Single coil vs. humbuckers

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by 4string4ever, Oct 10, 2004.

  1. 4string4ever

    4string4ever Guest

    Apr 18, 2004
    Orlando, Florida
    What's the difference in tone between single coil and humbuckers?
  2. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    There are some consistent differences.
    Humbucker wired in series will generally have a more pronounced mid range emphasis than a humbucker wired in parallel or a single coil pickup.

    There are humbuckers hardwired in series, hardwired in parallel or switchable between the two.
  3. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004

    concur with David and add that in general singles are brighter and thinner in tone whereas an HB is more full and low end heavy. Although there are single J's out there that sound more like HB's than J's. So you can get a pretty dark single but I can't say I've ran across a typical HB that comes close to the brightness of the typical single. Even typical HB's or stacked HB's split into singles sound more like HB's than J's to me. Although some MM's split sound more a like a single coil J to me than any other HB's I've played - in fact, often close enough to use in place of one. But HB's are quiet, most singles typically aren't. You can go active with singles to get dead quiet but then you usually lose rawness and desireable coloration that's present in passive pups.
  4. are the bartolini soaps that come standard on the Conklin GT-7 humbuckers, or single coils?
  5. A9X


    Dec 27, 2003
    Sinny, Oztraya
    They've definitely got two bar assemblies in there, as well as an active pre built in, so it's really hard to tell what they are, because you can't measure them out with a multimeter.

    My hunch is they're humbuckers, but probably specced completely differently that a std humbucker in the same package would be mainly due to the preamp.
  6. The DiMarzio are not humbuckers, but hum cancelling pickups.

    A humbucker is a pair of coils wound in opposite directions. The DiMarzio (Model J) are a pair of side-by-side coils wound in opposite directions. They offer the single coil tone, but without the hum.

    The Fender J is a hum cancelling configuration when both pickups are full on. The bridge and neck are wound opposite and produce a hum cancelling effect. This is why the J hums when the bridge is solo'ed. Older Mexican Fender J used the same pickup in both places, hence no hum cancelling with both full on. I understand the new ones (post 2001) use two different types, same as the American ones.

    The Fender P is a split pickup, each half is wired oppostie the other, and is a hum cancelling type, same as the DiMarzio.