Difference in splitting to one coil or other on a humbucker?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by MovinTarget, Mar 6, 2018.

  1. MovinTarget

    MovinTarget Supporting Member

    Jan 30, 2018
    Maryland, USA
    Just trying to see if others feel its worth it to have a switch handle splitting to either coil or would they typically sound the same, apart from subtle differences due to position.

    Essentially trying to determine if a simple switch for Single/humbucker mode would suffice...

  2. Northfear


    Mar 15, 2017
    Generally it's not worth it in my opinion. Tried both. There is a subtle difference, but it's not that big.
    It sounded like a slight balance change in favor of the neck pickup with near coils split and vice versa.
  3. If you have two humbuckers it might be worth it to use the opposite coils in the two pickups when they are spilt so the still noise cancel when both are on in single coil mode.
  4. MovinTarget

    MovinTarget Supporting Member

    Jan 30, 2018
    Maryland, USA
    Thats what I figured... unless you have coils that are inherently different...
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2018
  5. I have my Sledgehammer pickups wired Series/neck coil/bridge coil. For me, the “subtle difference” makes a grand statement when using both pickups.
    When outer coils are used, it sounds sort of Jazz bass-y. When inner coils are used, it sounds very reminiscent of a Warwick Thumb bass. That difference is quite huge.

  6. MovinTarget

    MovinTarget Supporting Member

    Jan 30, 2018
    Maryland, USA
    I am actually looking at the Lace aluminium PuP which I hear are prettymuch noiseless regardless so the switching on each Pup would be fairly independent. Sounds like I might as well plan on splitting either way plus series/parallel...
  7. Barticus

    Barticus Supporting Member

    Sep 16, 2017
    This is an awesome bass!

    IMO the difference is more noticeable in a guitar with split coils vs on a bass, at least to my ears.
    MovinTarget likes this.
  8. MovinTarget

    MovinTarget Supporting Member

    Jan 30, 2018
    Maryland, USA
    Agreed, that is a beauty!

    I guess, if its a difference between 3 switch positions per PuP and 4... Why not, right?
  9. Northfear


    Mar 15, 2017
    Huh.. I had actually found an old record of inner/outer split that I've made some time ago when I wasn't sure which one I prefer.
    Since I had wasted a whole evening on rewiring, I might as well share it with anyone who wonders what the difference is (and save them some time).
    This should probably apply to all EMG40 sized pickups. Results might be different with MM's or any other size.
    Trigger warning: Sloppy playing, .115 gauge string downtuned to B (Yes, I love the clank). Intonation was not set after changing the strings too. So yeah..
    eastcoasteddie and MovinTarget like this.
  10. It’s alright...sounds great but has its issues...
  11. Killed_by_Death

    Killed_by_Death Snaggletooth Inactive

    Other people might be more sensitive to the difference of timbre, but to my ears the coils needs to be at least 2" apart to hear a large enough difference.
    MovinTarget likes this.
  12. MovinTarget

    MovinTarget Supporting Member

    Jan 30, 2018
    Maryland, USA
    Yeah I can see it being more pronounced on, say, a MM sized PuP...

    Though I imagine the PuP position in general may have something to do with it as well... The Bridge position, for example, may be close enough to the bridge it self that the amount of wave picked up at the rear coil may be consistently less than the front coil...
    Killed_by_Death likes this.
  13. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Inactive

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    On this bass, I went with a single/series/parallel switch on the bridge pickup.

    I chose the inner coil for single. Usually that has a little more beef to the tone.

    Series and parallel are miles apart tone wise to me. I seriously suggest you consider doing single/series/parallel. I wound up with three very usable PJ tones. And I use and EQ stomp box with the bass boosted a little and series on the bridge pickup solo to get me in the ballpark of a Stingray tone.

    NKBassman, SpyderX and MovinTarget like this.
  14. Eilif

    Eilif Grooving under the MDW runway.

    Oct 1, 2001
    I agree. Series and Parallel settings are going to be much different tonaly than switching between different coils on a humbucker. Series/Parallel/Single is how I'd go for sure.
  15. FugaziBomb


    Jun 5, 2017
    I had a little project Westone single bucker guitar that I experimented on with all kinds of switching. At one point, I had a coil selector switch in line with the coil tap. Switching back and forth between the two coils did not produce any significant change in tone, though of you listened carefully you could hear a slight difference. That being said, it was a guitar bucker right next to the bridge, so that may have limited tonal variety as well. A MM style pickup might produce different results.
    MovinTarget likes this.
  16. grillman


    Dec 15, 2014
    I bought an SB-14 second hand and the guy who had it before me changed the pickup. Normally the switch soloes the bridge side single coil but he mounted it the other way and it now soloes the neck pickup.

    I tried to rewire it the original way but the neck side coil just sounded much better. I could hear a clear difference. The bridge side was quite more honky and thin.
    FugaziBomb and MovinTarget like this.
  17. MovinTarget

    MovinTarget Supporting Member

    Jan 30, 2018
    Maryland, USA
    Most bass pickups with visible poles that i've seen have the same material used in both coils as opposed to many guitar humbuckers that have visibly different pole pieces. I would think that this would give more character differences to a PuP when splitting one way or the other... perhaps more than their position?
  18. baxter_x


    Nov 27, 2013
    I feel a difference on my Lakland 55-94. Sigle coil is sharper, cuts a bit better in the mix. Both coils are more massive but a bit less distinct in the detail
  19. MovinTarget

    MovinTarget Supporting Member

    Jan 30, 2018
    Maryland, USA
    No doubt, but I'm trying to determine when and if its worth it to have the ability to select either coil, not just one of then, on top of series/parallel...
    FugaziBomb and baxter_x like this.
  20. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    The difference in sound is related to position. The guy with two humbuckers almost on top of each other (eastcoasteddie) heard a lot of difference between inner and outer coils mixed - that absolutely makes sense, as the two inner coils are much closer to each other in a relative sense than the outer coils. On a bridge pickup, the difference in relative position will also be pretty big going from one coil to the other within the same pickup. For a pickup far from the bridge, the difference will be more subtle, but probably still audible if you're paying attention. Position of a pickup is one of the most important factors in the sound of a bass - that position creates a comb filter for each string that is not eq-able - it's baked in, with no way to fix it, as the eq for each string is different, and their outputs are summed in the pickups' outputs.
    ctmullins and MovinTarget like this.