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Thread: What neck humbuckers sound best wired parallel?

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    Tone Member Tone Meister's Avatar
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    Default What neck humbuckers sound best wired parallel?

    Right now I have a PGn wired in parallel for my #4 position, but I'm wondering if there's a better neck pickup to wire in parallel? The PGn neck sounds good, but maybe not as clean and clear as I'd hoped.

    The bridge pu is also a PGb, but I plan to wire a second guitar that'll have a 59/C in the bridge. My typical sounds range from rock, pop, classic rock, funk, country, and R&B.

    What vintage-to-medium output neck humbuckers have you found that are excellent when wired with the parallel option?

    I appreciate any input.
    Last edited by Tone Meister; 08-18-2019 at 10:57 AM.

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    Ultimate Tone Slacker TheViewFromVenus's Avatar
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    Default Re: What neck humbuckers sound best wired parallel?

    The Jazz neck sounds pretty good in parallel.

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    Ultimate Tone Slacker TheViewFromVenus's Avatar
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    Default Re: What neck humbuckers sound best wired parallel?

    Also the P-Rail.

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    Administrator Mincer's Avatar
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    Default Re: What neck humbuckers sound best wired parallel?

    I generally think the higher output ones sound the best in parallel.
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    Tone Member Tone Meister's Avatar
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    Default Re: What neck humbuckers sound best wired parallel?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mincer View Post
    I generally think the higher output ones sound the best in parallel.
    Ahh. Typically, high output isn't an option for me, especially in the neck position, so I should have asked a more specific question.

    What vintage to medium output pickups sound best in the neck position?

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    Default Re: What neck humbuckers sound best wired parallel?

    I’ve been wanting to thin out my Sentient a bit. Has anybody tried parallel with a pickup like that?

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    Tone Member Tone Meister's Avatar
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    Default Re: What neck humbuckers sound best wired parallel?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bowtomecha View Post
    I’ve been wanting to thin out my Sentient a bit. Has anybody tried parallel with a pickup like that?
    Be interested to learn how the Sentient sounds in parallel.

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    Default Re: What neck humbuckers sound best wired parallel?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tone Meister View Post
    Ahh. Typically, high output isn't an option for me, especially in the neck position, so I should have asked a more specific question.

    What vintage to medium output pickups sound best in the neck position?
    I agree with Mincer : IME and IMHO, low and mid output HB's don't tend to be convincing in parallel. This wiring risks to make their sound too weak and trebly.
    It was obvious when I've connected once a Duncan PG to a series/parallel switch, decades ago. I had to undo the mod because it was useless to the ears of the owner...

    Technical reasons: when a HB is wired in parallel, the inductance and DCR of the coils are divided by four (roughly: I'm not taking in account mutual inductance).

    As soon as the overall inductance of the pickup is above 5 or 6H, parallel wiring becomes much more useable... But a low/mid P.A.F. or T-Top replica typically measures +/- 4H :-/ [EDIT: for a bridge PG, overall inductance = 4.6H]

    Now, it's possible to wire such pickups in parallel with an external inductor hidden somewhere in the guitar. If this inductor is beefy enough, the benefits of parallel wiring will remain.

    I've done that once with a bridge Jackson J50BC (9.2k, 5.27H): it sounded too harsh in parallel. I've paired it with a HB (11k, 4.5H) deprived of its baseplate and magnet, then buried in the electronic cavity. Once the J50BC in parallel with this hidden "dead" humbucker, the overall DCR and inductance are roughly those of a single coil (5k, 2.4H). It sounds accordingly (and much better in this case than the pickup itself in parallel).

    FWIW.

    NOTE - Not sayin' this or that low/mid output HB "can't" sound good in parallel: tone is subjective and the most "theoretically heretic" wiring can always sound gorgeous with a given pickup in a given guitar. :-)
    Last edited by freefrog; 08-19-2019 at 12:06 AM.
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    Administrator Mincer's Avatar
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    Default Re: What neck humbuckers sound best wired parallel?

    Parallel tends to cut a lot of the mids and bass out, so I'd go with a darker sounding pickup to start- possibly an Alnico II Pro. I like their sound split, but it has been awhile since I've tried it in parallel.
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    Tone Member Tone Meister's Avatar
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    Default Re: What neck humbuckers sound best wired parallel?

    The Pearly Gates neck actually sounds good and the parallel sound stands up well against the series humbucker and the other sounds on the 5 way.

    They're wired like this:
    1) Bridge standard config
    2) Inner slug coils
    3) Bridge + Neck humbuckers in parallel
    4) Neck parallel
    5) Neck standard config

    I have a pair of Porter Classics wired this way also. I swapped the polished A5 mags for rough UOA5 and the parallel neck tends to sound a bit clearer and glassier than the A2 PGn. The DCR is about the same on the Porter and the PGn.

    I like this 5 way configuration so well that I plan to wire two more of my HH Strats this way, which is why I'm interested in how other neck pickups fare when wired in parallel.

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    Default Re: What neck humbuckers sound best wired parallel?

    I own an A2Pro neck bucker on an der bodeid, maple neck ESP LTD Tele copy. I have it wired so itt does eries and parallel at 500k, and split to the neck,coil at 250k.

    Parallel sound different to series, less middy and bassy, and a lot clearer. Awesome for cleans or crunchy leads, at least to my ears.

    Love in series too.
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    Just A Minion ErikH's Avatar
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    Default Re: What neck humbuckers sound best wired parallel?

    I haven't found a vintage to medium output pickup that has enough output in parallel to be useful. My favorite in parallel is the Super Distortion, hands down. The way it is wound with the extra thick magnet makes it about perfect for split and parallel operation while still having enough output. Parallel mode still sounds relatively full and is great in the neck. For something in the lower output classes, I would stick with series/split and ignore parallel altogether. My .02 cents.

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    PenultimateTone Member Demanic's Avatar
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    Default Re: What neck humbuckers sound best wired parallel?

    I have a Duncan designed HB-7 set in my Schecter 7 string. I believe that it's based on the Jazz/JB set. I use a push/pull volume pot to series/parallel the neck pickup. I have found that I rarely switch it out of parallel.

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    Default Re: What neck humbuckers sound best wired parallel?

    Whole Lotta Humbucker neck.

    I had JP wiring with a WLH set in my SG and after a while left my neck in parallel all the time ...for about a year. WLH is made for those options.
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    Tone Member Tone Meister's Avatar
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    Default Re: What neck humbuckers sound best wired parallel?

    Quote Originally Posted by ErikH View Post
    I haven't found a vintage to medium output pickup that has enough output in parallel to be useful. My favorite in parallel is the Super Distortion, hands down. The way it is wound with the extra thick magnet makes it about perfect for split and parallel operation while still having enough output. Parallel mode still sounds relatively full and is great in the neck. For something in the lower output classes, I would stick with series/split and ignore parallel altogether. My .02 cents.
    Clearly your output requirements exceed mine by quite a bit then. I have gobs of available gain at the amp(s) when I want it, so what's important to me is a solid, flexible base clean tone that'll work with Fender or Marshall amps. I have the Landry LS100G3 and the Friedman when I need to melt things.

    I can't get the type of clean tone I want with most high output pickups, the Custom series and Bill Lawrence being the exceptions.

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    Default Re: What neck humbuckers sound best wired parallel?

    Wrong form factor, but a cool rail parallel to itself is one of my favorite Duncan tones

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    Default Re: What neck humbuckers sound best wired parallel?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bowtomecha View Post
    I’ve been wanting to thin out my Sentient a bit. Has anybody tried parallel with a pickup like that?
    I have a Sentient 7 and i actually prefer the sound in parallel, much better for clean IMO

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    Mojo's Minions ItsaBass's Avatar
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    Default Re: What neck humbuckers sound best wired parallel?

    If you're going to run it in parallel mode, you are lowering the apparent output by way of changing the e.q. significantly. Pickups you might think of as high output pickups don't seem like high output pickups when wired in parallel...and low or medium output pickups can seem to thin when wired in parallel.

    That said, a PGn in parallel sounding unclear should not be the case. That should be a very clean, modest output sound, kind of Fender-ish, actually...especially on a Strat, with it's snappier sounding scale length. Are you sure you are getting what you think you're getting in position 4? It seems you'd have much more of a problem with position 5, which is the PGn with series coils.
    Last edited by ItsaBass; 08-19-2019 at 09:14 PM.
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    Just A Minion ErikH's Avatar
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    Default Re: What neck humbuckers sound best wired parallel?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tone Meister View Post
    Clearly your output requirements exceed mine by quite a bit then. I have gobs of available gain at the amp(s) when I want it, so what's important to me is a solid, flexible base clean tone that'll work with Fender or Marshall amps. I have the Landry LS100G3 and the Friedman when I need to melt things.

    I can't get the type of clean tone I want with most high output pickups, the Custom series and Bill Lawrence being the exceptions.
    I have varying degrees of pickups, from a P-90 to the Super Distortions. Don't get my wrong, I like a clean neck pickup, that's why I wired it in parallel. My wife got me a Dean Chicago Series ML and it came stock with 2 Super Distortions. It's a bit hot for me in the neck even with it lowered down a good way, so I wired it in parallel. Problem solved. Lower output, cleaner sound, but not weak by any means.

    One of my frankenstrats has 2 Screamin' Demons and that's about perfect in the neck in series. Not too hot, and plenty of cut.

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    Toneologist kingswebe's Avatar
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    Default Re: What neck humbuckers sound best wired parallel?

    Quote Originally Posted by ErikH View Post
    I haven't found a vintage to medium output pickup that has enough output in parallel to be useful. My favorite in parallel is the Super Distortion, hands down. The way it is wound with the extra thick magnet makes it about perfect for split and parallel operation while still having enough output. Parallel mode still sounds relatively full and is great in the neck. For something in the lower output classes, I would stick with series/split and ignore parallel altogether. My .02 cents.
    I had the same conclusions about the Super Distortion some months back when i tried it in parallel in the bridge position. I had it set up in a Triple Shot so i was able to A and B parallel mode and in series quickly and essily. I actually preferred that pickup in parallel mode over series - even for high gain. In series it was too "thick" for my tastes.

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