Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The hum-canceling Telecaster bridge pickup

single coil sound with the ability to "buck" hum!

Anyone who plays a Tele knows that they are vulnerable to interference and thus create a lot of hum through the amp.  Single coils naturally create a 60 cycle hum and there is no way around that.  Some companies offer solutions like samamium cobalt noiseless pickups, or stacked humbuckers, but usually at the cost of tone.  Some guitars with two pickups can be wired out of phase to cancel hum between the two pickups, but on a Telecaster even the middle position on the pickup selector offers no hum-canceling effect.  That's because both coils are wound counter-clockwise and the poles are charged North-up, partly because hum-canceling technology was non-existent in the 50's and partly because that middle position tone has become such a trademark of the Tele tone.

One of the best ways to combat hum and still keep the single coil tone is to have a split-single coil wired out of phase, like a P-Bass pickup.  What I have created here is essentially a P-Bass pickup that looks and sounds like a Telecaster pickup.  One coil is wound counter-clockwise and is charged North up and the other is wound clockwise and is charged South up.  They are then wired out of phase to cancel hum.  All of the normal Tele characteristics like a copper-plated steel baseplate, cloth-covered leads, and vintage-style flatwork are included.  I don't want to give the impression that I was the first one to do this, but this is not something you can just walk into Guitar Center and buy.  They are wound to 7k and are available for Teles for $125 each.  Contact me here to order yours.

1 comment:

  1. I had my doubts about the pickup design. I installed this pickup and made a head to head comparative test with my main guitar. I panned the Sklar to the left and a Duncan 53 Tap Tele to the right (same settings) and friends could not tell the difference. Only when adding distortion did it become evident, The Duncan added noise. I have the guitar setup with a very subtle tone control (treble cut and slight mid bump) to push it from Tele bark to PAF smoothness and it rocks! Let me know when you put this design in a neck pickup.