Anonymous asked in Entertainment & MusicMusicRock and Pop · 1 decade ago

What is a coil tap in regards to guitar pickups?

A guy suggested that I get the pickup coil tapped for better cleans... what does this mean?

9 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Coil Tapping is a procedure to make a Humbucker pickup on your Guitar have single coil capability. This will give your guitar more total sound options. For example, if you have your lead humbucker pickup coil tapped, it would give you the option of using only one of the pickups within the humbucker to get a single coil sound. Usually, a switch is used to engage the coil tap option on coil tapped guitars so you can switch back and forth (toggle) between sounds. Either a Push/Pull Knob can be used or an actual switch can be added to the guitar. More than one pickup can be coil tapped on a guitar too. So if you have two hum bucker pickups on your guitar, you could coil tap both to get only the single coil pickups to engage. Tapping the Bridge and Neck pickup to single coil sound may actually give a Telecaster type sound (Single coil bridge and neck position used together). Also, depending on the switch that is used, you could potentially use different combinations of sounds on the guitar. Try combining coil taped pickups with other pickups if you have a five way or three way switch on your guitar. It can get confusing as to which pickup is actually engaged, but you can tap your guitar pick on the each pickup very lightly and listen to hear which pickup is actually engaged.

    The Coil Tap is a great option for gigging guitarists. Lets say your playing some Led Zeppelin at a gig and need humbucker sound, but the next song is a Pink Floyd song that calls for more of a single coil pickup sound. Flip the switch to engage the coil tap and you have both of the sounds that you need with one guitar. A Coil Tap is usually for more experienced guitarists who can recognize the need for different pickups sounds. It's an invaluable option for guitarists playing a diverse selection of live music. It's also a great option to allow your humbucker guitar many unique pickup combinations.

  • golden
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    Coil Tap

  • 7 years ago

    "rrrrrrrrraahhhh" and "your mom" is correct,

    fiddy is wrong.

    Coil splitting is already accurately explained by rrrrrrrrraahhhh and your mom.

    Coil tapping is sort of a mod that involves an extra hook-up wire included during the manufacture of the pickup. So switching coil taps may make a single-coil pickup sound like a 10,000-wound pickup or 8,000-wound pickup.

  • 7 years ago

    coil SPLITTING is a feature on humbucking pickups, Coil TAPPING regards singe coils. Coil SPILTTING spilts a humbucking pickup (if you ever look at a open coil humbucker you see that its two single coils wrapped together) for it to sound like a singe coil pickup. Coil TAPPING causes a single coil pickup to lose its "hotness" (cant think of a better term) when activated, to what friends say help give it a classic fender sound (personally it a useless feature to me)

    coil splits is really popular vs coil taps, as i see them on a lot of new epi's but in regards to your question someone was suggesting you got you single coil pickup tapped to lower the power to give it a cleaner sound

    Source(s): common guitar sense
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  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    For the best answers, search on this site

    Hello, Chris! If you want to retain the coil tap function, the answer is yes. Make sure your replacement pickups have the same wiring terminations (separate leads for each coil), and connect just like the originals; if not, bypass the switch option. Best regards, Dana

  • 8 years ago

    Actually he's wrong... coil splitting and coil tapping is both different. Yes they both lose output, but they both also sound different. Coil splitting is when someone splits a "humbucker" guitar... coil-tapping is when someone taps a single coil guitar.

  • 6 years ago

    The terms "Coil Tapping" and "Coil Splitting" are often used interchangeably but technically they are very different. Coil Splitting is by far more common than coil tapping, but both offer the player more versatility in getting different tones from the same pickup.

    Coil Splitting usually refers to a humbucker pickup because a humbucker is essentially two single coils with opposite magnetic polarity and coil winding directions to each other to cancel out mains hum. Coil Splitting lets you isolate each of the two coils individually. Each Coil in a humbucker has a Start wire and End wire (4 wires in total for 2 coils, plus the Earth screen). The end of one coil is joined to the start of the other coil. Where the confusion between Coil Splitting and Coil Tapping on humbuckers most likely occurred is because in order to 'split' the coils to turn one coil off and get a single coil sound, you have to 'tap' into the wire that connects the output from one coil into the input of the other coil. So you can begin to see how Coil Tapping and Coil Splitting came to be mean the same thing for most people.

    A good example of using Coil Splitting is in a Fat Strat or H-S-S with a humbucker in the bridge and 2 single coils. Position 2 on the Strat pickup selector is traditionally a mix between the Bridge and Middle single coils and is hum cancelling if the middle pickup is RWRP (Reverse Wound Reverse Polarity) to the Neck and Bridge pickups. By Coil Splitting the humbucker in Position 2, only one of the coils is used to mix with the middle pickup, thus retaining that traditional Strat bell/quack tone, as closely as possible. Similarly in a Telecaster with a Humbucker in the Neck, Coil Splitting the humbucker will enable just one coil to be used with the bridge pickup, and sound closer to the standard telecaster middle position.

    Coil Tapping usually refers to a Single Coil pickup where a Tap wire is added about two thirds of the way into the pickup windings, so there is the typical Earth wire and Hot output wire, plus a lower output Tap wire, that allows two different tones from the same single coil pickup. The Coil Tap wire will have fewer windings than the Hot Output, so will give a brighter but quieter tone than the full output from the Hot wire. The general rule of thumb is that a tall, thin coil with fewer windings will giver a brighter, thinner tone than a short fat coil with more windings. So an 'overwound' pickup will be louder with more pronounced mid frequencies, which is great for overdriven blues/rock but might sound too honky or middly for clean tones.

    Using Coil Tapping makes the pickup more versatile by allowing the player to get a great clean tone using the Tap wire output, and, louder full output from the normal hot wire for Overdriving amps and effects pedals. For example, a Coil Tapped Stratocaster Bridge single coil pickup could have 6KOhms of windings at the Coil Tap wire and give you a Hank Marvin or Vintage 50's Strat tone, whilst the Hot output wire could have 8KOmhs of windings and give you a louder Stevie Ray Vaughan or Modern Rock tone. So you can get brighter, sparkling clean tones with the Coil Tap or louder output to over-drive amps from the normal Hot output, all from the one pickup.

    You can also get coil tapped humbuckers where each coil has a separate Coil Tap wire in addition to the Start and End wires, so there are 6 wires in total plus the Earth screen. This enables you to thin out your humbucker tone if it is too muddy by using the Coil Taps with less windings than the full outputs from each coil. You can also create a more organic tone by using Asymmetrical windings between the two coils (one coil uses the full windings whilst the other uses the Coil Tapped windings). Coil tapping both coils allows thinner/brighter tones with a more vintage output, whilst the normal full output can be better used for modern and over-driven tones.

    With a Coil Tapped Humbucker you can experience both Coil Splitting and Coil Tapping tones, even at the same time. Most replacement humbuckers now come with a 4 wire cable (plus screen) to allow you access to the individual coils. Nearly all budget and Vintage Humbuckers have 2 wires the Hot and Earth, since the wires connecting the two coils together in series are often hidden inside the pickup. A few manufacturers make humbuckers with 3 wires, the Earth, the Hot and a 'Tapping' wire to 'Tap' into that point where the coils are wired together in series.

    Another way to get a great clean tone from your humbucker is to wire the coils in parallel, assuming your pickup has 4 wires plus the earth screen. A humbucker wired in parallel gives a thinner, twangier sound but still cancels the mains hum. The loudness falls somewhere between a single coil and series wired humbucker. You can use a toggle switch, pull/push pot, push/push pot or deluxe pickup selector switch to create your own custom Series/Parallel or Coil Splitting combinations. With two matched humbuckers you can use the Outside coil from each pickup in parallel to get a Telecaster-esque mix sound, or the inside coils in parallel to get a more Strat-like mix sound. Or wire a split single coil from each humbucker in series to get a 'wide' humbucker tone a bit like a PRS or Telecaster 4 way Switch.

    I've custom wired a few guitar pickups and switches over the last 25 years so please email me if you have any further enquiries.

  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    replace the pickups, that would be more cost efficient and sound better.

  • 1 decade ago

    could not have said it any better than fiddy.

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