Thoughts on using, or not using, the split coil option.

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by kmiko, May 31, 2018.

  1. kmiko

    kmiko New Member

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    I've never had experience with the split coil option until I got my SE Custom 24 recently. Before that I always played my LP and the pick up/switch configuration worked perfect for me. I've tried experimenting with the split coils, but I always revert back to just playing the humbuckers as is. Maybe it would be different if I had a higher end PRS, and one day, I will.

    I'm curious about other's experience with their split coils. Anyone have them on their guitars, but never use them? Anyone thought they wouldn't use them but discovered they love the option, and couldn't go without? I understand it's really all a personal choice based on the style of music and desired tone. I'm just wondering what any of you good people have to say about your experience learning to utilize the split coil option, especially when you were just getting use to it.

    Thanks.
     
  2. django49

    django49 New Member

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    I use it all the time. It makes it that much easier to switch the mood between songs. Sometimes within a single tune.

    Example.......Playing behind a singer (sometimes, not necessarily, a woman) sometimes the "thinner" tone leaves more room for the vocals. Or playing the in between positions may work, not totally dissimilar to the "quack" of a Strat. But get to a solo that needs more oomph, just flip back to full HB mode and drive the amp that much harder.

    Off the subject a bit, but I also like to use a piezo to add a certain chime as I shift gears.......One of my favorite anecdotes was coming off stage and being asked by the other guitarist how I got that great clear and crisp tone, which he could not......"Stop to think about it, Keone.....You are playing a Les Paul into a Marshall. Ain't nuttin' delicate
    about your tone!"

    You CAN do a lot of different things if you have a channel switching amp and the right effects. But it is amazing how much a person can do when they learn how to use their control knobs and switches. And yet so many people set their guitar volume and tone on "10" and forget about it!

    Give it a chance.......And don't be afraid to spend some time with your amp/pedal controls to match them up better with that expanded variety of tones.
     
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  3. drdoom8793

    drdoom8793 THAT guy at Chick-fil-A

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    For me, it depends on my situation. I've got a CE24, 3 way and push pull coil split with a Duncan JB and Jazz in it, and a stock Vela. Whenever I'm playing at church, I use the coil split a lot more, usually to clean up my signal for softer parts. However, in my actual band (alt rock), I almost never use it.
     
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  4. gush

    gush New Member

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    Prior to Prs guitars I never had much use for splitting HBs but PRS pickups are better than pickups I’ve used in the past so those options are more useable to me.
     
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  5. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    They offer a useful texture/tone option, and are worth spending some time with. I think one of the things folks don’t talk about much is that single coils often need different amp settings than humbuckers.

    If I’m planning to use both the humbuckers and split coils, I’ll tweak the dials on my amps a little bit to better accommodate both settings, or more often, use an EQ pedal for one of the settings, and switch it off for the other setting. If you have a single channel amp, the EQ pedal will also let one adjust the relative volume of the coil splits vs the humbuckers.

    I mostly use my single channel PRS amps, but with a channel switching amp such as the Mesa Lone Star that has two channels that can be set with similar sounds, I might set one channel up for the single coils, the other for the humbuckers.

    I realize that’s a tiny bit more effort, but the rest of the rig is so much a part of the equation that it needs to be included in the discussion if you want to fully take advantage of the split coil option on a guitar.
     
  6. garrett

    garrett Not a New Member

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    I used to find them pretty much useless. Too much of a drop in output, thin and bright tone. That was until I experienced the current way PRS handles splits on many guitars, which is to use a resistor to only partially cancel a coil. It makes the output manageable, especially with a compressor and overdrive active, and the tone stays full and useful.

    My quickest advice is don't be afraid to turn that tone knob. Regardless of the pickups or guitar, I often roll the tone down to about 5 or 6 when playing on the split bridge pickup.


    Like django, I use the splits to get different tonal shades in a band context. And Les is spot on about taking the whole rig into account. The volume control, tone control, individual split w/resistor wiring, compressor, OD, boost, and a clean amp are all ingredients I mix and match to keep up a good presence in the mix. It's wildly versatile without being overly complicated.

    For more soul-oriented songs, I like to use both pickups with just the neck split. It takes out some of the low end punch to get a sweeter sounding chime on high triads.

    I do the reverse for country tunes. I love the sound of neck HB with bridge split for percussive cowboy chords. Bridge split by itself for twangin' solos, with boost, usually OD, guitar volume up, tone to match the room. Sometimes I'll keep the boost on and use the guitar volume to turn down (a reason treble bleeds are pretty much a must, but that's another topic).

    For the blues band I've been playing with, I keep it simple. Compressor and OD are always on. I use the pickups split for cleaner sounds and engage humbucker mode as a boost, particularly for leads. The guitar's volume control is my buddy.

    That's all band stuff, though. At home playing for myself, all those rules are off. I just set things so they sound for the way I feel like hearing or for the song I'm learning or jamming to.
     
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  7. sergiodeblanc

    sergiodeblanc The pullout king.

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    I use ‘em all the time, but that’s because I’m a singlecoil trapped in a humbuckers body.
     
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  8. bodia

    bodia Authorities said.....best leave it.....unsolved

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    Odd, I thought you were a housewife trapped in a dudes body
     
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  9. sergiodeblanc

    sergiodeblanc The pullout king.

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    That too.
     
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  10. Steve's addiction

    Steve's addiction New Member

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    I have the 5 way rotary on ce and coil tap on cu. I think I get much better tone with the 5 way.
     
  11. Dirty_Boogie

    Dirty_Boogie Still got the ol' tagger on it

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    I think that people often have the expectation that using the coil-split will make their guitar sound like a Strat or a Tele. It won't. As others have responded above, the coil-split feature is a good way to coax other tones out of you HB-equipped PRS - e.g., brightening things up, reducing output for lighter rhythm playing, or even working better with certain pedals (a Vibe pedal always seems to sound better working with single coil output.) I have the split on my core McCarty, and I added the same split (with resistors) to my 2017 C22 SE. The sound I really love is when I have my guitars set up for a nice, thick vintage rock tone, and then split the coils - to my ears, it sounds like a great vintage PAF tone. So, change your expectations of what the pups should sound like when split, and then experiment - you might discover some really cool tones with different pedals, or even just by tweaking the tone and/or volume on your guitar.
     
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  12. RaySachs

    RaySachs New Member

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    Incredibly brave of you to admit.
     
  13. merciful-evans

    merciful-evans New Member

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    I nearly always use split coils, and set up my signal processor to favour them. I find they have more definition and I just prefer the sound.

    I replaced the split coil HBs on my Esprit with single coils (in HB housing) for a more authentic voicing.
     
  14. Kynlore

    Kynlore Your name here

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    I use the split coil for 80’s Pop tones. It’s close enough for my ear anyway.
     
  15. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    Very true, but here’s something kind of fun:

    There’s a preset on Eventide’s H9 EQ algorithm called, “Les to Leo” that makes a humbucker guitar sound so close to a Fender it’s shocking. It certainly shocked me, since the first time I tried it was when playing my McCarty Singlecut, a guitar that doesn’t even have coil splits!

    It was a “holy crap” moment.

    Eventide also created a preset called, “Leo to Les” that does the opposite.
     
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  16. Darkho

    Darkho New Member

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    I use split coil each time I play clear songs (with the neck pick up).
     
  17. Dirty_Boogie

    Dirty_Boogie Still got the ol' tagger on it

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    They need a new setting - "Paul to them All", or "PRS to the Rest" :)
     
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  18. Mozzi

    Mozzi New Member

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    I quite like using a Split when using more than 1 Pick-up. With the McCarty 594 for example, it works really well when using both (middle position) but splitting the 'neck' to bring a bit more clarity. It comes down to what you want/need at the time. If you are playing songs that were recorded by artists with a Les Paul for example, then you probably won't need splits as they never had that opportunity. I think it adds some versatility and more creative options. It also depends on whether you are in a band or not, whether you are the only guitarist, what effects you use and style of music you play as all of these can bring more use out of Splits.

    I would still rather have them and not need them than need them and not have them.
     
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  19. Rider1260

    Rider1260 New Member

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    I use the split ( except for the 408 ) as a second way to control volume, they are excellent for rhythm and to add a touch of brightness, just another tool in the kit
    The SCT I have does not split and I miss it.
     
  20. dmatthews

    dmatthews Dave's not here...

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    ^^^This^^^
    Split coil, piezo. Super versatile in a cover band!
     

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