The Great SPLIT / TAP Debate

Discussion in 'Pickups' started by Huntroll, Jul 29, 2019.

  1. Huntroll

    Huntroll Active Member

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    HUNTROLL presents . . .

    The Great Split / Tap debate .

    Please add your 2 cents to this cloudy, often function-wise misinterpreted topic !

    Hate it, love it - How's it work, what's the deal ?

    I don't know, here's my take on it :

    I too agree about the misuse of terms - Split and Tap, when it comes to describing pickup

    functionality.

    I suppose if you consider where the two coils in a humbucker connect as its "TAP" connection accessing point,

    You then "TAP" the pickup by electrically grounding* that "TAP" point.

    *(by means of a piece of wire or a capacitor).

    I would call it "SINGLE COIL MODE", especially when its done with a wire and it can be

    measured with an ohmmeter.**

    7 K ohm R pickup in parallel with 7 K ohm T pickup = measured 3.5 K ohms.

    then 3.5 K ohm (SCM R) in parallel with 3.5 K ohm (SCM T) = 1.7 K ohms, ( roughly ).

    **(as shown in my modified mini-HB HP picture).

    And if its done with a capacitor, you're "TAP" -ping certain frequencies.

    Now the "SPLIT" function is a little bit more complicated to grasp, (for me as least).

    Through real world deciphering this is what I've found :

    On a Gibson HP, when set to do "SPLIT" on the PC board,

    in each pickup, one of the humbuckers' coils is electrically REVERSED in POLARITY,

    (that's why it takes a DPDT switch to do it).

    That alone makes a humbucker sound funky individually but here's why I think its known as

    SPLIT mode . . .

    When you have both HUMBUCKERs ON and both are set to SPLIT mode,

    The two coils that are now set to be "out of phase" with their internal coil mate,

    are now actually IN PHASE with each other.

    Thus creating a VIRTUAL PICKUP that's been "SPLIT" out from the REAL pickups.

    Got it ?

    I guess you could call it "SPLIT PHASE MODE".

    Is that right ?

    If you know different, please enlighten me !
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2019
  2. plankton

    plankton Well-Known Member

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    I always though that "split" was when you used a switch to cut one coil of a humbucker out of the circuit, and "tap" is when there is a point in a pickups winding where you can bypass the rest of the coil.
     
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  3. cerebral gasket

    cerebral gasket Well-Known Member

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    With humbuckers, a "SPLIT" refers to turning off one coil by shunting it to ground. There is no coil TAP involved with either coil.

    A coil TAP is where a wire is connected at a predetermined length of a coil winding. It can be in the middle of the coil winding or at any other location. A coil TAP is more commonly found on a transformer winding for selecting different voltages.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2019
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  4. Tony M

    Tony M Well-Known Member

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    I thought this was going to be about dance moves...
     
  5. Derald

    Derald Member

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    I like the sound I get when I split coils and shunt one to ground via a capacitor, usually 0.033uF. Sounds better to my ears.
     
  6. Dale

    Dale Well-Known Member

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    I have several gutairs with it. I never use it. I have a Strat and Tele though so it may be that it just works better for me to go that direction.
     
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  7. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

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    I don't use it either and I don't think it mimics a single coil at all. Too thin to be useful. Maybe that's why I only own one traditional Fender.
     
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  8. Tony M

    Tony M Well-Known Member

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    I have 3 guitars that have this feature.
    I look at it not as a "single coil" emulation
    but as another tone modifier. I use it.
    It adds variety to my guitar tones.
     
  9. cerebral gasket

    cerebral gasket Well-Known Member

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    P-90’s are where it’s at IMO.
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2019
  10. GrumpyOldDBA

    GrumpyOldDBA Well-Known Member

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    Ummm well here is a pretty clear explanation from Gibson that should be relevant for their products.

    http://es.gibson.com/News-Lifestyle/Gear-Tech/en-us/Tuned-Coil-Tap-vs-Tap-vs-Split.aspx

    Obviously different manufacturers than Gibson may do it differently.

    I don't use it a lot on my Gibsons but find it interesting at times. Both of my LP Studios now have circuit boards and push pulls from the LP standard series ( purchased and moved over ) that also do the phase shift.

    I tend to like using the phase shift a lot playing along with old Fleetwood Mac blues songs.

    So each manufacturer is probably a fair amount different and your mileage may vary.

    I use it a bit more on my PRS guitars some of the quiet acoustic ish strummy songs sound pretty good like that to me.
     
  11. cerebral gasket

    cerebral gasket Well-Known Member

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    The "Tuned Coil Tap" in the article still does not show any coil "TAP" to the windings of either coil in the Humbucker. It's still a Humbucker with two single coils wired together in series, but with a filter cap at the junction point of the two coils to shunt the midrange frequencies to ground.

    No coils are TAPPED on a Humbucker, they are SPLIT.

    A coil TAP involves a single coil.
    A single coil winding.
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2019
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  12. cerebral gasket

    cerebral gasket Well-Known Member

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    Not to hijack the thread, but SPLIT / TAP gets misused as being interchangeable as often as...

    1. INPUT vs OUTPUT jack
    2. TREMOLO vs VIBRATO
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2019
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  13. plankton

    plankton Well-Known Member

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    Blame Leo for that one.
     
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  14. Huntroll

    Huntroll Active Member

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    Thanks for that Gibson - Craig A. reference link !

    It would be neat to get Craig A's 2 cents on this issue .

    I wonder if he's a P-90 guy ?
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2019
  15. plankton

    plankton Well-Known Member

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    Everyone is a P90 guy, some just haven't realized it yet. :naughty:
     
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  16. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

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    Tremolo, not tremelo! user your spellcheck once in awhile, Gasket case!:naughty:
    Tremolo:
    noun

    1. a wavering effect in a musical tone, produced either by rapid reiteration of a note, by rapid repeated slight variation in the pitch of a note, or by sounding two notes of slightly different pitches to produce prominent overtones.
    Vibrato:
    noun
    1. a slightly tremulous effect imparted to vocal or instrumental tone for added warmth and expressiveness by slight and rapid variations in pitch.
    Even the dictionary definitions are confusing. For my own purposes I use vibrato to mean the small rapid change in pitch produced on stringed instruments by manual or mechanical means and tremolo to mean the slight rapid changes in volume.
     
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  17. cerebral gasket

    cerebral gasket Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the spellcheck.
    I stand corrected.

    Check your numbering on the definitions and we can call it even.
    :smile:
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2019
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  18. cerebral gasket

    cerebral gasket Well-Known Member

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    Double post.
     
  19. Joncaster

    Joncaster Member

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    If i'm splitting, i go with a partial split (resistor in series to GND with the shunted coil)
    I wired up my Tele with a humbucker in the neck (36th anniversary), and a 4 way switch.

    1) Neck full HB
    2) Neck partial split
    3) Neck full split in series with Bridge
    4) Bridge

    The partial split gives less of a volume drop but nice and jangly.
    The full split in series with bridge keeps it from getting too thick.
    But whatever you do to a humbucker, they always sound like humbuckers, so i don't try fight it.

    I might even change back to a 3 way, with a series middle position (love series in a Tele).
     
  20. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    Personally, I like the sound of hum bucking pickups
    and can't think of any reason (in my music)
    to want to change it.

    Ye Gibson Humbucker plugged
    into ye Marshall Amp
    gives what most people in the
    world would consider "great rock tone."
    There are many variations of this, other Humbuckers,
    and other amps, but the Humbuckers sound powers a
    lot of really excellent music. It is known...

    Begin with the best, and subtract things from it,
    and end up with something less.
    *shrugs
    That's the way I see it. And hear it.

    I also like the sound of real single coil p'ups... and have
    a use for their tone in the music that I play. I have
    always loved the Fender tones of the Telecaster
    as exemplified by Keith Richards among others...
    Muddy Waters, Danny Gatton(many others).
    Another of the classic tones that
    can't be obtained by any other means (yet).

    I stupidly ignored the tones of the P-90 pickup for decades,
    thinking it was forties technology and therefore obsolete.
    Superseded... outmoded... unnecessary....
    I was wrong, and once I realized how wrong I'd been, I
    bought myself a P-90 guitar and am very happy with it.
    P-90s rock! But you can also play Jazz with them, or blues,
    or Rockabilly, or Country... And there's only one way to
    get this tone IMHO. With a real P-90.

    The Fender tones of the Stratocaster seem to me
    to be one of the world's standards, by which everything
    else is measured. And you can't get this by subtracting from the
    Humbuckers tone IMHO. Ye Fender Strat plugged into
    just about anything is an iconic sound that is also very
    versatile, and very powerful.

    Ain't nuthin' like the real thing, bay-bay...
    That's the way I feel anyway.

    AND when you're onstage there are enough distractions
    and things going wrong... simple controls are best.
    Keep your eye on the audience and your mind on the music,
    and make the gear support this by simplicity and dependability.

    It's my belief that Jimmy Page created his Les Paul rig
    because he was trying to get extra tones using the primitive
    equipment of the day. Modern guitarists have so much more
    tonal banquet available with the amps and pedals we have now,
    that there is no need to add more switches or push pull knobs
    to a guitar. We could use the simplest guitar, a Les Paul Jr with
    one P-90 and plug that into a tonal wonderland, and create
    viable music with lots of muscle and appeal.... and a unique tone.
    Or forty unique tones. Cain't make it sound like a Strat or an
    SG, but it can stand on its own and propel your song.
     
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