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Maybe I’m just not a humbucker guy.

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Mike R., Dec 6, 2017.

  1. Mike R.

    Mike R. Member

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    I got a Les Paul Tribute on a whim and as far as guitars go it’s great. I swapped the stock pickups for Antiquities but even those aren’t doing it for me.

    I’m used to a Telecaster and the humbuckers just seem dull.

    Has anyone swapped out to humbucker size P90 pickups? Maybe something in between a humbucker and a true P90 would be a better option.

    Thanks!
     
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  2. jklotz

    jklotz Supporting Member

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    I'm a tele guy. It's a great guitar. Why fight it?
     
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  3. Jeff_G

    Jeff_G Member

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    Definitely worth trying out some humbucker-sized P90s like you said. I don't have any recommendations but I hope you find something that works for you.
     
  4. '62 Stratmaniac

    '62 Stratmaniac Member

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    I'm not either. I guess it's 'cause I've been playing Strats for 45 years. Every guitar with HBs I get has coil split, and I end up playing on the single coil settings all the time. I even have a hard time playing my Tele as much as my Strats, 'cause it sounds just as good but it doesn't have a bar to wiggle.
     
  5. thrashmetl

    thrashmetl Member

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    Here’s my solid advice because I came from the same place, Antiquities and Alnico II pickups in general are the wrong choice if you’re coming from a Tele. As you have already indicated, the Humbuckers are dull compared to the Tele. Alnico II in general has the weakest pick attack of any of the popular magnets. Your best bet is to get a pickup that has Alnico V magnets because they have a much sharper pick attack. I highly recommend Sheptone Tributes or Gibson T-top’s or clones.
     
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  6. thrashmetl

    thrashmetl Member

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    I actually have another recommendation as well, a far cheaper one. Go onto eBay and find AddictionFX. These guys sell pickup magnets. My recommendation is to buy 2 Short A5 magnets and 2 A4 magnets. Do some experimentation. I’ve heard that A4 magnets work very well in Antiquities. I personally find that A4 sounds great in the neck position so I would start there, but I’d try a Short A5 in the bridge First. The Short A5 has an angry midrange and a nice tight low end like a nice P-90.
     
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  7. radiolab

    radiolab Member

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    one trick I found (and it doesn't cost any money so it doesn't seem very popular on tgp) is to pick closer to the bridge for a brighter clearer tone. One thing to factor is the fender scale is a little longer than gibson. that means the warmer part of where you pick is closer to the bridge than on a fender. (if that makes any sense). If you pick a gibson at the same place you pick on a fender, it'll be closer to the nut (meaning your tone will be warmer). I had to readjust where I pick on a gibson because I came from the fender scale camp.

    I think this is partially the reason why gibson people think fenders are too bright and shrill. They're used to picking closer to the bridge because humbuckers are "duller" than single coils.
     
  8. scotty31

    scotty31 Supporting Member

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    you might prefer mini humbuckers then.
    which in my mind are great in a Les Paul. A bit more sparkly and edgy, though they dont hold the bottom end as well as a full sized bucker does.
    So i tend to use them when im in low to mid gain territory, less so high gain.

    Or a P90, which is the best pickup in the world and is killer in a Les Paul.
     
  9. the_Chris

    the_Chris It's All Been Done Before Gold Supporting Member

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    No shame in not digging humbuckers. With that said, there are always alternatives - perhaps a humbucker sized TV Jones Filtertron or something like a Lollar Unbucker?

    I eventually went to Teles and Gretsches due to just enjoying the more twangy, "exciting" tones. P90s are fun, too, and can get really raunchy.
     
  10. Fuzzr

    Fuzzr Supporting Member

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    This has been a recent revelation to me as well. I’ve always been a P-90 guy, never got along with buckers. I tried some mini hums and they were terrrible. I’m into the Gold Foils at the moment, they are a single coil with a wide field. I’ll never **** around with anything but singles now that I know where my preferences are.
     
  11. VaughnC

    VaughnC Supporting Member

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    Tried humbuckers way back when and just didn't "get" them. So its been about 50 years of single coils for me ;). You like what you like...nothin' wrong with that!
     
  12. Waxhead

    Waxhead Member

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    Well just confirms again how everyone is different :)
    I'm just looking to buy my first ever Tele - not with weak thin single coils but with fat ballsy humbuckers.
    Hard to find any Fender with good humbuckers but the Chris Shifflet Tele seems to be the best of a poor bunch.

    I might end up swapping the shiflett Fender humbuckers for TV Jones Classic filtertrons.
    That's another option for you Mike - Filtertons are humbuckers, low noise and are more versatile & clear than any single coil, P90 and PAF style humbucker.
    TV Jones make a Classic Filtertron with a humbucker mount that will slot direct into an LP with 500k pots.
     
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  13. William Braddell

    William Braddell Member

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    I'm a Gibson player and have the opposite problem. Most single coils just seem small and thin to me and not useful for much. You like what you like, nothing wrong with that.
     
  14. soulman969

    soulman969 Member

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    Just one neck pickup in one of my Teles. It's much more open sounding than any neck humbucker I've played but also not a pure P90 tonality either. In a Tele it also requires a bridge pickup with mucho output to keep the neck from dominating the blend of the two.

    Don't feel bad though. I haven't found any humbuckers I truly enjoy either.
     
  15. Silver Hand

    Silver Hand Member

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    As someone who prefers single coils and builds pickups, I highly endorse thrashmetl's advice here.

    Also, an A4 is going to feel/sound closer to A2 than A5 if you're swapping magnets.
     
  16. kimock

    kimock Member

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    Check out the Harmonic Design Z90's.
    Standard humbucker size pickup, big-ass single coil with wide, flat poles.

    They're kinda in between a P90 and a Jazzmaster PU maybe. I'm sure we all hear those a little differently, but that's ballpark.

    The cool thing about them besides the fact they're unique, is it's a true single coil sound with the big HB output and "window". A good sound. Always wondered. .
    Also sound great and serve different purposes at any height, they're not picky about being right up next to the string or ducked into the body.

    One of a very few modern pickups I really like.

    Lollar Lo-wind is another, 4-conductor for the split, slugs sound better than screws IMHO.

    I'm sure there are plenty of others, but those two are great as far as I'm concerned and I'm pretty much a single-coil guy otherwise.
     
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  17. Custom50

    Custom50 Member

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    The reality may be that you'e right. You might not be a humbucker fan. Not the worst thing in the world to know what you like and don't like.

    If you like the feel of the Les Paul you may want to try a p-90 loaded tribute.
     
  18. LeicaBossNJ

    LeicaBossNJ Silver Supporting Member

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    I discovered that the single-bridge-pickup setup (especially a P90) has a Tele-esque attack and trebly top end.

    Maybe that lack of magnetic pull at the neck pickup allows for a bit more harmonic content and a more pronounced attack? Maybe I'm trippin

    If you don't like 'buckers, it may be the final effort of you want to make a LP style work
     
  19. grumphh

    grumphh Member

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    I have a P-94 (humbucker sized P-90) in the neck of an Explorer (came that way - so i didn't do the swapping) and it sounds glorious to my ears.

    Admittedly, i am a bridge humbucker person (who always plays with at least AC/DCesque amounts of drive and set the amp for the bridge hum to sound best), and have always found the neck hum to be more or less useless under those conditions...

    But what the P-94 does in the neck position (in this guitar with drive on all the time) is just to take away the sludgy fatness of a humbucker and make it a usable option that is still a lot bigger sounding than a strat SC.

    Now, i have no idea of how the 94 sounds compared to an actual 90, but for me the p-94 just works at getting some sort of "inbetween SC and humbucker" sound.
     
  20. Mark Robinson

    Mark Robinson Member

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    I’ve got a parts Strat I put together with z-90 pickups by Harmonic Design, it’s all twew. They are big sounding, and have enough detail to be wild as hell when you gain up. Somehow, I’ve no idea how, they hum a bit less than Fender singles, and much less than typical P-90s which I love, but which can frustrate here and there, cause I have to, or “get” to, stand right on top of my amp often in the dinkwater taverns I play.
     

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