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Angled Pickups And Stacked Coils


G-Axe
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I'm trying to nut out the defining features of my first guitar build, and one thing I'm not willing to compromise on is the "twang" you get from the bridge pickup on a Tele. But, I do want to get a thicker sound than a standard Tele offers. I've decided I want a 'bucker in the neck position, which will give me something closer to what I'm after (as long as I keep it as a fairly low output job), but I'm curious about the effect of having an angled humbucker.

Having never heard one, and being a bit sketchy on the theory - does a stacked coil give a thinner, but hotter sound than a 'bucker because you have two coils driven by exactly the same harmonic waveform and adding it together? Or am I way off base with regard to phase and pickup output?

Is the humbucker style of sound going to be more dominant than a distinct Tele twang and defeat the purpose? What about going really over the top and angling a quadrail? Superhot twang, or recipe for poorly balanced tone?

Anyone ever done anything really outlandish like putting a split humbucker into a /\-shape? Would you still get a twang from putting the treble end of one coil closer to the bridge, and what effect would the more distant treble end of the second coil be likely to have - a thicker treble sound, due to slightly varied harmonics, or a muddy neither here-nor-there kind of sound?

Eventually I'll probably settle for tried and true for my first build, but it would also be nice to have an end product that is a little way removed from a professionally built axe.

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I have a stacked humbucker in my last guitar...has the same bottom plate as a normal tele pickup, and of course it's housed in the same bridge plate. So the twang's all there, but with much more snarl, more bite. The pickup is splittable, so you have the option of switching to a normal single coil as well. Mine came from Tradition guitars, there's a guy on ebay selling them for $40.

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Hey G-Axe,

Not sure you need a humbucker, but I wouldn't use a stacked one unless it's because you can't fit the standard type. You'll have twice as many places you can get a single coil sound if you do split it, and sensing a slightly greater portion of the string will give you a slightly thicker sound.

I'd use a DPDT switch and wire it so you can have the humbucker go between series and parallel wiring. If parallel doesn't give you the right tone, you'd can always try split, but it wouldn't be my first choice.

Call up Becky at Bill Lawrence and see if they have something that'll give you the tone you are after. They'll wind you the pickup of your choice in the inductance that'll give the tone you want.

Luck,

Todd

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The main function of a stacked humbucker is for hum cancelling. Splitting into single coils results in relatively weak output as the individual coils are quite small. Anyway, I happen to have pretty close to what you are looking for but with no angled pickups. I built an all maple tele a while back and made some sound samples.

The neck pickup is a Seymour Duncan "Hotstack", (stacked humbucker with a bar magnet). The bridge pickup is a Seymour Duncan "Vintage 54". ToddW mentioned the best idea for wiring a tele in series/parallel with a DPDT. But not within the actual humbucker but between the bridge and neck pickups. My guitar is wired like that and I got some very interesting results. I also wired a friend's strat in a similar manner and it sounded fantastic. The trick is to use pickups that are very different from each other. When wired in series you have one pickup's signal chasing the other which gives a flanger effect. The more difference between the pickups ie. output strength etc. the more pronounced the effect, in my experience. In the sound samples I played through a Musicman 210 Sixtyfive and used no effects pedals. The neck pickup sounds very mellow and the bridge has that classic tele twang. Combine the pickups and you get a different flavor altogether. You be the judge. :D

http://www3.telus.net/Alsplace/Sounds/

Edited by Southpa
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Cheers for the responses guys.

Not sure you need a humbucker, but I wouldn't use a stacked one unless it's because you can't fit the standard type. You'll have twice as many places you can get a single coil sound if you do split it, and sensing a slightly greater portion of the string will give you a slightly thicker sound.

Well the general idea was to go with something that would fit a standard Tele bridge plate - it's going to make my build a little bit easier, though potentially I could go with another low profile bridge (or recess a TOM) to keep my neck straight and that doesn't restrict me as much with my bridge pickup rout. I do definitely agree with the sentiment of the added versatility and thickness I could get from a standard 'bucker, I'll just have to consider whether that's worth rethinking my bridge design to accomodate it.

The main function of a stacked humbucker is for hum cancelling. Splitting into single coils results in relatively weak output as the individual coils are quite small. Anyway, I happen to have pretty close to what you are looking for but with no angled pickups. I built an all maple tele a while back and made some sound samples.

Much appreciated - where did you mount the bridge pickup? So the treble end of the coil closest the bridge was roughly where the treble end of an angled tele bridge pickup would usually lie? And I'll definitely plan to have options as far as switching from series to parallel. It seems like a pretty simple way to diversify your sound a bit.

Cool idea. Not being a tele person, I hadn't ever considered that. Also, I wasn't sure G-Axe was planning to build a tele.

Todd

It's not quite a Tele, but that's definitely the main influence. I'm shooting for a more aggressive Tele, with a bit more snarl (cheers Mickguard, that's exactly the word I was looking for) and some warmer tones. I've "sketched" out the look I'm after, and want the sound to go with it:

27912582811.jpg

I couldn't think of a witty "something-caster" name for it, so for now it's affectionately dubbed "The Can Opener". Timber-wise I'm tending more toward heavier, warmer tonewoods - I can probably get my hands on some beautiful Aussie rosewood, (which is supposedly similar to mahogany and is part of the same Meliaceae family) and I want to try a deep set neck.

My biggest worry at this point is that I'm drifting a long way from the design specs of a proper Tele, but I still want that twang - so I'm really hoping it's mostly due to keeping the treble end of the bridge pickup as close to the bridge as possible. It seems to make sense, given the twang you get from picking closer to the bridge, but this is virgin territory for me.

Edited by G-Axe
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