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What Makes Bad Humbuckers So Muddy?

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  • What Makes Bad Humbuckers So Muddy?

    Is there something specific?

    EG
    We're not in Kansas anymore.

  • #2
    I don't think its necessary one specific thing, but more likely a combination of ill suited build / combinations that don't play well together. Factors like coil shape, number of turns, magnet type and strength all have an influence on the end result.

    Its like, I enjoy a good cup of coffee and I love Tabasco sauce in my chili, but Tabasco in my coffee ... not so much.
    My Name is Tom Pettingill ... I build Hand Crafted Custom Lap Steel Guitars
    http://s302.photobucket.com/albums/nn87/tompettingill

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    • #3
      I think it may come from an over-abundance of bass frequencies in the effects/strings/amps. That's certainly the case with my RG, anyway. Using the big 100W as a power amp and the Frontman 15G as a preamp, I've managed to clean up the tone a little so low power chords don't sound like thunder. The low tuning and heavy gauge strings probably don't help.
      Originally Posted by Fork Man


      The answer is, of course, onions.









      Originally Posted by MyNameIsMok...


      Blasphemer! I'll bite your nipples off.









      Originally Posted by nicholai


      All guitars suck. Except for mine. They rock.

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      • #4
        Interesting. The first time I yanked cheapo pickups and upgraded, I was shocked. I've learned since then that good humbuckers don't have to cost an arm and leg. Why do manufacturers still put junk in so many guitars? Seems like you could sell more if you supplied decent guts.

        EG
        We're not in Kansas anymore.

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        • #5
          Yeah, I've played several stockers with nice sounding HBs, and several ones in the same price range with terrible ones. I'd also like to know what gives...
          Sometimes you follow your heart. Sometimes your heart cuts a fart. That's the cosmic shame.Charvel So Cals More Guitars Amp PedalsMy Band Site w/ Player

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          • #6
            I've always wondered this too. And, if there is a secret, then why doesn't everyone copy it for less money? I mean, if it just comes down to material cost (i.e., the metal used in pickups that sound good is more expensive), then I guess I can understand that, even though I don't understand it. But, if it's just a manufacturing process, then why don't Duncan Designed sound exactly like USA Duncans?
            ~Heel

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            • #7
              I was shocked to the core when I bought a guitar with a set of low output passives that it had been the sound I'd been chasing for decades. I've got guitars with single coils, medium output humbuckers, high output active humbuckers, high output singles, etc. All of them were "okay" but the ones that amazed me was the low output passives.

              Somehow, the low output allowed for a "clarity of tone" without adding mud and being strong enough to overdrive an amp decently.

              My previous impression was that low output humbuckers were weak, gruff and lacked nice trebles - just kind of "bleah". How wrong I was.

              It seems that some of the high output pickups sacrificed tone and balance in favor of massive output.
              ________________________________________
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              • thewthrman
                thewthrman commented
                Editing a comment

                aliensporebomb wrote:
                I was shocked to the core when I bought a guitar with a set of low output passives that it had been the sound I'd been chasing for decades. I've got guitars with single coils, medium output humbuckers, high output active humbuckers, high output singles, etc. All of them were "okay" but the ones that amazed me was the low output passives. Somehow, the low output allowed for a "clarity of tone" without adding mud and being strong enough to overdrive an amp decently. My previous impression was that low output humbuckers were weak, gruff and lacked nice trebles - just kind of "bleah". How wrong I was. It seems that some of the high output pickups sacrificed tone and balance in favor of massive output.

                This is my experience also.  When I decided to put humbuckers in my SSS guitar, I went to music go round with my radio shack multitester and went through their big box o' junk pickups.  I picked a couple 2-wire vintagey epiphone pickups that had low resistance - i think they were around 8k.  I still thought they were a bit midrangey - especially the rhythm pickup.  So I took the chrome cover off.  I really like the sound of low output humbuckers with the covers removed.  So much so that I doubt I'd ever invest in anything "special" (read: expensive). 


            • #8
              It could be a simple bad match of pickup output vs. tone pot value. It may be a cheaper fix than new pickups.

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              • #9
                It seems that some of the high output pickups sacrificed tone and balance in favor of massive output.


                Well, yeah. Who needs those when you can have TEH BR00TZ?

                I won't use anything hotter than a standard P90.
                Giant KudzuFacebook • SoundCloud"I wear Abercrombie so bïtches know I dominate."

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                • #10

                  It seems that some of the high output pickups sacrificed tone and balance in favor of massive output.


                  What part of 'High output' fooled you about that?


                  I'd agree, for what it's worth though, about the low-med output buckers.

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                  • #11
                    It could be a simple bad match of pickup output vs. tone pot value. It may be a cheaper fix than new pickups.


                    Don't forget capacitors, too. Cheap caps can have wildly varying values.
                    Giant KudzuFacebook • SoundCloud"I wear Abercrombie so bïtches know I dominate."

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                    • #12
                      It seems that some of the high output pickups sacrificed tone and balance in favor of massive output.


                      Yep, absolutely agree with this.
                      ~Heel

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                      • #13
                        I think low output pups in general tend to be more clear and expressive than high output models, but there's no shortage of junk in both flavors.

                        EG
                        We're not in Kansas anymore.

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                        • #14
                          Funny you mention pots. I tested a bunch of Alpha 500s yesterday. Most measured between 350 and 400. I found one that read 475 and that was the highest.

                          EG
                          We're not in Kansas anymore.

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                          • #15
                            In most cases I would imagine bad pups are put in cheaper guitars mostly to not have competition with different price brackets within the same company . You don't want your $200 cheapies having the great tones your $1200 ones have.
                            Information is not knowledge
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