Ok, so I know what humbuckers generally are, but I find it hard to tell when playing a different guitar with different pickups than my own to really tell the difference. And considering I have a Squier HSS, crappy bridge humbucker as it is, what are the advantages/ disadvantages/ general tonal qualities of buckers in the neck and bridge positions? Don't use the adjectives 'hot' or 'heavy', I don't comprehend those considering how flamboyantly they're used.
there much more bassier then single coils and sometimes bassier is better and they dont hum. But that is all my experience
there is more to them, they have a fuller sound, but sometimes a single coil is better, it depends on the music you play
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''Hot'' would be merely opinion yet ''Heavy'' is generally descriptive.

I use my neck humbucker for Rhythm patterns (low end sound) and my bridge humbucker for lead patterns (high end sound, considerably more crisp sounding). That's the difference between the pickups on my guitar and other guitars I've used, that mightn't answer the question you asked, but that's 'cus it was a little difficult to understand.
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it really depends what brand of humbucker it is, i heard fender humbuckes sounding like single coils twang, and the EMG pickups haveing no tone. The tone you get from any pickup depends on how you set everything up.

Humbuckes are famed for metal players because they eliminate alot of hum, and the insane amounts of distortion and boost metal payers use makes them ideal.
Depends on which humbuckers and single coils you're comparing, really.

Humbuckers, for the most part, are higher output than single coils. Humbuckers don't hum, evidently, but neither do some single coils.

P90s can be different beasts entirely.
Last edited by Sir Anonymous at Feb 21, 2009,
Humbuckers transmit a bolder signal to the amplifier, hence the larger magnet plate, with that in mind, you might consider the amplified sound more 'square' than the trebly single coils, good humbuckers would turn that square-ish to an advantage, having a very warm clean tone, like in the jazz archtop guitars, or a les paul. But cheap humbuckers sound even worse than cheap single coils in my opinion, since the cleans are the awfulest of all, and the driven sounds aren't any better.

The whole thing is biased since the more magnet, the wider the output, and different magnets put out different signals in terms of bass/treble/mids response, so more of any given magnet would also ehance the sound in their tonal capabilities, say you have the same magnet type put in a single coil AND in the humbucker, since the magnets are twice as numberous, the picked-up signal is more powerful, being more powerful, the tonal characteristics of the magnet will be more pronounced, thus sounding ''bassier'' or ''quackier'' with certain trebly humbuckers (rare as they may be).

Still, the trademark sound of humbuckers and single coils will always be two (very) different worlds.

I did say «magnet» a lot though...
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hot and heavy refer to the output of the pickup -- that is to say how much volume they send to the amp.

in the case of your squier, the pickups dont have as much output as more expensive humbuckers (unless its one of the models with the seymor duncans or you put better pickups in), and thus they're probably not as "hot".

well, a big advantage of hubuckers is the noise reduction. Another, as mentioned is output. Humbuckers send more volume to the amp, and with a tube amp, you can drive the amp more, and get a crisper, more distorted sound with more gain. Thats what the goal of active pickups are (Plus actives have even less noise if theyre made well) like EMGs, which is why a lot of metal guitarists use them.

more Bassy? idk, I'd say thatd depend on the humbucker and how it was made, but generally they are more bassy than single coils. however in comparison single coils are glassy, bell like, and thin -- not neccesarily a bad thing. a 'thin' sound is one that isnt as full, most likely due again to pickup output and how much volume is passing through. the other characteristics are what signals (mids, bass, treble) that the pickup picks up the most of.

a good pickup for classic rock with probably have a bit of bass, a lot of mids, and some decent treble. Metal players, depending on style will either want scooped mids (low mids, high bass/treble), or something with mids (a la randy rhoads)

Aside from noise reduction, I dont know if there are really any 'advantages' to either.
especially with some of the noise reducing (supposedly noiseless) single coils out there. they're just different.

but I like humbuckers a lot more personally

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OK, I got the heavy and hot terms now. Thanks

Is there any way to get a nice smooth tone with humbuckers? Like I said the only one I've really experienced is a cheap Affinity Squier one placed at the bridge, sounds 'quacky' and twangy and has too much treble for me to ever think about using it.
Well the squier bucker is like that... but I found that it sounds like it has STUPID high output.
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You CAN play anything with anything....but some guitars sound right for some things, and not for others. Single coils sound retarded for metal, though those who are apeshit about harpsichord probably beg to differ.