit more definition. P-90s definitely do that for me.
     
  12. CharlieNC

    CharlieNC Member

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    okay, now I understand more what you were asking. sorry bout that:)

    what i was getting at was the heavier tuners just have a little bit thicker sound. it's the same principle if you were to strum your electric guitar acoustically with the headstock touching another piece of wood, like a table or chair or something. the enhanced mass produces much more sustain. that's what i was trying to say.

    as far as particulars between specific "a" vs "b" tuners, i don't really have any. i was speaking more from principle.
     
  13. Dave Orban

    Dave Orban Gold Supporting Member

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    Yup.
     
  14. Neill

    Neill Member

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    matte henderson hipped me to using carmex on the nut... really helped a tuning prob i was having on the g. give that a try on the nut if stability is an issue.
     
  15. twoheadedboy

    twoheadedboy Member

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  16. wgs1230

    wgs1230 Fully Intonatable Silver Supporting Member

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    Not enough string winds & you get slippage, esp. with new wrapped strings.
    Note that BB King, who's been known to bend a wire now and then, has wound the entire length around his tuner posts for 40+ years. Not pretty, but he stays in tune.

    Lip balm. Old fashioned Vasoline works well, too, but doesn't have that special "welcome wayward schoolgirls" scent.
     
  17. mrfjones

    mrfjones Member

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    sorry to take so long in replying, i was out of my apartment for a few days. I actually took locking tuners off of a fender strat and replaced them with vintage style kluson tuners and they gave it more of the sound i was looking for. I can only atribute it ti the tuners since it was the only thing i changed, besideds the strings.

    On another note, I have one set of humbuckers and i only use that guitar for a certain sound, but i have a couple with single coils and a couple more on the way with, you guessed it. more single coils. so for that reason i say go with the tone you love, humbuckers or singles or find a humbucker that splits nicely.
     
  18. bluesdoc

    bluesdoc Gold Supporting Member Gold Supporting Member

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    I grew to dislike the muddiness of humbuckers for lead tones but regular singles often just aren't fat enough. Enter DiMarzio Bluesbuckers!! Oh man. 2 coils, one is a dummy for hum cancelling and the other is an overwound single. So, you get a P-90ish fat single tone with no hum. I friggin love these pups.

    jon
     
  19. Hipster Dofus

    Hipster Dofus Member

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    I have wasted so much $$ going back and forth, but I think the Clarity of single coils is more for me as of late. Prolly why the Fralin sp43 is so popular. Sort of sounds like both. I have only played a few HSS guitars, and they did not seem right to me.
     
  20. mbratch

    mbratch Member

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    The strings can change the sound quite a bit depending upon whether you changed the brand, guage, and how old the previous set was.
     

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