rich menga
home - books - music - gear - about - search - contact me

Humbuckers vs. Single-Coil - which is better?

I'm going to answer the question in the title of this bloggo right up front: The answer is neither. A humbucker is not better than a single-coil, nor is a single-coil better than a humbucker.

Instead, I'm going to talk about why "all-in-one" guitars are a bad idea.

There have been many attempts over the years by various guitar manufacturers to produce a guitar that gets every type of pickup sound there is, and all of them have failed. Why? Because there is no way to produce one guitar that sounds like every guitar.

Even though I just purchased a Fender Modern Player Stratocaster HSS which allows for 7 pickup selections including splitting the bridge humbucker to single-coil, I still go back to my "plain" Squier Bullet Strat which has a traditional Stratocaster SSS layout and switching system. Why? Because the the traditional SSS layout has a bridge pickup with staggered pole pieces and is mounted on an angle which makes it sound different than a split humbucker mounted vertically straight with flat pole pieces.

My Fender MP Strat may be the most versatile out of all the guitars I own, but that's doesn't mean it does everything.

I personally believe you need three electric guitars to cover almost everything tone-wise. One in SSS layout, one in HSS and the third in HH. The SSS is best as a Squier or Fender Strat. For HSS there are many guitar makes to choose from, and the same goes for HH.

My advice to you is this: Don't seek out a guitar that does it all, because it doesn't exist. It's not a sin to own multiple guitars. In addition to that, owning just one guitar is pretty boring. :)

** Tip: If the strings you use take too long to break in, try a set of Dunlops.