Fender Atomic Humbucker Specs?
The Fender Atomic Humbucker is a flexible pickup for guitars with electric motors. It has a ceramic magnet and two coils wound with premium copper wire. This atomic humbucker is a high-output pickup that produces a loud and aggressive sound suitable for metal, rock, or other types of music requiring a strong, full-bodied sound.
The design focuses on providing an intense and powerful mid-range while maintaining clarity in the higher frequency range. The ceramic magnet is responsible for the pickup’s increased output and adds brightness and clarity to the overall sound. This atomic humbucker is designed to fit into regular humbucker pickups, making it an ideal alternative for guitarists who want to improve their tone.
If you’re playing a pounding riff or need a pickup that can be heard when you’re playing solos and solos, the Fender Atomic Humbucker delivers a vibrant and dynamic sound that can help you get the tone you want to match your style of music.
Evolution Of Fender Humbuckers
The development of Fender humbuckers spans many years and covers many designs and models. In this article, we’ll look at the most important aspects of the development of Fender humbuckers.
Fender Wide Range Humbucker (1970s)
In 1999, Fender released the Wide Range Humbucker as a reaction to the rising popularity of Gibson-style humbuckers. This wide-range humbucker was equipped with larger bobbins and (copper-nickel-iron) magnets that contributed to its distinctive sound. The pickup produces the most pronounced and warmer sound than conventional single-coil pickups and is popular for those who want a more pronounced and fuller tone.
Fender Seth Lover Humbucker (late 70s through the early 1980s)
In the late 1970s, Fender sought the help of Seth Lover, the original creator of Gibson’s PAF (Patent Applied for) Humbuckers, to design the first humbucker pickup. This resulted in the Fender Seth Lover humbucker, which was designed to replicate the sound of the original PAF tone. These pickups had Alnico 5 magnets and were found in various Fender models from the beginning of the 1980s. They were the Seth Lover humbuckers that offered a classic and more traditional humbucker tone compared to Wide Range Humbuckers.
Fender American Standard Humbucker (1980s)
In the 1990s, Fender launched the American Standard Humbucker, an evolution from earlier models. The pickups were equipped with ceramic magnets that offered more output and a clearer sound. They were also known as American Standard humbuckers. They were installed on several Fender models of the time and featured a more modern and powerful sound suited to those seeking more performance and a greater presence.
Fender Atomic Humbucker (2010s)
In 2010, Fender introduced the Atomic Humbucker. It was designed to create a high-output humbucker with a strong and abrasive tone. The atomic humbucker used ceramic magnets and was developed to provide the most powerful and rich mid-range response while retaining clarity in the higher frequency range. This particular pickup is ideal for the metal and rock genres, where a powerful and rich sound is usually wanted.
Modern Variations And Custom Shop Offerings
In the past few years, Fender has continued to create and broaden its humbucker line-up, providing a range of models and customized shop options that meet the needs of different players. They include pickups like the Shaw bucker made by noted pickup expert Tim Shaw and other variants with various magnet types, wire windings, and distinct tonal characteristics.
The development of Fender humbuckers has seen companies explore different kinds of coils, magnets, and tonal characteristics to meet the needs of a wide variety of styles and preferences of players. From the vintage-inspired Seth Lover humbuckers to the high-output Atomic humbuckers, Fender has constantly improved its humbucker options to satisfy the needs of guitarists from various genres.
Anatomy Of The Fender Atomic Humbucker
The Fender Atomic Humbucker is a pickup that is designed to produce high-output and abrasive tones. Let’s look at its structure and break it down into the most important elements:
The atomic humbucker has a ceramic magnet. Ceramic magnets are renowned for their magnetic field strength and impressive output capability. The ceramic magnet used in the atomic humbucker is a key element in its strong and aggressive sound that emphasizes the mid-range frequency and adds a brighter tone to the overall sound.
The atomic humbucker consists of two coils wound with premium copper wire. The coils are responsible for recording the vibrations produced by guitar strings before changing them into an electric signal. The winding pattern and wire gauge used to create this atomic humbucker are designed to maximize its output and tone characteristics.
The wires in the atomic humbucker are housed in the bobbin. The bobbin is usually constructed of non-conductive plastic or other materials that serve as a structure to support the coils. It helps hold the coils in place and shield them from the elements outside.
The atomic humbucker typically has a steel baseplate underneath the coils and bobbin. The baseplate enhances the tonal qualities of the pickup by offering additional magnetic grounding and altering the pickup’s magnetic field.
The atomic humbucker may come with a metal cover that surrounds all the pickups. The cover not only provides the protection needed but also alters the pickup’s tone. Metal covers can give an edgy tone and a smoother sound, whereas uncovered pickups typically have a brighter and clearer tone.
Poles And Pole Pieces
This atomic humbucker typically features individual pole pieces aligned beneath each string. The pole pieces, typically composed of steel or other magnetic materials, are magnets to absorb the string’s vibrations more precisely. Players can adjust the balance and performance of each string by altering the size of the pole pieces.
Mounting And Wiring
Its atomic humbucker is designed to accommodate standard humbucker routes. It includes springs and mounting screws that secure it to the body of the guitar or pickguard. The pickup also comes with wires to connect with the electronic components of your guitar, which allows the sound produced through the guitar to be amplified and then shaped via tone and volume controls.
In essence, this Fender Atomic Humbucker consists of ceramic magnets and two coils wound with copper wires, a bobbin, a baseplate, and finally, an enclosure. It uses poles under each string to collect the hum and vibrations. It is designed for easy installation within humbucker pickup pathways. These components contribute to the atomics powerful, energetic, aggressive, and lively sound, which is ideal for genres such as metal and rock.
Coil Configuration Options
Many variations are available in terms of coil configuration options for humbucker pickups. Let’s take a look at the most commonly used coil configuration options as well as their features:
Standard Series Wiring
The standard series wire is humbuckers’ oldest and most widely used coil configuration. In this arrangement, the beginning of one coil will be connected to the end of the other, while the rest of the end and start are connected to the output of the pickup. This arrangement produces a deep, balanced tonality, an impressive mid-range, and a warm overall sound. Standard series wiring comes with the ability to hum-cancel, reducing unwanted background noise and interference.
Parallel wiring connects the coil’s beginning to the beginning of the second coil and then the ends. This arrangement produces an even clearer tone than traditional series wiring. Parallel wiring preserves some of the characteristics of a single coil and provides greater quality, clarity of note, and a clearer sound. However, it loses certain hum-canceling characteristics of conventional series wiring.
Split Coil Wiring
A split-coil wiring technique, commonly referred to in the field of coil splitting, enables the humbucker’s use as a single-coil pickup. This arrangement involves segregating the coils and wiring each to a different output. Using a switch or push-pull potentiometer, the two coils can be separated, cutting off one coil and turning the humbucker into an individual coil pickup. This setup allows for more tones, from the complete humbucker tone to the bright, more subtle single-coil. Split-coil wiring will retain the properties of hum cancellation even when the two coils are active.
Parallel and series wiring incorporate elements of both parallel and series wiring. This configuration permits the coils to intersect in parallel or series, providing an additional variety of tonal characteristics. The coils are connected using the standard series wiring arrangement in series mode, resulting in the typical humbucker tone. The coils are wired in parallel mode, creating an even brighter and more single coil-like sound. Parallel and series wiring allows you to switch between these two modes, expanding the range of tones available from the pickup.
The coil tap is a method of wiring that allows access to the lower-output version of the Hummingbird. When a wire is connected to a particular point on the coil and a part of the coil is cut off, it reduces the number of active coils. This results in lower output and a brighter and more acoustic single-coil sound. Coil tapping offers additional tonal flexibility, allowing musicians to switch between the full humbucker sound and a uni-coil sound with lower output.
The options for coil configuration provide guitarists with a variety of tonal options that allow them to customize their sound according to different styles of music and tastes. You can choose the traditional humbucker sound, a more vibrant and expressive sound, or the versatility of splitting coils. This option offers versatility and the possibility of exploring different sonic possibilities.
Magnet Types And Their Impact
The magnet used in a guitar’s pickup could significantly affect the sound quality and overall performance. Let’s look at the most popular magnets used in pickups and their properties:
Alnico magnets consist of nickel, aluminum, and cobalt, giving them their name. They are famous for their warm and supple sound. They have a balanced sound across the spectrum of frequencies, focusing on the mid-range frequency. Alnico II magnets are a bit smaller in output, have an edgier and sweeter sound, and are mellow, whereas Alnico V magnets are higher in output and have more brightness and impact. Alnico magnets are typically used in vintage-style pickups and are highly regarded for their smooth, classic, and lively sound.
Ceramic magnets are created out of ceramic materials that are combined with iron oxide. They are renowned for their power output and strong magnetic field. Ceramic magnets give a powerful and aggressive sound with increased quality and sustain. They provide a more precise and focused low-end response and higher frequency sensitivity. Ceramic magnets are typically selected for their ability to break through the dense mix and produce a booming sound. They are typically employed in pickups designed for metal, rock, and high-gain uses.
Neodymium magnets, also referred to as rare earth magnets, are created by combining neodymium, iron, and boron. They are the strongest kind of magnets used for guitar picks. Neodymium magnets have a strong output as well as excellent clarity. They provide a clear sound with increased note definition and transient response. Because of their strength, neodymium magnets provide a more focused and brighter tone than other magnets. They are frequently employed in pickups where the highest clarity and accuracy are required.
Some pickups have a hybrid magnet arrangement that combines ceramic and alnico magnets. The idea behind this hybrid configuration is to bring together the advantages of both magnets. Combining ceramic and alnico magnets will give a balanced and flexible tone response. It has the warmth and characteristics of alnico magnets and the clarity and power of magnets. Hybrid magnetic configurations provide more tonal options and adapt to different music styles and playing preferences.
It is important to remember that while the magnet’s type is an important factor in the sound of a pickup, other aspects like coil winding and wire gauge and the overall design of the pickup impact how the tone is produced. The magnet type functions with these other elements to influence the general characteristics.
Understanding the distinctive specifics of various magnet types, guitarists can pick pickups that match their preferred sound and style. Suppose it’s Alnico’s warm vintage tone or the powerful ceramic force. In that case, whether it’s the clarity of neodymium or the flexibility of hybrid setups, the choice of magnet type plays an important part in getting the desired tone that a guitar pickup produces.
Output And Power Rating
In the case of pickups, guitar output and power rating are two key aspects that impact the overall tone and performance. Let’s look at each of these in greater detail:
Output refers to the power of electrical signals generated by an electric pickup. It is typically expressed in millivolts (mV) and measures the signal volume produced by the pickup. High-output pickups produce more power, which results in a stronger and more abrasive tone. The lower-output pickups create a more gentle sound, resulting in a clearer and more rounded sound.
High-output pickups are usually popular for genres such as metal, rock, and others that require lots of distortion and gain. They offer greater durability, more compression, and can also be used to drive an amplifier or effects pedal more efficiently. It is important to remember that high-output pickups may increase noise and undesirable feedback, especially at high volume levels.
Low-output pickups are often associated with classic and vintage tones. They are more dynamic in response and produce clearer and crisper tones with better note articulation and a wider frequency range. Low-output pickups are usually used in blues jazz, clean, and blues playing styles.
It is important to note that output isn’t the only factor determining a pickup’s tone. Other aspects, like the type of coil, its winding, and the construction of the pickup, also affect the overall sound quality.
The term “power rating” refers to the ability of a particular pickup to handle high volume and high gain situations without distortion or breaking up too badly. It is usually related to more powerful pickups since they are built to handle higher amounts of signal and push the amplifier harder.
Pickups with greater power ratings can withstand heavy distortion and aggressive play styles with clarity and definition, even with the most intense gain. They are ideal for musicians who require the highest power and sustain in their tone. The higher power-rated pickups are often employed in metal, rock, and hard rock.
However, pickups with lower power ratings can be more fragile when subjected to extreme volumes or higher gain settings. They have a more vibrant and responsive feel and tend to provide overdrive’s natural, organic sound when stretched beyond their limits. Country, blues, and old-fashioned tone enthusiasts prefer pickups with lower power ratings.
It is crucial to look at the power level of a particular pickup in relation to the amplifier and the musical context within which it is employed. Achieving a balance between the instrument’s and the amplifier’s and deferred style of characteristics and the indicated tone and sound.
The output quality and the power level of a particular pickup are important aspects in determining its tone qualities and compatibility with different musical styles. You may prefer the power of rock’s high output or the more nuanced sound of old-fashioned tones; knowing the power and output of a pickup will assist you in making a knowledgeable decision about the best sound for you.
Frequency Response And EQ Characteristics
A guitar’s frequency response, as well as the EQ features of the pickup, have a significant influence on its overall tone. Let’s explore the various aspects in depth:
The frequency response refers to the frequency range an instrument can accurately reproduce. It is the basis for determining the balance of tones and the importance of various frequency ranges. Different pickups may have different frequency responses. Understanding these responses can help you choose the appropriate pickup to meet your needs in terms of tonal balance.
They are specifically designed to provide a frequency range of 20 Hz to 20 kHz. The pickup’s design, as well as the magnet’s type, winding, and other variables, determine its specific frequency response characteristics.
Certain pickups could feature a more balanced response, meaning all frequencies are pretty evenly represented. These pickups are likely to create a balanced and edgy tone that is suitable for a variety of styles of music.
Other pickups could have a particular frequency attenuation or emphasis. Some pickups may emphasize the midrange frequencies, creating an energizing, sharp sound ideal for solo or rock playing. However, pickups with an accentuated midrange response that is scooped can enhance their bass as well as treble frequencies, which results in a more spacious and acoustic sound.
EQ (equalization) characteristics are how a pickup impacts various frequencies and influences the overall tone. As the frequency response establishes the base, the EQ characteristics help fine-tune the pickup’s tone by amplifying or degrading certain frequencies.
Bass response: A pickup’s bass response is related to its capability to reproduce low-frequency notes. Certain pickups might have a more precise bass response, offering an encapsulated and precise low end. Other pickups could have a softer or more prominent bass response, providing an even deeper and more full bass.
The Midrange Response: The midrange is an essential frequency area for the guitar tone. A pickup’s midrange performance can dramatically affect its overall character and sound quality. Pickups with a higher midrange response could produce an aggressive and sharp sound, ideal for genres like rock or metal. Pickups with a scooped midrange response could produce a more balanced and scooped sound, often associated with blues and clean playing styles.
Treble Response: The treble response defines the guitar sound’s brightness, presence, and shine. Pickups with a higher treble response provide an edgier and more cutting sound, ideal for music genres where clarity is crucial. Pickups with a rolled-off or reduced treble response may produce a warmer and smoother sound, perfect for blues and vintage-inspired tones.
Knowing how to recognize the EQ features of a particular pickup can assist in selecting the best pickup for the best tone characteristics. When considering frequencies and EQ characteristics, guitarists can customize the sound of their instrument to match particular musical styles, playing techniques, and personal preferences.
It is important to remember that although pickups are a major contributor to the tone of a guitar, other elements like the body wood amp, the guitar’s body wood, and the playing style also affect the tone. Experimenting and determining the best combination of elements can give you the desired tone.
Noise Reduction And Humbucking Effect
The reduction of noise and the humbucking effect are the most important features of humbucker pickups, which are specifically designed to reduce unwanted interference and noise. Let’s look at the various concepts in greater detail:
One of the main benefits of humbucker pickups is their ability to minimize noise, especially the 60-cycle hum that single-coil pickups are susceptible to picking up. The noise, commonly known as “hum,” is caused by electromagnetic interference from various sources, including electric circuits, lighting systems, and many other electronic gadgets.
Humbucker pickups have a distinctive configuration of coils that eliminates noise. With two coils in reverse-wound and reverse-polarity settings and a reverse-polarity configuration, the electromagnetic signal generated by one coil is effectively canceled out by the second. This technique of noise cancellation is referred to as hum cancellation or humbucking.
The reverse-wound and reverse-polarity configuration guarantees that when both coils are in use, the noise emitted into the coils by external sources is not in sync, resulting in cancellation. This cancellation significantly reduces sound hum, improves sound quality, and produces a cleaner sound.
The noise-reducing capabilities of humbucker pickups are ideal for environments with high gain and large electromagnetic interference. They permit guitarists a clear, uncluttered sound, particularly when playing at high volumes or with much distortion.
The humbucking effect is the unique tone characteristic that humbucker pickups provide. In addition to their noise-canceling capabilities, humbuckers produce a distinctive and powerful sound compared to single-coil pickups.
The two coils that make up the humbucker pickup have more rotations than the typical single-coil pickup. This produces a more powerful output and a richer, fuller sound. Humbuckers have a higher sustain, more emphasis on the mid-range, and a more pronounced tone.
Humbucking can also lead to a more smooth and compressed sound. The amplification of the hum-induced interference decreases the transient dynamics experienced by single-coil pickups. This compression can result in an even and well-controlled sound, especially when playing with a high gain or needing a consistent and precise sound.
Humbucking effects are typically associated with genres such as blues, rock, and metal, in which a strong and sustained sound is desired. Humbuckers are flexible and appropriate for various musical styles based on their particular characteristics and the guitar and amplifier combo.
Combining noise reduction with the distinctive humbucking effect, the humbucker pickups provide guitarists with an effective and flexible solution to achieve a clear and powerful sound. They are particularly beneficial for noise reduction, and an incredibly clear, high-output sound is required.
What is a humbucker pickup?
A humbucker pickup is a type of electric guitar pickup designed to reduce or eliminate the hum and noise often associated with single-coil pickups. It achieves this by using two coils that are wired in opposite directions, canceling out the hum.
What are the typical specifications of a Fender humbucker pickup?
Fender humbucker pickups come in various models, each with its own unique specifications. Some common specifications include the following:
- Magnet type: Alnico or ceramic magnets.
- Output level: Typically ranging from vintage, moderate, to high output.
- Wiring: Four-conductor wiring for versatile pickup configurations.
- Resistance: Measured in ohms, determining the pickup’s output level and tone.
What are the different Fender humbucker pickup models?
Fender offers several humbucker pickup models, including:
- Vintage-style humbuckers: Designed to replicate the tones of classic humbucker pickups.
- Modern humbuckers: Offer higher output levels and a more aggressive tone.
- Hot-rodded humbuckers: Designed for heavy rock and metal styles, with increased output and a powerful sound.
Are Fender humbucker pickups wax potted?
Yes, many Fender humbucker pickups are wax potted. Wax potting involves immersing the pickup in hot wax to reduce microphonic feedback and enhance stability by preventing unwanted vibrations.
Can Fender humbucker pickups be coil-split?
Yes, Fender humbucker pickups with four-conductor wiring can be coil-split. Coil-splitting allows you to split the humbucker into a single-coil mode, expanding the tonal options of your guitar.
Are Fender humbucker pickups suitable for different music genres?
Yes, Fender humbucker pickups cater to various music genres. Vintage-style humbuckers are popular for blues, classic rock, and jazz. Modern and hot-rodded humbuckers are suitable for heavier genres like hard rock and metal, where increased output and a more aggressive tone are desired.