It is 2022 and this still has not been solved?!


With regard to the OP, I think the "Fireball" humbuckers in the Fender Meteora actually do that which is said can't be done. In split mode, it's very much like a tele, and quiet. It's kind of the same effect as the Fishman Fluence pickups in the Koch Gristlemaster, only without batteries--except the humbuckers are providing the girth on the Meteora. At least to my ears anyway.


Silver Supporting Member
I'm gonna agree with the OP. You'd think something would have been figured out by now. Of course guitarist dig traditional pickup designs, so that's always gonna be a limiting factor, IMO.

I will say the PRS TCI pickups I have sound really great split.


Silver Supporting Member
There is a lot of posts in this thread, that reveals the shortcomings of meanings, definitions, and interpretation. Especially do I see a lot of mixing TAP coil with SPLIT coil up. Do not ever mix the two up or "mean" the one thing while saying the other. TAP and SPLIT are two different things, and even a Single Coil pickup can be tapped too, but it will be very weak in output. But if that rocks your boat so be it.

The best passive ones I've heard is Joe Barden TwoTone pickups. Their HBs has 6 lead wires plus ground from their pickups. They can be both split and tapped respectively and at the same time, if you want to. Frankly I do not like any split coil sound, because - only - the hum comes back. Tap coil sound from a HB still uses two coild but the tap comes from "half" or a select point in the HB that gives the signal a SC flavor.

All my colleageus and friends have been astonished when they hear the combined in between sound, how stratty they sound. And, no hum. It is very expensive to include BOTH tap and split into one humbucker pickup so that's why they are so expensive. If you had a 3 pickuped guitar with all 3 TwoTone HB pickups in a row, one would get - definitely - lost in all the switching positions available.

The reason you're fighting windmills, is that there probably will be no passive pickup ever sounding like that. Because "real" or - like you would put it - original humbucker pickups, PAF and original single coil pickups are made completely differently. Most old vintage sc pickups WITH POLE PIECES had their magnets in the pole pieces. The pole pieces was/are the magnets, and copper wired around it. On Humbucker, the magnet was not a pole piece or rod, or rail, it was a magnet/or two that resided/resides at THE BOTTOM of the pickup. A plate, bar or a brick if you like. Then adjustable screws stemming up from it, and copper wire around them. The HB part of it, had no second magnet bar residing at the bottom but just screws/slugs with copper wire around them wired. As well as the "hb" part of the pickup wasn't any adjustable screw. On covered HBs, you just saw the screw/adjustable ones. No use to show the un-staggered ones that were just flush, and not adjusted for string height, or radius, as it didn't matter. Single coils though, had staggered polepieces to align for radius,and output for each string.

Now to put a real SC pickup with magnets as pole pieces together close to a "humbucking" pickup will not fare well, because you will have to make compromises in sound because of the vincinity. Especially in output, and timbre. They will interefere with each other so no one will sound "the same" as they sound apart. And you have - on top of this - all this with serial, pararell, reverse wound, reverse phase going on. Too. Opens up a quagmire. Pandoras box, can of worms.

- - - - - - - - - -

If you want that, they do have experimented with large pickup cavities, with a SC pickup hidden underneath so you can ROTATE the pickup while switching. Yes it looks ugly, but as you turn on it the HB pickups rotates inwards downwards and don't face the strings. Then if you switch back you'll have HB again. Unwieldy and cumbersome and expensive as it comes. Just because you can, you shouldn't...but, alas, they did.

It's called Gyrock revolving pickup system. They probably came out with the same futile attempt as you did, it's not possible. But a "what if" system... and it's insanely expensive.

View attachment 600688

Mix and match at your whim! This is your best shot at it.

This Gyrock is a cool idea but also pretty ugly (gotta compromise one way or the other :)).


This Gyrock is a cool idea but also pretty ugly (gotta compromise one way or the other :)).


Very cheap. :)

Tommy Biggs

Silver Supporting Member
OP here;

I'll be buying an EMG-89 soon and post results here.

Obviously it is not about rules of physics like many claimed above. Just the determination to make one.

I dunno man, the “physics” part that I take away is that the neck pickup on a short scale mahogany guitar isn’t going to sound like a true SC on a maple necked alder Strat with a trem, no matter what technology is involved.

But I like coil taps/split even if they don’t “sound just like a sc”.


Silver Supporting Member
sure it has probably been mentioned, but this is physically impossible:

the Magnetic Window is different between a SC and a HB (that's how the pickup hears and interact with the strings

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