I have a Carvin twinblade and a Duncan 'lil 59. They're not bad. But they don't sound quite like a normal bucker, because they use a smaller magnet and thinner wire. So to get the output needed, they'll change the recipe - a ceramic instead of alnico, for example. Also, it senses a different, narrower area of the string. The two I have do NOT split very well.
IMO if you want a bucker and NEED to keep it single coil size, fine. But if you have the choice, go for a full size bucker. Your only concern since you're building it is aesthetics, so it's up to you how much that matters. But if it were me, I'd go full size.
Well, since someone in another thread correctly pointed out the difference between tremolo and vibrato, there is a difference between a mini-humbucker and a humbucker that is exactly the same size as a single coil. A mini-humbucker is about the size of a P-90 and much larger than a single coil pickup.
A good example of a single-coil-size humbucker is the Seymour Duncan Hot Rails which I have in one of my guitars. As someone else mentioned, they have to fool around with the humbuker recipe to get a humbucker into half its usual size. (10 pounds of apples in a 5 pound bag). These are very "hot" but also very dark sounding. When it is switched for series wiring, I recommned using it with distortion only. Wiring the coils in parallel instead of series is a little clearer but nothing like the clarity of a full-sized humbucker wired for parallel. Playing it with one of the coils cut sounds very anemic.
Why exactly are you going for that size? I mean, if you KNOW you want a certain pickup, it makes perfect sense. But since you're asking about them, that doesn't seem to be the case, so I wonder what you're thinking. You will have so many more choices if you go with full size pickups.
well. I just kind like the look of the pickup. I dont really like the look of a 2-Hum Strat. I much prefer the look of a hum at the bridge and a single at the neck. then i saw the mini-hums and thought "hey that looks pretty slick" but ofcourse sound is much more important to me than looks.
1. p-90s are bigger than minis. they're the same size as a mini PLUS the mounting ring.
2. minis are cool because they cancel hum but avoid the muddiness and have a bit more chime than a normal HB. they're not as hot as a HB so they deliver a cleaner sound. perfect for a tele'sneck position! just ask alan sparhawk (low)!
Mini hums sound about halfway between a single coil and a regular hum. They're ""close'ish"" to a bright P-90 in sound.
All magnetic pickups have magnetic lines of flux between the north and south poles. The "cutting" (movement thru) of these lines by the ferrous metal in the strings is what is coupled into the coil(s) and generates the output signal.
The main reason that a single coil-sized hum bucker sounds "not quite right" is that the string sensing field from the magnet is considerably narrower that a regular hum. This is due to both the north and south poles facing the strings about 1 cm apart (the flux lines are focused). Also, due to the minimal magnet area available, smaller ceramic magnetic are usually used (which are often brighter than alnico), but many more windings are needed (which leads to darker).
A regular hum also has both poles facing the strings, but these are about 3/4" apart (again, the flux lines are focused). The harmonic sensing points are almost twice as far apart. This contributes to the "broader" sound. (An interesting note as to why split hums don't quite sound like a single coil is that while one coil may indeed be out of the circuit , the magnetic sensing structure is still the same [and as focused and broad] as the regular hum.)
A "regular" single coil [tall/narrow] has the individual pole pieces facing the strings and the other magnetic pole facing away. The flux lines are fairly narrow (but not narrowly focused), and the primary string sensing is over the facing pole.
A P-90 [short/fat] usually has two flat bar magnets facing out to each side underneath with the common polarity of both touching the slugs/screws. The other polarity coming from both magnets is spread out and quite broad, as wide as much as 1 1/8" at the base of the coil. This gives the P-90 a broad sensing window (not narrowly focused) that gives great picking dynamics, and a sound that covers a lot of the range between (but not necessarily from/to) a single coil and a regular hum.
A mini hum is just that: a mini humbucker. It has smaller coils (brighter/weaker), smaller slugs/screws, a smaller magnet (weaker), and a slightly narrower string sensing window when compared to a regular hum. It's "jangly'er".
I had a Hamar that had SD mini hums. It had a good sound, but little "beef". I only rarely want this sound, so I cover it w/ my Variax/Workbench & VG-88 gear.
However, I AM fond of P-90's and have a PRS soapbar SE (a regular PRS would be highly wasted on my playing ability). I have two build guitars "in the oven" that have P-90's in the neck. One is a SAsh blackguard Tele copy w/ a SD JD bridge PU (Callaham HW of course) and the other is a SAsh Strat body copy, Tele electronics w/ a Rio Twangbucker in the Tele bridge. I tend to use the SD P-90 Stack since it can be used in series/parallel/either coil modes (and I got several of them for $20 each on MF blowout a while back).
AND I always use a 1 3/4" fatback or 1 7/8" standard neck for best sustain and tone (it's all only physics afterall).
Post by UnklMickey on Oct 17, 2005 14:20:58 GMT -5
The main reason that a single coil-sized hum bucker sounds "not quite right" is that ...
not to take anything away from your thorough, well thought out post ChrisK, but i just HAD to say, some folks would argue the fact that ANY HB sounds "not quite right". they might say that when you have 2 discrete sensing windows with less than say 2 1/4" distance, it "just ain't right!"
mind you i'm one of those folks that says try to figure out what does what, and use it to your best advantange.
i imagine that someday we may even find a cult following for SC sized side-by-side HBs that contend that anything else is just dinosaur thinking.
good to hear from you again.
"Silence is golden, but duct tape is silver. " -- Steve Hopton
"some people say happiness is just a State of mind...................... i think it should be a whole freakin' Country!" -- unklmickey
Post by Runewalker on Oct 18, 2005 22:04:30 GMT -5
I had mini-hums on a gold top LesPaul delux, then regular sized Gibson -hums on a LP Standard. The Standard sounded fuller and beefier. The delux was always a little anemic.
So which is better? To my ears the standard sized humbucker, which as described in the discussion, converts 'picks up' a broader landscape of string vibration, sounded fuller, more powerful and no one ever asks, "where's the beef."
Conversely I have one of John H''s wiring configs on a 3 single pup strat clone. The bridge and middle pup in series actually have higer output than the LesPaul's bridge, but sound airier with a little single coil twang. This is I think due to the spread between the mid and bridge upposed to the LPs cluster.
If you seek the classic -hum sound I would suggest a standard humbucker. If esthetics is the concern there are a number of cover options, and you may be able to even fashion a custom cover the gives the reveal you desire.
In the end, you play the thang not just stare at it.