By Emely Greenfield. Guitar Electric. Published at Friday, August 31st, 2018 - 15:35:48 PM.
It is a curious paradox of the music industry: guitarists, particularly rock guitarists, are often thought of as trendsetters when it comes to fashion and culture; but when it comes to their instruments, they are notoriously conservative. Innovations such as active electronics, guitar synthesizers and Steinberger's intrepid steps into the field of headless instruments in the 80's have failed to make much of a dent in the market. Gibson and Fender continue to dominate the electric guitar market much as they did in the 1950's and 60's. Even with the entry of new competitors into the market over the years such as Ibanez, Paul Reed Smith and CharvelJackson, the electric guitar has remained essentially unchanged with one to three magnetic pickups and a mess of wires connecting them to the controls. But things may be about to change!
How Hum-Cancelling Works, Part 2. These two articles show us how me can manipulate coil winding direction, electrical phase, and magnetic polarity to achieve hum-cancellation between two coils. Having this knowledge allows us to create hum-cancelling combinations of coils over and above than just using humbuckers. A good example is using a RWRP pickup in the middle position of a Strat.
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.
In my opinion, the speakers are the primary thing that determine the tone of an electric guitar. The tone starts with the strings, and depends upon whether they are nickel or steel, roundwound or flatwound, heavy or light. Then the tone is governed by the pickups, which could be single coils or humbuckers, underwound our overwound, alnico V or alnico II. If you put a chain of effects between the guitar and the amp, the sound of the effects tends to dominate the tone and override everything else. Otherwise, the tone is then determined by the type of amp you have (solid state or tubes, and the type of tubes) and how you set the dials (bass, mid, treble, master volume, etc). But what has the biggest affect is the speakers (the type of cone, the magnet and the size of the speaker and voice coil). The speakers are the last link in the chain; the speakers are what actually move the air to produce the sound you hear.
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