By Mckenna Power. Guitar Electric. Published at Friday, August 31st, 2018 - 05:22:23 AM.
Another thing to consider is the wiring harness (i.e. the tone and volume controls, and the pickup selector) inside the guitar. You can swap out cheap pickups to improve the tone of your guitar, but you won't be able to get the most out of the change if you have a cheap, low quality wiring harness connecting the pickups to the output jack. The harness consists of two or four potentiometers, one or two capacitors, a switch and the wiring connecting them all together (and any shielding inside the control cavity or around the wires). The best components are US-made CTS pots, Sprague caps, Switchcraft switches and jacks, etc. The controls reduce volume or treble by introducing resistance and capacitance into the circuit. If the quality isn't there, the tone will be negatively affected even when the controls are turned all the way up; and the pickups may hum more or less depending upon how well the harness is shielded. So if you are replacing your pickups to improve the sound, it usually makes sense to also check the wiring and see if it needs to be upgraded or additional shielding needs to be added. And, last but not least, any effect pedals you use between the guitar and the amplifier will also tend to dominate the final tone. Some pedals are more transparent than others, but obviously if you rely heavily on pedals for the tone you want, then the type of pickups and strings you use will have less of an effect.
Once the harness was removed I grabbed roll of masking tape and taped the floss to the guitar body at the holes. This was to ensure that the ends of the floss would not go into the guitar, making it even more difficult to get the wiring assembly back into the guitar. Then I fired up my soldering iron and fixed the broken connection. While I was at it I thought it would be a good idea to check all the other connections to make sure they were solid. I did not want to have to do this again.
What Could Possibly Go Wrong? The unsuspecting guitar. Well, a lot, actually. Single coil pickups hum, and humbuckers don’t. Even if you get a reverse woundreverse polarity single coil pickup for the middle position, there will be hum when the neck single coil is used alone, as well as when you use the middle single coil alone, and the middle single coil with the humbucker. That is three out of the five positions that have that annoying 60-cycle hum. While I can tolerate this in a Strat with three singles because the noise is always there, it’s hard for me to deal with it coming and going, especially with distortion.
This new style of pickup inadvertently gave birth to a new sound to guitars. The single coil pickup still is in wide use today. The single coil pickup has a cleaner or brighter sound. There is also less output on the single coil in comparison to its brother, the humbucker. The double coil or humbucking pickup tends to have more power and will have more bottom end or a bassier sound. Which pick is better is a matter of personal choice. Both of these picks have advantages and disadvantages.
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