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FDP Forum / The 'Pup' Tent / Humbuckers with character, or single coils with guts?

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swampyankee
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olde New England

If you can't play good, play loud
Oct 30th, 2015 06:43 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I'm a single coil man from the start, but I do recognize that there are more powerful, fatter pickups to be had. I'm not looking for high-gain, but just a more full, sustaining tone. I've gone through many humbucker-equipped guitars over the years, but they all sound harsh and flat to my single coil ears.

After going through mostly solid-body HB guitars, I picked up an older MIK Dot and put a set of Duncan AP-II's in it. They are an improvement over the stock Epi's, but it's still uninspiring compared to my Gretsch with its P90-ish Dearmond 2K's. I'm about to trade off the Dot for something else.

Would wide-range humbuckers (it would have to be the reissues) be worth a try before I give up on humbuckers entirely? Maybe in a Tele Thinline?
Or should I should just stick with single coils - maybe a set of P90's in a Jazzmaster (the "Classic Player" has hotter P90's) or TC90 Tele - for a fatter tone?

(This message was last edited by swampyankee at 08:45 AM, Oct 30th, 2015)

Guitar Fool
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Sunshine State

Just a pawn in someone else's game
Oct 30th, 2015 07:05 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I had a feeling you were going to get to the wide range humbuckers..;-0

I've been lucky enough to play 4 different kinds

Mexican
Japanese
Originals
Lollar's

since the originals are probably out of the question my next suggestion would be the Lollars, followed by the japanese then the mexican

the Lollars and the Japanese are hotter than the Mexican ones..



Ive also been able to A/B them together and all sound quite similar...with the nod to the Lollar's..

the ohm rating on the Mexicans is in the 7-8 ohm range, the Japanese and the Lollars around 10k which is what the originals ran..

I'd start with the Mexicans first, I think they are decent...and work up from there if your still not satisfied..

There is a thread on this...you might have to go back a page or 2 to find it that has a nice demo of them

swampyankee
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olde New England

If you can't play good, play loud
Oct 30th, 2015 07:14 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

But how do they compare with regular humbuckers? Do you think WRHB's would have that character that a single-coil guy like myself would find inspiring?

MLC
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It's not just good..

...it's good enough.
Oct 30th, 2015 07:54 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I love my '72RI Thinline - with the stock pickups. I did swap the stock 250K pots out for 500K's to brighten them up a bit and I've been playing it a lot ever since.

I'm one of those "single-coil guy at heart" types, too. The WRHB's have more clarity and note definition than some regular HB's. With the new pots, my '72RI will get downright jangly with plenty of snap and twang on tap. But it's a bigger, fuller sound than my single-coil Tele's.

Given what you've described, I think you'd like them.


stratcowboy
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USA/Taos, NM

Oct 30th, 2015 09:10 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

"I'm a single coil man from the start..."

Yup. Definitely know what you're talking about. I'm currently trying to find comfort with a new PRS SE Bernie Marsden. But even my wife (who mostly knows my "Fender sounds") said the other evening..."it (the Bernie) just sounds muddy!"

I'll keep trying, but...

swampyankee
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olde New England

If you can't play good, play loud
Oct 30th, 2015 09:45 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I've also been GAS'ing for a Starcaster lately and thinking of selling the Dot for one. But I don't want to get stuck with just another HB guitar once the novelty wears off if the WRHBs - or a good aftermarket swapout are too similar to normal HBs.

I've never owned a P90-equipped guitar but if the Dearmond 2K's are anything like P90's as they say they are, I think I'd dig 'em.

stratcowboy
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USA/Taos, NM

Oct 30th, 2015 10:30 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Perhaps take a look at the Guild Starfire IV. Smaller type, more clear voicing humbucker guitar. A variety of different bridges to choose from, depending on your taste. Universally positive reviews.

professor
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North Gnarlyington

Oct 30th, 2015 01:01 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

You might want to give a listen to some mini humbuckers. I just switched out the stock Gibson mini hum in a Deluxe for a somewhat hotter Seymour Duncan, but both are distinctly different than a standard humbucker or P90. "Focused" and "clear" are used when describing them, and I agree. The stock one was very sweet- defined, articulate, but also with body. I just wanted a bit more hair and got it with the SD. When clean they can almost get to a sweet tele like country character. Bright, but in a good way, IE not harsh.

I have a '72 Thinline MIJ Reissue. I've found the WR's to be ok, but certainly nowhere near as clear and distinct as the mini humbucker. The WRs are thicker.

Here's a demo of a custom Strat with three mini hums in it..

demo of SD mini hums in a Strat

(This message was last edited by professor at 03:13 PM, Oct 30th, 2015)

swampyankee
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olde New England

If you can't play good, play loud
Oct 30th, 2015 01:27 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Even though a Tele Thinline is on my list, it's not because I'm trying to stay in Tele "twang" territory. I'd go that route just to get a chambered body guitar with a familiar shape, scale and neck profile.

I've been doing a bit of daydreaming today and I'm wondering if I could refit a '69 Thinline reissue with a P90 in the neck and a P90-ish Tele bridge pickup, like a Klein Fat Man. I like the simplicity of the single tone and volume of the '69 Thinline too.



Guitar Fool
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Sunshine State

Just a pawn in someone else's game
Oct 30th, 2015 01:57 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Swampy..

this vid may give u some insight into the wide range humbucker sound..

Its "Night Train" by Tab Benoit done live.

he's playing with an old tele and the wide range buckers.

I don't know what his effects air if any as it sounds to me like he's playing clean

Night Train. YTC

Modal Magic
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MBJ, Highway Hound.

You Can't Bend It Aussie!
Oct 30th, 2015 06:23 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I've been through a number of Strats with humbuckers and could never gel with any of them (including rather expensive sets). The closest I got to clear, fatter single coil sounds was the Fender Tex Mex humbuckers. They really sound like a fatter single coil and are clear and articulate, no muddiness or harshness. The thing that put me off them was the high E bridge tone was too strident and the low E neck tone was too bassy, causing my PRRI to flub. No matter what I did with adjusting I couldn't get the two extremes to work. I even purchased a second set but had the same problem. Damn shame because otherwise they were awesome.

Eventually I ended up purchasing a Classic Player Strat HH with Wide Range humbuckers. I finally feel like I'm home. They are clear and articulate, not quite as single coil sounding as the Tex Mex but close. The neck slightly edges towards Gibson smoothness but is still articulate with no muddiness. I think they may be a slightly smaller model compared to regular Mexican built Wide Range HBs. I have no idea how they compare to originals but I highly rate 'em.

swampyankee
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olde New England

If you can't play good, play loud
Oct 30th, 2015 08:33 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I was Playing The Dot against the MIK Gretsch and my Tele today. I'm apparently just not a Gibson-type humbucker person. If WRHB's are alot different then maybe I should try them. Almost ready to pull the trigger on that Starcaster. Lol

(This message was last edited by swampyankee at 10:44 PM, Oct 30th, 2015)

Peegoo
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Chain Smokin'

Gas Station Attendant
Oct 31st, 2015 02:45 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

The Fender WR HBs are not your typical humbucker; they're fairly bright, and they can twang. Their only drawback is they are a non-standard size (bigger than a typical humbucker) so they need custom fitting into a guitar that's not already configured for them.

The DeArmond 2Ks are a great choice too...but they are single coils, so there's a possibility of hum. They are brighter than a typical P90 though.

Another great option is the Filtertron. It's a humbucker, and it will certainly twang when you need it to. Add a treble bypass to the volume control, and you'll easily get into Tele Twangville, with none of the hum. And when rolled up past 7 or so, they can really growl nicely. It's perhaps my favorite pickup.

A full-size HB that is bright like the Fender WR HB (but fits a standard HB mounting scheme) is the PRS Starla humbucker. It was modeled after the Filtertron--so there ya go.

Peegoo
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Chain Smokin'

Gas Station Attendant
Oct 31st, 2015 02:48 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

And don't forget the Jazzmaster pickup. Brighter than a P90, but still with big, round midrange and plenty of bottom too.

swampyankee
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olde New England

If you can't play good, play loud
Nov 2nd, 2015 01:16 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

The Gretsch Electromatic Double Jet has been on my list since I played one at a music store a few years ago. I believe it has Black Top Filtertrons. They had a nice tone, and I found the guitar to be easy to play, like my G3140, but in a smaller bodied package.
In my free-buying days I would've probably bought all the above mentioned guitars by now, but these days I'm on a one-for-one budget so I must choose carefully...


stratcowboy
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USA/Taos, NM

Nov 2nd, 2015 02:18 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Smart.

FunkyKikuchiyo

Limbo

Nov 10th, 2015 11:15 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I thought I wasn't an HB person for a long time too. If I were you, I'd try to test some of the "chase the dragon" vintage PAF style pickups. Parson's Street, Seth Lovers, there are lots of them out there. When done right it almost sounds like a single coil in comparison to other humbuckers out there... a bit scooped, kinda hollow sounding... some non-vintage style HBs pull this off, but it is rare.

Also, be anal about setting string heights. Getting this right is more than the sum of its parts. Your chords/intervals become a lot less clunky when you really spend some time with this. Try to keep the pickup face parallel to the strings if possible, too.

Scotty D

USA

Put on your red shoes & dance the blues
Nov 10th, 2015 07:32 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I think Peegoo nailed the description of the WRHB's.

I had a '74 Thinline and now have a '75 Deluxe both with dual WRHB's. There's nothing quite like them. Quiet but sonically somewhere between a standard HB and a single coil. Janglier than an HB but not as twangy as a SC.

Might I humbly suggest a Tele Custom. WRHB in the neck, standard Tele PU in the bridge. Best of both worlds. Just ask Keith! ;-)

(This message was last edited by Scotty D at 09:35 PM, Nov 10th, 2015)

Bigfoot
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Indy

The floor is getting farther away...
Nov 10th, 2015 10:04 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Being a SC guy too, my arsenal is on the bright side ('57 Strat, '60 Guild SFIII with original Dearmond SC's, and a '78 Tele Deluxe with Seth Lover WRHB's). I love 'em all but have spent most of my time recently with the Tele. It is a great balance between bright and full, hence the wide-range description of course, plus hum-bucking. I did use the Strat last Sunday at church and it was a kick, but now seems a bit thin. The Dearmonds are wonderful but they do like to pick up all the noise that our church has to offer. Nevertheless, awesome.

I understand that Keith R's Tele has a Gibson HB, not an original WRHB in the neck position.

I also agree that after playing a Classic Player Jazzmaster that it is has great pups - full, bright and clear.

The reissue WRHB are allegedly just a regular HB put in a bigger cover filled with wax. IMO the longer scale of a Fender helps with brightness and snap, maybe more than the pups provide. 1 meg pots are sure to help too.

The original Seth Lover HB's used Copper/Nickel/Ferrite (CuNiFe) adjustable rod magnets with a fairly hot wind (about 10.5k). I am not by any stretch knowledgeable on pups but this was apparently Seth's formula for a Fender HB (bright and full).

Here's a YT link that provides a good demo of what they sound like.

I love the true Fender WRHB, but can't speak to the Fender re-issues from experience. I think the shape of the Tele body helps too ;)

Fender Original WRHB: Seth Lover's

(This message was last edited by Bigfoot at 11:01 PM, Mar 16th, 2016)

Guitar Fool
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Sunshine State

Just a pawn in someone else's game
Nov 11th, 2015 06:32 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Bigfoot...

this is a pretty good demo of the original wide range pups and 2 clones....

YTC in first post

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FDP Forum / The 'Pup' Tent / Humbuckers with character, or single coils with guts?




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