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HSS Strat: Humbucker volume matching

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by maxime1122, Dec 28, 2016.

  1. maxime1122

    maxime1122 Strat-Talk Member

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    I had an HSS Strat before, and I remember having issues with matching the volume of the humbucker to the single coil. I didn't try the Shawbucker yet, but were you guys able to match the volume?
     
  2. integra evan

    integra evan Strat-O-Master

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    Lower the humbucker height
     
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  3. turnupthemetal

    turnupthemetal Strat-Talk Member

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    ^^^ What he said.
     
  4. suncrush

    suncrush Senior Stratmaster

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    I prefer to optimize the sound of each pickup and use a boost pedal on the single coils if needed.
     
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  5. PCollen

    PCollen Senior Stratmaster

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    Sorry, no experience with a Shawbucker pickup.

    Yes...and conversely, you can set the out put of a boost pedal LESS than unity gain and kick it in when the humbucker is selected...use it in reverse.

    I have had some luck using a 250K volume pot with a humbucker and putting a 100-150K resistor in series on the signal wire between humbucker and the volume pot input. The humbucker "sees" 350-400K when volume is full on, but a portion of the signal is dropped across the series resistor. You have to experiment with the resistor value, based on how strogn an output the 'bucker has vs. that of the single coils. And the 'bucker will be slightly darker sounding...it's a matter of taste.
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2017
  6. suncrush

    suncrush Senior Stratmaster

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    You could also build a passive box for $5. Put a 250KA pot in a pedal box with a footswitch, and you can stomp-to-kill some of your humbucker volume. Using the volume knob on the guitar would be easier, but this would allow you to make on-the-fly changes between presets.
     
  7. jpjr50

    jpjr50 Strat-O-Master

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    I have Suhr pickups in my HSS and don't have volume issues.

    My pickup height is pretty high on all three.

    I'll do more tests tonight with a DB meter.
     
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  8. Strat-Slinger

    Strat-Slinger Senior Stratmaster

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    unfortunately... trying to get an even volume match between buckers and singles is not always possible... sure, you can go messing with stomps/boosts etc... to get things even but, that's another PITA to have to deal with... especially if your at a gig or jam situation... more stuff to have to remember and time so it all comes off proper with no hitches...

    The Shawbucker is a very clean sounding bucker... but, it's still going to have a stronger signal than the singles... I think the best thing you could do would be to get some hot wound/high output singles (or stacked singles)... lower the bucker way down... and jack the singles as high as possible without them being too close and begin tweaking from there... then you'll at least have a decent chance at getting a "unity" in volumes across all three pups...

    This is why I don't like HSS config... it's a somehwat problematic pup arrangement in regards to the volume spike with the humbucker... especially in the bridge position...
     
  9. turnupthemetal

    turnupthemetal Strat-Talk Member

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    I've got a stock American Professional HSS config. When I got the guitar, there was a significant difference in volume between the Shawbucker and the singles. I have simply lowered the bucker and there is now no difference. I haven't had to lower the bucker "way" down. There is still a fair amount of pickup above the pickguard.
     
  10. ashtray

    ashtray Strat-O-Master

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    Some of the charm of an HSS is you get 3 nice Strat sounds in positions 3-5, and then you can kick in the juice and throw it back to position 1 for screaming high gain stuff. Roll back the volume knob on the guitar if need be to match the single coils or install a coil tap. Or lower the pickup - but then you lose that advantage of a full sized humbucker.

    The bridge pickup needs to "work the hardest" anyways to pick up the strings vibrations so close to the bridge - so bridge pickups tend to be wound hotter even in an SSS. Going to a humbucker does increase the output, but its not like trying to match the gain of a neck humbucker with a Tele bridge pickup. (I have a Tele like that - coil tap on the neck pickup but then put in a stacked humbucking pickup in the bridge - also on a separate coil tap - so best of all worlds.)
     
  11. kkerrick

    kkerrick New Member!

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    Agreed. I have a prewired Shabucker with 4th Gen Noiseless installed. The humbucker is the passing lane it pumps a lot of gain into the amp so, I get a bit of dirt vs the clean of the straights. The only time I got any type of volume balance with all pickups at a similar height was using a SD Holy Grail humbucker with Texmex straights and with a coil tap it was even better.
     
  12. diogoguitar

    diogoguitar Senior Stratmaster

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    volume matching is very important to me. I haven't done an HSS set yet, but I have done an HSH one.

    Although challenging, it is quite possible to have the outputs decently matched. But you have to make choices: do you want a hot humbucker? Then you need hotter single coils. I found the Dimarzio Fast Track 1 pretty decent for that purpose. I have it paired with a Seymour Duncan JB bridge and Dimarzio Paf PRO on the neck. It's a very decently balanced set.


    If you want a more vintage single coild set, then you need a more vintage humbucker. That's the way it is.
     
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