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Single coil noiseless pickups... the quest continues.

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Single coil noiseless pickups... the quest continues.

Postby Jadoube » Mon Jan 30, 2017 8:26 pm

My favourite guitar I own is an early 80's Japanese Fender/Squire Strat. Over the years the maple neck has settled in and damn... it's so fast and comfy. It's so much nicer to play than any of my other guitars. Sounds fantastic too.... Stock whatever they are pickups.

BUT.... the noise. The noise the noise the noise. If I was recording this guitar for someone else we would no doubt fart about all over the room and studio twisting and turning with this cable and that till we found a reasonably quiet compromise and then just go for it with a cavalier shout of "It's part of the sound!"

However, this is 'my' guitar... I just want to grab it and go whilst perched in front of all my bits (including many computers and drives and all that gack) and record in my home... only single coil guitar. Not every other stray bit of electro-noise in the neighbourhood. I am pretty sure it gets worse and worse every year and I get pickier and pickier about the noises. So... maybe new pickups?

I read this...
http://www.soundonsound.com/forum/viewt ... il#p342940

Interesting.
And I found these: Mojotone 67 Quiet Coil
http://www.mojotone.com/Pickups_x/Strat ... Pickup-Set

What say you SOS denizens? Anyone tried them? Anything better? I don't really want to change the sound of my guitar, but new pickups preclude that goal to some extent. Should I spend the coin?
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Re: Single coil noiseless pickups... the quest continues.

Postby Wonks » Mon Jan 30, 2017 11:26 pm

I can only comment on the one's I've used - which are Kinmans in two Strats and some Fender Noiseless Tele pups.

My '98 Jap Strat has a reasonably old set of Kinmans fitted (before they had a choice of styles) that I think sound absolutely great, I've got a Fender CS DG Strat and it sounds very similar indeed to that. Some people think the initial attack is a little compressed on them, but I can't hear it myself. I then put a different version of Kinmans on a newer Mexican Strat, and those didn't sound anything like that good - OKish - but then it might have been the guitar. Noise - certainly no more pickup than a humbucker equipped guitar and maybe less. If I were choosing them again, then I'd go for a vintage voiced set.

The Fender Noiseless were OK, certainly quiet and useable, but not outstanding.

Have you already tried shielding the body cavities with either copper foil or conductive paint? If not, it's well worth the small effort it takes to do it. You may be surprised at the difference, It even helps if you do fit noiseless pickups, as not all the interference picked-up is from the pickup itself.
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Re: Single coil noiseless pickups... the quest continues.

Postby siderealxxx » Tue Jan 31, 2017 12:28 am

I have the same issue (96 US Strat) and I need to sort this out too but I've not heard good things about noiseless (toneless) pups and single coil is the only way to go with a Strat. My first port of call will be to try shielding first and see if it helps. It's not too expensive and won't hurt (could be handy on stage too). But you definitely have to live with it to a point.
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Re: Single coil noiseless pickups... the quest continues.

Postby zenguitar » Tue Jan 31, 2017 1:29 am

+1 for screening the pick-up and control cavities. It can make a significant difference.

And if recording your electric guitar is an important part of your music it would really be worth looking again at your recording space and how the equipment is laid out to create a space free from interference.

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Re: Single coil noiseless pickups... the quest continues.

Postby Tim Gillett » Tue Jan 31, 2017 2:31 am

About 2 years ago I bought a used Strat Squier. When amplified there was a lot of electrical buzzing. I opened it up and found the internal wiring was unshielded type.
Replacing with standard shielded type reduced the buzzing greatly.
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Re: Single coil noiseless pickups... the quest continues.

Postby Jay Menon » Tue Jan 31, 2017 8:17 am

There are two aspects to the noise (my apologies if you already know this).

50Hz hum (Or 60 Hz if you live in America). I've noticed that even that varies with proximity to amplifiers and player position.
Inductive buzz: the sound that disappears when you touch the metal parts of the guitar (strings, bridge) and re-appears when you take your hands off. No noiseless pickups system on its own can eliminate this.

50Hz hum: Shielding won't reduce this significantly. In my experience, the Kinman noiseless pickups are particularly nice. If you're looking for a traditional Stratocaster sound don't go for one of the overwound pickups - the Traditional Mk2 or Mk3 is very authentic sounding. I hear that their 'Impersonator' is even brighter - but the Traditional is plenty bright for me.

It's also interesting that most noiseless pick up manufacturers recommend 500K pots (which obviously brighten the sound). Kinmans on the other hand work perfectly with 250K pots - and if you want a brighter sound you can change to 500K.

Also don't let anyone kid you that 50Hz hum is okay (there's a reason why positions 2 & 4 are hum-cancelling on a Strat). Also if you set your amplifier up on the edge of overdrive and you use picking technique to vary between a clean and saturated sound, the hum will be quite intrusive when you're playing softly/cleanly.

Inductive buzz can be minimised with good shielding. Proper conductive graphite paint to the cavities with aluminium or copper foil on the rear surface of the pickguard. Plenty of info available on the Internet. One rather nice article by Paul White on this website: http://www.soundonsound.com/sound-advic ... uitar-rigs

Hope this is helpful
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Re: Single coil noiseless pickups... the quest continues.

Postby Wonks » Tue Jan 31, 2017 8:56 am

Jay Menon wrote:Also don't let anyone kid you that 50Hz hum is okay (there's a reason why positions 2 & 4 are hum-cancelling on a Strat). l

Only officially standard after 1987 ( I believe- the information is a bit vague and they might have been used from 1985), so if you've got an older one then unless it's had after-market pickups fitted, then it's very unlikely that the middle pup will be RWRP. Don't forget that until 1977, the Strat still had a 3-way switch, so it had no 1+2 or 2+3 position to make a hum-cancelling combination. So before then there was no point in making a RWRP pickup for it.

However one the two coils in a Precision Bass pickup is RWRP to the other, and the Jazzmaster and Jaguar have one pickup RWRP to the other, so Leo certainly wasn't opposed to doing it (especially if it didn't cost anything to do).
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Re: Single coil noiseless pickups... the quest continues.

Postby Jadoube » Wed Feb 01, 2017 4:59 pm

Hey sorry to disappear from my own thread! Work got busy.

Wonks wrote:I can only comment on the one's I've used - which are Kinmans in two Strats and some Fender Noiseless Tele pups.

My '98 Jap Strat has a reasonably old set of Kinmans fitted (before they had a choice of styles) that I think sound absolutely great, I've got a Fender CS DG Strat and it sounds very similar indeed to that. Some people think the initial attack is a little compressed on them, but I can't hear it myself. I then put a different version of Kinmans on a newer Mexican Strat, and those didn't sound anything like that good - OKish - but then it might have been the guitar. Noise - certainly no more pickup than a humbucker equipped guitar and maybe less. If I were choosing them again, then I'd go for a vintage voiced set.

Yes... perfect, I didn't know about these. Took a look at the website. Looks very promising... I would probably go with the Woodstock Hendrix type set... my strat is a big headstock inspired by that vintage and who doesn't like Jimi's guitar sound?

I am guessing these options are hand wound? Surprisingly affordable in my opinion.

Wonks wrote:The Fender Noiseless were OK, certainly quiet and usable, but not outstanding.

Yeah... I am somewhat familiar with the Fender Lace pickups and EMGs. Recorded lots of studio players using these. Nothing wrong with them for what they are, but what they aren't is a classic Strat sound.

Wonks wrote: Have you already tried shielding the body cavities with either copper foil or conductive paint? If not, it's well worth the small effort it takes to do it. You may be surprised at the difference, It even helps if you do fit noiseless pickups, as not all the interference picked-up is from the pickup itself.


I have not done! Never even thought of it. Worth doing for sure. It's been a while since I got inside my guitars... I am out of touch in a way, but then guitars can be a pretty timeless artefact, This sounds like a great idea. Thanks!

We have a fantastic local guitar tech, I may bring the lot to him and get it done right... but the cash is a little shy right now and I am not afraid of a soldering iron myself. I believe I was the last person to set up this strat and it's playing great if I don't say so myself! :thumbup:

The local music store didn't really have any tempting options... just DiMarzio noiseless, EMG and Fender Lace.And they all seemed to cost pretty close to the Kinmans or the MojoTones. No one has had a go with the MojoTones? They seem comparable to the Kinmans.

Jay Menon wrote:There are two aspects to the noise (my apologies if you already know this).

I do know this but it is worth repeating, particularly since there are tricks to mitigate that I wasn't aware of... like shielding under the pickguard. Good 'ol 60 cycle hum (I'm in Canada). I worked in a downtown studio many yaers ago that was close to a bus trolley line. Strats did not love that room...

zenguitar wrote:+1 for screening the pick-up and control cavities. It can make a significant difference.

And if recording your electric guitar is an important part of your music it would really be worth looking again at your recording space and how the equipment is laid out to create a space free from interference.

Yeah. I have shielded studios, driven iron rods into the basement floor... many things to tidy up in recording studios... I have so many many many electronics and a pretty small room at home. I hear what you are saying but I would like to try fixing the guitar up some. I don't know if I can clean up that much at home without starting a pretty major home renovation project :headbang: My humbucker guitars are quiet enough. I always meant to tackle the single coil problem and it seems like the options are far superior to what they were in the 80's/ early 90's. (Yes, it has been that long)
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Re: Single coil noiseless pickups... the quest continues.

Postby Matt Houghton » Wed Feb 01, 2017 9:08 pm

Anyone here tried an Ilitch Plate system? I've not, but it's a clever idea and I have been told good things about them.

Here's the SOS review of the Tele version...

http://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/ilitch-electronics-pgncs-t
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Re: Single coil noiseless pickups... the quest continues.

Postby ore_terra » Wed Feb 01, 2017 11:03 pm

Matt Houghton wrote:Anyone here tried an Ilitch Plate system? I've not, but it's a clever idea and I have been told good things about them.

Here's the SOS review of the Tele version...

http://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/ilitch-electronics-pgncs-t
interesting!
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Re: Single coil noiseless pickups... the quest continues.

Postby Scumbelina » Mon May 18, 2020 4:21 pm

They aren’t marketed as noiseless pickups, but I installed some Peavey Super Ferrite single coil pickups in my Fender Jazzmaster and the thing is dead silent. I use compression a lot and even with my “noiseless” LACE sensor pickups kicking on a high sustain compressor results in a good bit of noise, but these Peavey pickups are insanely quiet even with compression.

They’re also the beefiest single coils i’ve ever owned. The volume output on these is insane and the overall timbre of the guitar thanks to those pickups is lovely.
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Re: Single coil noiseless pickups... the quest continues.

Postby SecretSam » Mon May 18, 2020 8:59 pm

It might be worth thinking about Seymour Duncan lil' 59s.

They are very thin humbuckers that fit in a standard strat single coil hole.

I have one in the bridge, and like it. It sounds much like a single coil. Lots of detail.

When the lockdown ends and going to the post office won't get me assaulted with a hammer (Google it: the South African police do love a good civil disorder gig) I can go and collect the Bulldogs single coils that I ordered for the other two holes.
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Re: Single coil noiseless pickups... the quest continues.

Postby Wonks » Mon May 18, 2020 9:15 pm

It's a 3 year-old thread.
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Re: Single coil noiseless pickups... the quest continues.

Postby SecretSam » Tue May 19, 2020 10:53 am

It's a twenty year old guitar !
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Re: Single coil noiseless pickups... the quest continues.

Postby Moroccomoose » Tue May 19, 2020 1:34 pm

I've just finished upgrading my cheap Brunswick strat copy. It buzzed and hummed terribly. I put in some Tonerider pickups and fully slug taped the cavities and pick guard. The bridge is properly grounded and the difference is UNBELIEVABLE! It is near silent. I've used it as a teaching vehicle to teach myself to do a full setup... neck adjustments, bridge adjustments, whammy balancing, everything. It now plays and sounds like a guitar 10x its price! I think I bought it with a practise amp for £120 back in the 90s.

It gave me the confidence to do the same with my Washburn strat copy. Again no buzz, no hum and nice to play. It has a Floyd Rose, which I was a bit nervous about, but a bit of reading and staying methodical and to the process, it was not difficult.

Anyway... slug tape is the way forward. Its sticky backed copper foil. Branded slug tape for gardeners it is £3 a role. Branded guitar cavity shielding tape, its £20 a role. :lol:
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