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How to HOTTEN up a single coil?


Jester700
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So, I'm soon going to re-do my main axe's pickups (in anticipation of my new Carvin neck), and am looking for ideas to try.

I have an SK dualtone in the bridge. It's a bucker with one coil an alnico bar magnet and the other alnico polepieces, so that it sounds like a strat when split to that side. 42AWG wire, evenly wound to 6.9k per coil.

I have the top half of a DiMarzio HS-2 in middle, Alnico 5 poles and wound to just under 7k.

I'm thinking of moving the SK to the neck (replacing the Duncan Stag Mag I have there). Then I'll put an IBZUSA F1 (kinda/sorta like a DiMarzio Breed - Alnico bars and evenly wound to 8.5k per coil) in the bridge. I'm gonna try replacing the screws in one coil of that with alnico rods from another pickup; I'm hoping this will give me a good strat sound and fair balance between the buckers, provided I like the sound (I like the stock F1 at bridge in this guitar, so we'll see).

THE PROBLEM: I want to lower the middle pup WAY down; It gets in the way of my hack playing. So I need a HOT pickup there if it's to be usable at all. I was thinking of a Duncan Quarter Pound, but since I only ever use it in combo with the split buckers, the resistance needs to be in the 7-9k range (the Duncan is over 13k). So I was thinking... Anyone ever try putting a ceramic magnet underneath a pickup to add to the polepieces' magnetic field? Or how about some tiny Neodymium jobs for the same effect? Does this really increase the field & thus the output? Or another thought, what's the absolute hottest single coil out there? Anyone have half of an X2N they wanna sell? ;-)

I'm betting the pup will no longer be strat-like at that point, but I just wanted to know if anyone's played with this before undertaking the experiments... I will report when I've played with it a bit.

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the way i see it, you have 3 options,

1, just lower the pickup and then bear with it, since you'll still have positions 2 and 4 that have the pickup, but another aswell for volume.

2, get a dimarzio solo virtual vintage solo, or chopper, which are both hotter and aprox 9-10k (why does this matter???)

3, take some guitar lessons and learn how to hold the pick differently

3.2, don't have a middle pickup, and just coil split and miss match the neck and bridge together for position 2,3 and 4 on your switch.

Edited by krazyderek
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The problem is, IME that stratty cluck sound isn't very good if the output of the combined single coils isn't in the same ballpark. It *would* be best if I could just get used to the middle pup, and that may end up being what I have to do. But I gotta try... ;-)

If the impedances are WAY off, the higher impedance pickup won't combine well; you won't hear it much - same problem as having too low an output, but for a different reason. I was thinking of a VV, but since I will only use it combined with another coil, I don't need its humbucking ability. If I could tap from the top coil like I do with the HS2, that's an idea. I've also thought of one of the velvets. I've also thought of a 9k coil from an F2 humbucker with alnico5 rods stuck in it, but I'd have to figure out how to mount it... :D

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Maybe practice, so you can play without hitting the pickup? :D That appears to be what everybody else is doing.

The problem being that I didn't have a middle pickup in any of my guitars for the first 15 years I played. And sad to say, I haven't been a heavy practicer in the 8 years since I got my first such guitar (High school & college were definitely easier times to hit the woodshed). So now I have to either relearn some very ingrained habits, or work around them. It's not all the time, either - I don't have a problem on solos, because I don't "dig deep" then.

Lots of people choose guitars without middle pups for this very reason, so I ain't alone.

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If I understood well, you would only use the middle pickup to combine for a Strat #4 sound.

Since you're obviously not afraid of some experimenting, you might want to try a mod that J. Donahue uses in his Tele, making a Strat inbetween sound possible without having a pickup in the middle.

It goes like this : a coil at the bridge is switched in parallel with one at the neck. Normally that gives the inbetween tone known from Telecaster. But, reversing one coil's connections, you get a parallel out of phase sound. Then inserting a (approximately) 10nanoF capacitor in series with one of the coils will shift relative phase, eliminating the boinginess and bring it into Stratocaster inbetween area, without using a middle pickup.

I tried this with a 2SC guitar, but never with splitted HB coils. As you probably know, tricks like this are often close but no cigar (and then you have to integrate it into your guitar's switching system), but on the other hand it's no extra investment and not a awful lot of work to try it.

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If I understood well, you would only use the middle pickup to combine for a Strat #4 sound.

Since you're obviously not afraid of some experimenting, you might want to try a mod that J. Donahue uses in his Tele, making a Strat inbetween sound possible without having a pickup in the middle.

It goes like this : a coil at the bridge is switched in parallel with one at the neck. Normally that gives the inbetween tone known from Telecaster. But, reversing one coil's connections, you get a parallel out of phase sound. Then inserting a (approximately) 10nanoF capacitor in series with one of the coils will shift relative phase, eliminating the boinginess and bring it into Stratocaster inbetween area, without using a middle pickup.

I tried this with a 2SC guitar, but never with splitted HB coils. As you probably know, tricks like this are often close but no cigar (and then you have to integrate it into your guitar's switching system), but on the other hand it's no extra investment and not a awful lot of work to try it.

My switching swstem already has the OOP split setup (really a wierd sound), so all I need do is put the cap in. I will try this when I get some time to play...

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