Humbuckers used for ANY position

Mr French

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 5, 2019
Messages
1,424
Reaction score
999
I've always read humbuckers had to be used for their designated position but I've seen some state they could be used in either position.

How is this possible... They use a special magnet or some voodoo magic?

For instance Custombuckers can be used in either position according to Gibson's website.
 

bluesoul

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 15, 2009
Messages
1,333
Reaction score
3,308
used for their designated position
Some winders will use different magnets for each postion (or maybe wind differently) and offer different output for each spot.
It used to be more commond that the neck a bridge were the same including output.
If the only difference was output, usually (not always), the higher output PU would be for the bridge.

There seems to be more attention these days to" taylor make" something that is supposed to work best based on position.

That's my take on it!
 

Mr French

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 5, 2019
Messages
1,424
Reaction score
999
Some winders will use different magnets for each postion (or maybe wind differently) and offer different output for each spot.
It used to be more commond that the neck a bridge were the same including output.
If the only difference was output, usually (not always), the higher output PU would be for the bridge.

There seems to be more attention these days to" taylor make" something that is supposed to work best based on position.

That's my take on it!
That's what I understood too. Also read that Gibson T-tops were universal.

The thing that stumps me is the whole phase thing with using a neck in the bridge vice versa.
 

Leee

Extremism in defense of Liberty is no vice
Platinum Supporting Member
Joined
Feb 2, 2021
Messages
5,620
Reaction score
13,507
Originally, pole spacing was the same for every humbucker.
Just grab two and screw them to the guitar.

Later the pole spacing was optimized for neck or bridge.
Then different windings and magnets became the norm, for higher output at the bridge.

Then the corksniffers got involved and any original wisdom was discarded.

I remember being surprised 20 years ago when I bought my first set of 57 Classics - same pole spacing in either position?
WTF?

I didn’t know until then that this was actually how it was done in 1957…
 

bluesoul

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 15, 2009
Messages
1,333
Reaction score
3,308
The thing that stumps me is the whole phase thing with using a neck in the bridge vice versa.
While I am not by any means an expert on pickup winding, I believe phasing would come down to polarity (magnet orientaion). Switching places with bridge/neck PU's would not put them out of phase.
The magnet of one PU would need to be flipped. That is my understanding.
 

smk506

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2009
Messages
6,728
Reaction score
12,886
There’s no perceivable difference in a ‘neck’ pickup or ‘bridge’ pickup most of the time beyond pole piece placement.

What I mean by that being of course you can put whichever one in whichever spot and the worst that will generally happen is an imbalance in output sometimes.

My main humbucker LP has 2 neck pickups in it, a 36th PAF and an air Norton. One of those is like 7kohm range and the other is I think 12-14k.

Guess what?

They sound like a good set of pickups. There’s no special tone I get doing that beyond a pleasing to my ear classic bucker sound.

I got f spaced to boot so you want to talk about misaligned pole pieces?

The reality of even that is you have to look for it to see it and it’s STILL not especially noticeable visibly, and if you’ve ever bent a string a whole step or higher you’ve experienced a string that wasn’t over a pole piece. You don’t get any kind of volume drop off or anything like that. At least not one that wouldn’t just be attributed to the unique character of a given guitar anyway.
 

ARandall

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 16, 2012
Messages
17,706
Reaction score
16,173
Well, I don't know where you got your information from, but it took about until the 90's until Gibson made a pickup set where there was a specific position the pickups were designed for. The Bill Lawrence circuit board pickups were the first ones.
Until then they just made a pickup and they were put in the guitar wherever. So this is every p90, every PAF, every PAT #, every T-top, every Shaw........4 decades of humbucker production with no position.


And yes, merely rotating the pickup horizontally in the ring does nothing for phase. It will however change the tone fractionally as the screws and slug mass/shape does alter the shape of the magnetic field for their respective coils. Often a dull neck slot pickup can be a bit more chirpy
 

tzd

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 20, 2011
Messages
6,834
Reaction score
5,095
Any pickup can be used in any position, the difference being only that you might want to match them in terms of tone or output characteristics, relative to the other pickup.

Best example is Gibson Burstbuckers:

Burstbucker 1 - 7.8K
Burstbucker 2 - 8.4K
Burstbucker 3 - 8.7K

They are typically installed in Les Pauls with BB1 (Neck) and BB2 (Bridge), or BB2 (Neck) and BB3 (Bridge).
 

efstop

Protective of my energy reserve
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
May 29, 2015
Messages
16,562
Reaction score
46,094
Gibson mini humbuckers are labeled rhythm or treble but the are made the same except for lead length and have the same DCR.
Every Gibson pickup has 49.2 mm pole spacing until perhaps the 490T around 1990.
 

mudface

Shaw Bucker
Double Platinum Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 29, 2016
Messages
13,571
Reaction score
42,124
Correct,.. the 490 series were the early examples to have different pole spacing for bridge and neck pickups.... it’s the reason the base plate has two sets of pole screw holes.... one set of holes is wider than the other on each base plate. So they only have to make one base plate for each position.

Any PAF style Gibson pup with single set of pole screws holes on the base plate will have the same spacing... bridge or neck.... just like the original PAF.

Any modern non PAF humbucker 490s or ceramic 500t will have neck or bridge pole spacing.

The original humbuckers didn’t have designated location.... they pulled from a bin and wired them in.... they didn’t even try to match dc.

Today more attention has been given to pickup placement.
 

Antigua

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 15, 2016
Messages
738
Reaction score
329
Any pickup can be used in any position, the difference being only that you might want to match them in terms of tone or output characteristics, relative to the other pickup.

Best example is Gibson Burstbuckers:

Burstbucker 1 - 7.8K
Burstbucker 2 - 8.4K
Burstbucker 3 - 8.7K

They are typically installed in Les Pauls with BB1 (Neck) and BB2 (Bridge), or BB2 (Neck) and BB3 (Bridge).

I think it's more of a myth that the bridge having slightly more wire is intended to increase the output, because the difference is usually so small that the the output is still about the same either way. Even if you pair a JB and a Jazz, where the difference in inductance is very large, the difference in volume output still isn't that dramatic. Ultimately everyone just lowers the neck pickup away from the strings a bit, and raises the bridge pickup a little closer to the strings, and get a usable volume balance that way, especially when you're using the same pickup for both neck and bridge.

But it's popular still to have a bridge pickup that has a slightly higher inductance, I think what it comes down do is wanting a little more clarity in the neck pickup tone, and a little more roll off in the bridge, which you get from having a slightly higher inductance. Then without having to mess with the bridge tone knob, it's less shrill when clean, and a bit smoother with overdrive.
 

Antigua

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 15, 2016
Messages
738
Reaction score
329
But to answer the question, generally any pickup that's considered a good neck pickup, i will like it as a bridge pickup also. If the DC resistance is in the 7k range with 42 AWG, I'll usually like it anywhere. 8k and up can sound a little bold as a neck pickup.

One that surprises me is how many posts I had seen recommending the DiMarzio Norton or Air Norton as a neck pickup. To me that's like putting a "hot P.A.F." bridge pickup in the neck, having an inductance of more than 6 henries, where as a typical bridge P.A.F. type pickup is closer to 5 henries and a typical neck closer to 4.5 henries.
 

jwinger

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 7, 2008
Messages
2,625
Reaction score
1,512
For the original Gibson's at least, there was no difference between neck and bridge in most guitars, they just grabbed two PAFs/PATs and randomly put one in one position one in the other, as far as I understand. There are some models that are an exception in that they have neck pickups with a slightly pole piece spacing on the neck paf
 

Mr French

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 5, 2019
Messages
1,424
Reaction score
999
But to answer the question, generally any pickup that's considered a good neck pickup, i will like it as a bridge pickup also. If the DC resistance is in the 7k range with 42 AWG, I'll usually like it anywhere. 8k and up can sound a little bold as a neck pickup.

One that surprises me is how many posts I had seen recommending the DiMarzio Norton or Air Norton as a neck pickup. To me that's like putting a "hot P.A.F." bridge pickup in the neck, having an inductance of more than 6 henries, where as a typical bridge P.A.F. type pickup is closer to 5 henries and a typical neck closer to 4.5 henries.
I don't know how to wind a pickup nor all the terminology but wth is 6 henries?
 

ErictheRed

V.I.P. Member
Joined
Dec 8, 2009
Messages
7,868
Reaction score
11,210
I don't know how to wind a pickup nor all the terminology but wth is 6 henries?
A Henry is a measure of electrical inductance, which describes how the magnetic and electrical fields react together. Faraday's Law of Induction explains how a changing magnetic field creates an electrical voltage, and that's how things like generators and guitar pickups work.
 

Antigua

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 15, 2016
Messages
738
Reaction score
329
I don't know how to wind a pickup nor all the terminology but wth is 6 henries?

Adding to the above, to be specific about guitar pickups, the higher the inductance is, the less treble, and usually more voltage output you get, all things being equal. More wire wound on the coils usually causes a higher inductance, but there are other ways to cause it to be higher, such as having steel poles or blades instead in the cores of the coils, instead of Alnico or a ceramic magnet.

DC resistance correlates loosely with inductance, so when you see a higher DC resistance it tends to mean a pickup is louder and darker, but underneath that vagueness of DC resistance is a specific inductance value that tracks closely with what you actually hear. Some pickup vendors list inductance, such as TV Jones, sometimes Fender, but most just give a DC resistance value.
 

Mr French

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 5, 2019
Messages
1,424
Reaction score
999
Adding to the above, to be specific about guitar pickups, the higher the inductance is, the less treble, and usually more voltage output you get, all things being equal. More wire wound on the coils usually causes a higher inductance, but there are other ways to cause it to be higher, such as having steel poles or blades instead in the cores of the coils, instead of Alnico or a ceramic magnet.

DC resistance correlates loosely with inductance, so when you see a higher DC resistance it tends to mean a pickup is louder and darker, but underneath that vagueness of DC resistance is a specific inductance value that tracks closely with what you actually hear. Some pickup vendors list inductance, such as TV Jones, sometimes Fender, but most just give a DC resistance value.
So what your saying is E = mc2

Got it.


Lol jk. This is all new to me so I'm trying to soak it all in. I was looking on Gibson's site and noticed their custom buckers can be used in either position thus sparked my questions.
 

Antigua

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 15, 2016
Messages
738
Reaction score
329
So what your saying is E = mc2

Got it.


Lol jk. This is all new to me so I'm trying to soak it all in. I was looking on Gibson's site and noticed their custom buckers can be used in either position thus sparked my questions.

It makes me curious if their inductance would suggest that it's the sort of pickup you would tend to find in a neck or the bridge. Gibson says the DC resistance of the Custombucker is 8k, if the DC resistance happens to track close with the inductance, I'd say that's sort of in between. The Lollar Imperial, just as one example, the neck is 7.6K and the bridge is 8.4K, so that would be right in between. Lollar used to show inductance, but removed it when he redesigned his website a few years ago, the Imperial neck was 4.1 henries and the bridge was 4.9 henries.
 

Latest Threads



Top