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Make ANY humbucker sound like a single coil in 2 minutes.

Discussion in 'Pickup Forum' started by ITSGOTQUACK, Jun 18, 2012.

  1. stradovarious

    stradovarious Senior Stratmaster

    Dec 14, 2010
    Wow. Just wow.

    Thanks, Scott!

    So here's the story.

    I was just about to rip the stock neck 'bucker out of my RG and put in
    a rail or even a single coil, and I was literally warming up the
    soldering iron when I saw this thread and I thought, "what the hell? Worth a try".

    Now the stock INF3 neck 'bucker has hex screws, no problem, had the correct wrench- some wax came out with the screws but stayed on the threads for the most part.

    HOLY SCHMIDT! It works perfectly, I swear my
    stock INF3 neck 'bucker sounds wonderful, like a really fine single
    coil- but no hum.

    I noticed that there are a couple of people on the thread who are as floored as I am,
    but a couple of folks who are like "hey man, this has been done
    already a million times, it's just the same principle as a stacked
    single coil", etc, etc...

    Yeah but most stacked SC's sounds DEAD, and this method achieves the
    same goal but there is so much LIFE in the pickup!

    Plus you were not saying you invented anything, your point was you
    don't have to rip out pickups and install something different. You can
    get a great SC sound- a REALLY great SC sound that is hum free, but leave your original wiring and solder joints intact, which is a big deal for resale on valuable guitars...not that my cheapo RG is valuable to anyone but me.

    Also, what's the point of saying a coil tap is a better solution when your thread is directed at people who do not WANT to perform a coil tap, they either want to leave the guts of the instrument untouched, or (like me) they just want a single coil sound- a QUIET single coil sound, without doing mods. For WHATEVER reason....

    Anyway, thanks, Scott! Awesome. I know this is blasphemy, but my RG now sounds very Stratty indeed, even with the coil located at the butt-end of a 24th fret!:twisted:
  2. Tork

    Tork Strat-Talk Member

    Feb 21, 2011
    N.IL at Lake Michigan
    Scott, This info is a nice gift! It is proof positive to be honest especially when you try it yourself.
    Complaints about vid length, trying to knock it as invalid, I do not get it man!

    Good sense of humor, your playing is fantastic, what is not to like??

    It is not like a coil split, it is like a dummy coil, but I think it is more than that because you are keeping the resistance where it needs to be. And is there a single coil with a dummy coil pickup in a humbucker side by side like that?
    This is brilliant in that you are not spending money, you are not doing a guitarectomy (rewiring, soldering etc)

    I am glad you stood your ground too which steered the thread back on a positive tone.
    Much respect AND thank you, awesome job!
  3. Titman9

    Titman9 New Member!

    Jan 23, 2013
    Mars, Dude

    ITSGOTQUACK Strat-Talker

    Sep 19, 2011
    Hello my friends, I've made a lot of my videos private and offered them as viewable ONLY on my website. So, anybody that wants to hear me ramble can do so here: GROOVY HELP VIDEOS XXX - GROOVY MUSIC LESSONS
    Yep, I'm long winded, but sometimes there are little nuggets of gold withing the rantings of a mad man. lol There's a lot to be learned, or to think about, in these videos. I hope some of you get some GROOVY ideas. Cheers!
  5. stradovarious

    stradovarious Senior Stratmaster

    Dec 14, 2010
    +1, Scott.

    And I can see why you made the videos private and available only on your website.

    Who needs lame negative energy from people who should just click out of the video/ thread if they don't like it.

    I was always taught "if you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all when faced with someone's good intentions".

    I think people just want to show how smart they are by pointing out (incorrectly) that so and so is not as smart as they think.

    You are sharp as a tack and I think it's cooler that people need to actively seek out your clips if they want to learn from them.

    Why lay them at the feet of every Tom Dick and Harry just so they can climb on their high horse.:rolleyes:

    More power to ya. And I'll keep unscrewing them poles. Made my RG sound like a Strat:twisted: (well, somewhat, for sure).

    Thanks again.
  6. Mystic38

    Mystic38 New Member!

    Feb 2, 2013
    Mystic CT
    Agreed, converting humbucker to noiseless single coils is what has happened... and sound is exactly what you would expect out of a noiseless sc.. close but thats it.

    I tend to agree with posts that say if a sc option is what you desire, its way better to spend the time to give yourself a coil tap, so that you instantly have the option, after all, if you are going to change guitars to get a sc sound, simply get a sc guitar.

    but to the op.. if you just want a tele sound.. i will swap you a tele for that V :D

  7. Overwound

    Overwound Strat-Talker

    Apr 12, 2013
    a four syllable word.
    Thanks, Scott. Great video. I can't wait to try this on some Epiphone humbuckers.
  8. StratoTerr

    StratoTerr Senior Stratmaster

    Jul 21, 2011
    Lewes De.
    If you want to farther experiment on optimizing sound try all 4 HB wiring schemes. Standard is G-Gr-R-W-Bl-+, thats grounded Slug start ,Screw now screwless start as +. G-R-Gr-Bl-W-+ switches starts for finishes. G-Bl-W-R-Gr-+ is typical phase reversal with Screw coil start as ground, Slug start as +. G-W-Bl-Gr-R-+ reverses starts and finishes. All 4 are both coils in phase with themselves. The last 2 are phase reversed in reference to other p/ups. The sound is subtley different. I had a 1 p/up guitar and wired it on a toggle for 2 sounds. Which coil is grounded makes the most sound change. My fav is normal , but each hook up is different enough to hear to see which you might like.
  9. erichans

    erichans New Member!

    Mar 10, 2014
    Hey Scott,
    You need never apologise for this brilliant stuff! I have two Strats with bridge HBs I love, but was going to get rid of. Right now, happy as hell!!

  10. guitarman60

    guitarman60 Senior Stratmaster

    Mar 2, 2013
    Face Palm to the max. Dear Lord help these people. Amen.
  11. av8rfred

    av8rfred New Member!

    Aug 5, 2014
    Da Physiks

    What is happening with this is:
    1. The humbucker in this mod is a set of two coil assemblies, each having either a bank of screws or a bank of metallic plugs, designed to be positioned under a specific guitar string, and mounted in the guitar body.
    2. Each screw in one coil assembly of the humbucker pickup and each plug in the other coil assembly of the humbucker pickup effect a magnetic field directed to the string above it.
    3. When you pluck the string, it vibrates.
    4. The vibrating string 'cuts' the magnetic field and creates an electric current in each humbucker coil assembly that are electrically added together. The current by the screwed coil flows to/from the metallic plugged coil and adds to that current. So each coil is creating guitar signals for the amplifier and they add together.
    5. Electrical signals have a natural property of adding and subtracting to create a final electrical signal. In a coil, the guitar electrical signal adds to a hum electrical signal, but they act like they are separate signals. Kind of like pouring green beads in a jar partially filled with red beads. The jar is fuller of beads, but the number of red beads didn't change and can still be seen in the jar. Likewise, a humming coil still produces the same guitar signal, it just also produces a hum signal added to it. That hum signal can be subtracted from the total guitar signal and hum signal coming from a coil just like someone removing the green beads from the jar in the example above.
    6. The hum is an electromagnetic field being broadcast and radiated by some device. In other words, the neon light, fluorescent lamp, whatever, is creating light and is an electromagnetic 60 cycle radio station that the guitar pickup coil is a great receiver antennae for. Each guitar pickup coil is a natural antennae for the hum being broadcasted by electrical equipment. Magnetic fields have a north and a south, similar to an electric field having a plus and a minus. The humbucker is two pickup coils positioned magnetically such that the broadcasted 60 cycle electromagnetic signal from the electrical equipment on one coil creates a plus hum current that pickup coil, and the same 60 cycle electromagnetic signal from that electrical equipment simultaneously creates a minus hum current on the other pickup coil. The plus hum current from one coil and the minus hum current in the other coil add together to equal zero hum current out of the humbucker. (One coil adds the green beads to the jar and the other coil takes out the green beads, so only red beads leave the jar) That equals a humbucked, i.e., 'quiet' guitar output signal from the humbucker pickup. Humbucker = Hum + bucker: the 'minus' hum current from one coil 'bucks' the 'plus' hum current from the other coil.
    6. The screws and metallic plugs are used only for the guitar sound, not the hum bucking. The coils are antennae for the hum. The screws and metallic plugs are for strengthening the guitar signal induced in their respective pickup coil. The physics of the pickup screws or metallic plugs, coil and guitar string is exactly the same physics used by the local electrical power station generator to make electricity and the same physics used to run the motor in the vacuum cleaner. A wire (guitar string) cutting a magnetic field (that the screws and metallic plugs create) makes an electrical current in the coil of wire surrounding the screws/metallic plugs.
    7. A single coil pickup is a coil of insulated wire with a set of screws or metallic plugs. The screws or metallic plugs create a magnetic field that a plucked or vibrating guitar string cuts that creates an electrical current in the coil of that guitar string vibration frequency, including harmonics and fundamental frequencies. The hum electromagnetic signal radiated by electrical gizmos in the local area (room) broadcast away and are received by the pickup coil and added to the guitar signal. The single coil pickup hums away.
    8. A humbucker pickup is two single coil pickups aligned so that the guitar signal of the screwed pickup and the guitar signal of the metallic plug pickup add together, but the hum signal received by the screwed pickup coil and the hum signal received by the metallic plug pickup coil cancel, so only the two added together guitar signals from each coil are sent out of the pickup.
    9. When the screws are removed from the humbucker, what happens is that the humbucker still has two pickup single coils, one single coil without screws, and one single coil with plugs. The single coil without screws is a coil that has no ability to pickup the guitar signal from the strings above it. But it still has the ability to receive the hum electromagnetic signal transmitted by the electronic stuff in the room. The single coil with the metallic plugs has the ability to pick up the guitar signal from the vibrating strings and also the ability to receive the hum electromagnetic signal transmitted by the electronic stuff in the room, but out of phase with the hum signal picked up by the pickup coil without screws. Therefore the two coils in the humbucker work together just as before to receive and cancel the hum signal. The only difference is that the guitar signal has become a single coil pickup. For the purists, the coil to coil magnetism tends to create a very very very weak pickup and so the humbucker with the screws removed produces a slightly amplified guitar signal over that of a similarly wound single coil. However, plucking strength would tend to mask that effect. In other words, that is a very very small addition.
    10. Because the screws can individually be adjusted to strengthen a string signal or weaken a string signal, I would remove the metallic plugs (called 'bobbins') instead of removing the screws. The bobbins are just pressed in and glued to a nonmagnetic bar in the bottom of the pickup, I would remove the bobbins and fill the hole with wax like a gray color crayon.
    11. I adjust the screws in the pickup: set the pickup to where it sounds best, then if there are not enough 'balls' I adjust the screws out (toward the string) under the E and A strings until I get my sound. Too ballsy, adjust the pickup down and adjust the screws out under the D, B, and e strings. The screws are too close to the strings when either happen: the sustain goes down or the strings hit the screws. Sustain goes down by magnetic dampening of the guitar string by the pickup magnetic field going through the screw. If that happens then lower that pickup side by adjusting the pickup lowering screw until the sustain comes back. Then keep adjusting the screw (and subsequently lowering the pickup) until the guitar sounds right.
    12. In summary, I would remove the metallic pins (bobbins) instead of the screws. Without the bobbins, the humbucker is a single coil pickup for guitar string signals and a still a humbucker for stuff in the room electromagnetically broadcasting the 60 cycle electrical hum. With the bobbins removed, I would pour wax back into the bobbin holes, color crayon wax could be melted and used, with the gray stuff or black stuff looking 'normal.' The wax can be drilled out by hand and the bobbins replaced to recreate the humbucker, or any iron screws can be screwed instead of the cheaper bobbins to make another adjustable coil for the humbucker. Adjust the screws in the coil having the screws to get the best tone and sound from the instrument. Adjust the whole pickup to get the best sustain.
  12. smurph1

    smurph1 Senior Stratmaster

    May 29, 2013
    West Virginia
    Me too.. 2 Strats and a Tele..
  13. Viking inLA

    Viking inLA Most Honored Senior Member

    Oct 23, 2013
    Los Angeles
    awesome.......good stuff
  14. stratman in va

    stratman in va Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    Jul 27, 2012
    People get the terms coil tap and coil cut intertwined at times. A coil tap would actually access another point on the same coil. Coil cut would take one coil out of the loop and complete the circuit using one coil.

    As others have said, this fellow has stopped one coil from producing sound.

    He has a coil and a dummy coil pretty much.
  15. mreilander

    mreilander Strat-Talker

    Apr 2, 2011
    Vancouver Canada
    Yes, but it's a little more complex than that.

    By removing the screws, you are altering the shape of the magnetic field drastically.

    In its original configuration, the magnetic field of the humbucker is very much like that of a horseshoe magnet, with the lines of flux concentrated between the screws and the slugs. Though you can cut out one of the coils, the shape of the field is the same.

    By removing the screws, the lines of flux now have to go from the tops of the slugs all the way down to the bottom where the opposing side of the magnet is. This field shape is more similar to that of a fender single coil, and that is why removing the screws sounds different than a coil split.
  16. stratman in va

    stratman in va Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    Jul 27, 2012
    Yep, taking the poles/screws from one coil takes it out of the magnetic field... just a dummy coil that would not do anything on its own.
  17. bchaffin72

    bchaffin72 The wizard next door. Strat-Talk Supporter

    Oct 4, 2008
    Two different concepts for two different types of pickups. You tap singles, split doubles.
  18. Green Craig

    Green Craig Senior Stratmaster

    Oct 15, 2012
    Little bump. Being bored on a Saturday afternoon, I went ahead and did this to my LTD Viper. To mine ears, it doesn't necessarily sound different, inasmuch as it simply feels or plays like a single coil now. The sound (sans screws) is a little more subdued in a way that I can only describe as how a buffered bypass pedal sounds a little more subdued than a true bypass.

    Can anyone compare the sound of the screwless 'bucker to something like a P-90? I've been tossing around the idea of swapping pickups in the Viper for a while now, and honestly, the reason I took out the screws was just to experiment and see if I liked the sound.
  19. Percy

    Percy Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    I want my humbuckers too sound like humbuckers[thats why i bought that guitar]i want my strat or tele too sound like my strat or tele[thats why i bought them]This guy is a F
  20. Merglet

    Merglet Strat-Talker

    Feb 17, 2013
    Percy, that was unnecessarily rude.