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Encyclopedia > Humbucker
Traditional "Open Coil" (uncovered) humbucker pickup
Traditional "Open Coil" (uncovered) humbucker pickup

A conventional humbucker (or Humbucking pickup) is a type of electric guitar pickup that uses two coils, both generating string signal. Humbuckers have high output since both coils are in series and because the magnetic circuit is low loss. Since the two coils are of reversed polarity and reverse-wound and connected in series, noise and interference is significantly reduced via common-mode rejection. They get their name because they cancel out a large proportion of the interference (they "buck the hum") induced by alternating current sources normally experienced with single coil pickups. Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (3008x2000, 2828 KB) Double-micro sur une guitare électrique Author: Frédéric Jacquot (deelight@poulet. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (3008x2000, 2828 KB) Double-micro sur une guitare électrique Author: Frédéric Jacquot (deelight@poulet. ... An electric guitar An electric guitar is a type of guitar that uses pickups to convert the vibration of its steel-cored strings into electrical current, which is then amplified. ... Three magnetic pickups on an electric guitar. ... The common-mode rejection ratio (CMRR) of an amplifier (or other device) measures the tendency of the device to reject input signals common to both input leads. ... City lights viewed in a motion blurred exposure. ... This image shows three single coil pickups on a Stratocaster guitar. ...

Contents

History

This first "humbucker" or humbucking pickup was the so-called PAF (literally "Patent Applied For") invented by Seth Lover, a Gibson employee, in 1957. Because of this, and because of its use on the Gibson Les Paul guitar, the humbucker is strongly associated with Gibson, although humbuckers have been used in many different guitar designs by many different manufacturers. Humbuckers are also known as dual-coil, double-coil, or hum-canceling pickups. Rickenbacker offered dual coil pickups arranged in a humbucking pattern beginning in late 1953 but dropped the design in 1954 due to the perceived distorted sound. The Gibson Les Paul was the first guitar to use humbuckers in substantial production, but since then, even some models of Fender Stratocasters and Telecasters, traditionally fitted with single-coil pickups, are factory-equipped with humbuckers. Stratocasters fitted with one humbucker in the bridge position, resulting in a pickup configuration noted as H-S-S (starting at bridge pickup: H for humbucker, S for single coil) are referred to as "Fat Strats", because of the "fatter", "rounder" tone offered by the humbucker pickup. P.A.F. or just PAF is a famous first in the world humbucker guitar pickup, invented by Seth Lover in 1955 as an engineer for Gibson and started to be used in mass production guitars in about 1956 or 1957. ... Seth Lover (born January 1st, 1910 in Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA; died January 31st, 1997 in Garden Grove, California, USA) is most famous for inventing the humbucker or hum-cancelling electric stringed instrument pickup, most often used on the electric guitar. ... The Gibson Guitar Corporation, of Nashville, Tennessee, USA, is a manufacturer of acoustic and electric guitars. ... Year 1957 (MCMLVII) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link displays the 1957 Gregorian calendar). ... The Gibson Les Paul is a popular solidbody electric guitar originally developed in the early 1950s. ... Rickenbacker 330JG Rickenbacker International Corporation, also known as Rickenbacker (pronounced ) [1]), is an electric guitar manufacturer, notable for having invented the first electric guitar during the 1930s. ... Stratocaster redirects here. ... The Fender Telecaster, also known as a Tele, is typically a dual-pickup, solid-body electric guitar made by Fender. ... Three magnetic pickups on an electric guitar. ... A Fat Strat is a name for a design of electric guitars that is based on the Fender Stratocaster, but with a humbucker at the bridge position instead, while still retaining other characteristics of Stratocaster, such as a 21/22-fret fretboard and a synchronized tremolo bridge. ...


How humbuckers work

In any magnetic pickup, a vibrating soft-magnetic guitar string induces an alternating current in its coil(s). However, magnetic coils also make excellent antennas and are therefore sensitive to electromagnetic interference caused by mains wiring (mains hum) and electrical appliances like transformers, motors, and computer screens. Guitar pickups pick up this noise, which can be quite audible, sounding like a constant hum or buzz. In biology, antenna (plural: antennae) refers to the sensing organs of several arthropods. ... Electromagnetic interference (or EMI, also called radio frequency interference or RFI) is a (usually undesirable) disturbance caused in a radio receiver or other electrical circuit by electromagnetic radiation emitted from an external source. ... Spectrum of mains hum at 60 Hz Electric hum, mains hum, or power line hum is an audible oscillation at the frequency of the mains alternating current, which is usually 50 or 60 hertz depending on the local electric utility configuration (see Mains electricity). ... A computer display monitor, usually called simply a monitor, is a piece of electrical equipment which displays viewable images generated by a computer without producing a permanent record. ...


A humbucker has two coils with opposing windings and polarities. The string motion induces current in both coils in the same direction. Electromagnetic interference, on the other hand, induces current in opposing directions in each coil because of the reversed winding and polarity. When the signals from both pickups are summed together, the noise is cancelled due to destructive interference, while the actual signal is increased due to constructive interference, thus dramatically improving the signal-to-noise ratio. This technique is called common-mode rejection by electrical engineers, and is also used in balanced lines in audio recording. Interference of two circular waves - Wavelength (decreasing bottom to top) and Wave centers distance (increasing to the right). ... Interference of two circular waves - Wavelength (decreasing bottom to top) and Wave centers distance (increasing to the right). ... Signal-to-noise ratio (often abbreviated SNR or S/N) is an electrical engineering concept defined as the ratio of a signal power to the noise power corrupting the signal. ... The common-mode rejection ratio (CMRR) of an amplifier (or other device) measures the tendency of the device to reject input signals common to both input leads. ... It has been suggested that Balanced pair be merged into this article or section. ...


Sound

Humbuckers on a Gibson Invader.
Humbuckers on a Gibson Invader.

Using two coils also changes the tone of the pickup. The humbucking pickup produces a "warm" and "fat" tone that has been popularly associated with Les Pauls and SGs, in contrast to the "bright" or "clear" tone of the single coil pickups that are typically used on Fender guitars such as the Stratocaster and Telecaster. However, there are humbucking pickups that have a bright tone, similar to that of single-coil pickups. Image File history File links Metadata Size of this preview: 800 × 600 pixelsFull resolution (2272 × 1704 pixel, file size: 888 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) The humbucker pick-ups on my Gibson Invader guitar. ... Image File history File links Metadata Size of this preview: 800 × 600 pixelsFull resolution (2272 × 1704 pixel, file size: 888 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) The humbucker pick-ups on my Gibson Invader guitar. ... The Gibson Guitar Corporation, of Nashville, Tennessee, USA, is one of the worlds best-known manufacturers of acoustic and electric guitars. ... The Gibson Les Paul is a popular solidbody electric guitar originally developed in the early 1950s. ... The Gibson SG is a popular model of solid-bodied electric guitar that was introduced in the early 1960s. ... This image shows three single coil pickups on a Stratocaster guitar. ... It has been suggested that Fender Amplifier History be merged into this article or section. ... A Fender Stratocaster with rosewood fingerboard and three-tone sunburst finish. ... 1950s-style Telecaster with natural finish, with metal bridge cover removed. ...


It is a common misconception that because the coils are at slightly different positions along the string some of the higher-frequency harmonics are diminished or cancelled out, thus producing this warmer sound. This is only true if the pickup's coils are in reversed phase, (i.e., a phase switch on Vol/tone). The main reason humbuckers sound different is because two coils resonate at different frequencies causing a broad resonant peak in frequency response, a characteristic of the original Gibson humbuckers, and because any two pickups wired in series will attenuate some of the higher frequencies due to the summed impedance. In fact, not all humbuckers have two separate full-size coils with two separate rows of magnetic pole pieces facing the strings; see the paragraphs below about "stacked" and "rail" designs. The "stack" and "rail" pickups can still produce the "warm" and "fat" tone, in spite of sensing only a small section of the string, just like single-coil pickups. Humbuckers are also available in a Single coil-size pickup, such as Seymour Duncan Vintage/hot rails. , or DiMarzio Fast Track 2 Humbucker Pickup.


Usually, those who prefer the brighter sound of single-coil pickups had to simply live with the extra hum and buzz in order to get the tone they prefer, although technologies designed to preserve the tones exist.


Alternative humbucker designs

Stacked humbuckers

Solid body guitars, such as Fender Stratocasters, usually feature cavities only for single-coil pickups. Installing full-sized humbuckers requires additional routing of the woodwork and cutting of the pickguard (if the instrument has a pickguard). If the process is not carefully done, the instrument's body and pickguard may be damaged and possibly affecting the tone produced by the body. This is unacceptable, especially for expensive vintage guitars where it is vital to preserve cosmetic appearance. As a result, many pickup manufacturers now produce humbucking pickups compacted into the size of a single coil, accomplished by vertically "stacking" the coils instead of placing them side-by-side as in a regular humbucker. Many different kinds of stacked humbuckers are available from several manufacturers, producing a wide range of different tones. Stratocaster redirects here. ...


Although the Fender Stratocaster-style single coil is by far the most frequently found pickup in a single coil size, humbuckers are available for most single-coil guitars. Fender produces several variations in their Telecaster, Jaguar, Jazzmaster, and Mustang guitars. 1950s-style Telecaster with natural finish, with metal bridge cover removed. ... The Fender Jaguar is an electric guitar that was introduced in 1962. ... 1962 Fender Jazzmaster Sunburst The Fender Jazzmaster electric guitar was introduced in 1958 and was designed as a more upmarket instrument than the Fender Stratocaster, which itself was introduced in 1954 as a higher-priced product than the companys Telecaster series. ... The Fender Mustang is an electric guitar by the Fender Musical Instruments Company, introduced in 1964 as the basis of a major redesign of Fenders student models then consisting of the Musicmaster and Duo-Sonic. ...


Rail humbuckers

Another design known as rail humbuckers divides a single coil-size pickup in half lengthwise, and the windings are wound around two pole pieces, typically resembling a rail. These pickups look like a normal, albeit smaller, humbucker. This, however, is typically used in conjunction with stacked humbuckers, to produce a high output pickup. This design can also extend to a "quadrail", by using a rail humbucker for each "single coil" of a normal humbucker.


The same type of rails can also be found in a normal-size humbucker, however. Heavy metal guitarist Dimebag Darrell made heavy use of this type of pickup wired in the bridge position. These tend to also sound fuller and have a higher gain and attack than the single coil-size version. Dimebag redirects here. ...


Coil splits

Some guitars which have humbucking pickups feature coil splits, which allow the pickups to act as "pseudo-single" coils. The electrical circuit of the pickup is reduced to that of a true single coil while the magnetic circuit retains its original closed loop configuration. Usually, this feature is activated using a switch on the tone potentiometer. Coil split turns on when potentiometer is pulled out and reverts back off when it is pushed in. The resultant single coil sound is not the same as a Fender single coil sound because the poles of the coil are made of steel and not of alnico, and the coil turns are significantly less than a Fender pickup (5,000 as distinct to 8,000 - this can vary depending on the type and brand of the humbucker). It has been suggested that Determining emf of primary cells using potentiometer be merged into this article or section. ... For other uses, see Steel (disambiguation). ... Alnico is an acronym[1] referring to alloys which are composed primarily of aluminium (symbol Al), nickel (symbol Ni) and cobalt (symbol Co), hence al-ni-co, with the addition of iron, copper, and sometimes titanium, typically 8-12% Al, 15-26% Ni, 5-24% Co, up to 6% Cu...

Note: this is often wrongly referred to as "coil taps". Coil taps are more commonly found on single coil pickups, and involve an extra hook-up wire being included during the manufacture of the pickup so the guitarist can choose to have all the windings of the pickup included in the circuit, for a fatter, higher output sound; or some of the windings in use and some "tapped off" for a brighter, lower output, cleaner sound.

A coil tap is a wiring feature found on some electrical transformers, inductors and coil pickups, all of which are sets of wire coils. ...

Notable humbucker designs

  • Gibson "PAF" - Seth Lover's original humbucker design
  • Fender Wide Range - Fender's first humbucker design, also by Seth Lover
  • Gibson mini-humbucker - a smaller humbucker design used on the Gibson Firebird
  • Q-tuner: World's first neodymium powered humbuckers

P.A.F. or just PAF is a famous first in the world humbucker guitar pickup, invented by Seth Lover in 1955 as an engineer for Gibson and started to be used in mass production guitars in about 1956 or 1957. ... The Fender Wide Range is a humbucker guitar pickup, designed by Seth Lover for Fender in the early 1970s. ... The mini-humbucker is a smaller variation of the full size humbucker pickup. ... The Gibson Firebird is a solid-body guitar marketed by Gibson in the late 60s. ... General Name, Symbol, Number neodymium, Nd, 60 Chemical series lanthanides Group, Period, Block n/a, 6, f Appearance silvery white, yellowish tinge Standard atomic weight 144. ...

Other noise-reducing pickup designs

While the original humbucker remains the most common noise-reducing pickup design, inventors have tried many other approaches to reducing noise in guitar pickups.


Many Stratocaster style guitars are equipped with a reverse-wound, reverse-polarity pickup in the middle position and a 5-way selector switch that allows the middle pickup to be used in parallel with either the bridge or neck pickup. This arrangement is similar to that of a humbucking pickup and noise is effectively cancelled. This does affect tone (commonly referred to as "quack"), but some players like Mark Knopfler, Eric Clapton, David Gilmour, Robert Cray, Robin Trower and Bob Dylan find this sound useful. A Fender Stratocaster with rosewood fingerboard and three-tone sunburst finish. ... Mark Freuder Knopfler OBE (born August 12, 1949, Glasgow, Scotland) is a guitarist, singer, songwriter, and film score composer. ... Eric Patrick Clapton, CBE[2] (born 30 March 1945) [3], nicknamed Slowhand, is a Grammy Award-winning English rock guitarist, singer, songwriter and composer. ... David Jon Gilmour CBE (born March 6, 1946 in Cambridge) is an English musician best known as a guitarist, singer, and songwriter in the band Pink Floyd. ... Robert Cray (foreground) Robert Cray (born 1 August 1953, in Columbus, Georgia) is a blues musician, guitarist and singer. ... Robin Leonard Trower (born March 9, 1945 in Catford, South East London, England) is a preeminent English rock guitarist who achieved success with Procol Harum during the 1960s, and then again as the leader of his own Hendrixesque power trio. ... This article is about the recording artist. ...


Since its introduction in 1960, the Fender Jazz Bass has used two single-coil pickups, one near the bridge and another about halfway between the bridge and neck. These pickups are wound to be opposite in magnetic polarity and electrical phase. Thus, when used together hum is reduced significantly. The Jazz Bass (or J-Bass) was the second model of electric bass guitar created by Leo Fender. ...


In 1957, Fender introduced a split pickup to its Precision Bass, which was wired in humbucking fashion, with one coil serving the E and A strings, the other the D and G strings. Both coils pick up the same noise, but since each string is only served by one coil, a single-coil sound is provided. The concept of this later expanded to G&L's Z-coil pickup, which is used for standard guitars. Categories: Music stubs | Electric bass guitars ... The G&L logo. ...


In 1985, Lace Music Products introduced the Lace Sensor pickups, which utilize a proprietary hum-screening technique to eliminate noise while preserving single-coil tone. The Lace Sensor is a guitar pickup designed by Don Lace and manufactured by AGI (Actodyne General International). ...


In 1996, Kinman Guitar Electrix introduced pickups based on a differential coil technology, essentially a stacked humbucker where the lower pickup coil functions solely as a noise sensing coil, while only the upper pickup coil is able to sense the string vibrations. Kinman Guitar Electrix is a small boutique Australian company that specializes in the design and manufacture of hi-tech innovative NoNoise pickups that solve noise problems as well as a line of No Soldering harness for electric guitar. ...


In 1998, Fender developed its own line of stacked-coil humbucking pickups, the Vintage Noiseless series. These pickups were primarily designed to recreate the sound of Fender pickups manufactured between 1958 and 1964 without the 60-cycle hum normally associated with normal single-coil pickups. Vintage Noiseless pickups were a standard feature on the Fender American Deluxe Series guitars from 1998 to 2003. They become an integral part of the Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck Stratocasters as well as an original equipment material on many Mexican and USA-made Custom Shop guitars and basses since 2001. The Vintage Noiseless series is a line of electric guitar pickups made by Fender. ... The Vintage Noiseless series is a line of electric guitar pickups made by Fender. ... The Fender American Deluxe Series is a line of high-end electric guitars and basses introduced by Fender in 1998 and upgraded in 2004. ... The Eric Clapton Stratocaster is the signature model electric guitar of English guitarist Eric Clapton, and was the first signature model guitar ever released by Fender. ... The Jeff Beck Stratocaster is an electric solid body guitar made by Fender Musical Instruments for British rock guitarist Jeff Beck. ...


Another noiseless pickup design from Fender has been introduced in 2004, the Samarium Cobalt Noiseless series, better known as SCN, designed by pickup supremo Bill Lawrence. They are similar to the Vintage Noiseless pickups, except for the addition of samarium cobalt miniature alloy magnets instead of Alnico 5, giving a better tonal response and articulation. SCN pickups are available as an original equipment material on the American Deluxe instruments since 2004. The Vintage Noiseless series is a line of electric guitar pickups made by Fender. ... Bill Lawrence Bill Lawrence (born Willi Lorenz Stich on March 24, 1931 in Wahn-Heide (near Cologne), Germany) is a recording musician and an electric guitar pickup designer/maker and guitar designer/maker in the musical instrument industry, designing pickups and guitars for Fender, Gibson, Peavey and other guitar companies... The Fender American Deluxe Series is a line of high-end electric guitars and basses introduced by Fender in 1998 and upgraded in 2004. ...


See also

This image shows three single coil pickups on a Stratocaster guitar. ... Three magnetic pickups on an electric guitar. ...

References

  • US2,896,491 (PDF version) (1959-07-28) Seth Lover Magnetic pickup for stringed musical instrument 
Year 1959 (MCMLIX) was a common year starting on Thursday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 209th day of the year (210th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Seth Lover (born January 1st, 1910 in Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA; died January 31st, 1997 in Garden Grove, California, USA) is most famous for inventing the humbucker or hum-cancelling electric stringed instrument pickup, most often used on the electric guitar. ...

  Results from FactBites:
 
Humbucker - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1148 words)
A conventional humbucker (or Humbucking pickup) is a type of electric guitar pickup that uses two coils, both generating string signal.
Humbuckers have high output since both coils are in series and because the magnetic circuit is low loss.
The first "humbucker" or humbucking pickup was the so-called PAF invented by Seth Lover, a Gibson employee, in the 1950s.
Humbucker - Wikipedia (453 words)
Der Humbucker wird als Tonabnehmer auf elektrischen Gitarren (sog.
Im Allgemeinen ist das Ausgangssignal des Humbuckers größer als das eines Singlecoils, was wegen der erhöhten Ansteuerung leichter zu einem Übersteuern des Verstärkers und damit zu Verzerrungen führt.
Diese Humbucker werden auch heute noch wegen des damaligen Aufklebers bzgl.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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