When thinking of pickups the first two kinds that come to your mind may be humbuckers and single coils, although they are pretty popular, exist many other options which come in different sizes and shapes.
One of those alternatives are the mini-humbuckers, they are comparable to common buckers and the ones that will be breaking up here.
As their name shows, they have many similarities to the humbuckers but they also present some differences.
Mini humbuckers can be coil split just as regular humbuckers. Although their split sound might not cater to the taste of all players they could be a great alternative for combining with other pickups and achieving new sounds.
In this article, I will try to cover every needed aspect not only about coil-splitting minis but also other issues regarding their most relevant features.
In the end, you will have a wide understanding of the topic and will be able to choose the best possible option in the case you are looking for mini-humbuckers for your guitar.
Are all mini-humbuckers coil splittable?
Before answering the question it is important to clarify what are mini-humbuckers, how they sound and work.
Based on their name, you may think that they are like regular humbuckers but smaller in size, and they are, but that is not the only existing feature.
Mini humbuckers are a tinnier version of regular humbucker pickups, they have a magnet bar placed under each coil with adjustable pole pieces.
This sort of pickup is tonally like a combination between single coils and humbuckers, similar to P90 pickups but with the humbucking feature (the ability to cancel noise) plus a bit more mid drive.
Having said that, we need to discuss the possibility of splitting them.
This type of humbucker can be in most cases split but just those pickups which come with four conductors.
Unfortunately, for those versions with two conductors, it won’t be possible at all. If you intend to split them anyway, what you can do is rewire them with four-conductor wiring.
Would a coil-split mini-humbucker sound like the real thing?
As mentioned before, mini buckers are in the middle of humbuckers and single coils as regards sound.
What is more, for some people, they sound closer to single coils.
However, if you can split mini-humbuckers, they might lack some punch.
The sound will be very clear but thin, even if you set up your amp with a considerable amount of gain, it could sound weak.
Although a split mini bucker won’t replicate the real desired sound and won’t have enough strength to work by itself, it will work great in combination with another pickup.
Take this into account when splitting these sorts of humbuckers.
Can anybody set up a coil-split switch for mini humbuckers?
Although this is a thing strongly related to regular-sized humbuckers, mini buckers can also come with two different wirings, two conductors, and four conductors.
If we consider the latter, it would not be that hard but if the pickups have just two conductors the modifications needed will be difficult to make without the proper knowledge.
As previously said, mini-humbuckers don’t provide a great experience on their own when are split but they give a new palette of colors to your sound when combining them with another pickup.
That is because, by splitting them, you are canceling one of the coils within the pickup so, you send the single-coil output.
If you look up on the internet, you will find a lot of diagrams that can help you do the job, in some cases, you will need some extra components.
Moreover, if you are accustomed to working with guitar electronics you will be able to do it but be careful, mini-humbuckers must have four conductors.
Should you take your instrument to a guitar tech to perform this job?
We have just said that anybody who knows to deal with electronic issues can set up a pickup wiring system but it is always encouraged to look for a guitar technician to do the job.
Bear in mind that they will be completely sure about what to do due to they are subject matter experts.
Furthermore, even though you can do it by yourself, a professional would do a better job.
Therefore, if you don’t feel capable, I recommend you go and get a technician.
Would you be able to keep the same electronics when doing this mod?
Changing pickups is a usual practice among guitar players, as they come in different shapes and sizes sometimes you will need to do some modifications to your instrument.
Besides, although you add or replace some components, the electronics will remain alike in most cases.
Nevertheless, in order to coil-split pickups, you will have to install a component which will work as a switch.
If you look at some guitars, you may notice that they have a little toggle or a button to switch and split pickups.
To add those parts some adaptations may be made, mainly because most instruments do not have a specific place for that component.
That’s why the best and most common option would be a push-pull pot.
That pot is a tool that is placed in one of the guitar knobs, it doesn’t matter which one, volume or tone.
When pulling up it turns on the wiring system and switches the mod.
Is this modification really worth it?
Before doing any modifications to your instrument you should wonder the reasons why you want to do them.
In the case of pickups replacement, if you intend to search for new hues and styles within your guitar it would be great.
Regarding especially mini-humbuckers, remember they lack some punch compared to regular single coil when split that’s why is recommended to use them mixed with the other pickups.
In the end, it will be definitely worth it because it will give you more tonal options to experience when playing.
Is this mod reversible?
When replacing certain electronic pieces from our guitar we are always looking for improvement not only in terms of sound but also in quality, that’s why you need to be sure before modifying your instrument.
However, it is true that on some occasions we may regret what we’ve done, what can we do in those situations?
In most cases, you will be able to come back to the preceding setup because this mod is reversible, what you need to do is take back the wiring process previously made.
Nevertheless, this only applies to mini-humbuckers which have four conductors, for two-conductor mini buckers the story will be different.
Mini humbuckers with just two wire leads have to be modified from the inside to be coil split later.
You can imagine how a tough task would be to undo all that hard job.
Needless to say, if you want your old setup back, consider sending your instrument to a technician.
They are high-qualified professionals used to dealing with these issues, they will tell you what you can do and the outcome will be excellent.
Hello there, my name is Ramiro and I’ve been playing guitar for almost 20 years. I’m obsessed with everything gear-related and I thought it might be worth sharing it. From guitars, pedals, amps, and synths to studio gear and production tips, I hope you find what I post here useful, and I’ll try my best to keep it entertaining also.