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Side-by-side Singles (lipsticks)


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I have two lipstick (Kent Armstrong type) single-coils. They are NOT matched (i.e., NOT reversed/non-reversed).

I could mount them in the standard neck -bridge positions, but because of the design of the guitar, it's going to be difficult getting the neck pup in place in the normal neck position.

Besides, the lipsticks look kind of cool side-by-side

So I'm wondering what would happen if I just lined the neck up alongside the bridge pickup. I'd wire the second pickup to a mini-switch, so I can switch it on and off.

So what would happen when I switch the second pickup on?

Will it act as a boost in the signal? Will it turn the tone to mud? Or will it simply 'darken' the tone (because of being a little closer to the neck). Will the simple fact of placing the two magnets together turn the sound to mud?

I'm not looking for a humbucker here (although I don't want noise). So I'm thinking that the second pickup will otherwise be wired like the bridge pickup, except with the miniswitch in between.

The coolest would be if I could achieve a switchable signal boost.

But if it's going to sound bad, I won't pursue it....

(Note: the other posts I've read on this all seem to focus on turning two matched single coils into a humbucker but don't discuss the incidence on the sound otherwise.)

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Correct me if i'm wrong...but

You should gat an increase in volume/output (might drive the amp harder) buy virtue of having doubled the windings of the single coil. You'd also get a "darkening" of tone similar to the smoothness of a humbucker as the pickups combined are sensing a wider portion of the string.

I'm not sure how easy it is to take the things apart, but you may find that the lipstick has a simple ceramic magnet stuck to the bottom of the coil...if so it could be carefully removed and replace upsidedown and the wires reversed for humbucking effect. If the magnet is internal to the coil, you may be able to just turn the guts upside down...

This would make a humbucker with the other to achieve noise cancellation...useful with all these computer monitors and fluro lights about these days...so probably worth the effort.

Lipsticks, due to the limited amount of space in them, tend to be fairly low output...so combining them shouldn't raise the output so that it turns to mud.

A phase switch, series/parrallel switch and single coil cut or fade in knob for one of the coils could bring out a range of sounds too. I no charvel and danellectro amoungst others and custom maker's have done this with some success...

Anyone ever taken a lipstick apart? :D

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look what i found...


this came from a site with some great basic pickup stuff and explanations...

cigar box guitars...who would of thought of looking there...

Anyway...a traditional lipstick coil is wrapped around the magnet as it's the only way to get it all in that little tube...so you could just turn it upside down for humbucking effect...unless they glue it in or you risk breaking the wires or something....

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not really LK...'cause the magnets would still have the same polarity. Just switching the wires over will be enough to reverse them and have the wires come out together convieniantly....

A humbucker is not only reverse wound but reverse polarity between the coils.

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Anyway, I don't like my chances of opening these up without breaking the wires...

but like I said, I'm not trying for a humbucker sound here. More of a doubled single coil...a single coil with bulls balls, if you like...

A question: since the magnets are repelling each other, is that going to give problems with the magnetic field no matter if the second pickup is switched on or not?

It'd be really cool if I could get a solo boost just by flicking a mini-switch...I'm not agile enough to dial up with volume knobs, don't want a foot pedal, and besides, I prefer the crispness of a wide open volume.

I would be willing to send the second pickup to its own volume knob, so I'd be able to set the level of the boost though. Depends on whether I attach the pickups independently of each other. If so I could raise and lower the second pickup to set the 'boost' level.

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no...i wouldn't worry about the magnetic field. It would just act a little like a p90 a single coil with a wide magnetic field. Thicker with more growl and volume...

u could maybe use a three way to short out one coil, both coils and out of phase...for a lower output scratchy sound when u want to get funky!!

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It would just act a little like a p90 a single coil with a wide magnetic field. Thicker with more growl and volume...

Ka-ching! Magic word alert! Magic word alert! :D

And if I'm understanding your switch idea correctly, I can use one setting of the switch to wire the second pickups similar to a hummed-bucker, instead of going direct to the volume? (something about wiring the lead to the ground of the other pickup?)

Hmmm....maybe two switches then, one for 'boost' the other as a chooser...

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Vertically LK my friend...that's why it's hard to find suitably shaped amgnets for pickups often...the polarities are on the long sides...not the ends. The field has to pass through the coil's core.

I just mean't Mick, that you could select one coil by shorting the other (i think this is better than just disconnecting one end of the coil noise wise) but you could also arrange it so that it works like a turbo switch where the other coil bypasses the controls...or a separate control that selects both coils full on direct (which is the usual idea of a "turbo" switch...all pickups-full on!)

There is actually quite a few things you can do...even with a dual coil pickup like a humbucker or 2 singles. Series/parrallel or out of phase may be of interest for different tones.

But I know where you are coming from with a simple no nonsense guitar with a switchable volume boost...

Anyway...the two singles will just operate like a wide single coil...the two coils will act as if they are tapped. The combination will effect the resonant frequency...as will the wider sensing area but it has been done with some success. Lipsticks are particularly good for this idea as they are low powered...so the combination of two would act as a hot pickup. Where as two hots...would act as something so hot that it probably would be a little too muddy.

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