What's your opinion on split humbuckers?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by john b, Dec 20, 2009.

  1. john b

    john b Supporting Member

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    I have two guitars that I set up to split the humbuckers. I always think that this will be cool to have the option of the split. The fact is, every time I'm playing and split the humbucker, it sounds like crap and I go right back to the full pickup. I'm talking about good pickups here too - Lollars and Holmes.

    What do you all think about split humbuckers? Is it worth the effort? I'm about to put a pair in another guitar and am questioning if I should do the whole push/pull pot thing or, just put the pickups in straight. Now, I'm not really a single coil fan to begin with but, is there something about a split humbucker that is just weak in comparison to a regular single coil? Or, is it just me?!
     
  2. Bryan T

    Bryan T Guitar Owner Silver Supporting Member

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    I've never heard a split bucker that I thought sounded really good.
     
  3. gkoelling

    gkoelling Member

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    IMO, split HB's don't sound like real single coils and a single coil sized HB doesn't quite sound like a full sized HB.

    You have a 2x10 Gries???? I bet he didn't make more than a couple. Sorry for the OT comment, I'm a huge Gries fan.
     
  4. Stadler Guitars

    Stadler Guitars Member

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    You're right, split humbuckers don't sound as good as a real single coil.

    Put a capacitor on the split to ground. Both coils will still be working canceling hum and putting out a powerful signal, but one will have the highs grounded out to leave all of the bright overtones coming from one pickup. Its even louder than when wired normally. Try different caps, but start at .005-.002 mf.
     
  5. suhrbrutal

    suhrbrutal Senior Member

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    I like the tones of the split hums in my Suhr, but do agree they are not 100% the same. They work really well for me.
     
  6. john b

    john b Supporting Member

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    Yeah, I agree with you. It seems like when one type of pickup tries to act like another, it never really works out.

    I picked up the Gries 20 here about two months ago. I threw some of those THD 10" speakers in it. Wow, what a great amp. The 5 smokes too but the 20 is just on a different level. That one isn't going anywhere for a long time.

    Stadler Guitars - thanks for the suggestion. That sounds like an interesting option to check out.
     
  7. gkoelling

    gkoelling Member

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    I've had a 35 for four years and it's staying put too.
     
  8. john b

    john b Supporting Member

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    Another thing I was wondering is, is there any sonic difference between a two conductor or four conductor pickup? I'd guess the same pickup wired each way should sound the same?

    gkoelling - hold onto that 35, sounds like Dave is not too interested in getting back into the business.
     
  9. scriptphase

    scriptphase Member

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    With 4-conductor wiring, I much prefer series/parallel to a split. It's rare that I like a split humbucker on its own, but a split can yield some cool sounds when you mix a split neck HB and a split bridge HB.
     
  10. Quarter

    Quarter Member

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    Some HB's split well, but too many times you just end up with an uninspiring weaker / thinner result. For the most part, I'd rather have a parallel option than a split.
     
  11. scriptphase

    scriptphase Member

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    No sonic difference. Dimarzio's Super Distortion and Dual Sound pickups are the same, just the Dual Sound is 4-conductor.
     
  12. Jef Bardsley

    Jef Bardsley Member

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    In my experience, overwound humbuckers with powerful magnets do okay split, but PAF clones don't.

    Tom's suggestion about the cap is a good one, and it works with the Spin-a-Split idea, as well.
     
  13. Go Cat Go!!

    Go Cat Go!! Member

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  14. cowboytim

    cowboytim Member

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    I like the versatility of the split HB. I split a “bets set” from WCR and like the clean jazz sound. It’s NOTHING like a P90 but I can have fun running it through the ZVEX “box of rock” Boost when the mood strikes me.
    On another note I got to hang out with Carlos Santana last night before a small gig at a 300 seat venue I’m associated with in Mill Valley Ca. Last year he attended same Christmas party and decided to play last minute. The stage manager asked me to find him a guitar, I produced a Strat that he tore up. He handed it back and said “That guitar had NEVER been played like that before” and handed it back with a smile. This year a tech showed up with his regular PRS rig.
     
  15. Help!I'maRock!

    Help!I'maRock! Member

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    i do the series/parallel thing as well. and i love the tones when running the neck pup in series with the bridge in parallel.
     
  16. Tone_Terrific

    Tone_Terrific Member

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    +1
    The DiM X2N does a nice split. You have to like the non-split to make it all worthwhile, though. :cool:
     
  17. cowboytim

    cowboytim Member

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    I bought a 4 conductor wire set also. WCR recommended.
     
  18. atquinn

    atquinn Supporting Member

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    The humbuckers in my Mel sound great split; I play them clean and semi-dirty split quite a bit and then goto series humbucking for "shredding". There's a 3-way switch that sets the humbuckers to series/split/parallel. I have yet to find any use for parallel mode.

    [​IMG]

    -Austin
     
  19. dspellman

    dspellman Senior Member

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    I'm inclined to agree -- one of the very best split humbuckers in my experience has been the Carvin M22SD; it's an Alnico V overwound designed as a bridge lead pickup and reads nearly 14K. Works beautifully with HSS and HSH guitars that have a five-way. Plays very well with others, does great quackage when coupled with a middle position pickup.

    Another pickup that was designed as an extremely hot bridge pickup for a Strat is the DiMarzio Fast Track II (16K, ceramic). I have it in the neck position of an LP clone and it does amazingly well there. Excellent split.

    The Super 58's on old Ibanez Artists seem to do pretty well; on an original AR-300 with the Tri-Sound switches, you can select serial/parallel/single coil, and all three positions for each pickup are more than usable.

    And finally, the SD P-Rails are humbuckers with two *very* assymmetrical coils; one is a true P90 coil, one is a true rail single coil. You get *four* possibilities with this pickup; serial/parallel/P90/rail coil, and all are good choices.
     
  20. chucke99

    chucke99 Member

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    I have a guitar with a distortion hum in the bridge (Carvin) and a PAF style in the neck (Kent Armstrong) and I have both pickups running through a tri-sound switch that gives me Series (regular) Humbucker, Parallel Humbucker and Single Coil. I love the tonal variations I get from those options. I really like the parallel wiring, too, because it's a cleaner, "step down" in output from the regular humbucker mode.

    As far as saying that a single-coil humbucker doesn't sound like a "true" single coil, so what? The pickup is in a Les Paul anyway and there's no way any single coil is going to give me a "strat" or "tele" sound. I have strats and teles for that, anyway.
     

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