Humbucker pickups

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Humbuckers on a Les Paul
Humbuckers on a Les Paul


The Humbucking Pickup

Humbuckers are a type of pickup used on electric guitars. In the guitar business, there are two main pickup types: the single coil pickups and the humbuckers. The humbucker looks like double single coil type pickup, but gives a much warmer and deeper sound. It was a success after invention, because it took away the “hum” in single coils. The humbucking pickup “bucks the hum” with it’s reversed polarity, reverse-wounding serial connection.


PAF pickup
PAF pickup

The first humbucking pickups were the PAF, which stood for Patent Applied For, and was invented by Seth Lover in 1957. Seth was one of Gibson´s employees and they used his invention on the Gibson Les Paul. Because of this, the humbucker is strongly associated with the Gibson guitars, even though a lot of brands used and use humbuckers. Rickenbacker was the first do offer dual coil pickups. He arranged them in a humbucking patter in 1953, but it didn’t work very well because of the bad distorted sound. The pickup was dropped just a year after being on the market, in 1954. At first Gibsons’s Les Paul was the only guitar with humbucking pickups, but later other brands also started using them. Even Fender started putting humbuckers on their Strats and Teles. This is also how the “Fat Strat” has been born, a Stratocaster with a humbucking bridge pickup. This gave a pickup configuration noted as H-S-S (humbucker, single, single). The guitar was called Fat Strat because of it’s fat sound that came form the humbucker.


Magnetic pickups have a magnetic field, and are therefore sensitive to electromagnetic interference. This interference and be caused by wiring and electrical machines, like little motors or a computer screen. The pickup picks up these interferences and therefore makes a buzz. A humbucker, however, has two coils with opposing windings and polarity. When a string vibrates, both coils “hear” the string go in the same direction. Electromagnetic interference will be “heared” from opposing direction because of the polarity and windings. With this knowledge the pickup can destruct the interference and only give the good signal through to the amp.

The Fat Strat
The Fat Strat


Using two coils affects the tone of the pickup. Describing sound in words is very hard, but humbucking pickups are usually associated with a warm, deep and full sound. People who own a guitar with humbucking pickups (like a Les Paul or SG) will defiantly know what I mean. On the other hand Fender’s strats and teles with their single coil pickups sound more bright and clear. Humbuckers sound different, mostly because of the different characteristics of the pickup, this is also why one humbucker might sound very different from another. There are also people who don’t like the look of two or even three full size big humbuckers, so for them there are other typs of humbucking pickups, like the Stacked and Rail designed pickups. They do they same this as the humbuckers, they just look different

Artists using HB

This would be to much to write so, members using humbucker can write there name here, Instructors can make them bold

--Kaznie 21:06, 16 May 2008 (CEST)