Single sized humbucker... is it real?

Discussion in 'Pickups' started by Mockbel, Nov 26, 2017.

  1. Antigua

    Antigua Senior Member

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    That's just not true. Comb filtering preserves many higher harmonics, it only removes a few harmonics while leaving most others intact. The result is a thinned out tone that is still bright. A tone knob rolls off all higher harmonics, resulting in a much darker tone.

    What you're describing is the reason that a pickup in the neck position sounds different than a pickup in the bridge position. That doesn't justify the idea that a humbucker has better fundamental and low harmonics reception than does a thin single coil pickup. A pickup in the neck position always sees more fundemental movement than a bridge pickup, that's not something that is specific to the pickup width.
     
  2. Zhangliqun

    Zhangliqun Senior Member

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    We have made our respective cases, we will now let the people judge for themselves.
     
  3. moreles

    moreles Senior Member

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    Will two different things sound identical? Uh -- doubtful. As some of the posts note, the humbucking single-coil sized PUs out there were in many cases created not to sound like a PAF or Super Distortion or other familiar large HB, but to be quiet, where single-coils are noisy. Theory aside, you can just look at the common practice of mounting a full sized HB in a Strat as a vote for the proposition that staked or other HB-configured single-coil sized PUs do not truly duplicate a HB PU. It doesn't mean they're better or worse -- just that they are not big HBs and so do not perform in the same way as big HBs.
     
  4. Antigua

    Antigua Senior Member

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    As with a lot of things in life, the only explanation for why a thing is the way it is, is because we found it that way. The convention lives on even though the circumstances that gave rise to it are long gone, and we've become so accustomed to that convention, we're not even interested in changing it.

    In the 50's, when all of the pickups in question were developed, they didn't give much thought to wind counts, either because they didn't have good pickup winders with counters, or because they didn't feel it mattered a whole lot. In general, they made a bobbin, and then wound the bobbin with wire until it it was full enough to produce a loud sound, but not so full that you wouldn't stick a cover over the top. They didn't care about resonant peaks and things like that.

    The reason a PAF type humbucker sounds fatter than a typical Strat single coil is almost entirely because the PAF just has a much higher inductance, and a lower resonant peak. If you look at extremely underwound PAF, such as the DiMarzio EJ Custom or Humbucker from Hell, you'd almost swear it was a single coil if you didn't know better. Or you can wire a PAF in parallel and again, the fat tone disappears. Similarly, an SSL-3 Strat pickup is given a high inductance by using very fine wire that permits more turns before running out of space, and so that pickup has a fatter tone that is usually associated with humbuckers. Same with a P-90, people thing the fat tone is due to size, no.. inductance again.

    tl,dr; the fatter tone associated with humbuckers is due to their inductance, not their size.
     
  5. cooljuk

    cooljuk Transducer Producer Premium Member MLP Vendor

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    Common, Zhang, DCR and impedance are the only factors of all guitar pickups. Everything else is smoke and mirrors and pure hype, conjured up by big evil corporate single-craftsman-operations, all with the intention of ripping off the little guy to make millions! Antigua has taken apart literally several Epiphone and Duncan pickups. He can't be wrong! He's seen it all and his DCR meter proves it.

    This is precisely why intelligent musicians just buy Epiphone and Duncan pickups with the DCR and inductance of their favorite PAFs. They sound exactly the same! They save all that money for hookers and blow, instead of wasting it on vintage and high end gear.
     
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  6. chasenblues

    chasenblues Senior Member

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  7. ARandall

    ARandall Senior Member

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    Wow, Antigua. Maybe you should wipe the rabid foam off your chin and start again. I don't know, but you might just be about as wrong as its possible to be.
     
  8. truckermde

    truckermde Senior Member

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    Now, THIS is a FACT :thumb:
     
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  9. Zhangliqun

    Zhangliqun Senior Member

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    Millions? Millions??? What's that??? (throws back head and laughs as in above video)
     
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  10. AudioWonderland

    AudioWonderland Senior Member

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    I would say your understanding is not entirely correct and your assessment that sc sized humbuckers are "a lie" is more than a little conspiracy theorist. Put the tinfoil hat away
     
  11. northernguitarguy

    northernguitarguy SWeAT hOg

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    Mock did not assess, he questioned. They are sold as 'humbuckers', so legit inquiry.
     
  12. AudioWonderland

    AudioWonderland Senior Member

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    They meet every technical requirement to be called that. It's a silly question. No one questions if a super distortion is in fact a humbucker even though its design spec is radically different than a paf. No one questions whether a paf should be called a pickup even though its radically different than a single coil.
     
  13. Antigua

    Antigua Senior Member

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    "Humbucker" has two colloquial meanings, a PAF style pickup with two side by side coils, or more generally any pickup that has two coils that hum cancel. OP is referring to the former meaning.
     
  14. freefrog

    freefrog Senior Member

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    I think that the OP wanted to know if a single coil sized “Tone zone” or “Little 59” sounds the same than a “Tone Zone” or “59” full sized humbucker.

    I could post some pics about that but it’s faster/simpler for me to share an empirical method that anyone can apply:

    -find a way to record some chords from unfretted low E to 12th fret, direct to the board, through a 1M input. Play always the same chords, the most consistently possible;

    -find a frequency analyzer able to stack the frequencies produced;

    -Watch the screenshots obtained.


    Once that done, you might notice that in bridge position, a Duncan Hot Rails mounted (slanted) in a Fender style guitar produces almost the same curve than a beefy P.A.F. clone in a Gibson style guitar – albeit the Hot Rails has an (enormous) inductance of almost 12H, which is more than twice the inductance of the beefiest P.A.F. clones…

    Their electrically induced resonant peaks would remain very different. Their response to single notes would differ too, with more brightness and harmonic richness from the full sized transducer. BUT chords would make them really similar sounding…

    On this basis, I’ll dare to say simplistically that a SC sized humbucker is able to sound in the ball park of a full sized humbucker exhibiting half of its inductance (it might explain why SC sized versions have typically a noticeably higher inductance than their full sized homonyms, BTW).

    So, no, once again, SC sized humbuckers are not necessarily “a lie”. Anyway, people like Dave Murray have proved them to be useable regardless of their name, no? :)
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2017
  15. Antigua

    Antigua Senior Member

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    Why would playing a full chord cause them to sound more alike, compared to picking out single notes? Also you mention the bridge position, what about the neck position, do you believe the same holds true in that case?

    Here's how I know things to be; suppose you have an SC-HB and regular PAF type HB and they're both 6 henries inductance, and both have resonant peaks around 2.5kHz. The PAF will sound a bit darker because there is comb filtering weeding out various harmonics between around 1.5kHz and 2.5kHz, filtering different harmonics for each string, so it sounds darker overall, but with a more complex voicing due to the selectivity of the harmonics that are filtered out. The SC-HB, on the other hand, has no comb filtering below the 2.5kHz resonant peak, so two things happen, you hear more treble overall, and you don't have that same harmonic complexity, it's read of the strings is more linear. There is nothing a pickup maker can do about the lack of harmonic complexity, because if coils are not far enough apart, there's nothing more that can be done, but they can address the overall brighter sound of the SC-HB by simply increasing the inductance and dropping the resonant peak. The result is that rather than retain the harmonic detail of a full sized PAF HB, they just chop the harmonics off with the crude roll off of the LC low pass. That's certainly why the prevailing opinion is that the Little HB's don't live up to the larger versions, but a lot of players who don't want to route cavities and pick gaurds are happy enough with this compromise.
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2017
  16. freefrog

    freefrog Senior Member

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    Although I dislike off topics, I vote for the answer below as being the best!

    Other members can PM me if ever my statements above need to be clarified. :)


    [I EDIT this message to reintroduce in it a bit of tail chasing. When I’ve posted it, I lacked of time to word properly the following precisions:

    -Yes, a SC sized HB sounds closer to a full sized one under chords than with single notes (and I precisely attribute that to some reasons supposed to prove me wrong just above: it could be useful to think twice).

    -Yes, a slanted bridge SC sized HB can sound closer to a full sized HB than its neck counterpart (and this time, the reasons should appear by themselves to anyone thinking about this statement in an objective and open minded way).

    These statements are based on…

    -my personal experience since I've started to swap pickups in 1981: I’ve here Fender or Fender style guitars, mostly Strats, with SC sized, stacked, P90 sized and full sized HB’s as well as with various kinds of single coils... and I've compared them methodically to my Gibson's with their various kinds of HB's;
    -technical tests done here since 2003 on guitar devices (the school for engineers where I teach has some interesting lab gear and a few brilliant brains to help me).

    Last but not least, I've appreciated the film posted below by chasenblues, firstly because it was funny, secondly because it was true and thirdly because it reminds me this epistemological risk:http://www.unique-design.net/library/image/science/chart/hermetics_1.jpg

    FWIW. ]
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2017 at 6:16 PM
  17. chasenblues

    chasenblues Senior Member

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  18. northernguitarguy

    northernguitarguy SWeAT hOg

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    No, but I would question whether a sc-sized Super Distortion will sound like the original. Apparently, to many knowledgeable posters here, it wont. That's what Mockbel was after. Just an answer to a legit question.
     
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  19. Mockbel

    Mockbel Senior Member

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    Really ? :laugh2:
    This is all you've got to say here !!??
    images (11).jpg
     
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  20. northernguitarguy

    northernguitarguy SWeAT hOg

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    Some folks can’t handle a fuckin question.
     
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