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Strat Quack With Two Humbuckers?


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I've got a strat copy I'd like to get rid of and a another guitar with dual humbuckers that I'm looking to upgrade a little.

Thing is I really like the quacky sound I was getting from the strat, run through a cheap amp, for a couple of songs. Can I wire humbuckers to give me this sound and what kind of pups would you recommend? I was also thinking of putting P90's in another dual humbucker I have, but could I use one P90 and one humbucker and get that sound?

Sorry if this is a dumb question but I've never cared much about tones before now.

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Nope...you need single coils to get that. Not only that, you need one reverse-wound like the middle strat pup. So 2 P90s (or a P90 and humbucker) will not get you there....except perhaps with one of the 2 P90s reverse-wound.

You're discovering one of the truisms of guitar music....one axe is never enough!! :D :D B)

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Nope...you need single coils to get that. Not only that, you need one reverse-wound like the middle strat pup. So 2 P90s (or a P90 and humbucker) will not get you there....except perhaps with one of the 2 P90s reverse-wound.

You're discovering one of the truisms of guitar music....one axe is never enough!! :D :D B)

I've been researching and the combinations that give the 'quack' are half the bridge humbucker with either the neck or middle pickup. From what I read they can be connected either in series or parallel and still give the quack.

What is reverse wound? Can't I just switch the wires if that's the case? Or if the magnetic poles need to be opposite can I just install it upside down?

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You're discovering one of the truisms of guitar music....one axe is never enough!!

True...but the reverse wound, reverse polarity (rwrp) isn't the reason for the quack...old strats weren't and they could quack like a duck! This was done to make the neck and middle or bridge and middle (the quack positions) humbucking.

A big part of the "secret", and a lot has been written on the quack factor, is the combination of the middle and another single coil (especially strat types) in parallel. But without the other strat factors, the trem with steel string block and springs, the scale length and the type and placement of the pickups it just isn't going to be quacking quite like a strat...it is just the way it is! Leo was a genius even if this sound was found by complete accident by wedging the switches into the middle positions.

There are ways of "faking" it, not many very convincing. Splitting HB coils does not create a single, half a HB...you still have the surrounding magnets and completely different resonant frequencies and construction placement etc, often wired in series. Still some can sound ok in their own way, Vai gets a version of it with split HB and middle on a jem for instance.

P90's are single coil but different again, but you should be able to get nic clean sounds with any guitar but for that acoustic detail, you want to be looking at fender style I'd say and for quack, it's got to be a strat!

pete

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I actually have a guitar that is a strat type and when the bridge humbucker is used with the middles pickup it gets a perfect strat quack so one humbucker and one single coil can achieve the sound but even that was just luck of how the humbucker and single coil interacted. Most times you wil need two single coils for the quack.

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Thing is I really like the quacky sound I was getting from the strat, run through a cheap amp, for a couple of songs. Can I wire humbuckers to give me this sound and what kind of pups would you recommend?

the closest you can get to strat quack from two humbuckers is running the two inner coils in parallel. this is one of the positions on the PRS rotary switch. depending on your pickups and/or amp settings, this combination can actually have lots of strat quack. another cool setting is the two outer coils in parallel--this has the slightly notched sound like the middle position of a tele. check out a wiring site like guitarnuts.com for wiring diagrams of how to wire those coil-split combinations.

as for kinds of pickups, if you want great single-coil sounds from split humbuckers, the best wasy to get that is to use humbuckers that are built like single-coils. single-coils use pole-piece magnets; normal humbuckers use steel poles and a large bar magnet underneath both coils. Rio Grande makes their humbuckers with pole-piece magnets, like single-coils, so when those humbuckers are split, they are exactly the same as a single-coil. they're expensive, but if they sound as good as their single-coils that i own, they will be awesome.

Edited by scott from _actual time_
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Thing is I really like the quacky sound I was getting from the strat, run through a cheap amp, for a couple of songs. Can I wire humbuckers to give me this sound and what kind of pups would you recommend?

the closest you can get to strat quack from two humbuckers is running the two inner coils in parallel. this is one of the positions on the PRS rotary switch. depending on your pickups and/or amp settings, this combination can actually have lots of strat quack. another cool setting is the two outer coils in parallel--this has the slightly notched sound like the middle position of a tele. check out a wiring site like guitarnuts.com for wiring diagrams of how to wire those coil-split combinations.

as for kinds of pickups, if you want great single-coil sounds from split humbuckers, the best wasy to get that is to use humbuckers that are built like single-coils. single-coils use pole-piece magnets; normal humbuckers use steel poles and a large bar magnet underneath both coils. Rio Grande makes their humbuckers with pole-piece magnets, like single-coils, so when those humbuckers are split, they are exactly the same as a single-coil. they're expensive, but if they sound as good as their single-coils that i own, they will be awesome.

Thanks scott from _actual time_, that was really, really helpful :D

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From above:

the reverse wound, reverse polarity (rwrp) isn't the reason for the quack...old strats weren't and they could quack like a duck! This was done to make the neck and middle or bridge and middle (the quack positions) humbucking.

You do not need a "reverse wound" coil in combination with another coil to create a humbucker. You need to have the two coils connected so that the electrical energy FLOWS in reverse direction. In practice this is done by connecting the two coils in series with the finish of the first coil being connected to the finish of the other.

See here: http://www.1728.com/guitar1a.htm

Edited by Petros
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From above:

the reverse wound, reverse polarity (rwrp) isn't the reason for the quack...old strats weren't and they could quack like a duck! This was done to make the neck and middle or bridge and middle (the quack positions) humbucking.

You do not need a "reverse wound" coil in combination with another coil to create a humbucker. You need to have the two coils connected so that the electrical energy FLOWS in reverse direction. In practice this is done by connecting the two coils in series with the finish of the first coil being connected to the finish of the other.

See here: http://www.1728.com/guitar1a.htm

Yes, true, this is effectively reverse wound, it makes no difference as you point out. However, in a strat, the pickups are wired in parallel, not series. Both will produce a humbucking effect. An HB in parallel will sound too thin generally, but the distance between the coils of the middle and bridge or neck pickup, combined with the parallel wiring, is what causes the "quack" effect.

the closest you can get to strat quack from two humbuckers is running the two inner coils in parallel

Yep...see here, the distance and wiring is similar with a similar result, distance and parallel wiring...it won't sound exacly like a strat quack, but probably is a little quacky and close enough.

as for kinds of pickups, if you want great single-coil sounds from split humbuckers, the best wasy to get that is to use humbuckers that are built like single-coils. single-coils use pole-piece magnets; normal humbuckers use steel poles and a large bar magnet underneath both coils.

Dual single coils are not the same either as a single coil alone. Because they are close, the magnetic fields combine to make something different.

That said, I have built a new guitar recently that used an old fender "wide range" humbucker designed by Seth Lover of PAF fame exclusively for fender. This has individual poles which are magnetic and quite big. The coils are big and flat too, a bit like a pair of small p-90's and the whole thing is much bigger than a standard HB. This is a simply amazing pickup with a distinctly bright fender sound...Wiki

Mine is an original vintage model so is completely different from the same looking recent versions...

Rio Grande makes their humbuckers with pole-piece magnets, like single-coils, so when those humbuckers are split, they are exactly the same as a single-coil. they're expensive, but if they sound as good as their single-coils that i own, they will be awesome.

I will have to look into them, they won't sound the same as single coils when split as the two fields will be combined, but if they are anything like the wide range fender originals, they are probably a neat thing. I understand that an original wide range HB now fetches $400 or so second hand on ebay, so lucky me... A standard sized HB is likely not to match it, these coils are thinner and the whole thing wider and the poles are a lot chunkier too using a different obsolete material, but I am sure they have their own thing going on. If they produce a fender like clarity, no noise and added punch like mine does, with a little p-90 growl thrown in, then they are on a winner.

Would be and actual pickup makers should investigate these things as an alternative direction as there is a lot of sonic potential in this cult pickup design and ideals...

pete

PS...I teamed my bridge wide range with a new SCN neck pickup and the combination is great...the best of the old and the new...!

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