Mini-hum vs. Firebird PU

Rotten

Silver Supporting Member
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6,155
Can someone please explain the difference? I'm looking to install one in the neck to match with a bridge P-90.
 

SPROING!

Member
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8,800
Lea Paul Deluxe style mini is like a tiny PAF.



Firebird pickup is like a couple of lipsticks put together.



And firebird pickup specs are all over the map. Originals were quite sweet, with alnico magnets and wound fairly modestly. New Gibsons are hot overwound ceramic magnet face melters.
 

standard24

Member
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9,080
I like the LP Deluxe style. They sound really good to me. Have they changed much over the years?
 

Drak

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5,061
Sproing is right, a mini-hum is built just like a regular HB with two coils sharing one magnet underneath the poles/blade as the case may be, while Firebird pickups have a magnet sitting up straight in the middle of the coil with the wire coils wrapped around each (2) magnets, usually giving a brighter sound.

However, the history behind Firebird pickups is pretty interesting as there have been at least 4 if not 5 distinctly different variations over the years. Todays Firebird is not yesterdays Firebird pickup, with several different incarnations along the way.
I'm no expert on them, but I've done a lot of reading about them over the years.
Here is a quote I lifted from the pickup makers forum that might help...

I just want to comment on the internal workings of a Firebird pup.

They have two magnets - not one shared magnet like the mini humbucker - or full size HB -

Because they have a coil going around the magnet - they are very reminiscent of those early Blues pickups found in the Kay's- Harmony's and Magnatone's. where all you have is a coil wrapped right around a long rectangular bar magnet - I have found that these designs are really fast becoming the more popular designs with the Blues Purist Regime out there -

So inside the Firebird's metal cover are basically two of these early designs with the magnets stood up so its skinny end is up and the flatter 1/2 wide sides are facing the coil - making them a cross between the Charlie Christian Blade & the H-44 Harmonys - ( Strat0tones) - now theres not much room for wire so these Firebirds usually reach about 6.5 or maybe sneak it up to a 7k if they are wound nice an neat...

so inside the cover is two really cool Bluesy pickups - one has its magnets reversed from the other so it "hum-bucks" -

now most of the Kay's - Harmony's - Magnatone's were 3.2k to 4k
so heres these Firebird's really BEGGING to be put on a split switch - and wolla- you'll have a 3.2k to 3.5k single coil bluesy pup from the tone Gods!

because inside are two of the coolest little blues designs ever made!
and splitting them will give you "that Sound" when you want it..
Here is a pic of a Kay Speedbump pickup which the quote refers to, with the wire coil already removed from around the magnet, but you can see what he's referring to about the magnet being stood straight up and a coil of wire wrapped around the magnet itself. Put two of these together side by side and that is, in basic terms, a Firebird pickup.

 

deepspace9mm

Member
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1
I really dig the "redesigned" mini hum's in my '12 70's tribute sg. tons of clarity without being too bright, enough output to rock in bridge, can get mellow out the neck rolled back a little, but nice thick in the middle position. i was set on getting something with p90s last year when everyone was having the gibson blow outs, but these sounded way better than the current stock p90's i a/b'd.
 

Sweetfinger

Supporting Member
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12,206
Or in other words, two Melody Maker pickups stuffed in a metal can.
In the same way that a Deluxe mini-humbucker is a PAF only smaller. They seem to be constructed similarly but are a different size and sound very different.

Here is a pic of a Kay Speedbump pickup which the quote refers to, with the wire coil already removed from around the magnet, but you can see what he's referring to about the magnet being stood straight up and a coil of wire wrapped around the magnet itself. Put two of these together side by side and that is, in basic terms, a Firebird pickup.

ONLY in terms of general construction. Not size or sound.
To imply that a Firebird pickup is in any way similar to a "speed bump", Melody Maker, or lipsticks is like saying these two things are the same- engine, four wheels, headlights on the front, steering wheel, both red and white:




The same, right?

The closest pickup you can find to a Firebird mini-humbucker is the Deluxe mini humbucker or another small dual coil, dual blade design. FBs and Deluxes use the same bobbins and wire and are the same physical size. The only difference is the magnet structure.
About the same difference you would hear between an American Standard molded bobbin Strat pickup and a MIM Standard pickup.
 

Drak

Member
Messages
5,061
Oh for chrissakes, don't take everything so literally, of COURSE I meant in basic general construction, I even SAID SO! ;)

"Put two of these together side by side and that is,
in basic terms
,
a Firebird pickup" :sarcasm.

:bonk:Spank:waiting:nono:brick:jo

I'm just kidding, you KNOW that, right? ;)
 

SPROING!

Member
Messages
8,800
Oh for chrissakes, don't take everything so literally, of COURSE I meant in basic general construction, I even SAID SO! ;)

"Put two of these together side by side and that is,
in basic terms
,
a Firebird pickup" :sarcasm.

:bonk:Spank:waiting:nono:brick:jo

I'm just kidding, you KNOW that, right? ;)
Well, one is wire wrapped around a bar magnet, while the other two have wire wrapped around a bar magnet, so, no. No similarities at all. :D
 

Whiskeyrebel

Supporting Member
Messages
30,057
In the same way that a Deluxe mini-humbucker is a PAF only smaller. They seem to be constructed similarly but are a different size and sound very different...
.
Honestly, the bobbin and magnet look exactly like what was inside of the neck pickup of my SG Melody Maker. I suppose the MM used more turns of wire in the same way that a P90 had as many turns on one bobbin as a PAF had total on its two bobbins combined.
 

socalscott

Member
Messages
1,788
FB gets you bigger Fender-ish, just not as open on bottom and top.

MH gets a tighter, no mud HB.

Both very tasty in the N position. Likely lead to more use of the N position and middle.

BTW, I've seen these in the emporium as under cover(HB size) format.
 

Sweetfinger

Supporting Member
Messages
12,206
Honestly, the bobbin and magnet look exactly like what was inside of the neck pickup of my SG Melody Maker.
They are both nylon bobbins with a bar magnet in the center but the MM is physically much larger.
A MM pickup is wound with 10,000 turns, same as a P-90
The FB is wound with 4,250 turns per coil, same as a Deluxe Mini- I'd guess that 4,250 is the limit to how many turns of their stock 42 guage wire they could physically get on the bobbin.
 

Young Angus

Member
Messages
1,055
Thanks very much to this thread, very informative and I'm just in the process of getting some replacement Firebird pickups for my Bird so good to know what I'm talking about :D
 

mad dog

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
10,952
I played Lollar FB p/us in a Soloway Swan for quite awhile, now using US made minihums in an Epiphone Elitist Riviera.

Some of the descriptions here are close to how I hear it. The Lollar FBs sounded like bigger tele p/us. Some of that twang and edge, but rounder. The minihums in the Elitist share the unique edge and warmth I hear in my '66 ES-335, which I'm assuming has the patent sticker, post PAF p/us. But not the same. More spare on the neck p/u, no fluff at all. And this unique, resonant kind of twang in the middle position. Hard to describe, but an instantly recognizable sound and feel, especially when lightly palm muting low end chord fragments under solo lines.
MD
 




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