How Humbucker Pickups Work: An Expert Guide

Posted on November 07 2022

Have you ever wondered exactly how humbucker pickups work? Humbucker pickups are a type of electric guitar pickup that uses two coils to cancel out the electromagnetic interference that can cause unwanted noise in the signal. These pickups are often used in heavier styles of music where high levels of gain are desired, as they can help to reduce the amount of background noise in the final sound. 

How humbucker pickups work is by using one coil to cancel out the 60-cycle hum generated by the other coil. This type of interference can often be heard when using a single-coil pickup and can be quite distracting. The hum is effectively cancelled out using two coils, resulting in a much cleaner sound. Humbucker pickups are usually more expensive than single-coil pickups, but many guitarists feel they are worth the extra cost.

History of Guitar Pickups

The first guitar pickups were designed in the 1920s by George Beauchamp and Adolph Rickenbacker. These early pickups used metal coils to produce a magnetic field, which would then be used to amplify the sound of the strings. In the 1930s, Harry DeArmond developed a new type of pickup that used a steel coil and a piece of paper as its magnetic field. This design became the standard for many years to come. Then, in the 1950s, Gibson introduced the humbucking pickup, which used two coils to eliminate unwanted noise. This design quickly became popular and is now used by many different manufacturers. Today, many different types of guitar pickups are available on the market, each with its unique sound. With so many options available, it's easy to find the perfect pickup for any style of music.

How the Humbucker Pickup Was Created

In the late 1940s, guitarists sought a way to reduce the feedback they were getting from their amplifiers. They also wanted a thicker, richer sound than they were getting from single-coil pickups. To address these needs, Gibson engineer Seth Lover designed the humbucker pickup.

Since its introduction in the 1950s, the humbucker pickup has become one of the most popular pickups among guitarists. It is used in various styles, from blues and rock to metal and jazz. Thanks to its ability to reduce feedback and deliver a thick, powerful sound, the humbucker pickup is essential to many iconic guitars, including the Gibson Les Paul and Fender Stratocaster.

Humbucker In Music Styles

While humbuckers offer many advantages, they have a slightly different sound than single-coil pickups. Some guitarists prefer the brighter, twangier sound of a single-coil, while others find the beefier tone of a humbucker to be more suited to their style.

The electric guitar has been a staple of popular music for over half a century, and the humbucker pickup has been an essential part of the instrument's sound since its invention in the 1950s. The humbucker quickly became prized for its full, rich tone. Over the past several decades, the humbucker has helped shape the sound of blues, jazz, rock, hard rock, metal, and more. From BB King's soaring solos to Metallica's churning riffage, the humbucker has played a big part in defining the character of some of the most popular styles of music. Thanks to its unique sound and versatility, the humbucker remains an integral part of the electric guitar today.

Pickup Care

You must take care of your pickups if you want your guitar to sound its best. The first step is to keep them clean. Dust and dirt can build up on the coils and impede the vibrations, resulting in a duller sound. Use a gentle cloth to wipe down the coils regularly. You should also be careful where you store your guitar and pickup when it's not in use. Extreme temperatures and humidity can damage the coils, so try to keep your guitar in a temperature-controlled environment. Finally, if your pickups start to sound muffled or silenced, it's time to replace them. 

Quality Humbucker Pickups

The Monty's PAF Humbucker Pickup is the perfect choice for those looking for an authentic recreation of the PAFs used in '58-'60 Les Paul Standards. This pickup set has been carefully developed over many years of repair, dissection, and study of original PAF pickups. It captures the tonal essence of Seth Lover's original Patent Applied For humbucker design. Monty's PAF Humbucker Pickup is perfect for many musical styles with its clear and powerful sound.

If you're searching for a unique vintage Gibson PAF sound, you must check out Monty's UnderSpun PAF Humbucker Pickup! These pickups are truly a different beast from regular PAFs, with a unique sound that reacts differently to your picking attack and with various gain stages. 

For a classic humbucker with a modern twist, try out Monty's Retro Wind Humbucker Pickup. This vintage-voiced humbucker is slightly hotter than a true vintage model, giving it a fast response in the bass and a slight bite in the mids. But don't worry. Thanks to the slightly unbalanced coils, the highs are still lush and dynamic. 

The Full Monty Humbucker Pickup is Monty's first pick-up created. It covers a wide range of tones. This bad boy is capable of cranking out some serious rock tones but can also give you sweet, bright, clean when you need them. With its overwound design and 42-gauge wire, this pickup is perfect for getting a little extra kick out of your amplifier without overloading it. The traditional coil offset also ensures a lively top-end and dynamic response for a truly unique sound.


The humbucker guitar pickup is a great way to add some flare and style to your guitar tone while giving birth to quality-sounding music. However, with such a wide variety of pickups available on the market, it can be tough to find out the right fit for you. So be sure to check out our complete collection of humbucker guitar pickups at Monty's Guitars for the best selection and prices around.

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