Single Coils Should Be Illegal:

Discussion in 'Tone Zone' started by Robert Herndon, Dec 4, 2016.

  1. Robert Herndon

    Robert Herndon Well-Known Member

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    By the way, the old DiMarzio Virtual Vintage Solo is a 10.5k pickup...
     
  2. smitty_p

    smitty_p Well-Known Member

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    So, you have three humbuckers.

    That's cool. No complaints.

    But to be clear, these pickups are humbuckers (regardless of how they are marketed). Anytime you have two coils, by definition, you do not have a single-coil pickup. These pickups all use a stacked arrangement, as you've noted. The second coil is wound such as to get the same hum-cancelling effect as you would with a side-by-side humbucker, but the coils are arranged vertically in a single-coil form factor.

    The DiMarzio literature even tells how to wire their pickups so that the second (bottom) coil is not used, giving you "single coil mode." In fact, they all have a four-conductor lead, just like any other splittable humbucker.

    I'm not passing any judgement on their tone. I actually like their sound. I've heard the Virtual Vintage on recordings. I'm just trying to clear some fog. In discussions like these, it is helpful to keep some of these details in mind. Stacked "single-coils" are probably more correctly called, "stacked humbuckers."
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2016
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  3. DrBGood

    DrBGood Well-Known Member

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    Just like the P100.

    Talking about stacked coils. What if ... the upper coil was normal sized, meaning number of wounds and all, and the lower was barely wound with maybe lighter gauge wire. Would it be closer to a single coil as tone goes ?

    Dont they make a dummy coil, that you can insert between two regular singles, to cancel the hum ?
     
  4. smitty_p

    smitty_p Well-Known Member

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    You can certainly use a dummy coil, but it's usually integrated within the pickup enclosure. But, keep in mind, even with a dummy coil, you still have the resistance, impedance, and capacitance of that coil integrated with the pickup, as a whole. So, it won't be exactly like a plain single coil.

    That's not to say it won't sound good...just maybe not exactly like a plain single coil.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2016
  5. DrBGood

    DrBGood Well-Known Member

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    So you're saying that the number of wounds for the dummy doesn't matter, neither does the wire gauge ? If there is a second coil, whatever it's quality, you'll loose the single coil twang.
     
  6. smitty_p

    smitty_p Well-Known Member

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    No. I'm not saying that. I'm only saying a dummy coil is still part of the circuit. As such, some effect on sound is inevitable, even if just a little.
     
  7. DrBGood

    DrBGood Well-Known Member

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    So if you can make the lightest dummy possible, for it to cancel the hum, that would seem the best thing to preserve much of the tonez.

    This might not be a concept I fully grab ...
     
  8. Robert Herndon

    Robert Herndon Well-Known Member

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    Hmmmm....when i listen to old recordings of my original bar-magnet single coils and my DiMarzio's I don't hear a difference in tonality, just the noise...they are still quite quacky....
     
  9. Robert Herndon

    Robert Herndon Well-Known Member

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    And remember the DiMarzio YJM was chosen by Yngwie because it faithfully reproduced the vintage Stratocaster tone...
     
  10. Robert Herndon

    Robert Herndon Well-Known Member

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    Here is a 1996 recording of my Stratocaster with what I think is the Virtual Vintage Solo in the bridge position...It's not great tone...very thin to my ears, but it was decent for a Strat.

    I did a little digging and found the converted media....

    Recorded on 4-track cassette in 1996, this song was simply a demo that never made it to our album. The rhythm guitar parts were played on a 1970 Hohner 400N Acoustic. The lead guitar parts are played on my 1987 Squire Stratocaster equipped with a DiMarzio Virtual Vintage Solo in the bridge position (played on the bridge pickup only) through an all-tube Marshall JTM30 Combo. Only a reverb pedal was used. This track was lost for over 20 years and the old cassette was recently found in a shoe box. It appears here with all faults, as originally recorded in 1996...

    The lead guitar part was my own spin on Kravit'z very simple lead arrangement....just a quick one-take deal...

    https://soundcloud.com/robert-h-her...my-mind-cover-the-robert-herndon-project-1996

    1987 Squire Stratocaster.jpg
     
  11. chilipeppermaniac

    chilipeppermaniac Well-Known Member

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    Mister Herndon, That sounded quite awesome. You sell yourself and your gear short.

    Did an A/B listen thru with nice headphones for your version and Mr Kravitz rendition. 2 thumbs up for your playing.
     
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  12. Robert Herndon

    Robert Herndon Well-Known Member

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    You are too kind....

    I just felt like Lenny's version had too many stops, so I just filled in the holes....
    :-)
     
  13. DrBGood

    DrBGood Well-Known Member

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    Might be thin, but it does fit the bill great !
     
  14. jvin248

    jvin248 Active Member

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    .

    Fenders often use two wires from the control cavity to the output jack and I find that is at least half the hum. Easy to put a shielded cable in, Epiphone Specials come with shielded cables while even the high end Fenders use separate wires. Gotta have the vintage noise.

    .
     
  15. Raiyn

    Raiyn Well-Known Member

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    Just as easy to shield the pickguard and cavity. With a shielded tunnel, you don't need a shielded wire.
     
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  16. Robert Herndon

    Robert Herndon Well-Known Member

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    I shielded the cavity in my Stratocaster, then added a .015" aluminum shim behind the pickguard.... Stratoblaster Input Jack Shielding 2.jpg Strat Pickguard GFS H-S-S.jpg
     
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  17. Raiyn

    Raiyn Well-Known Member

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    Why did you not complete the shield on the HB / bridge route?
     
  18. Robert Herndon

    Robert Herndon Well-Known Member

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    I never gave it much thought. This guitar is dead quiet, so I never went any further...I figured the shielding would ward off stray interference whether or not it was grounded.

    Stratoblaster Copper Shielding Tape.jpg
     
  19. deMelo

    deMelo Well-Known Member

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    Many of us like the classic strat tone indeed, it can be noisy especially if the player doesn't do his homework BEFORE the show (a good soundcheck and some precautions, especially regarding cables and position will solve about 80% of hum issues)... But simple things like using mostlu 2 and 4 positions in a 5 way switch strat and keeping your bridge pup for real heavy songs/passages does the job. Playing strats is indeed a different art...

    And no problem if you ain't fond of them, to each his own, my friend...


    Indeed. I too have never seen any noiseless/minihumbucker pups that can beat classic single coils, tonewise. Those other kinds of pickups can sound marvellous, but they WILL be different...

    I myself love single coils and P90s, hum is just a matter of dealing with it.
     
  20. chilipeppermaniac

    chilipeppermaniac Well-Known Member

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    For me the thing I like most of Single coil Stratty guitars and including Fender amps, is that lovely Jangly bell like tone and aftertone if one knows what I mean. Something quite lovely about that Sparkling shimmery glassy Fender Sound.
     
    Robert Herndon likes this.

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