#1
Hey guys, I'm looking to add a third pickup to my Sheraton II. Now I know most of you are thinking a third humbucker is a waste of time.....and I tend to agree, I want to add a single coil(think Alvin Lee). I love the sound of a strat( i especially love the sound of the middle pickp)but evidently can't afford one, after reading about what Alvin Lee did I figured it would be a pretty good idea and am keen to give it a try. What I wanted to know from you guys is what you think about it and your opinions on how much it would change the tone of my guitar. I love the way it sounds stock and am loathe to make too many tonal changes, conversely as it is my only electric I need to be versatile and am willing to make minimal tone changes for this.
#2
You'd be better off swapping the neck humbucker with a single coil. Do you really want to start cutting into your guitar?
#3
I really love the sound of a neck humbucker, not to keen on the idea of cutting into her but I would be willing to do it for the added versatility. that is as long as it doesn't kill my tone and is done by a good luthier
#4
isnt a sheraton a hollowbody
or semi hollow?
if it was a solid body guitar it would be as easy as markign ans rounting and the tone would be pretty much the same(some would argue otherwise but cmon its not that much of a difference)
but on a hollow body the extra hole would do a larger difference also
if it doesnt have tone block youre going to have to mounth the pup to the body somehow
if you want to be able to use th epick up youd have to either drill for a switch or route out the current switch position which...probaaly not look too good id go the on off switch route given the choice

its alot of work and would probably cost more than buying a guitar with single coils if you get a good luthier to do it
for a similar price you can get a mim fender strat and be good

just my thoughts on the idea
if you can get ti done id like to see the results
#5
The sheraton is a semi hollow so it's got a nice big fat block of wood through the middle(it's seriously fat, guitar is pretty heavy)and it probably wouldn't have to be routed too deep. Cost wise if a luthier is way expensive I'm sure it shouldn't be to hard for anyone who does woodwork, provided they have the right tools and a template of course. On the score of switching im still not sure, I'd probably an extra volume and try and figure out a way to run it by itself. If I do it I'll definitely post some pics and try to do a before and after video
Last edited by KieranWyrd at May 7, 2013,
#7
The main problem with doing this to a Sheraton is you have to somehow wire in a third pickup to a control layout that is only designed for two; you also need to do all of this wiring through the F-hole. Doing any work on a guitar like that is a huge pain in the ars, let alone adding an additional pickup.

It can be done, but whether it should be done or not, when there are so many easier ways of getting the same tone, is a different matter.

Take a look at Catswhisker pickups and their S-bucker. It's got one coil made like a normal humbucker and one coil made like a Fender-style single coil. This allows you to split it to get 'true' single coil tones while at the same time still maintaining a thicker, smooth humbucker sound. With the single coil side placed towards the middle of the guitar, you would get the same tone as if you added a middle single coil; the scale length is shorter on a Sheraton and the pickups are so close together that the sound of the inner coils of either pickup and an independant middle pickup are virtually idenitcal.

In fact, if you like Strat tones, you could replace both pickups with S-buckers and have both pickups orientated with the single coil sides towards the middle, giving you two very slight variations on the middle pickup sound but also giving you access to a medium combined/'notch position' Strat tone.

The even bigger advantage would be that simply replacing two pickups and adding a push-pull coil split pot is a far easier task than adding a third and working out how to do 3-pickup controls in a 2-pickup guitar.
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#8
Thanks man, will definitely check those out. I'm kinda old school when it comes to guitar though, I often find that those sort of pickups just can't nail the single coil sound. I also really dig the stock pups but who knows, these may surprise me and nail the sound I'm looking for.
#9
All a pickup is is a loop or two of wire and one or a few magnets. If you use the same wire and the same magnets, you get the same sound. There's really no special magic that makes a pickup in one size of housing sound different than another. One coil of 42 AWG wire wound to about 8k with six alnico II magnetic pole pieces will give the same sound whether it is a pickup in its own right or paired next to another coil with a bar magnet and electronically split.

Check out the Seymour Duncan Stag Mag, it's the most common pickup of this type (but has both coils made like Strat pickups, so the humbucker tone is really very different). Their P-Rails also does a similar thing with humbucker and P-90 sounds (plus a rather poor Strat sound, as it so happens; usually best to ignore that part of the P-Rail).
I'm someone who is privileged enough to handle guitars from the 50s and 60s on a daily basis, I certainly do like the old ways. But there's a lot to be said for modern thinking and problem solving.
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#10
I agree, there's a lot of myth behind pickups. I read in an interview with Eddie Kramer where he commented on how pickups are a pretty standard thing and he didn't find much difference between them. This is him commenting on pickups in the 60's and obviously a lot has changed since then but a lot of it still holds true. That being said I like my humbucker to be a humbucker and my single coil to be a single coil, I also found after checking out the S-Bucker it was a little bright for my tastes in both humbucker and single coil. Also like to be able run the pickups in the 2nd and 4th positions on a strat.
#11
Fair enough, but bear in mind that a middle single coil with bridge or neck humbuckers isn't going to sound anything like a Strat's second and fourth positions do. Even if you add splits for the humbuckers, you've got bar magnets in the bridge and neck pickups. You don't get versatility without compromise (or without buying a Matthias Mastercaster...).

Do be aware too that though the Sheraton is semi-hollow, that centre block isn't very large. Taking out more wood for the third pickup will change the tone significantly enough to notice; you're going to get more acoustic-like, booming wound strings and the plain strings may lose a little brightness.
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#12
I definitely wouldn't mind losing a little brightness...what if I were to have the single coil at a set height? The top looks to be about 1cm so if I were to route through the top and 1cm into the body that should put the pickup at a reasonable height without losing too much wood. It's about 5cm of solid wood, including the top and the back.
Last edited by KieranWyrd at May 7, 2013,
#13
That may be okay, though you do need to bear in mind that single coils have very strong magnetic field and having it that high up may cause the strings to be pulled out of tune. You need to make sure you are able to get the pickup far enough away from the strings. I'd start out shallow and use a piece of thread pulled over the bridge to the fretboard as a rough guide for string height. That way you can keep going a little bit further until you get the pickup at the exact right height and no further, to preserve as much wood as possible.

Generally, around 4mm of space between the top of the pickup's poles and the bottom of the 6th string is enough space for the field to not effect the strings too badly, though it does depend on the pickup and strings in question.
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#14
I was planning on measuring it by the other two pickups but the idea with string sounds good. I found a good luthier who charges reasonable prices for routing new pickup cavities so I'll definitely discuss it all with him. I'm also planning on doing a few wiring mods and adding a vibrato of some kind, I'll post some before and after pics when I'm done. Thanks for all the help