How to make a humbucker sound cleaner?

mojomojo Posts: 44Member
Hi guys,
I have a Telecaster custom with 2 humbuckers that looks & sounds lovely that I can't stop playing... But, I do like to play a bit of funk & my humbuckers are a tad ringeee! I took it apart to maybe coiltap but looking at the hum it only has 2 wires not 4??.. Plus the hum's looks like they are filled with wax???? Do I need to buy new humbucker or can these still be coiltapped? Plus is there any other way to make a humbucker sound cleaner?

Cheers guys.

Comments

  • stickyfiddlestickyfiddle Posts: 355Member
    Hi Mojo,

    Your pickup *could* be converted to 4-conductor in order to be coil-tappped but it's a very complicated job for a wax-potted pickup like yours.

    The easier option would be to buy some replacement pickups with 4-conductor wires that can be tapped.

    Alternatively.. If yours is a Fender Tele custom with the "wide range" style pickups you could send them to someone like Tim at Bareknuckle Pickups and have them rewound to original specs. The pickups in modern tele customs are generic humbuckers, but the old style "Wide Range" Fender humbuckers have a different, far more interesting sound. It would be cheaper than new pickups too
  • Options
    You could always experiment with the lost art of "Turning The Volume On Your Guitar Down". Obviously, this will reduce the output volume from the pickups which might help clean up the sound from your amp. It won't turn your humbuckers in to single coils, but it might alter the sound enough to save you the cash you were going to spend on new pickups.

    By the way, the wax is supposed to be there! It's the result of a process called "potting" that's designed to stop loose wires in the windings of your pickup vibrating and causing microphonic feedback, which is a very high pitched sound that's generally agreed by all but the most experimental musicians to be pretty unpleasant.
  • elkayelkay Posts: 239Member
     Originally Posted By: mojo
    Plus is there any other way to make a humbucker sound cleaner?

    Are you saying that your pups sound muddy? If so, try raising their height. In fact, freely experiment with the height of your pups to get what you yourself perceive as the best tone. Generally, humbuckers can be raised closer to the strings than single coils.
  • Options
     Originally Posted By: elkay
     Originally Posted By: mojo
    Plus is there any other way to make a humbucker sound cleaner?

    Are you saying that your pups sound muddy? If so, try raising their height. In fact, freely experiment with the height of your pups to get what you yourself perceive as the best tone. Generally, humbuckers can be raised closer to the strings than single coils.



    ...or are you saying that they sound too distorted? Frustratingly, the way to get less output and therefore less distortion would be to lower the pickups away from the strings
  • OldjonoOldjono Posts: 608Member
    Would a change in the tone pot capacitor have any effect?
  • mojomojo Posts: 44Member
    Nice one guys, top tips... My Tele is a squire, that cost £230.00 So not sure about the quality of the humbuckers.
    The guitar looks & plays sweet, the only thing when the amp is clean the neck hum sounds muddy & bidge sounds abit ringeee which is great!! But, when playing funk!!!Hmmmm not right?

    I'm trying the low guitar volume & upping the amp at the moment.... cheers for that Bob!! Also I'm gonna try adjusting the pickup hight.

    Any other tips guys.... I know I'm taking liberties!
    Cheers
  • Options
    What's "ringeee"?

    If adjusting the height of the neck pickup doesn't work, new pickups might be the answer, since the pickups on lower priced guitars don't tend to be amazing. Replacing them is a job that you should be able to do yourself, assuming you're competent with a soldering iron and you switch one wire at a time or follow a wiring diagram.

    The usual caveat applies- don't bother spending more money on modifying a guitar you don't like that much to begin with- you'll get better mileage from selling it on and starting over with a guitar you *do* like. Doesn't sound like this is a problem in your case...
  • OldSwannerOldSwanner Posts: 56Member
    To help your Tele hum, or any electric for that matter, chuck it in a bath during playing.

    Short lived but great while it lasts.
  • mojomojo Posts: 44Member
    Read the post and you will see I DON'T want my Tele to hum!!! Hum is short for Humbucker?

    But hey, next time I wanna do somethink odd I keep you mind!
  • OldSwannerOldSwanner Posts: 56Member
    Warning: don't try it when anyone is *in* the bath. They probably won't enjoy it.
  • Can I just say a BIIIIIIIIG thank you to everyone who has contributed to this thread.

    I was going to reply but clearly not much for me to add!! lol
  • OldjonoOldjono Posts: 608Member
    I don't sing myself and if my guitar was to hum I'd hope it was at least in tune with the song Har har..
  • OldjonoOldjono Posts: 608Member
    Sorry gang, but I needed one more for 500 posts.
  • mojomojo Posts: 44Member
    I have a set of strat pickups hangin around and was thinking about replacing my Tele bridge humbucker with the strat single coil, now I know there will be a bit of a cavity, but is there anythink I need to think about or do apart from soldering?
  • Options
     Originally Posted By: mojo
    I have a set of strat pickups hangin around and was thinking about replacing my Tele bridge humbucker with the strat single coil, now I know there will be a bit of a cavity, but is there anythink I need to think about or do apart from soldering?


    Assuming it fits in the body rout (the space that's drilled out under the scratchplate for the pickups and electrics) it should work, although it'll look pretty ugly.

    You might consider getting a humbucker sized P90 or single coil instead- it'll be a simple "drop-in" replacement that'll get you closer to the strat sound without making your guitar look quite so strange. GFS do some reasonably priced and unusual ones.

    Alternatively, you could get a new pickguard cut with a single-coil sized pickup hole in the bridge position.

    ...or, having now considered changing *both* pickups to single coils, would you be better off leaving your guitar as it is and getting a second Tele with single coils?
  • mojomojo Posts: 44Member
    Yeah I did think about a Tele standard but I realy like the look & feel of the custom(2 volumes, 2 tones high switch, black on black plus jumbo frets) I have a '91 japan strat with so called vintage frets & it drives me nuts!!!

    I will look into single coil humbuckers or p90 humbuckers!
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