By Cynthia Tobias. Guitar Electric. Published at Friday, August 31st, 2018 - 18:41:05 PM.
There are a number of pickups marketed as single coils that don't hum, including Fender's Vintage Noiseless pickups and Lace Sensor's "Holy Grail" pickups. For the most part, those types of pickups are actually tiny, bright sounding humbuckers. They are made to look like single coils by stacking the two coils on top of each other, instead of laying them side by side. No matter what anyone tells you the only thing that really sounds like a single coil pickup is a single coil pickup.
If you want that same switching speed he is getting, you can still pull this off with your three-way pickup switch. Rather than set it at Treble, set it in the middle position (which is supposed to give you a blend of half Neck pickup, half Bridge pickup). Then switch quickly between the Rhythm position ("all the way up") and the middle position. That way you are not having to "jump over" the middle position in the switch to get the sound to cut in and out quickly. Jimi Hendrix and Van Halen are two of the best guitarists in rock history. What they have in common is this: the pursuit of new and unique sounds by trying all sorts of crazy stuff that other people simply wouldn't think to do. Hopefully this pickup selector switch trick I just showed you can spark some ideas for your creativity. Have fun!
This effect is very sharp, with a distinct on-off sound. It is very different than trying to turn the volume knob quickly. You just won't get this effect that way. You need the help of the switch to get that sharp cut in and out of the sound. Eddie Van Halen was always cutting up and customizing guitars in the early Van Halen days (when this track was recorded). It's likely that he had only one pickup active at all: the bridge pickup. At the tail end of the guitar trick (at 1:42-1:43), he's switching the sound out very quickly. My guess is that he wired the "three way" pickup switch to be two-way. So he only had to flick the switch up one level rather than two to get the sound to completely cut out.
How do you know what cable is right for you? The simple way is to go to your local guitar store and try them out. Everyone has a different taste so what sounds good to me may not be the best for you, so you can't really by on someone else's opinion. Find a similar guitar and amp to yours in the store or take your own gear with you to try the cables out. This way you can work out what option is best for you. The great thing is that you can spend around $25 or $30 and this can make a huge difference to your guitar tone.
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