Double Humbucking Pickup Guitars That Sound Almost Acoustic

Classicplayer

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Almost being the keyword here....what are the properties that a humbucking pickup must have in conjunction with the solid body guitar it is mounted on to produce almost an acoustic sound? The sound much like a resonant acoustic guitar being strummed? Only once in my years of playing electric have I heard an instrument that sounded that way...in person. It was (as I remember) an upscale Hamer solid body; perhaps their Custom with the older block position markers. It's owner was trying a Fender Blues Deluxe that I had for sale back in the 90's. He never made the purchase, but he did tell me when asked about his guitar, about how much time he spent trying to “find“ that particular Hamer. He strummed a few chords with volume down and I was struck by the guitar's almost “acoustic” sound that I could not get from my Les Paul. It was sounding like a fine acoustic guitar. It was a used instrument and he did not know what pickups were in it.

For pickup aficionados, what qualities must a pickup have to be able to produce almost acoustic-like tone? The best example of a well-know guitar player doing something akin to it is Jimmy Page with his Les Paul when playing the intro to “Over The Hills And Far Away”.



Classicplayer
 
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ARandall

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Well, its most usually pickup + amp that is the key. Page has a cranked Marshall where he has turned the neck pickup volume way down on. The passive controls alter the pickup's behaviour such that it possesses the low bass almost comb filtered tone that makes for a jangly/scooped tone reminiscent of an acoustic.

The same effect can be seen in this vid of a bridge pickup:

Go to about 2 mins for the demo of making the bridge pickup sound acoustic like.

So in short, its you and your knowledge of the controls that you need to work on, not the guitar. That vid I linked is a great tutorial for this.
 

cooljuk

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I think there's some difference in terminology / opinion, here. I don't find Page's LP / rig to sound like an acoustic guitar, at all. I think it sounds far more honky and resonant than any acoustic I've heard. In the clip above, I find the strumming closer to a banjo than an acoustic. His sound is more than can be explained in a brief post and takes some particular gear and the right technique to get close to.

When I want to make a humbucker that sounds something like an old steel string Martin dreadnaught, I go for lower output A3 PAF style pickups. The right A3s have that very even and wide response. They don't all, though. Some A3s are thin or dark. The right magnet/coil combos can give these pickups extreme clarity on the lower frets of the wound strings and a little jangle on top, without being overly bright. Not resonant and honky/barky, just clear and detailed, Not brittle or weak or snappy, either. Full and bold and very clear.
 

freefrog

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As shown by ARandall above, 50 wiring is a key for such tones : once the volume AND tone pots lowered, the sound has an acoustic quality due to the controls more than the PU's (even if some PU's "naturally" lean towards such sounds, as explained by cooljuk).

FWIW, a convincing substitute is a properly designed and properly wired LRC filter (or a properly used Bill Lawrence Q filter / Gresco ToneQube/ Torres mid cut).
I constantly use this kind of circuit for acoustic tones on stage.
I'll share the recipe on request.
 

northernguitarguy

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There are a few excellent acoustic sim pedals. I have a Joyo Wooden Sound. Still makes my band do a double-take whenever I kick it in at a rehearsal.
 

jimmyjames

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Are these attributes what the Maxon Dry-Z has become renowned for?
 


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