Why does every amp sound good with single coil guitars?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by Colamander, Jul 11, 2018.

  1. easyed

    easyed Supporting Member

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    If you read up on the history of Seth Lover and the creation of PAF humbuckers, you'll see that the impetus for the development was to have a louder pickup. He succeeded.

    Amps of the 50's were designed to be clean, but lots of the players wanted dirt. Hit the front end of your amplifier with a stronger signal than the design anticipated and there's the "dirt" that we all love.

    Today we have hot single coil pups that have greater impedance/output than PAF-voiced humbuckers. We have humbuckers in single coil size.

    Whatever floats your boat!
     
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  2. AndreasG

    AndreasG Member

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    I found that the hardest guitars to dial in are my two vintage Firebirds. But my Les Paul or Strats sound good through any amp
     
  3. flaminguitarman

    flaminguitarman Member

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    Can’t quite get a fender except a bassman to sound good with humbuckers till I tried the new silver face 68’ line Deluxe reverb. I can’t get my Bluesbreaker to sound good with the Kinmans in my strat. But Tele and p90s sound great through it. My ac30 love summer everything, but doesn’t do any one exceptionally well.
     
  4. DonaldDemon

    DonaldDemon Member

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    My amps all sound better with humbuckers to me. So much so that I finally took the very nice single coils out of my Strat and went H-H and now it's like every other guitar I own. I play distorted almost all the time though, but I can go with humbucker cleans no problem.
     
  5. jimijimmyjeffy

    jimijimmyjeffy Member

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    It can work both ways IMHO. I have had a heck of a time with the bridge pickup on my strat with some rigs. It can be buzzsaw and icepicky trebly. But the strat is great with my DS40. Even there I needed a bass cone speaker in my cab to bring it to life.

    But yeah, a lot of great amps sound great with strats. Spiky rigs seem to fit hummsies better.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2018
  6. Mark Robinson

    Mark Robinson Member

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    To my ears the humbuckers can tend to have a slightly goatlike bleat. If the amp also peaks there, it can be too much of a goat thing. I also have a prejudiced preference for the overtones emphasized by lower output pickups, both singles and humbuckers. But p 90 pickups shatter all my theories, so I don’t,,, know,, jack,, squat....., given, however, some time to tweak, and a setup with good gain variability, I can mostly find some happiness with most pickups. I have a much wider acceptance bandwidth for pickups of all types than I do for speakers or amplifiers, that’s for sure. Singles are superlative when you have a few speakers running, a bucker with one speaker is where I’ll feel more hemmed in, less happy.
     
  7. Riffzilla

    Riffzilla Member

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    Well it's because P90s are technically singlecoils, and as we know P90s are the best pickups ever, so..
     
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  8. jimijimmyjeffy

    jimijimmyjeffy Member

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    Recced for "goatlike bleat".
     
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  9. Thumpalumpacus

    Thumpalumpacus Member

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    I guess that depends on what sound you want.
     
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  10. kimock

    kimock Member

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    That’s funny. .
    I read up on Seth Lover and the creation of PAF humbuckers, and thought the impetus for the development was to have a quieter pickup. He succeeded.
     
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  11. Colamander

    Colamander Member

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    I mostly play with humbuckers actually. It just seems that more often than not, humbuckers through certain amps and I’m like “meh” while I usually tend to think single coils sound pretty good. Maybe I’m just particular about my dirty sound, like some have mentioned.
     
  12. ant_riv

    ant_riv Supporting Member

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    Because they are single, you have an expectation that they will be available when you want them to be, and expect it will be relatively easy to get them to put out what you are looking for.

    Humbucking pups, on the other hand, are very visibly attached (as long as they aren’t hiding it under coverings) and so you immediately realize there is little or no play.
     
  13. grumphh

    grumphh Member

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    Someone here has never heard of threesomes, it appears...
     
  14. BADHAK

    BADHAK Member

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    I've been gigging/rehearsing LP's with humbuckers for the last few years and for the hard rock I'm currently playing they are perfect. But I got a 73 Strat with Tonerider Pure Vintage pickups recently and I'm really enjoying it. BUT, only for clean and low gain sounds. So it's not a one or the other thing as they both have their strengths.
     
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  15. Thumpalumpacus

    Thumpalumpacus Member

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    I find it harder to get what I think of as great dirt with single-coils, myself. I'm particular about my grind myself ... probably favoring different facets than you do. 'S all good.
     
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  16. Thumpalumpacus

    Thumpalumpacus Member

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    Oh, those sorts are motherbuckers.
     
  17. grumphh

    grumphh Member

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    :messedup
     
  18. Thumpalumpacus

    Thumpalumpacus Member

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    No, seriously. CoolJ at MLP made a repro of the original Mighty Mite Motherbucker, pictured here:

    [​IMG]
     
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  19. chance0

    chance0 Member

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    Just think about the architecture of all old amps: they were meant to sound good with the most popular guitars of the time. And the Strat and its derivatives dominated music for decades. Nearly every amp today still has a TMB control points that are similar to old Bassmans and Twins, which of course complemented Strats quite well. Only when folks needed a more focused gain (which has less character because it's usually mid-forward to tighten up the lows and make the treble less splatty) did we see a decline in single-coil appeal. But the inherent DNA is still there for single coil awesomeness with almost every amp (save, perhaps, ultra-high gain metal amps that just beg for djenty humbuckers). :p
     
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  20. HotBluePlates

    HotBluePlates Member

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    What @kimock said.

    Seth Lover Interview 1
    Seth Lover Interview 2

    Seth quips a few times that guitarists always want things louder; but you have to read on beyond that. Observe the Gibson humbucker fits in roughly the same space as a P-90, that the P-90 had 10k turns of wire in a single coil around a wide flat-ish bobbin, and 2 bar magnets. Lover wanted to make the pickup quiet, and needed 2 coils with opposite magnetic polarities & winding directions to cancel the noise. So the P-90's wide bobbin became 2 narrower bobbins side-by-side, with about half the turns per bobbin to fit in the same physical space (Lover notes this wound up being 4,200-4,400 turns per narrow bobbin rather than exactly 5k turns). The pair of magnets in the P-90 (one to either side of the adjustable polepieces) became a single magnet between the fixed & adjustable polepieces.

    Pickup output is based on strength of the moving magnetic field & number of turns of wire. While the humbucker has somewhat fewer turns than the P-90 and about half the magnetic strength, the whole assembly could be placed closer to the strings (because the weaker magnetic field of a single bar magnet doesn't pull as hard on the strings). The closer placement raises the output back up (and usually over) that attained from the P-90.
     
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