What have you got to say about HSS setups? Any fans? Pros? Cons?
Advantages versus HSH?
I got one guitar w/ Hss routing. A Jackson Japanese Solist. I now got a dummy middle in it.Not a big fan of that configuration in a guitar thats set up to work well with hotrodded high gain Marshall style sound.
In fact, the humbuckers I like in the bridge dont mix well with anything, not even the highest output Single neck or middle. There is a Neodymium pickup I know of thats promising, but so far havent been able to test it.
Whats even worse is H-S-H IMO.
Pretty much H-H is whats best IMO.
ITS OVER NOW. THE SPURS CANNOT BE BEAT TWICE IN A ROW !
I gotta say, that the middel single was dropped for a dummy, to make a H-S.
The middel single route is not a good thing IMO, either for H-S-S, or H-S-H..
Last edited by MetalManiac; 08-19-2012 at 12:13 AM.
ITS OVER NOW. THE SPURS CANNOT BE BEAT TWICE IN A ROW !
I don't mind HSS setups. Had my number 1 set up that way for a while but reverted back to dual humbuckers on it. I'm currently saving up for another Strat that will be set up HSS. I've got the pickups ready to go. I'll run a 500k volume pot and probably 250k tones to start.
When it comes to the balance, it doesn't bother me really. For me it's a part of the diversity of the setup.
I guess it really boils down to what you like more in the neck, a humbucker or single-coil.
I've been trying to find a completely satisfactory HSS setup with vintage singles for years. I recently gave up and went back to SSS. If I ever try it again, it will be with non-vintage singles that run well with 500k pots.
The problems I have with HSS (with vintage singles) are:
1. In order to balance with the singles (volume and power) the humbucker needs to be relatively weak. A JB sounds good in a strat, but it overpowers the singles by quite a bit.
2. The humbucker needs to run well with 250k pots in order to keep the volume/tone control setup relatively sane. Most weaker humbuckers don't run well with 250k pots, especially ones with A2 magnets, which would be some of the best choices to balance with the singles.
3. A lot of humbuckers lose you any useful in-between tone in position 2.
4. Some humbucker brands are out of phase electrically and magnetically with Fender Single coils.
5. Strats are a pain in the anus to take apart and make changes on repeatedly. (Not a HSS thing, just a strat thing..)
6. Cover humbuckers (which I think would look very classy in a strat) will usually not fit through the hole in the pickguard.
I love HSS and it's what I use with any three pickups guitars.
I auto-split the bridge humbucker in position 4. You need to carefully select the humbucker mind. I find that something between 8k and 12k to be the sweet spot (I loved the APHII and I'm loving the DiMarzio AT-1 now).
Using a megaswitch there's also a lot of very cool switching to be done. Here's one I worked on and that I currently use:
There WILL be a compromise. Single coil volume vs. humbucker power. One will be over or underpowered, if even by a little.
Last edited by Pierre; 08-19-2012 at 08:33 AM.
HSS setups basically require 500K pots. The best way to mix single coils and humbuckers with 500K pots is to use noiseless singles.
I have yet to find a noiseless single that couldn't keep pace with a humbucker when all wired to 500K pots.
I'm partial to the DiMarzio Areas, Injectors, Virtual Solo, HB2 etc. over the Duncans 'cause I can use aftermarket covers without logos... and f**k if they don't sound incredible mixed with my JBs.
What I did is use a 500k volume pot for the bridge humbucker, a 250k volume pot for middle + neck single coils and a master tone control of which I forgot the value. It was, to me, the best balance.
It also provides me with the ability to set seperate volumes for bridge + singles which is amazing in a band context: set your amp to HOT then switch to a lower-volume'd neck single pickup and presto, clean sound. Works best with amps with high headroom of course.
Thanks for the input, guys. I've been pondering HSS a bit lately. It does seem a bit like the dark horse of pickup configurations, and there aren't a ton of guitars out there with HSS as the OEM setup.
I'm on my 3rd HSS guitar - the G&L Legacy HB I got last month - and I'm really enjoying it.
The guitar is wired a bit differently than your typical HSS. Rather than Vol/Vol/Tone or Master Vol/Tone/Tone, it's wired Master Vol/Master Treble/Master Bass, with a coil split running from a mini switch between the first two knobs.
This is the... schematic from G&L.
It's a fantastically versatile setup. I play around with the bass control more than I ever would have thought. If someone had said "HAY UR GONNA HAV A NOB THAT MAKES IT SOUND THINNER LOL" I would have said... ah, no thanks... but I'd have been wrong. The range of tones you can get with a bass/treble setup is shocking.
What's also surprising is that it all works with a JB in the bridge, a 250k volume, 500k tone, and 1meg bass control. I don't know much about G&L singles. They're not as loud as the JB in full humbucking mode but they are able to keep up, and the in-between sounds are very good. All the controls have a huge useable range.
Sorry - not a fan of the SSH config. It definitely does work for some people.
I had no concern of output level mismatches, just that position #2 with the humbucker split just never sounded right and having a bright pickup neck and middle vs the fatter humbucker sound in the bridge.
A humbucker is definitely a fun ride if you play with distortion.
I have hss and hh in my strats, hard to decide what I like best, def. hh for lead playing , but hss is very usefull sometimes too!
I have a bridge JBjr that didn't work with my guitar and amp,(far too trebly and harsh),been thinking about putting it in neck on the hss, so Metalmaniac, does it work in neck and what's it sound like?
I use an HSS Tele for clean tones, with P90's in the neck and middle and a Custom in the bridge.
I love HSS. A stratty neck pu has tone and character for days, and it's the sound in my head; plus the juicy quack of neck+middle.
I have SSL2-SSL2-59/C in my main guitar - great combo for anything from vintage to hard rock. Humbucker doesn't swamp the singles, and everything sounds dandy even with 500k pots.
It's also possible to wire in resistors between the switch and singles so they see a 250k pot.
Guitars: 2010 Fender Am./Mex. Stratocaster - Duncan Alnico II Pro (N,M) - Duncan SSL-6 (Bridge)
1980 Gibson LP Std. - Duncan PAF (Neck) - Duncan Custom (Bridge)
1990 Fender Am. Std. Tele - DiMarzio Area T (Neck) - Duncan Vintage '54 (Bridge)
Charvel Pro Mod San Dimas Wild Card - Duncan Classic Stack (N,M) - DiMarzio Mo'Joe (Bridge)
1982 B.C. Rich Mockingbird Supreme - : Duncan PAF, Custom
Amps: Rivera Fandango, ADA MP-1, Marshall 1965 JTM-45, Modded Valve Juniors
I have an old R4 Levinson Blade with a JB that splits to about 8.3,
unkown singles, 7.4 middle and 6.3 n3ck.
I use 250k pots which work as usual with the singles and tame the JB a little.
Most importantly I use the Schaller E-model megaswitch, though this setup
compromises the middle only position.
This is a simple yet effective way of getting all the strat tones I like and the
extra Tele position plus the power of a HB bridge.
Check out the pic below to see what options are available with this switch.
^^ You don't see people using Blades much these days - nice guitars. A guy who played in a lot of the bands at my school had a purple RH4.
They're interesting spec, using sen ash for the body - same as a number of the lawsuit Ibanez and Greco guitars.
IMO 3 pickups is better than just two because you can have more versatility. About HSS vs HSH that is a difficult question. If you like me have only one guitar and want to find the best configuration for your personal preference then you have go and try both in your guitar and then you can decide. Any of those two is fine for me, I do always want to get true single coil tone, at least from the middle pickup.
If you love single coil tone the you can also try a HSH with P-Rail in the neck so you can have fat P90 or PAF tone in the neck and still being able to use position 4 to get a strat like quack.