Humbuckers with "offset" pole screws

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by stevel, Aug 28, 2008.

  1. stevel

    stevel Member

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    I've seen these on Teles - I think the 72 Custom tele or Thinlines, etc.

    It's a traditional-sized PAF-like humbucker but the pole screws, rather than being all in line one one side of the pup are offset in a 3/3 arrangement.

    Are these any different than traditional "in-line" buckers? Or did they just put 3 screws in one coil and 3 screws in another - for looks, or is there a technical reason (or purported reasoning behind doing so)?

    How do they sound? Do they compare with standard HBs or do the 3 offset pole screws make a sonic difference (I can see where, by being closer to the bridge, one of the set of three could produce more/different overtones than the other set of three).

    ????

    Steve
     
  2. arthur rotfeld

    arthur rotfeld Member

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    I have them in my 74 Tele Deluxe. The sound good, well at least the guitar does. I can't speak to Fender's design reasons. I think your reasoning/theory at the end is right.

    One design flaw is that the spacing of the pole pieces, fine on the bridge pickup, but too wide in the neck position, as such the high E and low E are inside their pole pieces. Tough to get enough volume from the high E in the neck position.
     
  3. stevel

    stevel Member

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    Thanks Art.

    Anyone else? Anybody compare them with "standard" buckers?

    Steve
     
  4. buchla300

    buchla300 Member

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    The Fender ones were designed by Seth Lover (who designed the PAF for Gibson) I believe
    I had an early 70's Tele Custom and a slightly later Starcaster and thought they sounded very nice. I have heard that there are different versions. The originals and then 2 different reissues that are built differently.
    I think they did it to be different from Gibson...
    I can't think of any other humbuckers like them to be honest.
     
  5. Bob V

    Bob V Member

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    Read up on the "Wide Range Humbucker" which is what Lover designed for Fender at that time. Two things you can confirm in your own reading: first the WRH is larger than a PAF style humbucker so the same pickguards or mounting rings will not fit. Second, the reissues are not made the same as the originals, they only look like it.

    OK I promised not to get into the details, but the original WRH's had CuNiFe (copper nickel iron) magnets instead of AlNiCo (aluminum nickel cobalt) or ceramic material. The polepieces were the magnets, just like a Fender single coil pickup, so the wire is wrapped around the magnet itself.

    PAF style humbuckers have a bar magnet underneath the coils (actually under one half of each coil since it runs down the middle) and it works because metallic slugs or screw polepieces run from the side of the magnet up through the coil.

    I've seen it posted, with sufficient regularity and consistency to believe, that the reissue WRH's are simply PAF style pickups inside a larger cover with wax to fill the void.

    Now having said all that, there's a story that Fender came out with the '72 Custom (and the subsequent Deluxe's) because Keith Richards had the bright idea to put a PAF in the front of one of his Telecasters (ok he wasn't the first one to do it but he deserves the credit anyway). SO if you're interested in having a humbucker in the neck position of your telecaster type axe, then my humble opinion (worth every penny that you're paying) is that you should do a regular humbucker routing and pickguard then you have an endless number of humbuckers to chose from and swap until you're happy. As for the offset polepiece thing, well, whaddayagonna do? (actually there are custom pickup makers who will do that for the asking).
     
  6. waxnsteel

    waxnsteel Member

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  7. stevel

    stevel Member

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    Thanks for the info Bob.

    So looking at the Seymours - which I now realize are not direct replacement (it even says so!), what is the advantage, if any, to having the offset pole pieces?

    I wouldn't think SD would make them NOT to be a direct replacement for the Wide Ranges unless there was some other advantage to the offset poles (though, the advantage could be in marketing hype, of just "to be different" player's tastes).

    Steve
     
  8. Terence john.

    Terence john. Member

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    I own a early 70s tele deluxe with Seth lover wide range pickups. .At the moment its in pieces . Waiting to be reassembled. I
    Did have problems With a couple of string's going dull. Which im hoping I have fixed . Won't know till it's put back together . Its got the whammy bar aka tremolo. Only 49 made i believe My little prized possession. Not really bothered about valuations. Might bling it up a little. Hang it on the wall to admire. Regards fender afishionados. Terence.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2019
  9. zombiwoof

    zombiwoof Supporting Member

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    A regular humbucker with the offset poles could have a bit of the effect of slanting the pickup, as one row of poles is closer to the bridge and the other closer to the neck. Of course, this is if the poles are raised up.
    Then there's the design that is sort of a split coil single coil, where each three poles are on a separate small coil. Makes a single-coil sounding pickup that is humbucking. Those are sort of like the old split P-bass pickups, or the ones on the Fender Electric XII.
    Al
     
  10. Killed_by_Death

    Killed_by_Death Member

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    G&L makes the best ones, a split-coil design:

    [​IMG]

    It's just too bad they didn't think to put them in a standard-sized humbucker cover.


    The split-coil design ones are still humbucking, but closer to a single-coil sound.
     
  11. zombiwoof

    zombiwoof Supporting Member

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    Same idea as the split coils on the old Fender Electric XII, except with adjustable steel polepieces.
    Al
     
  12. JimHalinda

    JimHalinda Member

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    The Wide Range pickups (originals and the reissues) all have 12 polepieces (6 per coil), it's just that only 6 are shown.

    This is the same for the standard Gibson-style humbuckers as well - 6 screws and 6 slugs. I have read that when Seth Lover designed the humbucker for Gibson, he exposed the 6 screws purely for cosmetic reasons (although you can adjust them to fine-tune individual string volumes).

    I would bet that he did the 'offset' design for Fender just so it would look different from Gibson. You still get 6 adjustable pole pieces. I would think their placement might make a small difference, but considering all of the other differences in the original WRHB (magnets for pole pieces, larger coil size etc), I would think the offset polepieces are a very small factor in the different sound a WRHB makes.

    The Wide Range rabbit hole runs deep, and there is so much rumour and misinformation out there (example: it's not all about the CuNiFe magnets! Alnico versions still have that distinct WRHB sound).
     

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