Dual coil tone

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Faceman75, May 22, 2018.

  1. Faceman75


    Dec 21, 2015
    I've been searching, but can't find an answer. Why are dual coil pickups scooped? The brand doesn't seem to matter, they all have that same inherent character.
  2. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    When you combine signals from two input devices that different distances from the same source, including two coils that are right next to each other along the length of a string, some frequencies will cancel each other out.

    If a vibration hits one coil at the peak of the wave and the other coil at the valley of the wave the two signals will negate each other when they reach the speaker.

    It's basically like the illustration below, only with harmonics instead of the fundamental vibration of the string.

  3. Killed_by_Death

    Killed_by_Death Snaggletooth Inactive

    It's more pronounced when the coils are in parallel.
    I've got some PFR (Passive Full Range) pickups in my Ibanez SR eXtreme (SRX) that have plenty of mids:


    They're wired in series.
  4. ofajen


    Apr 12, 2007
    92.4W 38.9N
    This will help explain:

    Response Effects of Guitar Pickup Position and Width

    The answer is down in the part about the effects of pickup width, but it’s probably helpful to read and understand the basics about pickup location in the earlier sections.

  5. Faceman75


    Dec 21, 2015
    Thanks Otto, but that was way over my head.

    lz4005's explanation does make sense, but isn't it more about the pickup design? I have a bass with EMG-HZs. Wired in standard series humbucking mode, they have muddy, overbearing lows, but wired in parallel, the lows are much more subdued, while the mids are much more audible. What is it that creates that tonal difference?
  6. Northfear


    Mar 15, 2017
    I actually find the lows pretty much the same, but they may sound subdued due to the cancelled frequencies in the low mids. Mids may be more audible due to the higher resonant peak with parallel wiring.
    Although in my experience HZ's sounded more mid heavy in series. But once again result may vary due to the pickup placement (or width of a pickup)
    Here's an interesting demo in addition to the previous link that shows the effect of pickup placement on the sound.
    Guitar Pickup Response Demonstration
    Last edited: May 23, 2018
  7. ofajen


    Apr 12, 2007
    92.4W 38.9N
    Ok, so piled on top of the geometric fundamentals determined by pickup location and width are the effects of the pickups in an electronic circuit. Parallel wiring and series wiring are different circuits.

    Generally pickups with more inductance have less highs. Inductance adds in series so roughly speaking you get an effective pickup with twice the inductance of the single coil and a midrange focused tone. Inductance divides in parallel so you get an effective pickup with half the inductance of one coil and a sound with more highs.

    lz4005 likes this.
  8. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Jun 16, 2021

Share This Page