Humbuckers that split well

teestone

Mostly Regular Member
Gold Supporting Member
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1,613
I'm looking into humbucking pickups that also sound good split. Right now I've got WCR Goodwoods in the guitar and I'm finding the split sound has much less girth and presense. Humbucking sounds rock though! I understand the nature of spliting pickups means that when they're split, they're less hot, but the drop off in volume is drastic in this case. The guitar has a huge bottom and midrange so I'm afraid to put anything that is overly bass heavy. Not sure if WCR Filmore's would sound better split since they are wound slightly hotter than the Goodwoods. Overall, I need something that rocks when in humbucking mode but also retains a usable volume when split. WCR, Rolphs, Harmonic Designs, Rio Grande's, the list goes one. Any info would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!! :)
 

rh

Robo Sapien NoiseMaker
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
6,900
Originally posted by teestone
I'm looking into humbucking pickups that also sound good split. Right now I've got WCR Goodwoods in the guitar and I'm finding the split sound has much less girth and presense. Humbucking sounds rock though! I understand the nature of spliting pickups means that when they're split, they're less hot, but the drop off in volume is drastic in this case. The guitar has a huge bottom and midrange so I'm afraid to put anything that is overly bass heavy. Not sure if WCR Filmore's would sound better split since they are wound slightly hotter than the Goodwoods. Overall, I need something that rocks when in humbucking mode but also retains a usable volume when split. WCR, Rolphs, Harmonic Designs, Rio Grande's, the list goes one. Any info would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!! :)
Suhr humbuckers split the best in my experience.

The Fralin Unbucker has always seemed interesting to me, but I've never tried it.
 

g-nem

Member
Messages
1,070
Not that you would, but don't use an EMG 89- it apparently has a seperate single coil for when you split it built in, but the volume drop is obnoxious.

I have a harmonic design classic that splits real well, although I haven't used it a lot, the volume drop is much better than the emg.
 

rockon1

Platinum Supporting Member
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12,980
Why dont you try parallel operation(if it has 4 conductor wiring) instead of split? This gives a slightly brighter,inbetween single single coil and series humbucker sound while still retaining humbucker operation and not so drastic a output drop off.
 

John Phillips

Member
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13,040
Interesting how we hear things differently... I don't like parallel-humbucker wiring at all, I find it thinner and quieter than a simple split - really pretty weak and lacking in punch actually, and much further away from the fullness of the series sound.

With two coils in parallel both the resistance and inductance of the pickup are halved compared to one coil (a quarter of the values of the series humbucker), and you still get the phase cancellations between the two coils which take away body, but without the corresponding phase additions that you get in series. The only advantage I can think of is the lack of hum.

Each to their own :).
 

Dave Orban

Member
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16,866
I had posted this mini-review of my Fralin Unbuckers in another thread, but I'll post it again:

I've gigged with the Unbucker-equipped baker B1 a couple of times now, and each time, I like it more and more!

I have not owned a humbucker quitar in some time now, favoring P90s, of both the vintage variety and contemporary (Fralin, Lollar, HD) flavor.

Most buckers I've played, including vintage, did not give me what I felt to be an articulate, usable sound in the neck position. Holmes aged pickups did sound quite good, but were not quite there for me.

So, for the past 5 years or so, I've been playing primarily P90s, with the occasional foray into lower-output single coils (i.e. Fralin, Lentz)

Being the only guitarist in my band, I like to be able to go from a sparkling clean 'Fender' type sound for comping and "fills", but also need to thicken it up a bit for soloing. P90s work that way for me, in varying degrees... I can get good cleans from them, and still get thick lead tones with lots of grit and edge, without resorting to a pedal -- just by varying picking attack and working the volume/tone controls on the guitar.

As I understand it, the Unbuckers are wound unevenly, with the screw coils receiving most of the wire, and the slug coils receiving less. The result is a bucker that is not quite as thick-sounding as a typical PAF-style bucker -- especially in the neck position -- and they seem to have more of a P90 thing going on, but without quite as many "whiskers" on the overall tone... Beefy, yet articulate, with a nice edge...

In single-coil (split) mode, they sound much more like a traditional single-coil pickup -- moreso than any other split hum I've tried to date -- and to me, sound almost midway between a Strat and a Tele pickup. And that, in combination with the aforementioned bucker mode, works really well for my needs and taste.

Of course, the Baker that these are in is a 25-1/2" scale, and I recognize that the scale length also contributes to the snap and clarity that I'm hearing. But I would presume that enough of it is coming from these Fralins so that they would have a similar effect on a typical Gibson scale-length instrument.

All in all, I am really digging these pickups. So far, I've played the B1 through an early Silverface Pro, a Two Rock Topaz, and a Matchless Chieftain. To me, it actually seems as if the individual character of each amp comes through more clearly with these Unbuckers than with even my best P90-equipped guitars.

Bottom line: if you are not particularly happy with most PAF-style pickups -- especially in the neck position -- then the Fralin Unbucker may well float your boat.
 

Shakermaker

Member
Messages
123
I've got a Seymour Duncan Custom 5 in the bridge (slightly more modern '59), and a Jazz in the Neck of my Epi Les Paul. Both are excellent and I get some pretty usable sounds when split. I find them handy when I'm doing a song where I want some single coil tones as well as some HB. Never gonna beat a Strat/Tele but still highly useable.

Cheers,

Mike.
 

Shakermaker

Member
Messages
123
Oh yeah, and in regards to volume drop, there is some. But I quite like it, just cleans things up a bit (which I prefer single coils to be anyway - bit more "spank" :p)
 

Jon Silberman

10Q Jerry & Dickey
Gold Supporting Member
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41,436
Originally posted by John Phillips
Interesting how we hear things differently... I don't like parallel-humbucker wiring at all, I find it thinner and quieter than a simple split - really pretty weak and lacking in punch actually, and much further away from the fullness of the series sound.

With two coils in parallel both the resistance and inductance of the pickup are halved compared to one coil (a quarter of the values of the series humbucker), and you still get the phase cancellations between the two coils which take away body, but without the corresponding phase additions that you get in series. The only advantage I can think of is the lack of hum.

Each to their own :).
>> Each to their own :).

Indeed! :)

All of the reasons John does not like the parallel humbucker sound are why I strongly prefer it over the split PUPs in series.

My '86 Custom has the original both 'buckers in parallel for position 8 wiring. I've A-B'd it against many newer ones. Don't get me wrong, the split -in-series sound is nice, too, but I'd never change mine.
 

Jon Silberman

10Q Jerry & Dickey
Gold Supporting Member
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41,436
Originally posted by Dave Orban
I had posted this mini-review of my Fralin Unbuckers in another thread, but I'll post it again:
Stop torturing me already - you know your review is what caused me to decide to order a set for my Godin LGX-SA. :mad:

:cool:
 

John Phillips

Member
Messages
13,040
Originally posted by Jon Silberman
>> Each to their own :).

Indeed! :)

All of the reasons John does not like the parallel humbucker sound are why I strongly prefer it over the split PUPs in series.

My '86 Custom has the original both 'buckers in parallel for position 8 wiring. I've A-B'd it against many newer ones. Don't get me wrong, the split -in-series sound is nice, too, but I'd never change mine.
No no no... I love two full series humbuckers in parallel - it's my favorite sound on any guitar, and a major reason I don't like the current PRS rotary-switch wiring (apart from the switch itself :)). I probably play 70% of my music on this sound. I never found the singles-in-series sound very usable - too nasal.

What I detest is a single humbucker wired in parallel with itself. You rarely hear this - IMO for a very good reason!

I first came across it with DiMarzio pickups in the early 80s - they made a feature of using four-conductor cable and a mini-switch so you could have either series or parallel wiring - the idea being exactly that parallel 'sounds like a single coil but without the hum'. It doesn't. It's about the same volume, but has all the phase-cancellation thinness of two single-coils very close together without the benefits of the additions (and increased output and inductance) caused by them being stacked in series.

It's kind of like the Strat in-between tone but worse ;).
 

rockon1

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
12,980
Each to thier own I guess! I prefer the parallel wiring over split.;) Generally Ive noticed only a slight drop in output vs series operation where as split it drops the most.
 

EdMan57

Member
Messages
2,029
Like John stated,a split Duncan '59 sounds very good.My favorite split 'bucker so far is the Duncan Alnico II Pro.I used a split Pro for faux Strat tones in the neck position of my old Chandler "Super Strat" back in my cover band days and it always gave a quite convincing Fender Strat tone and feel.
Ed
 

VanStone

Member
Messages
350
Most of the Seymour Duncan pups that I've split did well - '59, Alnico II, CC, C5, and Pearly Gates. The only one that I split and didn't care for was the Screamin' Demon.

I also have a Rio Grande Texas/BBQ set and they both split well too.

V
 

TheGrooveking

Member
Messages
2,209
My SD JB & Alnico Pro II when split sound good ,but the output drops more than I would like. I have a Joe Barden HB Humbucker in the neck position of my MIA Fender Fat Tele and love it!!! The output doesn't drop nearly as much as other pickups I have tried. But being a Barden is will sound much different than say a SD JB. The Barden is true to form, it's gives you what you give it. It's like the difference between a 100 watt Hiwatt versus a 50watt Marshall in terms of clean headroom. I hope that analogy helps you understand the difference.

TheGrooveking
 

Lucidology

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
27,029
Great thread ... and a subject worthy of bringing up to date...
Always on the look out for Humbuckers that split well ...
 




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