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FDP Forum / The 'Pup' Tent / When splitting coils on humbuckers...



Apr 5th, 2012 03:24 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I realized lately that every time I had wired a HB with a switch to split coils it sounded rather thin and bright and be mostly unusable. I would always wire the switch to send the mid wire to ground. Well that makes the bridge-side coil go live (at least for Seymour Duncans). I have been testing mostly with strat-size HBs like hot-rails and such and had assumed that since both coils are so close that they must sound almost identical.
I decided to try sending the mid-wire to the live side instead, making the neck side coil go live. What a pleasant surprise, it is reasonably less bright and much more usable ! Just thought I should mention it :)

Steve Dallman
Contributing Member

Merrill, Wisconsin

Ain't turned 60, but I got my blinker on
Apr 10th, 2012 10:23 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Another possible wiring is to put a capacitor between the coil cut wire and ground. This maintains the single coil highs (and mids depending on the size of the cap) but the low end of the humbucker. The size of the cap will determine how much of the highs and mids are cut from the cut coil. .01uf to .1uF...experimentation will be needed.

This also lessens the volume drop when switching to the modified coil cut/single coil tone.


Calif, US

Apr 10th, 2012 10:44 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I only use full size hb and I use switch to choose the north, south or hb. I love the sound. I particularly like the warmth and glassy sound of some of the hb.
You have to be very careful that not all hb sound good split. I wasted a lot of money to find one. Now I am using Dimarzio Breed DP165 in neck and Tone Zone in bridge.



Apr 10th, 2012 07:42 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Something else to consider when picking a Humbucker for splitting is the OHMS.
A desirable single coil pickup ranges from 4 ohms to 8 ohms. A humbucker split, should not drop below 4 ohms for each coil. That means the advertised series ohms of the humbucker should be 8 ohms or greater to avoid severe volume output loss.
A vintage 5 ohm humbucker split to 2.5 ohms would not be very pleasing.

When ever I split a humbucker I always use a 250k pot to variably split it. It is nice being able to dial in that just perfect sound.
Strats realisticaly only need one tone pot. The second tone pot can be used for more useful purposes.



Apr 10th, 2012 08:02 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Oh yes, as suggested above, capacitors can be very useful in splitting humbuckers and on volume controls. One of the kits in the attached link can help clean up a variable split pickup. A nice clean(noiseless)single coil sound can be achieved by dialing in a tweek of the second coil. If you want more treble, use a .022uf capacitor. See link

The kit is installed parallel across the two terminals of the pot. It can also be installed in series with an on off switch.

volume mod kit

(This message was last edited by mrfix at 08:03 PM, Apr 10th, 2012)

Contributing Member

LA-la-land, CA

Insert clever comment here
Apr 12th, 2012 02:13 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I got some custom wound pickups, and had the guy wind the outside coils of the buckers to be hotter than the inside ones so that they would combine will with the middle pup when split. Sounds great.


Calif, US

Apr 12th, 2012 02:31 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

To get hum cancelling in #2 and #4 is easy on hb, you match the polarity of the coil that you used split and make sure it is opposite to the mid pup. Then wire so in #2 and #4, you split the coil and you'll get full hum cancelling. I have individual switch for neck and bridge to get north, south coil and hb. One of the coil of the hb will cancel hum in #2 and #4 position.

FDP Forum / The 'Pup' Tent / When splitting coils on humbuckers...

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