Talk to me about 3 humbucker guitars!

Eskimo_Joe

Rocker, roller, way out of controller
Silver Supporting Member
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4,724
Hi guys, I'm curious about three humbucker guitars...

- for those who own/have owned, what do you think of them vs. two humbucker guitars?

- do you like the third humbucker tone or is it more for looks?

- anyone hot-rodded the wiring to get more tones?

Thanks!
 

walterw

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
38,959
ehh, kinda neat.

middle by itself is a cool sound (especially for slide) and M+B is OK; i think M+N and "all three" are just murky.

i like to wire these straight stock 2-pickup with a 3-way, then have a switching option (push-pull maybe) that chooses between neck pickup and middle pickup, sending the result on to the rest of the circuit.

one way is normal neck and bridge wiring, the other way gives you a middle and bridge pickup guitar, with the controls now choosing between middle, middle+bridge or bridge.
 

smolder

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
14,453
Unless you set it up with the 6 position rotary that Gibson put in the SG3, I don't think its optimal... Or worth the effort.
 

Eskimo_Joe

Rocker, roller, way out of controller
Silver Supporting Member
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4,724
I was just looking on YouTube for 3 humbucker info and came across this video -- pretty awesome wiring / tone options! Kind of a Jimmy Page thing.

 

Rick51

Member
Messages
3,740
Back in the 70s I had a LP/SG Custom with 3 PAFs. Three way switch set up for N, M+B, and B. I think I would have liked it better as a 2 pickup guitar with the usual B, B+N, n switching, just personal preference.
 

thrashmetl

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,493
Can't believe no one has brought this up yet, but they're a pain in the ass to play. The problem is the middle is where you usually pick. Since there's a pickup there now you hit the pickup every time you strum or pick a note. Although I'd love it to work, it's more trouble than it's worth.
 

bettset

Member
Messages
4,229
i like 3 pickup lp's. you can try some wiring variations, add a mini toggle if needed, but even stock i like the middle pickup in the mix. and i've never had issues strumming over the middle pickup. they do look cool. hey there's something for everybody.......2 pickups or 3 :munch
 

edwarddavis

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,495
Have had quite a few , in all honesty go sucked in by the looks every time
Had sgs , pickup got in the way, les Paul's better but they look great but that's it . I still gave a few with p 90 much more useful than three humbuckers
Buy a reverend jetstream
 

Rick51

Member
Messages
3,740
Never had an issue with that middle PU being in the way. What would your pick be doing down there, anyway?

I bought that white LP/SG Custom in 1975 for $450. I had always liked the look of SGs, finally got one. Before that, I had always had 2 PU guitars (Fender Jazzmaster, Gretsch Tennessean).

I guess overall I have the same objection to 3 HB guitars that I have to 3 SC guitars (like Strats). Standard wiring does not give me one of my favorite sounds, B+N. I have a Fralin blender pot on my Strat now, so I can get what I want.
 

swiveltung

Senior Member
Messages
14,485
Mine is set up with a 5 way rotary switch. But frankly, I think two humbuckers is enough. I doubt I would do it again. I do have the 2 and 4 strat 'quack" positions, but dont use it much. It was originally 3 minis but have gone to H-S-H now. Using a lace in the middle to avoid the strum issue. It actually works pretty well.
An experiment before the latest change:
 

Eskimo_Joe

Rocker, roller, way out of controller
Silver Supporting Member
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4,724
For the middle pickup, would lowering it a bit help with the picking?
 

FredZepp

Member
Messages
623
I bought my LP Custom in 1978.. still have it. I've never had an issue with the middle pickup being in the way at all.

When I got it , it had a paper inside that described how to make the middle pickup out of phase. I really like the tones available there when using a bit of overdrive or gain.

I've tried it wired regular and there isn't enough difference to warrant a 3rd pickup ( they are all T-tops )

 

teefus

Senior Member
Messages
8,941
fwiw, it was a little weird getting used to having the middle pickup under where i usually strummed and picked. i ended up lowering the middle pickup a bit to help out.
 

Matt L

Member
Messages
11,545
Lusted after a white SG Custom for ages. Finally got one in a trade here, never played it.....get it, and yeah, middle pickup completely screws up my picking. Bummed me out.
 

LewisYL

Member
Messages
109
I swapped the middle pickup in my les Paul to a p90, push pull changes from the humbuckers with standard switching to the p90 direct. Not quite happy with it but I think it's the pickup as much as anything, there's much more useful tonal variation now anyway.
 






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