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middle/neck in series on strat- how does this perform in a hi-gain lead tone setting?

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  • middle/neck in series on strat- how does this perform in a hi-gain lead tone setting?

    Wondering how this sound compares to the sound of a neck humbucker. I've been searching for youtube clips of this application; most of what I find is clean or low/mid-gain tones.

  • #2
    not the same as any type of bucker. depending on the pups, it can handle gain well. i have two vintagey type strat pups middle and bridge with a series switch, its a fat, dark tone. i use it for slide sometimes. im not a high gain guy but ive played around with that guitar and a 5150 and it sounded pretty good, albeit not like a bucker

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    • #3
      Also curious if anyone's tried noiseless single coils in series with each other, particularly neck/middle.

      I'm assuming results would be better with "noiseless single coils" than with "stacked humbuckers;" granted the lines can be blurry (as far as tone) between stacked buckers, rails, and noiseless single coils...

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      • #4
        Two vintage spec Strat pickups in series is very thick and lacks high end, even when it's the bridge and middle. Using neck and middle in series (which I have tried), it's up there with the worst things you could have for high gain lead playing – like a JB in the neck spot. It's fine in a recording setting, when you can take your time and dial in the tone when you use that setting. And it's also fine if it's the only tone on the guitar that you use. But it's terrible in situations in which you can't readily change your amp settings (e.g. live), because it requires its own amp settings that are very, very different from the single coil tones.
        Originally posted by LesStrat
        Yogi Berra was correct.
        Originally posted by JOLLY
        I do a few chord things, some crappy lead stuff, and then some rhythm stuff.

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        • #5
          most noiseless single coils are stacked humbuckers. 1st generation stacks had two similar size coils, newer models have a very small bottom coil so it influences the tone less, but they are still stacked humbuckers. side by side single coil sized buckers are a different beast.

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          • #6
            Two single-coils in series do not equal a humbucker.

            There are a number of factors at work:
            • You have two coils sensing the string at two widely spaced places where a humbucker senses the string at two positions close together.
            • Single coils tend to use 250K pots but if you take two 7K pickups that's 14K resistance in series and that's in hot humbucker territory which would normally use a 500K or 1meg pot to compensate for darker humbuckers.
            • Single coils also tend to use higher value capacitors which can muddy up the neck and middle position.

            What can you do to compensate:
            • You can set different values for each tone control to compensate for each position's frequency range.
            • You can add a jumper to give the bridge a tone control.
            • You can remove the middle pickup from the tone control which makes it brighter and accentuates positions 2&4 on a 5-way switch as well as making series mods more usable.
            • You can convert one tone control into a second volume for the neck/middle or you can convert one into a blend pot to mix the two pickups in series.
            • Active pickups work pretty well when you are using two pickups together and you don't have issues with too much phase cancelation.
            • Lace Sensor pickups also tend to sound pretty good when used together but they have lower resonant peaks than true single coils and higher resistance which can lead to darker sounding combinations.
            Dan Armstrong series mod:
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0DtJ-ALwycU
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mKJ1...&pbjreload=101
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lWF1L7GBYfU

            Freeway 10-position Switch:
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Sxe__KhRpI
            Last edited by idsnowdog; 08-05-2020, 04:30 PM.

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            • #7
              I think it sounds like you are trying to run in mud with boots on. My Strat has stock switching that allows the neck & middle in series, and that's exactly what it sounds like. It is thick and wooly, and not pleasant. Middle & bridge in series is a little better. None of these sound anything like a humbucker.
              Dave, Ambassador/Writer/Artist for Seymour Duncan

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              • #8
                I like fat sounds so I liked it. It's a unique sound that doesn't sound like anything else. You still get some of the innate character from the chimy, wet, single coils but it's twice as dark and beefy. I could see it working with hi gain as well as any other non traditional set up. It can swamp out traditional 250k strat controls tho. I think I happened to have a 1 meg volume at the time and it sounded pretty good to me. Or you could adjust with your amp. Another thing that I noticed is it sounded really solid to have a 'humbucker' sensing from 2 different areas. It's worth trying I'd say if you're interested in it.
                Originally posted by NegativeEase
                I'd wager that Clint can best GuitarStv at Wat and WAAAT... but not Watts.

                I think in the International System of Units (SI) a "WAT" is defined as a derived unit of 1 Clint besmirchment per hour

                and WAAAT is defined as a derived unit of 1 Clint kilojoule of described Nirvana transgression per post.

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                • #9
                  It can be made good, if you have the time to heavily tweak for it. Its problem is when switched back and forth between it and the single coils. The settings that make the 'bucker sound great are the exact opposite of the settings that make the single coils sound great.

                  To make the 'bucker sound good, turn the bass down on your amp, even all the way off. If you have a 4-band amp, lower the low mids quite a bit as well. Run low gain and high master, and goose the treble, high mids, and/or presence, even all the way up if you have to.

                  If you have a multi-channel amp with completely isolated e.q. controls on each channel, you can make it work in a live setting. It can also work if you have a foot switchable e.q. + gain unit that is dedicated to that job.
                  Last edited by ItsaBass; 08-05-2020, 08:54 PM.
                  Originally posted by LesStrat
                  Yogi Berra was correct.
                  Originally posted by JOLLY
                  I do a few chord things, some crappy lead stuff, and then some rhythm stuff.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    What fellow members said + a trick: IME and as previously illustrated by Brian May, a Rangemaster style treble booster makes useable two single coils in series (and is still useable with regular single coils or humbuckers).
                    Reason: the 4.7nF input cap of the TB filters out the excess of bass.

                    A consequence is that two single coils in series through a 4.7nF series cap would probably be much more useable with a standard rig. As long as any tone pot would be wired in the guitar BEFORE the series cap, it should work fine.

                    As a side note, I'll just add that TB's are among the easiest effects to build. With a soldering iron and the proper components, it takes a few minutes to assemble such circuits. Example:
                    https://paulinthelab.blogspot.com/20...tripboard.html
                    Duncan user since the 80's...

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                    • #11
                      Thanks for all of the thoughts and ideas.

                      I actually did see a youtuber who mod'd the second tone control to be a bass-cut knob (some sort of high-pass filter, I assume?). Could this allow for what I'm looking for? Said youtuber has no high-gain demonstrations.

                      There is actually one specific reason I'm considering this: I found that I absolutely love the sound of a bridge humbucker in parallel with a neck single coil (currently achieved by splitting the neck PU on my H-S-S guitar). I know that to achieve this in a noiseless fashion, I would need an H-S-S guitar with a noiseless neck PU.

                      However, I also need a thick, smooth, liquidy hi-gain lead sound that traditionally comes from a neck humbucker.

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                      • #12
                        The way my mind works, simpler is better. My Strats sound like Strats. My Gibson sounds like a Gibson. I don't try to make my Gibson sound like a Strat. You need more guitars! I am not an advocate of trying to make one ax an "everything ax".

                        What you end up with is a lot of mediocre tones instead one great one.
                        “Practice cures most tone issues” - John Suhr

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by ericcomposer72 View Post
                          I actually did see a youtuber who mod'd the second tone control to be a bass-cut knob (some sort of high-pass filter, I assume?). Could this allow for what I'm looking for?
                          You can approach the passive bass cut a number of ways. Such as adding a capacitor .068-.010 range on the hot lead before the switch to tune the amount of bass you get from that position. Or you can make the bass cut variable with a capacitor and pot. The value of the capacitor determines the extent of the bass cut with .068 being the least and .010 being the most. While the amount of bass you're getting will be less you will still notice that the feel of the two pickups in series is still completely different.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by ericcomposer72 View Post
                            Thanks for all of the thoughts and ideas.

                            I actually did see a youtuber who mod'd the second tone control to be a bass-cut knob (some sort of high-pass filter, I assume?). Could this allow for what I'm looking for? Said youtuber has no high-gain demonstrations.

                            There is actually one specific reason I'm considering this: I found that I absolutely love the sound of a bridge humbucker in parallel with a neck single coil (currently achieved by splitting the neck PU on my H-S-S guitar). I know that to achieve this in a noiseless fashion, I would need an H-S-S guitar with a noiseless neck PU.

                            However, I also need a thick, smooth, liquidy hi-gain lead sound that traditionally comes from a neck humbucker.
                            Another option is the Hot Rails neck...wire it in parallel and then in parallel with the bridge for a noiseless, clearer option. When you want a smooth high gain sound, it is right there. My thought is that if you like a smooth high gain neck humbucker sound, no wiring tricks with a single coil will get that.
                            Dave, Ambassador/Writer/Artist for Seymour Duncan

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Lewguitar View Post
                              The way my mind works, simpler is better. My Strats sound like Strats. My Gibson sounds like a Gibson. I don't try to make my Gibson sound like a Strat. You need more guitars! I am not an advocate of trying to make one ax an "everything ax".

                              What you end up with is a lot of mediocre tones instead one great one.
                              It's actually not at all what I'm trying to do. I'm actually trying to make it sound like something completely different. The music I'm working on has no requirement for a "strat" sound or a "les paul" sound, etc.

                              My favorite sound I've found is the bridge humbucker with a single coil of a neck pickup in parallel. It doesn't sound like anything I've heard before. I'm happy with another sound that is different from anything, but is usable in applications I'd usually use a neck humbucker for.

                              Don't assume the "don't try to make x sound like y guitar" trope works for every post!

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