Humbucking pickups are a type of electric guitar pickup that are specifically designed to reduce unwanted external noise while producing a big, warm sound that is highly sought after by guitar players.
To understand why humbucking pickups are so popular, it’s important to first understand how single-coil pickups work. Single-coil pickups use a magnet wound with wire to produce a signal when the guitar strings vibrate. However, this design also makes them highly sensitive to electromagnetic interference, which can come from a variety of sources such as domestic electrical grid power or electronic devices like computers.
Humbucking pickups address this issue by using two coils instead of one. The two coils are wound in opposite directions and have opposite polarities, which results in the cancellation of unwanted electromagnetic interference. This cancellation of interference is known as “bucking,” which is where the name “humbucking” comes from.
By cancelling out unwanted noise, humbucking pickups are able to produce a clear and powerful guitar sound that is highly prized by players worldwide. This sound is often described as warm, full, and thick, which contrasts with the bright and snappy sound produced by many single-coil pickups.
In addition to producing a warm and powerful sound, humbucking pickups also allow guitar players to achieve higher output levels and sustain compared to single-coil pickups. This is due to the fact that humbucking pickups produce a stronger signal that is less susceptible to interference, resulting in a more consistent and powerful sound.
When it comes to pickups, there is no one type to rule them all, but nonetheless, all professional guitarists must have a guitar with humbuckers in their arsenal.