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FDP Forum / The 'Pup' Tent / Best humbuckers that will split coils?

Next 20 Messages  

LA-la-land, CA

Insert clever comment here
Oct 25th, 2015 04:19 PM   Edit   Profile  

I'm on a quest for the absolute best humbuckers that sound great, but also sound good when the coils are split.

Tall order, I know. I don't need terribly high output. I want the neck pup to be mellow, but not too jazzy. I like some high end in there, and nice and clear when split. I'd like the split bridge to be spanky, but not harsh.

I'm hoping to design a guitar around them, so I want them to be great-sounding. Any of your expert opinions will be greatly appreciated!

Moderator Emeritus
(with many stars)

NW Pennsylvania

Oct 25th, 2015 05:39 PM   Edit   Profile  

I've yet to hear a humbucker that sounds like a single-coil when split.

Having said that, I prefer DiMarzio Tone Zone's.


michigan usa

Oct 25th, 2015 05:56 PM   Edit   Profile  

The Fralin unbucker splits very well, but I didn't like the un-split sound. Not humbuckery enough for me, but you may like it just fine. I remember it being thinner and not as warm as your average hb. Check 'em out.

Contributing Member

Chain Smokin'

Gas Station Attendant
Oct 25th, 2015 06:01 PM   Edit   Profile  

I'm pretty sure the Fralin Unbucker leans hard toward the SC tone because it's designed from the start to be split.

Most four-wire humbuckers are simply classic HB designs that have four wires. Hence the "close but no cigar" single coil tone when split.

One of the reasons humbuckers cannot sound like true single coils is the large magnet and large magnetic field.



Oct 26th, 2015 06:41 AM   Edit   Profile  

If you have a four wire humbucker you can wire the coils in series OR parallel in a manner that retains the noise cancelling in either mode. One mode (I think it's parallel) will give you a thinner less bassy sound that may satisfy you.

It may require adding some switching capability over and above the usual, though. A DPDT switch on a pot, a mini toggle, a 5 way Mega switch, etc etc etc.

The Dimarzio site has a whole section on different wiring configurations.


LA-la-land, CA

Insert clever comment here
Oct 26th, 2015 12:47 PM   Edit   Profile  

I know that humbuckers are able to be split, but basically my question is, are there any that sound good when split? Will look into the Fralins.



Oct 29th, 2015 06:35 PM   Edit   Profile  

The older Yamaha SG 1000's, 2000's, 3000's had powerful humbuckers but coil split they sounded very good. Another guitar that sounded good was the old Peavey T-60 guitars with the coil splitting built in the tone controls when turn fully to 10.

I own both and find these very usable.


World Traveler

Wood, magnetic coil and strings.
Oct 29th, 2015 08:36 PM   Edit   Profile  

Not sure about this one but its like 2 Strat single coils placed side by side for the purpose of getting humbucker (in-series) or single coil (split or parallel) tones. I guess there is always a give-and-take situation and one cannot have the best of both worlds.

SD Stag Mag SH3 ?

Contributing Member

Milton, Wisconsin

Nov 12th, 2015 06:03 AM   Edit   Profile  

I was assembling a guitar for a friend and he had bought a set of BareKnuckle "Mule" pickups. I had never heard a pickup sound so good when split. I could not get that sound out of my head and when I finally got around to building a humbucker guitar, there was only one choice. I put them in a mahogany Mooncasater body from Warmoth. I could not be happier. Love them. I used the Seymour Duncan pick up rings that have the switches on them for parallel / series and coil splitting. All are VERY usable. Highly Recommend.


Sierra Vista, AZ

Nov 13th, 2015 11:03 AM   Edit   Profile  

DiMarzio 36th Anniversary PAFs for me. Best split tones i have heard from a HB. YMMV.


LA-la-land, CA

Insert clever comment here
Nov 13th, 2015 11:43 AM   Edit   Profile  

Some good suggestions. Thanks everybody!



Nov 27th, 2015 11:27 AM   Edit   Profile  

I haven't used all the pickup brands mentioned, but over 40 years I've used a lot, and the only ones I've found that give you a usable real single coil sound are the Bill Lawrence L500 series. The others just sounded like a lower volume version of their hum bucking mode. To me the L500's actually have a unique single coil sound that is more telecaster than stratocaster sounding. I have a tele with a pair of them installed, and when I use that guitar I actually play it in the split mode as a single coil guitar and usually just go the hum bucking mode for a volume boost, or if the song requires a hum bucker sound. By the way, if you haven't tried one yet, check out the "Push-Push" pots for the switching. It's much easier, in the heat of battle, to just reach down and smack the top of the knob to switch it both on and off. Sorry for the late response, hope this us useful.

Guitar Fool
Contributing Member

Sunshine State

Just a pawn in someone else's game
Nov 28th, 2015 07:24 AM   Edit   Profile  

I don't know how you feel about Lace sensors...but they can be split and you can tailor the sound as to what your looking for.
with all the different Lace sensors out there you have many options and with a 3 position mini switch combine them together...I've put together 3 this way...

like this one

Guitar Fool
Contributing Member

Sunshine State

Just a pawn in someone else's game
Nov 28th, 2015 07:44 AM   Edit   Profile  

these just have the bridge split...

3 more



Nov 28th, 2015 09:15 AM   Edit   Profile  

"By the way, if you haven't tried one yet, check out the "Push-Push" pots for the switching. It's much easier, in the heat of battle, to just reach down and smack the top of the knob to switch it both on and off."

I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks this way.

But I remember a thread several years ago where people complained that the switches don't last as long as the push-pull type. I have had both on guitars for over 20 years and never replaced either type.

They're probably "smacking" them harder than they need to be, as opposed to "tapping" them. That problem, I can't help them with.



Apr 27th, 2016 12:02 PM   Edit   Profile  

I've heard that Fishman Fluence Humbuckers are great pups all around including coil splitting.

read this:

External link


LA-la-land, CA

Insert clever comment here
Apr 27th, 2016 01:29 PM   Edit   Profile  

Link doesn't work.

Purple Valley
Contributing Member


Apr 28th, 2016 12:21 AM   Edit   Profile  

I'm not a fan of split HB's. At best, they get the clarity, and some of the bite, but miss all the character of a good Strat pup.

That said, the best I've found are Duncan Alnico II's, DiMarzio SD's--and the ringer would be Carvin (Allan Holdsworth model) H22's.

Shlock the monster


May 1st, 2016 09:30 AM   Edit   Profile  

the only convincing solution is simply fix two SC in a HB shape together and operate them switched like a HB or single.
This works on my Yamaha Pacifica very well with a push/pull poty on my tone control.

Guitar Fool
Contributing Member

Sunshine State

Just a pawn in someone else's game
May 1st, 2016 10:14 AM   Edit   Profile  


I had a Mexican made 72 thinline with the RI Wide Range humubkcers..

there is a mode that you can split them with...I don't have the guitar any more, but they sounded pretty good as I recall.

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FDP Forum / The 'Pup' Tent / Best humbuckers that will split coils?

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