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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi all,

I have a Hamer Centaura which I fell in love with when I started playing guitar in the nineties, with - I believe - a swamp ash body and all maple neck. It originally came with 2 SD stacked SC (SS1, I think) and a JB bridge. I never was a fan of the JB and the SC were not stratty enough. It further came with a Floyd Rose, and a 'thick' switch, which removes the treble a bit. Pickups are direct mounted. I play through a Fender Bassbreaker 15W and an Engl 570 + G-Major + VHT 2/50/2.
I wanted a versatile combination (allround pop, rock, funk, ...) with nice, chimey strat-like cleans and a warm humbucker, not too nasal, not too hot but with a fluid lead sound. It's my only guitar with real SCs. I love eighties pop (sorry ^^) - think the 'funky' sounding guitar in Michael Jackson or Madonna songs, but also Dire Straits, Chris Rea, Chris Isaak. At least, that's what this guitar is for, but handling some shred is a plus.

A couple of years ago, I was doubting between Bare Knuckle's Mother Milk, Irish Tour or Veneer '63. I went for the latter, combined with a Crawler bridge. I installed a push-pull to split the Crawler and have it possible to combine it with any SC combination, especially the neck+bridge SC to have some Tele-like quality.
While I think they are all very nice pickups, and I like the split Crawler, the guitar could sound somewhat fatter/warmer (all pickups), the SCs can be louder and have some more twang.

Some months ago I tried an Air Norton S in the neck, which has its qualities, but had too much midrange. Some kind of humbucker-sound in the neck for fluent leads would be a plus, but when split, it would need to be quite strat like (which is more important for this guitar).
Maybe I'm asking too much, but what combinations would you advice?

Thanks!
 

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RIP Hamer, I used to gas hard for a Standard back in the day.

With a HSS setup, there will always be some degree of compromise in stuff like output between the humbucker and singles, single coily character versus noise(less), and what kind of pots you're using.

I mainly use HSS, where I look for a variety of s/c tones, and a dynamic hb which isn't too compressed and hot.

I use a set of Duncans - a pair of SSL2s and a 59/Custom hybrid - wired up for all sorts of combinations. It's pretty versatile. The SSL2 is flat pole version of SSL1, basically a late 50s/early 60s type Strat pu - scooped mid, brilliance, and piano-like attack of bass strings. The 59/C is in the hotter than PAF but tamer than stuff like a JB and so on. I think others that I could've gone with are a regular 59 (more scooped and lower output, so perhaps a hb equivalent of a Stratty s/c) or a Screamin' Demon.

I think if you want Stratty single sounds, you'll have to get a true single coil, though noiseless ones you can buy these days have come a long way. No single sized hb is going to sound quite like a true single, split or in series. However, quite a few people (including Andy Timmons) like DiM Cruisers - they do seem to have some of that 'pluck' and attack a true s/c has. Andy also sets his humbucker quite low, partly so the Cruisers aren't overpowered.

I haven't seen anyone using a Fishman Fluence HSS config, that would be interesting to see.
 

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I've been down this rabit hole, here's what I have experienced in the process. So if you are splitting a humbucker to get a single coilish sound, the lower output humbuckers work better. They don't drive the preamp as hard and will 'quack' and 'pluck' with closer character than higher output pickups when split. A true single coil sound is going to be best to achieve that sound... also the singles shouldn't be ceramic magnets. Ceramic gives a warmer tone and that doesn't capture that particular sound. For example.... Fenders 4th generation noiseless singles are ceramic, they are what Jeff Beck uses in his strat. I noticed they lacked the chime of the alnico counterparts. They are also hotter. I wanted to achieve a similar goal that you do and came across this diagram.

17518


I have posted about this before, I just did a custom project with my 540RLTD with this. This diagram is essentially Guthrie Govan's signature charvels circuit. You can see which coils are active in certain positions. What's awesome about this circuit is that when you use your split switch to split your bridge and neck (so that they are always split, not when you switch positions)... It has caps and resistors inline that slightly boost the decibels countering that drop off in volume when split. Also is auto splits in the middle 3 positions. It essentially makes a toneal beast of a guitar. You get humbucker configuration in bridge and neck like a Les Paul, strat like positions for 2 and 4. And the center position is essentially the classic tele middle position. And of course the split switch that splits the bridge and neck positions to emulate a single coil.

Using some more classic output pickups... Like a PAF...SD classic 59... Or... Air classics, mixed with like... A "true velvet" single in the middle achieved killer results. The neck pickup for you would require a little bit of reading. Possibly a Timmons neck single coil sized humbuckers would work. You'll have to read the output stats... Either way, I think this circuit is totally what you are looking for. Not to mention the awesome treble bleed circuit. I swapped that out with a single 330pf cap because I just prefer that more. But this will achieve funk tones, country, rock/metal... Jazz... Blues! It's killer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you all for the inputs.
I have had a '59 bridge in an ESP Horizon, but I wasn't fond of it. The Custom is one of my favorites, but a little too sterile. This might be something to look at, though, if it's not too high output for this.

Pots are 500k, indeed.

JxSline6, that's an interesting scheme and probably close to what I'm looking for indeed. I might also apply it to my EBMM Silhouette, which already has a superswitch and I was going to buy a mini toggle to split my humbuckers.
It has a BKP The Mule, although the bass is a little too muddy, and a custom Dimarzio which is close to the Blue/True Velvet. Still looking for a bridge pup to replace the Virtual PAF.
I will check out those Andy Timmons.
 

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.....
No single sized hb is going to sound quite like a true single, split or in series. However, quite a few people (including Andy Timmons) like DiM Cruisers - they do seem to have some of that 'pluck' and attack a true s/c has. Andy also sets his humbucker quite low, partly so the Cruisers aren't overpowered.

.......
It's not like that.
Hambucker with coils side by side, they add a signal and take away the noise.
A humbucker with coils on top of each other takes away the signal and they're quieter than one coil alone.

The consequence is that if you turn off the lower coil the signal becomes stronger and you get the sound of a real single coil.
If anyone thinks that sound is worse than a real single coil, I'll just note that Eric Johnson had an Dimarzio HS-2 connected in a single coil mode in his stratocaster.

And his ears are very picky.

So if you haven't already, I'd try the existing pickups in single coil mode. Just be shure to use top coil.

This is regarding stacked humbuckers,
 

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I went with an Air Norton S in the neck, Chopper in the middle and the AT-1 for the bridge, I've got coil splitting on my volume knob for stratty sounding applications. I personally love the AT-1 because it's a very confident sounding bridge that could give a neck pickup a run for it's money. It has great clarity and works really well with the chopper. The Air Norton S is pretty warm but not uncontrollable by any means and I find myself having fun in any position.
Brown Musical instrument Guitar String instrument Wood
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Hi, thanks. How does the Chopper compare to Cruisers?

I'm set for an AT-1 bridge, just to give it a try.
I'll probably go for a Cruiser in the neck, but I'm doubting between a bridge or neck version. I believe the bridge version would be fuller sounding? (it's a relatively bright guitar)
Still doubting if and with what I would replace the middle (Cruiser n/b, something else?)

This should be a general pop/rock guitar, lead/shred is a plus, but definitely have a single coil quality in the middle/neck position.
 

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No personal experience with the cruisers as I can't get behind anything with low output. The chopper sounds great, like a single coil with some decent muscle and it's tone profile covers a lot of ground. It's overshadowed by the Air Norton S for me though, that pickup is a superstar and I love it as much as the humbucker version.
 
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