By Zendaya Foust. Guitar Electric. Published at Friday, August 31st, 2018 - 10:58:46 AM.
Among single coil pickups and humbuckers, there are many variations in how they are constructed and how they sound. Basically, a pickup is a row of magnets wrapped in copper wire. So changes in the magnets and the wire affect the sound. Alnico V magnets are commonly used in single coil pickups, like Fender's Texas Special pickups for Stratocasters and Telecasters; they are stronger magnets and have a sharper sound. Alnico II magnets are more common in humbuckers, like Gibson's Classic '57 pickups; they are softer magnets and they have a smoother tone.
The cables going between the floor effects pedals should be as short as possible. They make some as short as six inches, with nice flexible wires which makes the connection between pedals easy. You can get hung up on how fancy they are. My experience for this part of the signal chain is that new cables are better than old ones. So pick ones that connect your pedals easily, and then replace them periodically. One of your floor pedals might require a battery. That can be a good thing- it can help keep your signal strong on its way to the amp.
I used a 5-way switch and I wanted this: Bridge Humbucker, Bridge Humbucker (split) with middle, Neck (split) & Bridge Humbucker (split), Neck (split) & Middle, Neck. Schaller Megaswitches in different configurations. The big wrench in the works was that I wanted all positions to be humbucking. This can be accomplished with a Super Switch, but I had an idea. Reading more about available switches, I decided on the Schaller MegaSwitch Model E instead. This switch eliminates the center pickup being on all alone (which I never used, anyway), and instead allows the neck and the bridge together in position three, a much more useful combination to me.
Another cheap and easy mod is to shield the control cavity. This helps eliminate noise and interference and is especially useful for dampening the inherent 60 cycle hum of single coils. There are a few ways to do this, such as copper shielding tape or conductive shielding paint. While not necessarily a tone upgrade, the shielding will eliminate a lot of noise if done properly, but is necessary for a single-coil equipped guitar used in conjunction with a lot of overdrive or distortion in the studio.
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