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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Can you guys get nice clean bright sounds form split humbuckers? I know that is the intention of being able to split them, but I just can't seem to get a good bright kind of twangley sound out of them. Started with trying to get close to this sound:


Went through all of my main guitars (humbuckers or "noiseless single coil"), all too muddy and dull sounding... finally picked up a junk old Fender Bullet strat I bought for the body, tuned it, and got a good clean sound with the stock cheapo single coils in no time.

So is there a humbucker that will do this? Or do you really have to go with straight-up tele/strat bridge style single coils to get it?

Thanks for any insight.. before I start ripping the cheap single coils out of the Bullet strat to put in another guitar! ;-)
 

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Yes I think you can.
But if you just play your regular set up without thinking about how to get it you'll be disappointed. The quickest way to get instant strat tone is plug in a strat.

I've been wanting to get a strat for ages. But I'm certain that's just the effect of GAS/Marketing on me. So far I've resisted. I've spent some time instead recently playing with my set up and I can get a good single coil sound with either of my main daily player guitars.

That's a JS1000 (Paf Pro / Fred) coil split, usually high pass filter engaged, or a PGM100 Paf Pro/Jem single using the neck and middle combo which splits the neck humbucker.

What I do is play with the EQ a lot.
I've taken to using a KMA Logan drive pedal which has a really powerful pre gain EQ setting and then I run a cheap 6 band EQ pedal after it, which I use as a slight boost to level out the volume drop from coil splitting and to slightly push the treble. That gets me a good basic single coil sound and then you can tweak further in the DAW if recording. (Ableton in my case)
 

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Instead of spliting you could try parallel wiring ?

A Dimarzio Humbucker from Hell could also be an option.
 

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Split humbuckers are pretty much always a compromise as usually the construction of the 2 halves of a humbucker isn't quite the same as a standard single coil. There are exceptions:
https://www.riograndepickups.com/tallboy-2
Parallel wiring works OK, but again is a compromise. I use an EQ pedal as the first thing in my signal chain and with some careful adjustment have a setting close enough for those moments when I need to make a humbucker sound like a single coil.
The only real solution is of course more guitars :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Yes I think you can.
But if you just play your regular set up without thinking about how to get it you'll be disappointed. The quickest way to get instant strat tone is plug in a strat.

I've been wanting to get a strat for ages. But I'm certain that's just the effect of GAS/Marketing on me. So far I've resisted. I've spent some time instead recently playing with my set up and I can get a good single coil sound with either of my main daily player guitars.

That's a JS1000 (Paf Pro / Fred) coil split, usually high pass filter engaged, or a PGM100 Paf Pro/Jem single using the neck and middle combo which splits the neck humbucker.

What I do is play with the EQ a lot.
I've taken to using a KMA Logan drive pedal which has a really powerful pre gain EQ setting and then I run a cheap 6 band EQ pedal after it, which I use as a slight boost to level out the volume drop from coil splitting and to slightly push the treble. That gets me a good basic single coil sound and then you can tweak further in the DAW if recording. (Ableton in my case)
Thanks for the tips! I would also like to get a strat, but I have too many guitars for my limited skill level anyway... The wife and I counted 11 recently! (I was almost as surprised as she was) Picking up the cheapo strat did get me the sound I was looking for immediately, but the string spacing is too close at the top of the neck on those Bullet strats. I bought it for a project and now I am seriously thinking about putting an old Roadstar neck on it. A nice strat or G&L would be great to own though, maybe even a tele though I can't stand the shape for some reason.

I'll try more EQ, not sure why I didn't adjust it more at the time... I set up my eq in front of everything and a while back I got it dialed in and don't typically touch it, though I did boost the highs a bit and brought up the lows that I cut to get rid of the boomy low string sound.

I tried going to my JS1200 w/stock Fred/Paf Joe w/coil split and high pass on, but it didn't brighten up the sound as much as I was looking for. I was using BiasFX2 and found a pretty bright amp that helped a lot too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Instead of spliting you could try parallel wiring ?

A Dimarzio Humbucker from Hell could also be an option.
You mean wiring the coils of the humbucker separately, as if they were two separate single coils? Hmmm... Never thought of that. I may look into it though! Thanks for the idea... I've heard of the Humbucker from Hell, but never owned one. I'll look them up... Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Split humbuckers are pretty much always a compromise as usually the construction of the 2 halves of a humbucker isn't quite the same as a standard single coil. There are exceptions:
https://www.riograndepickups.com/tallboy-2
Parallel wiring works OK, but again is a compromise. I use an EQ pedal as the first thing in my signal chain and with some careful adjustment have a setting close enough for those moments when I need to make a humbucker sound like a single coil.
The only real solution is of course more guitars :)
I agree on the split humbuckers... I do all my own wiring and usually add a coil tap just for more sound options. I love the JS wiring, so I have added a high pass filter on a couple of guitars too. In the end, I agree with what you said... the split humbuckers just sound like a split humbucker, even with some pre-eq and added treble/presence on the amp, etc... The single coil sparkle just wasn't there. The Rio Grande pickup sounds interesting! Thanks for the tips... and encouraging me to buy more guitars! ;-)
 

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Instead of spliting you could try parallel wiring ?

A Dimarzio Humbucker from Hell could also be an option.
You mean wiring the coils of the humbucker separately, as if they were two separate single coils? Hmmm... Never thought of that. I may look into it though! Thanks for the idea... I've heard of the Humbucker from Hell, but never owned one. I'll look them up... Thanks!
Interesting. I had humbucker from hell on an old J Custom that I sold years ago. I never got on with them. They sounded a bit shrill. But that was probably because it was the back up guitar I used if my 77FP broke a string at gigs and I'd get my rig set for my usual Paf Pro guitar so I wasn't dialing in a sound for them...

If you can get a good strat tone with a JS or similar probably also depends a bit on what sort of thing you're after and how you play.. I think I can get a decent Hendrix Watchtower type sound. I cut the mids just a touch (not a severe scoop just a little) as JS's tend to have a bit of a nasal mids bump that strats don't. I also forego my usual Tubescreamer when using the JS as that'll push the mids too much. Boost the treble slightly and the overall level.

If I add or cut the bass depends if I'm after more delicate little wing type stuff or psychadelic rock octave fuzz... Just play with it.

My general rule before buying gear:
Make sure you spend more time with your current rig/DAW seeing if you can already get the sound you want by tweaking and playing than you do on Reverb/eBay/YouTube researching purchases. 🙂

Yet somehow I've still got 6 guitars and GAS.... So the rule is far from foolproof. 😄
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Interesting. I had humbucker from hell on an old J Custom that I sold years ago. I never got on with them. They sounded a bit shrill. But that was probably because it was the back up guitar I used if my 77FP broke a string at gigs and I'd get my rig set for my usual Paf Pro guitar so I wasn't dialing in a sound for them...

If you can get a good strat tone with a JS or similar probably also depends a bit on what sort of thing you're after and how you play.. I think I can get a decent Hendrix Watchtower type sound. I cut the mids just a touch (not a severe scoop just a little) as JS's tend to have a bit of a nasal mids bump that strats don't. I also forego my usual Tubescreamer when using the JS as that'll push the mids too much. Boost the treble slightly and the overall level.

If I add or cut the bass depends if I'm after more delicate little wing type stuff or psychadelic rock octave fuzz... Just play with it.

My general rule before buying gear:
Make sure you spend more time with your current rig/DAW seeing if you can already get the sound you want by tweaking and playing than you do on Reverb/eBay/YouTube researching purchases. 🙂

Yet somehow I've still got 6 guitars and GAS.... So the rule is far from foolproof. 😄
Thank you! I'll give it another go with the JS tonight, setting it up as you recommended. They do have nasally mids, maybe that is what is muddying up the sound.

I also agree about using and working with what gear you have... but part of me just loves guitars. I still have an itch for a "clean" guitar... :grin2:
 

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😄
Yep.. I feel it too. I'll cave in and get a strat one day. I grew up with a Squier before I got my first JS and was bitten by the Ibanez bug. One day...
 

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I am in the middle of building a custom 540R HSH configuration. I have a Guthrie Govan and Satriani style mods to the guitar to achieve the sounds I am looking for. For example... I am using a Mo' joe in the Bridge, The original IBZ C1USA single in the middle position, and the PAF Joe in the Neck with a fender super switch. I am using the charvel Guthrie Govan circuit. Off the splitting circuit on the toggle or push pull (what ever you prefer) There is a combination of caps and resisitors to "emulate single coils" and boost their output slightly so that you don't have a decibel drop when using them. It automatically splits with the super switch when you are switching between positions and the center position gives you the classic Tele neck bridge combo instead of just the single in the middle. The splitter allows you to have only single coil sounds if you want... of just leave it alone and have the humbuckers in the neck and bridge positions. The only thing I changed was to use the 330pf cap (Like the satriani circuit uses) on the volume instead of the cap resistor combo in the circuit... I just didn't care for that treble bleed circuit in the Govan circuit. In the end it gave me the most versatile sounding guitar I could ever dream of. The single coil tones are incredible. Now... on that note lower output humbuckers will give a better sound split than higher output ones because they just retain that character much better. The Mo' Joe and PAF joe are pretty hot. But having that 330pf in the volume circuit lets you turn down and essentially lower the output of your humbuckers, and it does give you that classic strat like tone. It's extremely close. My father owns a Tele and a Strat, we compared them to this, and it's satisfyingly close. Not perfect of course because it's a edge trem... basswood body... and they are NOT classic 70's singles... that does change things a little. But nonetheless, it's something that I hope some of you are willing to try, Govan's circuit is really killer. This is the perfect compromise, it's a JS body... but with everything a satch guitar is AND WAY more. I am currently waiting on a custom neck that is roasted with stainless frets! Then it will be complete. If you guys want a higher res pic of this, I can put it on my google drive and post a link.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I am in the middle of building a custom 540R HSH configuration. I have a Guthrie Govan and Satriani style mods to the guitar to achieve the sounds I am looking for. For example... I am using a Mo' joe in the Bridge, The original IBZ C1USA single in the middle position, and the PAF Joe in the Neck with a fender super switch. I am using the charvel Guthrie Govan circuit. Off the splitting circuit on the toggle or push pull (what ever you prefer) There is a combination of caps and resisitors to "emulate single coils" and boost their output slightly so that you don't have a decibel drop when using them. It automatically splits with the super switch when you are switching between positions and the center position gives you the classic Tele neck bridge combo instead of just the single in the middle. The splitter allows you to have only single coil sounds if you want... of just leave it alone and have the humbuckers in the neck and bridge positions. The only thing I changed was to use the 330pf cap (Like the satriani circuit uses) on the volume instead of the cap resistor combo in the circuit... I just didn't care for that treble bleed circuit in the Govan circuit. In the end it gave me the most versatile sounding guitar I could ever dream of. The single coil tones are incredible. Now... on that note lower output humbuckers will give a better sound split than higher output ones because they just retain that character much better. The Mo' Joe and PAF joe are pretty hot. But having that 330pf in the volume circuit lets you turn down and essentially lower the output of your humbuckers, and it does give you that classic strat like tone. It's extremely close. My father owns a Tele and a Strat, we compared them to this, and it's satisfyingly close. Not perfect of course because it's a edge trem... basswood body... and they are NOT classic 70's singles... that does change things a little. But nonetheless, it's something that I hope some of you are willing to try, Govan's circuit is really killer. This is the perfect compromise, it's a JS body... but with everything a satch guitar is AND WAY more. I am currently waiting on a custom neck that is roasted with stainless frets! Then it will be complete. If you guys want a higher res pic of this, I can put it on my google drive and post a link.
Wow... Interesting wiring diagram! I remember you mentioning this circuit in another post recently. Sounds intriguing! I may give it a go with a lower output humbucker. I have a cheap solid bridge Bullet strat with the HS pickguard and plenty of pickups/pots/caps, etc... Might check out some old humbuckers laying around too, like a Schaller Golden 50's, a DiMarzio Norton, a mag-swapped V7/V8 set, a Tone Zone, etc., see what is low output. Probably the Schaller? Just need to find a good neck for the cheapo squire body. Thanks man!!
 

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I am in the middle of building a custom 540R HSH configuration. I have a Guthrie Govan and Satriani style mods to the guitar to achieve the sounds I am looking for. For example... I am using a Mo' joe in the Bridge, The original IBZ C1USA single in the middle position, and the PAF Joe in the Neck with a fender super switch. I am using the charvel Guthrie Govan circuit. Off the splitting circuit on the toggle or push pull (what ever you prefer) There is a combination of caps and resisitors to "emulate single coils" and boost their output slightly so that you don't have a decibel drop when using them. It automatically splits with the super switch when you are switching between positions and the center position gives you the classic Tele neck bridge combo instead of just the single in the middle. The splitter allows you to have only single coil sounds if you want... of just leave it alone and have the humbuckers in the neck and bridge positions. The only thing I changed was to use the 330pf cap (Like the satriani circuit uses) on the volume instead of the cap resistor combo in the circuit... I just didn't care for that treble bleed circuit in the Govan circuit. In the end it gave me the most versatile sounding guitar I could ever dream of. The single coil tones are incredible. Now... on that note lower output humbuckers will give a better sound split than higher output ones because they just retain that character much better. The Mo' Joe and PAF joe are pretty hot. But having that 330pf in the volume circuit lets you turn down and essentially lower the output of your humbuckers, and it does give you that classic strat like tone. It's extremely close. My father owns a Tele and a Strat, we compared them to this, and it's satisfyingly close. Not perfect of course because it's a edge trem... basswood body... and they are NOT classic 70's singles... that does change things a little. But nonetheless, it's something that I hope some of you are willing to try, Govan's circuit is really killer. This is the perfect compromise, it's a JS body... but with everything a satch guitar is AND WAY more. I am currently waiting on a custom neck that is roasted with stainless frets! Then it will be complete. If you guys want a higher res pic of this, I can put it on my google drive and post a link.
Ohh thank you for sharing!

I have a PGM100 that i bought already heavily modded and so it's become my experimental guitar to play around with.

It's HSH with the classic Paf Pro Jem single coil set up. But it does suffer the typical volume drop, which i usually use a boosted EQ pedal to compensate for.

There's some interesting ideas on how to rewire it here to avoid that.

I'm also toying with whether to add a freeway 10 position switch to it so I can add both neck and bridge humbucker and the Tele style neck and bridge single options..
I want to avoid the additional secondary switch as I've already got additional routing for an arcade button killswitch...

Hmmm... I'll take this and have a chat with the tech who does my wiring once covid's done...
 

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Agree with the comment about splitting the pickups and adding the HPF on a JS1/JS1000. I've gotten good results that way. I also find that I can get good Strat-like tones on HSH guitars with the Blue Velvet/True Velvet middle, depending on the humbucker it's split with. Have had good results with the EVO 2 bridge and Liquifire neck.
 

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Glad to help, new ways of achieving tone is always welcomed! I would think that the schaller is probably low output since it is supposed to be modeled after a 50's humbucker... hence the name.

But a 10 way switch? I never knew that was even a thing. That would be pretty awesome. Although I'd hate to have to get used to using that thing live, too many chances to hit the wrong spot lol. Though if you don't want to add any new routing that's fine. I hate adding new holes to my instruments, I like simple clean looking/functioning controls. I wound up using a push push pot for the HSH 540R for the splitting function of the 2 humbuckers. Ever since I saw one I wanted to use it. It's awesome... you just give it a tap and it's working or back to normal, no pulling needed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
Glad to help, new ways of achieving tone is always welcomed! I would think that the schaller is probably low output since it is supposed to be modeled after a 50's humbucker... hence the name.
I figured that too... Might not be F-Spaced though. The Evo2 was mentioned above as well, and I need to remove one from a guitar I want to sell. One question though, will the super switch fit the same spot as a regular 5-way?

On yet another tome brightening note... What about using 1 meg ohm pots? I've heard that it will brighten up the sound, but never tried it and don't know how drastic or subtle it might be.
 

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The F spacing thing isn't as important as you might think. Think of it like this... every time you bend a note you're pulling the string away from the pole pieces right? Especially in the case of the neck pickup. I used to have an RG with a PAF and a PAF pro both regular spaced because... it's what I had around. I never really noticed a deal breaking difference.

As for the super switch, I had to route out a tiny bit in the 540R cavity to get it to fit. Not much, just a little spot because of the way the inner cavity was shaped. You know how not all cavities are the same exact shape as the cavity cover? It was about a 5 min dremel job. Though not all cavities are the same, yours may not need anything.

When it comes to that 1Meg Ohm pot, I have never used or seen one. I assume it has to be a bit brighter than the 500k... I mean a 500k is noticeably brighter than a 250k if you compare them side by side. I would imagine the 1M pot would be a pretty noticeable difference. Though it may not be in the way you would be looking for. At least it's a fairly cheap mod to try. Having a brighter sounding pickup may be an acceptable option. Pickups have a more defined change, something you can see on a comparison chart... comparing what you have to something else. And the pickup manufactures are normally pretty good with returns if you don't like it. DiMarzio and Duncan (if you contact them directly) will be more than willing to work with you on returns if you didn't care for the pickup. Even direct mounts! I've had Duncan pickups I didn't like, had to drill out the threads of the pickup so I could use my wood screws, they still took it back because they wanted me to be happy.

That's sort of what global controls on an amp are good for too. Just turn up the presence a little bit when you pick up that guitar.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
The F spacing thing isn't as important as you might think.
I've heard that before, but always bought new/used F-spaced pickups... I'll try it.

After I posted about the 1meg vs 500k pots I did some poking around on youtube, had a few more minutes on break at work. There were some good comparisons and it is a noticeable difference. Might be something to check in to, as I have fought muddiness in my sound for some time now. One interesting idea I saw on a forum somewhere was to use the push/pull pot contacts to bypass the volume and tone controls completely to get full volume/tone straight out to the jack. Hmm... More to think about.

I've been playing with more amps in BiasFX2 as well... Found one called "Super Clean Jimi" that brightens up nicely with treble and presence.

Thanks for the insight on the superswitch, and the entire subject of tone brightening options! I appreciate it!
 
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