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Minihumbuckers... whatta are they good for?


Spike Li

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In before "absolutely nothing" :cop:

 

I havent had much experience with minihums as they are pretty hard to come by, but I was wondering what they were best suited for tonally? Ie. single coils are good for sparkly cleans, humbuckers good for distortion, but whats minihums niche?

 

Are they a bit of both like p90s but with hum canceling?:confused:

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I A/B'd a full JB and JB jr. in strats the other day: couldn't tell a difference. Both were nice. In my opinion, a mini-hum is good for folks who don't want to route a full HB slot in their SSS strat. (The JB jr. looked uglier but you can't have it all)

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I have one. To me, it sounds clearer than a regular hb. I call it sweeter sounding. Mine is paired with a P90 and I think it sounds pretty similar to the 90 with a little less of the grit and maybe a little less harmonics going on.

Definitely less of the midrange "honk" of a PAF.

When the gain goes up it starts to sound more like a humbucker and less like the P90.

I've become a pretty big fan of the things. Pretty versatile if you ask me.

 

EG

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They're good enough for Pete:

 

Pete1977.jpg

 

My cousin had one of these (70s LP deluxe, but without the added PT middle HB), and IMO it has a very useful fat lead tone along with a more (neck) jazzy, warm tone. Minis (at least the epi USA minis Gibson used in these) are every bit as versatile as standard HBs.

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To me they sound like a cross between a humbucker and a P-90, but I'd rather have the P-90.

 

 

I see where you're going. They DO have a rather similar overall response to my ears as a P90, but are less (for lack of a better way to put it) snotty when overdriven. I also prefer P90s, but I will say that (to me) the minis are more polite and less picky about amp settings, etc.

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I see where you're going. They DO have a rather similar overall response to my ears as a P90, but are less (for lack of a better way to put it) snotty when overdriven. I also prefer P90s, but I will say that (to me)
the minis are more polite and less picky about amp settings, etc
.

 

 

I think that's a really good assessment.

 

As far as the Firebirds go, the firebird mini is NOT the same animal as most. They are much hotter. The mini I have in the neck of my guitar only measures 6.5k on resistance. It's pretty mild mannered and you have to push it quite a bit to get into overdrive.

 

EG

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Mike D: I've gotta ask -- I've always admired firebirds from afar, but have been put off by the proportions. I have been cursed with short arms -- is it a real stretch to get to the first fret on a firebird???

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Well, it took some getting used to, let me put it that way. It's weird that it's the same scale length as my Les Paul but feels longer than my Telecaster sometimes. Messing around with the strap length can solve that though. If there are any in a store near you, I'd try it a few times. The guitar definitely sits a bit differently than my other ones, but once I got used to it I loved it.

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I A/B'd a full JB and JB jr. in strats the other day: couldn't tell a difference. Both were nice. In my opinion, a mini-hum is good for folks who don't want to route a full HB slot in their SSS strat. (The JB jr. looked uglier but you can't have it all)

 

um, mini humbuckers are not single coil sized humbuckers...

 

Johnny Winter comes to mind

 

johnywinterperforna.jpg

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I A/B'd a full JB and JB jr. in strats the other day: couldn't tell a difference. Both were nice. In my opinion, a mini-hum is good for folks who don't want to route a full HB slot in their SSS strat. (The JB jr. looked uglier but you can't have it all)

 

 

I think he means a bucker the size of a P90, not a single coil size.

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There are two basic families of Gibson-style mini's but dozens for variations.

 

There is the Epiphone/Les Paul Deluxe Mini, which is built similar to a PAF-style humbucker. It has adjustable steel screw pole piece on one coil and a big, block-y steel slug on the other (bottom right corner of the pic), and the magnet is a single bar underneath, just like on a PAF. Output and tone falls somewhere right in the middle between Strat/Tele PU's and vintage-output PAF. They don't have the output of a P-90 because they don't have to ouble magnets for umph! (but then neither does a vintage PAF) and they don't have the big midrange the wide P-90 coil gives it. It's narrower design means it reads a narrower length of string, so it has less of the thick, phase-y midrange of the PAF and more of the definition and note-to-note clarity of Fender style single coil. There is something vaguely bright and Fender-esque about the tone (a LP Deluxe's bridge mini is as close as a LP will ever get to sounding like a Tele), but much beefier and a little more rock. They are great for clean to medium gain playing, have been very popular in the alt. country genre, but are useful for just about anything you would use a vintage-output PU.

 

hum1.jpg

 

The Firebird PU is constructed differently. Instead of steel pole and the bar magnet underneath, it uses a big, block AlNiCo slug in the middle of each coil as the pole (like bottom right corner of the pic, but AlNiCo instead of steel), the way Fender uses magnetic pole pieces. The difference is that the Firebird has a huge upper-midrange push and a tone that has a tight, hot sizzle to it. Less clear and well-balanced than the Epiphone/LP Deluxe style, this PU has more cut and ability for more raunch.

 

Now fro there, everything dilutes. While Syemour Duncan's mini's may look like Firebird PU's, they are actually built like the Epiphone/LP Deluxe style, and then SD adds their own flavors in the hotter versions. IIRC, DiMarzio prefers Firebird-style construction. And then everyone else has their own take on it, so there are lots of varieties available.

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To my ears, minis are the best compromise between singles and 'buckers, - they're quiet (not noisy), powerful, but still have chime and sparkle, and have better dynamics than standard buckers (like a single-coil).

 

p-90s, for me, are the opposite... thick, noisy, grunty, with very limited dynamics... I use them, but (for my tastes) they're kinda one-trick ponys.

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p-90s, for me, are the opposite... thick, noisy, grunty, with very limited dynamics... I use them, but (for my tastes) they're kinda one-trick ponys.

 

 

I'm opposite to your opposite. For me p90s are the most dynamic pups I've ever tried.

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p-90s, for me, are the opposite... thick, noisy, grunty, with very limited dynamics... I use them, but (for my tastes) they're kinda one-trick ponys.

 

 

I have to respectfully differ here. When I play my LG through my Pro Jr., the cleans can break my heart!

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