Humbuckers Inferior to Single Coils

digthosetubes

Senior Member
Messages
1,659
Huckers, by nature, are a compromise. In order to cancel the hum of the otherwise perfect single coil pickups, such as the P90 -- the original standard equipment in Les Paul guitars, huckers pair two single coils together (in various configurations). Trying to overcome the hum was the goal of the pickup. Their design wasn't motivated by a quest for "better" tone. (Hence the name, "hucker." ) The result is a fat sound and a strong signal (that happened to be perfect for overdriving amps into distortion.) A little muted, but lots of folks like them.

But if you want to hear a guitar string ring and you want nuance, there's nothing as simple nor sounds so good as those early Fender pickups. Listen to Jimmy Page play his Tele live and on record for that great blues rock band Led Zeppelin. Not saying I wouldn't want a Les Paul under the bed next to the sweaters, but for me it always starts with a Fender -- or one of those bouteek Fender lookalikes.
 

auffredou

Member
Messages
251
i dont really understand the whole single coil snobdom. i only have one electric, a les paul, and i plan to get a strat (hopefully soon, used to have one). but ive read alot of stuff making statements along the lines of: "look at anyone who is known for a signature sound, they all settled on single coils like strats, take clapton, beck, etc."

okay, what about jimmy page? pete townshend? JERRY GARCIA? Trey Anastasio? These guys dont hav their own distinct sound?
 

digthosetubes

Senior Member
Messages
1,659
OK. Forget I mentioned Jimmy Page. And it's not snobbery for me at all. I actually get the sense that Gibson players love to look down their nose at the lowly "thin" single coil. I would admit that both kinds of pickups have their place. I suppose we could all benefit by getting rid of any higher than though attitudes that we put across. Myself included. I don't have a humbucker guitar. I don't really care for them. I like the S1 switch on my Strat sometimes. But I like that single coil thing.
 

auffredou

Member
Messages
251
no its not you, im just saying in general. i love single coils, i just cant make up my dang mind as to what strat to get.

im just saying in general. i even read an article someone posted where david gilmour's guitar tech mentions that single coils allow the player to have individuality. basically says (as ive heard others say) that humbuckers sound too "same-y" and single coil players can let their personal sound come through more.

i mean i get what they are saying, but COME ON. I could pick out Jerry Garcia's tone ANYWHERE, same thing with Trey Anastasio, just to name a few. Both guys played humbuckers almost exclusively (Jerry played a strat for a little while, but not really what he's known for)
 

Zero

Member
Messages
2,857
God I hate single coil pickups. I remember THE first thing I did to my Strat when I first started playing was get a DiMarzio X2N installed in it. Fargin single coils are thin, buzzy, no push....hate em.
 

pedalcr8z

Member
Messages
3,456
Huckers, by nature, are a compromise. In order to cancel the hum of the otherwise perfect single coil pickups, such as the P90 -- the original standard equipment in Les Paul guitars, huckers pair two single coils together (in various configurations). Trying to overcome the hum was the goal of the pickup. Their design wasn't motivated by a quest for "better" tone. (Hence the name, "hucker." ) The result is a fat sound and a strong signal (that happened to be perfect for overdriving amps into distortion.) A little muted, but lots of folks like them.

But if you want to hear a guitar string ring and you want nuance, there's nothing as simple nor sounds so good as those early Fender pickups. Listen to Jimmy Page play his Tele live and on record for that great blues rock band Led Zeppelin. Not saying I wouldn't want a Les Paul under the bed next to the sweaters, but for me it always starts with a Fender -- or one of those bouteek Fender lookalikes.


Not a compromise, just a different sound. They have their place just as standard single coils do and P-90's...........I appreciate them all and you should too elst we will flog you:bkw
 

dhdfoster

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
13,167
I've never said or heard the term "hucker". How can something that's based solely on personal preference be "inferior" to something else?
 

Mark C

Member
Messages
4,417
It's all good - neither is better, they're just different. I do think single coils in general are more sensitive to what you do with your hands, so they may impart more of the player's "vibe" into the tonal equation. However, I think Van Halen, Billy Gibbons, Dave Grissom, Early Glapton, Peter Green, etc... have very identifiable sounds. Personally, I think what makes players start sounding the same is an overabundance of gain...... Flame suit on!:D
 

phoenix 7

Member
Messages
25,732
Listen to Jimmy Page play his Tele live and on record for that great blues rock band Led Zeppelin.

I have, and I like the sound of Pagey on a Les Paul better (apparently Pagey agrees).

Having said that, I'm a Les Paul guy currently in search of a great Tele! (Need some new sonic colors to play with.)

I agree with everything you said about the detail, nuance, and realism of single coils. They are "better" than humbuckers IN SOME WAYS and FOR SOME THINGS. That's why I bring a Strat to every rehearsal and every gig. But "better" overall? No -- just different.
 

phoenix 7

Member
Messages
25,732
OK. Forget I mentioned Jimmy Page. And it's not snobbery for me at all. I actually get the sense that Gibson players love to look down their nose at the lowly "thin" single coil.

Come on. What about Billy Gibbons? Now there's a Les Paul guy who sure as hell knows what to do with a Tele and Strat when those are what he needs. They're just different tools for different musical tasks.
 

Pete Galati

Member
Messages
1,680
I like good single coil pickups. I like good humbuckers.

What I don't like is when people use single coils when they should be using humbuckers, or humbuckers when they should be using single coils.
 




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