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Clean tone - humbuckers vs. single coil

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  • Clean tone - humbuckers vs. single coil

    I've been playing an American Deluxe Strat with noiseless single coils through a Vox AD30VT amp for the past 6 months. Just bought a Gibson Les Paul Vintage Mahogany with Burstbucker Pro pickups (my first guitar with humbuckers). Unlike the Strat, I find it very hard to get a good clean sound out of the Les Paul, the humbuckers seem to crunch much more easily, even with the guitar volume turned down. Is this typical? The Les Paul crunch is awesome, but i'm finding it hard to get the range of tones that I can easily get out of my Strat.

  • #2
    well now you have discovered why you need a strat and a les paul, strats give you bell like cleans, les pauls have that thick creamy break up, its just the nature of what is the "les paul" tone. My les paul has the 490/498 combo which is even hotter, great punchy cleans, but they do get crunchy faster...., you can change pickups to get lower output cleans, but why bother, thats why you have more than one guitar, I should mention the great clean tones I get are from a custom traynor ycv40 running a well matched set of 5881's and a weber vst ceramic silver bell speaker, the amp you use has a lot to do with the breakup as well, speaker cab etc, it all adds up
    acoustic rig: Larrivee D-50, Stonebridge 32SM OM, Takamine EAC48 Santa Fe, Takamine John Jorgenson, Takamine EC132S Roland AC60

    electric rig:
    guitars: ESP CS strat, AJC LP, Ibanez RG1570, Godin Redline1,
    amps: Dr Z Z-28 head, Mesa F-30 head, Dr Z 2x10 convertible, Mesa Recto 2x12
    effects: EBVPJr, Korg Pitchblack, EHX English Muff'n, Diamond Fireburst, Diamond Compressor, Barber Burn Unit EQ, Maxon Phasetone, DLS Chorus Vib, EHX SMMH, Hardwire DL8, EHX Holier Grail

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    • #3
      I also have a Strat (Am Dlx) with the vintage noiseless pickups. The noiseless pickups are naturally cleaner. The way ther are wound to be noiseless, it makes em 'less hot' if you will.
      Sexuality has a direction and a magnitude. My direction is "straight" and my magnitude is zero.
      Terry D.









      Originally Posted by Mr.Strat


      screams are gayer than a gay 69. if you are gonna sing, please do it right!

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      • #4
        Thanks. That all makes sense. Is it also typical for the neck pickup to be "muddier" sounding than the bridge?

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        • #5
          Originally posted by goodsal
          Thanks. That all makes sense. Is it also typical for the neck pickup to be "muddier" sounding than the bridge?


          well it should be deeper and warmer, but it could be described as muddy
          acoustic rig: Larrivee D-50, Stonebridge 32SM OM, Takamine EAC48 Santa Fe, Takamine John Jorgenson, Takamine EC132S Roland AC60

          electric rig:
          guitars: ESP CS strat, AJC LP, Ibanez RG1570, Godin Redline1,
          amps: Dr Z Z-28 head, Mesa F-30 head, Dr Z 2x10 convertible, Mesa Recto 2x12
          effects: EBVPJr, Korg Pitchblack, EHX English Muff'n, Diamond Fireburst, Diamond Compressor, Barber Burn Unit EQ, Maxon Phasetone, DLS Chorus Vib, EHX SMMH, Hardwire DL8, EHX Holier Grail

          Comment


          • #6
            The Single-Coil pickup is so good because it has more clarity than a humbucker but can break up well as well. The humbucker is for heavier stuff and whilst you can get a clean tone, is better for overdrive and distorted riffs

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            • #7
              Single coils have way more nuance and clarity for cleans. In comparing my G&L with single coils and my Ibanez with humbuckers, it's no contest. The single coils are super warm, fat, punchy and dynamic. They really bloom. While the Ibanez sounds nice, it lacks the color and balance. Plus, at higher volumes (but still clean) the humbucker clean tends to get boomy.

              The more and more I play, the more I realize my ideal setup is a neck single coil and bridge bucker - extra girth for the heavier stuff and solos combined with the pure cleans of the neck single.
              My Soundclick
              My YouTube Channels

              '01 Heritage H535
              '05 USA G&L Legacy
              Taylor Big Baby

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              • #8
                Originally posted by goodsal
                I've been playing an American Deluxe Strat with noiseless single coils through a Vox AD30VT amp for the past 6 months. Just bought a Gibson Les Paul Vintage Mahogany with Burstbucker Pro pickups (my first guitar with humbuckers). Unlike the Strat, I find it very hard to get a good clean sound out of the Les Paul, the humbuckers seem to crunch much more easily, even with the guitar volume turned down. Is this typical? The Les Paul crunch is awesome, but i'm finding it hard to get the range of tones that I can easily get out of my Strat.


                That's the way it is!

                That's why I caution people from running out and gettting a Les Paul. They're beautiful, but not versatile.

                Just about any Fender has better cleans than a Lester.
                A '57 Classic, MIJ from USA parts.
                HCEG Existentialism: I buy guitars, therefore, I am.
                Well Dick, it's got a good beat, and I could dance to it, so I give it a 10!
                I have opinions of my own,strong opinions but I don't always agree with them.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by metallica_00
                  Single coils have way more nuance and clarity for cleans. In comparing my G&L with single coils and my Ibanez with humbuckers, it's no contest. The single coils are super warm, fat, punchy and dynamic. They really bloom. While the Ibanez sounds nice, it lacks the color and balance. Plus, at higher volumes (but still clean) the humbucker clean tends to get boomy.

                  The more and more I play, the more I realize my ideal setup is a neck single coil and bridge bucker - extra girth for the heavier stuff and solos combined with the pure cleans of the neck single.


                  That is my favorite combonation also. The middle pickup IMO is worthless. Its just in the way for me and i never use it. I would rather it be gone from my guitars so that i can use that position on the switch to split the humbucker and get a single coil sound in the bridge. up neck, center humbucker split, down full humbucker. Thats my ideal setup, i also like the neck slanted to give some highs to the single in the neck just for a little bit extra.

                  Got any of dem french fried purtaters?

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by BowerR64


                    That is my favorite combonation also. The middle pickup IMO is worthless. Its just in the way for me and i never use it. I would rather it be gone from my guitars so that i can use that position on the switch to split the humbucker and get a single coil sound in the bridge. up neck, center humbucker split, down full humbucker. Thats my ideal setup, i also like the neck slanted to give some highs to the single in the neck just for a little bit extra.



                    I'm not a big fan of the middle pickup by itself either. But the combo position of middle and neck pickup is pretty money. Knopfler tone baby.
                    My Soundclick
                    My YouTube Channels

                    '01 Heritage H535
                    '05 USA G&L Legacy
                    Taylor Big Baby

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I guess Hendrix, Robin Trower, Clapton, and Tommy Bolin were really misguided for using the middle pickup position so much! maaaaaan! Some of the stupid stuff I read on here makes me ache!
                      Knopfler uses the middle pickup a lot also (Sultans of Swing is all middle pickup!)

                      If what you guys are saying about Humbuckers vs. Single coil pickups and clear tone is right then:
                      1) How come most famous jazz players use humbuckers?

                      2) How come almost no well known jazz players use Strats?

                      Humbuckers produce great clean tones if you know what you're doing. You just have to change the amp and EQ settings!
                      "I don't read no gobbelty-gook boyeee!" (from radio ad)





                      For great energetic 3 piece blues/rock featuring a sizzlin' Strat player, check out the Hep Cat Boo Daddies at
                      http://www.soundclick.com/pro/view/01/default.cfm?bandid=246342&content=main&songid=0

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by etvetv2001
                        I guess Hendrix, Robin Trower, Clapton, and Tommy Bolin were really misguided for using the middle pickup position so much! maaaaaan! Some of the stupid stuff I read on here makes me ache!


                        They can't have an opinion on whether or not the middle pickup suits them, because some famous players used to like it ?
                        A POX ON BOTH YOUR HOUSES !

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                        • #13
                          I have no problem getting a "clean tone" out of my guitars with humbuckers .
                          Confidence is going after a whale in a rowboat, and taking the tartar sauce with you.

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                          • #14
                            Isnt the middle pickup useful for getting that "funk" tone, or maybe some chicken-picking country? A bit harder to dial in those tones on a neck pickup, tho it can be done

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                            • #15
                              originally posted by BowerR64

                              The middle pickup IMO is worthless.


                              Everyone has a right to their opinion, but to describe the middle pickup on a Strat as "worthless" is an extreme statement that begs for a passionate rebuttal from ANY serious traditional Strat lover! Just can't let that one pass by unchallenged.

                              Here are some of my favorite songs played on the middle pickup of a Strat.

                              1) Too Rolling Stoned - Robin Trower
                              2) Post Toastee - Tommy Bolin
                              3) Sultans of Swing - Dire Straits
                              4) West Side Boogie - Ray Gomez
                              5) One clear Moment - Little feat
                              6) May This be Love - Jimi Hendrix
                              7) Red House (live) - Jimi Hendrix
                              8) Tommy Bolin's solos on "Spectrum" LP by Billy Cobham.
                              9) Power of Soul (live) - Hendrix Band of Gypsys album

                              These are only a few off the top of my head. There are many, many more.
                              "I don't read no gobbelty-gook boyeee!" (from radio ad)





                              For great energetic 3 piece blues/rock featuring a sizzlin' Strat player, check out the Hep Cat Boo Daddies at
                              http://www.soundclick.com/pro/view/01/default.cfm?bandid=246342&content=main&songid=0

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