Humcancelling singles; am I crazy?

Discussion in 'The Tone Zone' started by GuitarIV, Nov 25, 2019.

  1. GuitarIV

    GuitarIV Well-Known Member

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    So I have my one custom built Strat I got from my parents for my 18th birthday; I had a love/hate relationship with it for the longest time and almost 10 years later there is nothing original about it anymore, apart from the body and the neck.

    It now has Schaller locking tuners, a Floyd Rose Rail Tail, a D'Andrea Red Sparkle pickguard, Dunlop Straplocks, Graphtech Stringsaver Saddles and I completely shielded the electronic cavity and changed the pickups a dozen times:

    IMG-20190909-WA0000.jpg

    I always wanted to have a humbucker in the bridge position for hard rock and metal, but no matter what I put in there the guitar always had a lack of low end and body in the lows, so eventually I gave up, decided to settle on 3 singlecoils and use it the way it works best: like a Strat.

    Now I had DiMarzio Areas in there until about 2 weeks ago, the 61 in the bridge and the 67 in the middle and neck positions. I decided I finally matured enough to make the jump to some real singlecoils, play like a grown up, get the "real deal". I ordered some handwound Leosounds Irish Tour singlecoils made in Germany and installed them.

    I am really baffled to say this but: the improvement in tone is negligible. Did it get strattier? Yes, a wee bit. It also got a lot noisier. I haven't had the chance to properly play the guitar yet because I've been working every day for the past 2 weeks without a break but the few times I played it I kinda felt underwhelmed.

    Now maybe I got the wrong singlecoils for the guitar, have to play more with height adjustment, maybe I'm looking for a different model of pickup (my Mexi Strat with its stock ceramic pickups I used to have sounded the most like I want a Strat to sound), but the fact is it took me ages to find what I like in humbuckers until I got to the point where I'm happy and if I have to put the same time, money and effort into finding my make of singlecoils, that's a rabbit hole I'd rather not go down. Time better spent playing and practicing.


    So fact is: I like to play with distortion. When I had the Areas in the Strat I'd pile up on the overdrive, turn down the volume pot to get into crunch territory and turn it up to rip some solos. All styles of music from blues to hard rock. The DiMarzios sounded great and stratty.

    In the back of my head I had that little thought bugging me "but they are not real singlecoils". So I gave in and ordered some.


    Now I'm seriously asking myself, am I crazy? Am I crazy to feel like the DiMarzio Areas are giving me all I need in terms of Strat tones and I should just put them back in? Cause although the noise is not excessive at home, especially when I stand in a certain angle away from my amp, I do fear the day when I take her to the next gig and the buzzing gets too much...

    2 more days and I'm finally off. I will crank my amp and play her properly. I do however already feel like I decided to put the DiMarzios back in.


    Just some food for thought. The Area series are great sounding pickups. I love them for everything, from mellow to heavy, they are dynamic, touch responsive and dead quiet. So am I crazy? What do you guys think?


    Cheers!
     
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  2. BanditPanda

    BanditPanda Well-Known Member

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    Sounds to me like you really prefer the DiM's.
    Put 'em back in and think no more about it.
    BP
     
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  3. South Park

    South Park Well-Known Member

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    Change the tone cap. Get better pots and adjust the height . Se if thar is anything difference
     
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  4. MickeyJ

    MickeyJ Active Member

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    Maybe time to blow the whistle on that one, that's a lot of electronic changes to still be unhappy.
     
  5. South Park

    South Park Well-Known Member

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    If you can’t get to sound right replace them. Save them for another guitar
     
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  6. ampmadscientist

    ampmadscientist Well-Known Member

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    Start the reactor... Free Mars!
    "It also got a lot noisier..."

    It seems like the PU or other is wired wrong.
    Noise should be lower...
    But yes guitar should be shielded.
     
  7. MickeyJ

    MickeyJ Active Member

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    The pickups got noisier when he installed the German single coils, they're not noiseless. They're just hotter, more winds, more midrange, more noise.
     
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  8. ricksdisconnected

    ricksdisconnected Well-Known Member

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    why not just either put in a bucker or get some YJM noiseless pups.
     
  9. anitoli

    anitoli Well-Known Member

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    Give that sob a pickguard setup like this ( 59 LP wiring, coil taps on the pots) and have the best of both worlds. DP103 DiMarzio's can do this. Just a suggestion.

    [​IMG]
     
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  10. GuitarIV

    GuitarIV Well-Known Member

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    Pots are brandnew. Maybe the cap might make a difference but I will try to play with the height adjustment some more.

    From all the pickus I had in it so far the Areas sounded the best to my ears. I am completely happy with everything else on the guitar. Plays and feels great.

    I might just do that. The Leosound pickups do sound good, maybe they are meant for another guitar. I can always just leave em in the drawer for later.

    As said I was never really happy with any humbucker in that instrument, so I decided to settle on singlecoils. No need for the YJM ones when the Areas already satisfy my needs in regards to noiseless singlecoils


    I need to goof around with the guitar more once I have my day off, but right now I think the DiMarzios will go back in. It just goes to show that different gear works for different people.

    If you ever get to try a guitar with the Area series, give them a shot. You might be surprised :)
     
  11. MickeyJ

    MickeyJ Active Member

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    Ok so you've found what you like, and maybe did some further research to just muck around or whatever.
    My 1 cents worth on this subject of single coils for strats is that if a set of fender 57-62 or fender 54 custom shop pickups wont get me there, the guitar is ' not for me'. I hear quite a dramatic difference between those two sets and I match the set to the body sound. ( 57-62 for a middy sounding body and 54 custom shop for a lighter body with a lot of resonance)
    Kinman single coils woodstock, avn etc don't sound glassy like a single coil should, they sound like a tiny humbucker, which can actually work in the right guitar.
    Also on the subject of noiseless, the manufacturers/ magazines / internet etc have made a mountain out of a molehill.
    I think noiseless pickups are completely unnecessary, when you' re playing you cant hear any buzz and you just turn away from the amp at home or roll down volume between songs if you're playing for an audience.
     
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  12. anitoli

    anitoli Well-Known Member

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    Or just use an NS2 or equivalent and kill all the noise.
     
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  13. scott-colorado2016

    scott-colorado2016 Active Member

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    I dunno, the Area pickups get some great reviwes, I've never played them, but if you like 'em, keep 'em in, and rock... Easy choice as I see it.
     
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  14. El Gringo

    El Gringo Well-Known Member

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    Nice Stratocaster and I think it's really cool that it is from your parents and I can relate to that and remember my parents getting me stuff way back . I would humbly suggest that you try Lace Sensor pickups , because I think they might cover all the bases you described . For the neck and middle positions I would suggest the Gold Lace Sensor and for the bridge I would suggest the red (hot ) . I don't know what type of amp you are using but the gold Lace Sensor for the middle and neck work great and deliver that nice clean bell like flavor that you would want and the Red Lace Sensor will really scream and rock hard like a humbucker will and I mean really nice tone and will overdrive and distort so nicely . The sound is very much the same as Eric Clapton on the Journeyman record and that time period for Eric Clapton . I know this first hand as I used to have them in a Stratocaster of mine . Really a rich tone and will work well with a high gain amp as well as a regular Fender type amp . I highly recommend them !
     
  15. Filipe Soares

    Filipe Soares Well-Known Member

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    just some thoughts and questions:

    how the guitar is shielded? my strat with furies was noisy as hell until I've shielded the crap out of it. some copper tape will save you a lot of headaches.

    humbuckers in the bridge: you have so many options: passive try the duncan custom 5... it's very balanced and I think will give the bottom end you like. if want to go active I'd suggest a pair of 89/89R. You will have one SA in each end and also one 85 in each position. 85s are great pickups, fat, dynamic. also, if you go through that route put it on 18 or 24v so the compression is more gentle.

    and the final, and more important thought: if you are happy with the guitar as is... let it be man, why would you change something that is good for you?
     
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  16. pedecamp

    pedecamp Well-Known Member

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    Lace sensor gold is a good one I can vouch for, have one in my Strat neck since the 80's and no reason to replace it. :yesway:
     
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  17. pedecamp

    pedecamp Well-Known Member

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    Are you familiar with Seymour Duncan Hotrail? Put one in your bridge and wire it up with an S1 switch to switch between series and parallel. Series will give you a nice and thick tone like a humbucker should, parallel will be closer to single coil tone but still thicker than and noiseless.
     
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  18. johnfv

    johnfv Well-Known Member

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    Nope, not crazy at all. I have several Strats and only one of them (my Eric Johnson signature) has true single coils for the reasons you have mentioned. I have a lot of Area series pickups but also am a big fan of the Hotrails in the bridge *wired in parallel*. For me, hum cancelling is very desirable and there are many options that sound great.
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2019
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  19. wakjob

    wakjob Well-Known Member

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    Truth is...DMZ hum cancelling single coils are amazing.
    As you found out.

    Hard to beat the VV & Area for the price.
     
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  20. MickeyJ

    MickeyJ Active Member

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    If i was going to continue buying stuff for this guitar, I certainly wouldn't use the hit and miss technique. There's too many people making too many claims, too many pickups, too much hype. Isn't 12 pickup sets enough hit and miss?
    Tune the guitar like you would a race engine. Tune around the body/neck strength or weaknesses.
    How much does the strat weigh? If it's heavy and a bit light on mids, which does happen, I would put a humbucker in the bridge and gut the rest.( I wouldn't actually, I'd bin it)
    If it's medium weight with good mids, then a mid heavy pickup set isn't going to do me any favors, is it? use a set that has a slight scoop mid.
    If the guitar is light and resonant, then pickup selection can be difficult, this is where lace sensors may work well, they're fat but not peaky.
    Examples like GuitarIV's are strong evidence that wood really does matter, a premium body/neck combination sounds pretty outstanding no matter what pickups are in it.
    I'm not trying to curse your guitar here GuitarIV, I really do hope you nail it, or put your fave ones back in it and be done with it. And if you don't nail it, I hope you abandon the project with no remorse, it's all good, it's a great learning experience. In fact, to me you sound like you have a great set of ears, most people are happy with whatever they have.
     
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