Fender Humbuckers vs. Gibson


I'm not so much a fan of humbuckers but I was listening to this girl play a Fender 72 Custom Thinline reissue which has humbuckers. They of course have Fender humbuckers which are different in some ways than Gibson versions. They actually sounded pretty good. Part of it was she was a good player, no doubt, but the tone of the humbuckers I think had to do with it.

Could you explain the tonal and physical differences between the two humbucker pickups?

Here is the type of guitar in question -



Aren't those the pickups that Seth Lover did? Seth Lover was behind the Gibson P.A.F. I've had guitars with both in the past. The pickups weren't miles apart in terms of tone, dynamics etc...


It's a reissue so it's basically a normal generic PAF inside a larger cover...

70's Wide Range Humbucker is a different animal, threaded cunifer magnets etc. - brighter, a bit more into single coil, P90-like territory


Well, the girl who played the guitar was really good. I was at Guitar Center and heard this fine playing and noticed what guitar she had in hand. Since according to Bonedaddy and Chester they are essentially the same as Gibson humbuckers or the new Fender humbuckers, not the old, I guess she was just a good player who made them sound good. I'd love to hear vintage ones though.



I don't know about reissues, but the originals sounded pretty good. They were more versatile than Gibsons, and worlds better than Filtertrons. Of course, none of them have the tone or twang of a good single coil, but those F-hole Teles sounded surprisingly good.


My first guitar was a 72 Fender Telecaster Deluxe in bowel movement brown color.

Long gone, not missed, and I still use the term Dumb-Fuers to describe those pick ups which is what I caled them in 1982.

Filtertrons are the greatest pick up ever.

These things are all subjective save for the value of the Fender ones vs the Gibson ones, which ebay can teach I expect. I do agree that I've read more than once that Seth Lover was involved with the Fender ones.


Those originals with the CuNiFe threaded magnets are much sought after. I did recently stumble across a place called Telenator that claimed to be the only pickup maker still producing something close. At $450 each I'll give them a miss though.

Although not made 100% to the original specs I've heard a lot of good things about the version from The Creamery.


Dave, interesting you brought up The Creamery. I stumbled across this pickup maker this morning when doing research into Jazzmaster pickups. I love my Novak JM pickups but still am always researching and found The Creamery of Mancherster, England, UK on the net this morning. Small world.

I thought Novak makes these Wide Range pickups also. He's good so one might think his would be like the originals.


I own a 72 Telecaster Deluxe Reissue with the newer Fender Humbuckers in a Widerange cover. The new ones are similar to Gibson style humbuckers. They are typical humbuckers under a big cover with a lotta wax to hold them in place. The original Widerange pickups were different in size, much wider bobbins.

How do they differ from Gibson Huimbuckers? I belive they are wound to a lighter resistance. I do know that they sound different than my Gibson 57 Classics. There is a brighter top end, but it's not a drastic difference between more generic humbuckers. Although, my Tele also has 500k pots (originally the RI's come with 250's and the old ones came with 1 Meg). My gibsons are probably a little richer in the mids. I actually haven't done a side by side comparison.... Maybe I should? The Tele pickups are more twangy than the gibsons pickups, but that also might be the scale length of the guitar and the bridge differences? But they are not single coil Tele twangy...

One huge difference is that my Les Paul is louder than any other guitar I own... I mean like half again as loud. It drives me nuts if i want to gig with it and any other guitar. The Tele is much more inline and needs no fiddling with the amp to maintain volume levels.

They do sound very good, actually. They surprised me in fact. I received the guitar in a trade for an amp. I read a bit about it and figured I could always turn the guitar over if i didn't really like them... or I could swap pickups, whatever. But, when it arrived, it was actually a really nice guitar and sounded very good. I wish I played it more.... But I have too many Gretsches for the Tele! LOL

Compared to Filtertrons? Well, there isn't much, is there? The Filters are snappier, crisper. brighter with tighter bass. Even on my shorter scale Sparkle Jet, they are more twangy then the Tele pickups. The filters also drive the amp into overdrive quicker than the Tele pickups. Even though they are no louder.


I always thought those Fender bucker-Telecasters were good. They got into the bucker scene after seeing so many Telecasters having the neck p/u replaced with a humbucker or sometimes a P-90

I also feel the Tele bass went humbucker in 71 or so because Gibson basses were so popular then.

and for that matter I guess natural finishes were in 690/70 because they saw so many refinished natural wood, which I always thought sucked, even back then.


I've got a walnut-colored mahogany (described by Knavel above, lol) Thinline Tele from '73, and the CuNiFe pickups are just a little bit clearer and brighter than the new Fender humbuckers (although it's much, much closer than I expected). The CuNiFe neck pickup is very Strat-like to my ears - nice round bottom and a snappy top. The bridge pickup sounds just like a Tele, pretty close to my single coil Broadcaster pickup - but a tad hotter, or like a P-90 as described above. It sounds great clean and finger-picked and will rock when you crank it up. You can do all the volume knob tricks, chicken pickin' and pinch harmonics you'd do with single coils if that's your thing. A lot of people really like them with big echo and reverb...Snow Patrol, Coldplay kind of stuff.

I do have to be careful with it because the pickups are just microphonic enough to wail like a banshee if I turn into my amp when I'm within a few feet. I have a Buddy with the new ones in a Pawnshop Mustang, and although they aren't QUITE as pristine, they sound very, very good and they are not microphonic at all. If I didn't see his guitar I'd assume it was a Strat sound. Honestly, I don't think I could tell the difference with the bass and drums going. As far as I know, the only major structural difference is the magnet material, but I haven't taken them apart.

It's really hard to compare the sound of the pickups in a Tele Thinline body to Filtertrons on a hollow bodied guitar like my Tenny. The Tenny has a much fatter feel - but the body is breathing and hearing itself through the amp. I'd say the mids and high end response are similar, but a Tele has Tele harmonics and my Tenny has a Stainless Steel Tru Arc and a Bigsby, so again, it is a hard comparison. They are in the same general ballpark... Then again, my friend's Mustang sounds different than a Tele would with the same ickups. A comparison with a La Cabronita Tele would be the way to go.


Would anyone say the Fender humbuckers are similar sounding to Gibson mini-humbuckers?

Something like this? Look diff but sound similar maybe?


I don't think so. Those Gibson mini hums have a twang and growl all their own. One of my favorite pickups.


Yeah, two different schools really. Fat vs. Shapely.


Hey General Lee, sounds like you're talking about my choice of prom dates back in '91. True about the mini-humbuckers. I searched far and wide through the years for a comparison but they're a beast all their own. Speaking of......my NGD will be tomorrow with a '97 Firebird being delivered here at work! (last check was scanned at a hub in Secaucas NJ)


I don't think so. Those Gibson mini hums have a twang and growl all their own. One of my favorite pickups.

– Bonedaddy

I don't think so. Those Gibson mini hums have a twang and growl all their own. One of my favorite pickups.

– Bonedaddy

Yes Sir!

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