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> Single Coil Pickups, Whats the point of single coil pickups?
AK Rich
post Apr 2 2014, 12:58 AM
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QUOTE (Darius Wave @ Apr 1 2014, 01:16 PM) *
I love the bite of Single Coils! smile.gif Those sweet trebles and dynamics. I know it's not visible on my current published vids but I'm more single than some of my friends suspect smile.gif I would never ate my ego to agree with anybody but I can't honestly say this now...I HAD TO GROWN UP TO SINGLE COIL TONE...

Previously I was just wondering why the hell people play pickups that are so harsh and noisy. But..through Years I started to realize WHY and it's impossible to explain to anyone until he/she get's to the same point on he/she 's own. No one could never explain me and I think it's pointless. This day will come for some of us and for some never will. And I think it's nothing bad at all....but just smiled to myself imagining current me trying to explain "young me" why singles are so cool smile.gif

Oh...and the low output, Alnico 5, noisy, not shielded pickups biggrin.gif

Oh that yummy glass in tone, this brilliance while playing with fingers and that damn bite while hitting strings with full power smile.gif




Ha ha ha! Thanx Rod and Hexabuzz - I would never notice they included my vid in this article biggrin.gif

Well said Darek! And +1, I feel the same way and couldn't have said it better myself! smile.gif
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miguelbatalha
post Apr 2 2014, 01:01 AM
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Your worst nightmare is reality.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ek2ysxtmQZw


Boom! bass with THREE single coils. haha


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Mudbone
post Apr 2 2014, 01:37 AM
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Manufacturers continue to produce single coils because the profit margin on them is staggering. There is also an incredible demand for them. Any guitar or pickup manufacturer that wants to make a profit would be insane not to follow the market. They only cost pennies to make, yet can sell for hundreds.

Tone, however, is almost completely subjective. Music is painting with sound, a single coil tone is just one of many colors available.

Of course, there is the issue of noise, while even though I love the tone of single coils, it drives me crazy. But there are a variety of noiseless pickups available that reproduce about 98% of the tone.

I don't think it is fair to say that new pickups aren't being developed and pushed to market. There are. Plenty. But most guitarists are traditionalists, and that's what the market caters to.

Here is a list of a few "advanced" pickup designs that have been around for varying amounts of time. Some are fairly new, like Zexcoil, while others, like the Joe Bardens and Lace Sensors, have been around for decades.

Zexcoil

Lace Sensors

Lace Alumitone

Sublime Pickups

Joe Barden Pickups


But the reason why I like them is because they have a character like no other. It is THAT sound. To me, when I think of guitar sound, I think of a Fender Stratocaster tone. And I'm a more of a metal guy.

QUOTE (miguelbatalha @ Apr 1 2014, 07:01 PM) *
Your worst nightmare is reality.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ek2ysxtmQZw


Boom! bass with THREE single coils. haha


This is priceless laugh.gif

This post has been edited by Mudbone: Apr 2 2014, 01:36 AM


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Hexabuzz
post Apr 2 2014, 02:00 AM
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There's always the Variax, which is dealing strictly with the modeling of the guitar/pickups... And no noise on your "single coils" (jump to 2:00)...





This post has been edited by Hexabuzz: Apr 2 2014, 02:05 AM
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Mertay
post Apr 2 2014, 02:05 AM
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Though there are types of noiseless single designs, when examined probably all are using the tech. of humbuckers. They do sound single-coil like as they're pointing at a narrow field but internally operates a bit different.

For noiseless (though haven't played but listened on web) I like PRS's approach (408 is a good example). It feels more like an original sound than a copy of singlecoils but it does have qualities of a single coil too. This year Gibson also started to make guitars thats electically "splitted" like PRS.

What it does is beside splitting it also adds only a small amount of the neighbor single's lower freq.s, so the noise is partly eliminated (not as strong as a humbucker but still good) while the mid and highs aren't. Sure its not the same but a very good alternative.


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klasaine
post Apr 2 2014, 02:27 AM
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This has been inside a lot of Suhr guitars for some time now:

http://www.ilitchelectronics.com/

We've discussed it here before - a newer version of the recessed 'dummy' coil system.


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Kristofer Dahl
post Apr 2 2014, 08:46 AM
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I love single coils because of the all the nuances in the pick attack which they capture so well - but that's about it. However I think the attack is incredibly important when shaping your own tone. Preferably I would like to have the best of both worlds in one pickup!

I really like the fender SCN (Samarium Cobalt Noiseless) single coils in my strat, they are pretty noiseless and a result of a collaboration between Fender and Bill Lawrence. They have a modern sound - but still with all the characteristics of single coils (well to me at least).

So do we as customers slow the development pace down by accepting (and purchasing) noisy single coil guitars?

Rather than selling decent guitars with noisy pickups, I would like to see the big brands sell some guitars without pickups at all, so I could get a better deal and make use of the spare pickups I have gathered over the years..


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Darius Wave
post Apr 2 2014, 09:38 AM
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About the Ilitch - I made a tests with different dummy coilsand it's probably the best solution I ever found (for my personal taste). I even matched some dummy coil for split option of my SH2N in Hufschmid guitar. I have a set of SD STK4 wchich are noiseless, as well as good, old SSL-1 and a full set of "five-two". both SSL-1 and 52 are classic cingle coils with no wax and no shielding + alnico magnets (2 and 5). Even If I was fighting with noise through all my life I finished saying "old singles are best" and I know I'm a part of majority in this case. Classic Stacks are noiseless but even if they sound more like a single coil...it's nothing close to SSL-1 - simply felt in the brightness and fulness of harmonics. If Your guitar is bright itselt You might not feel the difference as much as with cheap, muddy piece of wood (like budget alder guitars for 200$). In this case You feel like You play different guitar because brightness of instrument affects the wat amp reacts on Your playing dynamics. Of course...not and amp like 5150 or DR but with AC30, RH30, AD30 or Plexi You will feel like your playing different amp just by changing the guitar pickup. Of course...there is one condition - You have to enjoy that types of amps.


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klasaine
post Apr 2 2014, 06:42 PM
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I haven't felt like trying the Illitch system on any of my single coils axes as of yet. Although I have many colleagues that use it and love it.

I've found that if I shield the guitar's cavity and the underside of the pickguard with copper tape and paint, use good wire, jacks and pots and something known as 'STAR' grounding http://www.seymourduncan.com/forum/showthr...nding-my-guitar that my strats and teles are very usable even with some pretty high-gained tones. *But also my cables are all decent, I try to keep my amps serviced, quality power supply for the pedals (or all batteries - which is quietest) and any really 'noisy' pedal gets yanked off the board. The whole chain is part of either noisier or quieter. I've found that even with over wound singles, including P-90s, that a good shielding job and good wire go a very long way to quieting things down.

There are some clubs here in Los Angeles where I will not bring a single coils only guitar.
I have a tele with Pete Florence noiseless pkups, a strat with a 'bucker in the bridge (little 59) an LP and an Ibby 335 ripoff model. Though even in the REALLY noisy clubs, even an axe with two humbuckers can attract a little noise. Unless the humbuckers are perfectly matched impedance wise can be a little noisy. *Interestingly, the best sounding dual 'bucker designed guitars as well as what the high-end pkup makers design and build are 'on purpose' not perfectly (impedance) matched because in the middle position they sound better and also have a better match between neck and bridge volume wise.

I think you can only achieve 'dead quiet' in any situation with truly active (powered) pickups. Hence the contributions by EMG and Bartolini in the early days of 'Arena' rock. Light bars, smoke pots, walkie talkies - you wanna talk about noise through your guitar ...

This post has been edited by klasaine: Apr 2 2014, 07:44 PM


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Becca
post Apr 3 2014, 01:51 AM
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Now we are getting somewhere with this. I admit that there was a touch of mischief in the way I posed this question. I think TeoWulf was the first to suspect ,so well done that man. However I did want to see how this forum handles itself even when someone, ahem, drops a boulder in the pond. What I learned was this site is not only fun but has musos on here who are thoughtful and articulate and who love a good debate. Mudbone really picked the ball up when he pointed out the low cost of manufacturing pups compared to the mark up. Kenny, the irrepressible klasaine, told us the lengths he had to go to on one of his guitars to improve the shielding. This is part of what I want to get at. We slog to buy the best we can afford to do the job we love. If we were builders and our tools were not made to the highest standard that manufacturer would be out of business pretty darn quick. I admire Ken for being able to do the extra finishing work on his guitar that it needed. It just makes me cross that it hadn't come from the factory adequately shielded.
I mentioned my old USA Fender Strat . It was a ltd edition reissue in a lovely Antigua finish. Kind of like a pearl grey sunburst if you don't know it. It had a micro tilt neck so it was possibly a '72 reissue? It cost hundreds of pounds more than the standard Strats hanging next it in the Fender dealership in Ealing. It also weighed a ton. I gradually became aware of how noisy it was as said before, but also lots of finishing issues. The scratch plate was bowed outwards from the body. The slot for the five way was left rough cut. Turning down the the tone knobs increased the buzzing and operating the switch varied from a bit of crackle to thumps and bangs. I had to take a can of WD40 into the orchestra pit every session! The dealer tried to tell me it was "authentic Fender" but in the end used the TINY argument on me (tough, it's now yours)!
By raising these sort of issues here, amongst musicians who routinely help each other out and who can discuss the hind legs off a donkey we may be able to bring issues that have plagued us , all of us, for years out into the sunlight. Perhaps get companies to raise their game a bit in response. Hell, even Gibson now offer coil split and phase shift on the Les Paul. It took them until 2012 and undoubtedly in response to PRS eating into their sales but it shows that mountains can move. Eventually.
And now I realise all of this should be under a new topic for discussion, not just pinned in the end of this topic. Sorry, still new to the forum thing. I will copy it into a new discussion topic. Please join in there guys.


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Darius Wave
post Apr 3 2014, 09:01 AM
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Exactly Becca smile.gif Here we have some descent, healthy discussions with no offending and no childish behavior smile.gif But You know it's true - more or less purposely , You did put the stick into the anthill biggrin.gif



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Headbanger
post Apr 3 2014, 11:41 AM
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QUOTE (Becca @ Apr 3 2014, 01:51 AM) *
However I did want to see how this forum handles itself even when someone, ahem, drops a boulder in the pond.


Ahem...you mean an asteroid into a bucket of water! laugh.gif


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Cosmin Lupu
post Apr 4 2014, 08:42 AM
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QUOTE (Kristofer Dahl @ Apr 2 2014, 07:46 AM) *
I love single coils because of the all the nuances in the pick attack which they capture so well - but that's about it. However I think the attack is incredibly important when shaping your own tone. Preferably I would like to have the best of both worlds in one pickup!

I really like the fender SCN (Samarium Cobalt Noiseless) single coils in my strat, they are pretty noiseless and a result of a collaboration between Fender and Bill Lawrence. They have a modern sound - but still with all the characteristics of single coils (well to me at least).

So do we as customers slow the development pace down by accepting (and purchasing) noisy single coil guitars?

Rather than selling decent guitars with noisy pickups, I would like to see the big brands sell some guitars without pickups at all, so I could get a better deal and make use of the spare pickups I have gathered over the years..


VERY interesting Kris smile.gif Though I see this as a special sort of offer which addresses people who know what they need and I am sure that you were referring to the same thing as well. A beginner would never benefit this sort of offer as he lacks the necessary experience to tell what's what. I sometimes get questions like - hey, how in blazes can you tell a Fender tone from a Gibson tone. Our ears have grown so accustomed to these subtle differences and tone characteristics, we can almost instantaneously tell them apart.

Regarding single coils - I'm a big fan myself. As you said, the brilliance and nuances in the tone are unmistakeable.. But for each, his own. Some people don't like them...


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Todd Simpson
post Apr 6 2014, 12:40 AM
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Ahem. smile.gif Todd here! There really is a short simple answer to your original question.

1.)Some players prefer the tone of Single Coil Pups

Typically, though not always, these are NOT the guys in MESHUGGAH. Folks that really like single coils, often have a matching overall tone and style of play that compliments them.

Now the, as for your experiment. What you did there was actually try to use single coils as if they were humbuckers sad.gif They aren't. They just aren't and never will be. Now you can get some stacked singles that behave more like buckers smile.gif But if you want a high gain sound, are not looking for a glassy clean/jazz tone, etc. then you don't want singles. You want buckers smile.gif

Personally, my fav guitar is a RG560 with HSS configuration and I LOVE the single coil in the neck position for clean work as well as for it's unique tone during solos. I usually use the mid an bridge single coils at the same time so that they don't hum/buzz. Still sounds more like a single than a bucker, and gets rid of noise, and increases ouput.

So in short, some folks like single coils for certain things and so they still have their place smile.gif I like them paired with buckers (eg. HSS or HSH ) to provide a greater sonic space to work in.

So, there ya have it wink.gif

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QUOTE (Becca @ Apr 1 2014, 10:02 AM) *
Remember your first guitar? The one you saved real hard for or got bought as that extra special birthday gift. Remember how it felt to hold that guitar. to spend hours practising on it. All the sore finger tips and cramps in the forearm /wrist area. Boy though it was worth it. Chances are that first guitar was a cheap Strat copy. Mine was a Hohner, still got it, gathering dust in my spare room. If yours was a Strat too then you will know what I am going to say next.
Single coil pups. WHY? Why on earth are they still making them? And they are STILL fitting them, as standard, to some expensive guitars.
Think about it for a minute.
A single coil pup is weedy. It sounds thin. It buzzes like a bandsaw EVERY time you take your finger off the metalwork and even Fender kind of admit that the pups are gutless. Why else would they fit a 5 way switch as standard to their Strats if not as an attempt to get some grunt out of those pickups?
Of course that buzz is nothing compared to what you get when you introduce some gain to the signal.
This is the 21st century yet the single coil is still so ubiquitous that we, as musicians just seem to accept it. How many times have you heard someone say or even read in a magazine " Yeah, we wanted that authentic feel to the sound". And you know full well they are talking about buzzing and lo fi output. That's single coil pups for you.
Please don't assume that I am pushing or denigrating any particular brand or model guitar here. I had a very pretty Fender Strat Antigua reissue a few years back. Apart from some quality control issues regarding the finishing of it the guitar was fine. I just wish that it had humbuckers instead.
With Humbuckers having twin coils wound in opposite directions the noise output was dramatically reduced. My Epi Les Paul had its twin stock pickups replaced for hotter Iron Gear pups and it screams like nothing on earth. But ask yourself this. How many times have you thought "Hmm. I think I will rip out those paf's because that Les Paul would sound great with Single coils"?
Well?
My point exactly.
I just tried an experiment . I dusted off my Hohner, a cheap but well made guitar and put it through my pedal board into a Marshall 30 combo. I had to adjust my MXR Noise Clamp in order to hear the clean signal. I then engaged the Rothwell Tornado i use for overdrive. The MXR just turned its gate light on and sulked. I have the use of a Vintage VRS guitar. Similar build quality I would say to the Hohner but is equipped with twin 'buckers. I put that through the same set up and rig and it worked just fine. And I didn't have to use a bucketload of compression on it either.
So I repeat my question.
What is the point of Single coil pickups?


This post has been edited by Todd Simpson: Apr 6 2014, 12:43 AM


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