2 humbuckers in parallel - what makes that special quack??

Discussion in 'Guitars' started by RickyLee, Jan 20, 2020.

  1. RickyLee

    RickyLee Well-Known Member VIP Member

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    I have a couple of humbucker/humbucker guitars that have that quack in spades when you play both humbuckers together. They are really intense and some other H H guitars have the quack nuance but not as intense. Think of the old Beatles recording Honey Don't. George Harrison has a great tone there and that quack is sounding awesome. I can even get that on a few Strats combining mid/bridge or neck/mid or even neck/bridge on the one that has multi switching combinations.

    Reason why I started wondering is due to the Les Paul I was messing with tonight. I have a Duncan in the bridge and an old DiMarzio in the neck. But I am noticing it has no quack at all playing both pickups together. Don't get this quack I call confused with the out of phase/phase reversal thing.

    I started wondering if it is due to how I orientated the coils north/south on the series connection junction on the neck pup.

    I have a DPDT switch on the neck that goes from series to parallel within that neck pup. I had a problem with it as a wire was grounding out inside and caused the series position to actually be single coil setup. Oddly I noticed it had some quack in single coil mode combined with the bridge pup, but then after I fixed it the quack was gone. So I started looking at DiMarzio wiring diagrams and it seems I an using a different config on connection the north/south coils orientation. Has me wondering if that is why the quack is non existent?

    Then I have always wondered what happens if you take a pickup out and flip it 180 degrees - does that cause it to now be out of phase with the other pickup(s)? Or could that cause or enhance that quack tone?
     
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  2. SkyMonkey

    SkyMonkey Well-Known Member

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    Interesting.
    I have 3 H H guitars and the middle positions (i.e. both Hums) have no "Quack" to speak of.
    The only one that quacks is my Charvel San Dimas (JB/'59).
    But the middle positions (push & pull) automatically split the coils to single mode.
    Push-pulling the volume pot changes inners to outers.
    I think you are referring to something else.
     
  3. Wildeman

    Wildeman Well-Known Member

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    George Harrison was playing a Gretsch, those things quack and twang like no other.
    My "Les Paul" has a JB/59 combo and does it a little in the mid position but nowhere near what my Gretsch's do. The Gretsch Filtertron is technically a low powered humbucker and i believe its coils are wired in parallel.
     
  4. ampmadscientist

    ampmadscientist Well-Known Member

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    You turn the phase of 1 pickup around, and hook it in parallel w/ the other one.
    I do this with 2 pickups in humbucking mode and do not use any single coil modes.
    I like to use a push pull DPDT pot to reverse the 1 pickup.

    In humbucking PUs the 2 coils are wired in series always.
    You just leave the PU the same as factory and use the 4 conductor wiring to reverse the phase.
     
  5. RickyLee

    RickyLee Well-Known Member VIP Member

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    As I was getting ready to log in here, I put my earbuds on and right now I am having a listen to Beatles For Sale, their December '64 UK album. Dam, this might just be one of their best recorded albums in terms of fidelity and quality of how their tracking/mic placement ect. turned out. All done on a 4 track machine. And there's plenty of quack all over this album big time. "Baby's In Black" among others, dam that guitar sounds sweet and that cool trem work lol. I have to say I always loved Georges guitar textures in "Every Little Thing", and I love that guitar solo. So simple but so dam tasty.

    Earler I was thinking about another example and another fave guitarist of mine - Brian Setzer. I was watching the Stray Cats performance at the '83 US Festival the other night. That performance was badass. That huge stage and those 3 cats hardly had any gear on it lol. Brians tone was outstanding man.

    I have noticed that I have gotten lucky a few times swapping out pickups on a few guitars. There just seems to be a magical sweetness between some mix of pickups in parallel. And then on these certain combos, that quack comes through no matter how I run them - bridge humbucking/neck humbucking, bridge humbucking/neck single coil, bridge single/neck humbucking, both pups single coil.

    Some oddball mix of pickups just seem to give off this quack, or sometimes I have had it with a new set of bridge/neck of a particular make/brand. Then other mixes just don't seem to do it.

    George Harrisons Gretsch pickups were humbuckers in parallel?

    Are you referring to the out of phase pairing?

    I have a few guitars that have that option on them, but that is not what I am referring to in this thread.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2020
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  6. SkyMonkey

    SkyMonkey Well-Known Member

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    Unfortunately(ish) the San Dimas switching doesn't allow for both full humbuckers at the same time, so I can't comment on that sound.
    But the switching options for the JB/'59 in single modes (neck/neck+bridge/bridge) are some of my go-to single coil sounds.
    None of my guitars have true singles though.
    The EMG S3's in my Charvel Fusion are passive stacked singles, but they also sound good to me.
     
  7. Matthews Guitars

    Matthews Guitars Well-Known Member

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    Here's a great example of what I think a clean LP in the middle switch position should sound like.

    It has a sting and a snap to it that makes fools out of those Fender Freaks out there who say that humbuckers sound dull and lack harmonics.



    It's just one of those things, a combination of the sound of two pickups that have their own individual signature sounds, with the right relative phasing and level and tone shaping. Hard to intentionally duplicate, but a great sound when it happens.


    I had a set of Seymour Duncans, a 59 neck and JB bridge, that have a unique sound when the switch is in the middle position. They were installed in one of my earliest built guitars, a guitar that had some problems that were so bad that eventually I "retired" that guitar, salvaging the hardware and destroying the rest. A tough choice but it just wasn't good enough to live. I transferred that pair of pickups to a new guitar I made for my nephew.

    The original guitar would be essentially an LP Custom with a flamed maple top and a 3 piece maple neck with an ebony fingerboard.

    The new guitar was another LP, this time a standard, this time ALL mahogany, body and neck, with an ebony fingerboard, and very intensively hollowed out.

    The contrast in acoustic sounds of the two guitars was considerable. And so was the contrast in their sounds when plugged in.

    But the specific sound of those two pickups played together still has that unique signature of that pair of pickups, even though the guitars they were in
    were very different, even down to the spacing between pickups. (The original was a 24 fretter, the new one, 22 frets.)

    Since even the pickup spacing between each other changed by about half an inch, it told me that the unique sound of those two pickups together was
    NOT due to the specific amount of space between them as I had initially guessed. That factor changed a lot. The sound did not.
     
  8. RickyLee

    RickyLee Well-Known Member VIP Member

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    I actually just had a listen to the song I was initially thinking of that had the good example of that quack. It is another Harrison example but it is from their Help album from 1965. Their cover of "Act Naturally". Sounds like George double tracked the turn aroubd section with the overdub guitar having a bit more bite and compression. Dam that sounds tasty when he climbs down with low E string tuned down to D.

    I'm on Beatles kick right now lol.

    Can anyone tell me how George is getting so much top end bite and crisp attack yet so clean sounding on his volume pedal guitar track in his song "I Need You"? That guitar track and his pefect choice of chording is just amazing . . . .
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2020
  9. RickyLee

    RickyLee Well-Known Member VIP Member

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    Oh yeah. That was a great exsmple for sure. That sounds like my hollowbody that has a mix of Carvin pups and it is sweet. But minus that awesome compression Stevens had going in the studio there lol.

    In my Les Paul I have a Duncan Custom/Hybrid in bridge and a Carvin C22J in neck and it is fabulous both pups combined as well.
     
  10. Madfinger

    Madfinger Well-Known Member

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    Quack from humbuckers not to mention & les paul requires a the right amp, settings & LSD.
     
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  11. RickyLee

    RickyLee Well-Known Member VIP Member

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    The latter would allow you to not only hear the quack tone, but to see it as well . . . .
     
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  12. SkyMonkey

    SkyMonkey Well-Known Member

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    . . . in colour!
     
  13. purpleplexi

    purpleplexi Well-Known Member

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    Don't want to spoil anyone's recreational fun but you can also flip the magnet in one pickup to get the 'out of phase' sound using pickups with only 2 wires. Easy job.
     
  14. junk notes

    junk notes Well-Known Member

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    Try not to do an EVH.
     

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