A mini humbucker is a single-coil pickup that can be used in a variety of ways. It's great for rock, jazz, blues, country, and more. While there are a lot of options out there, we’ve rounded up the best mini-humbuckers to help you find the right one for your needs.
A mini humbucker is a two-way pickup designed for use in a smaller pedal position than a full-size model. A mini-humbucker offers a brighter and louder sound than its full size counterpart. Some players like the vintage sound of a mini, while others appreciate the versatility of the full sized version. The best thing about mini pickups is that they require no additional tools to install. They are also easy to take apart for cleaning. Mini humbuckers are available in single coil, coil split, and combo versions. As mentioned, many players find the classic humbucker to be the best tone for rock and blues.
What are some tips for finding the right mini humbuckers?
Choose a tone control that is easy to reach. A dual tone coil head is usually the easiest to set up. If you’re going to use a normal single coil pickup, use one of those with your mini humbucker.
Resist the urge to fill up the guitar with noise. Mini humbuckers offer a bit more sustain than regular single coils, so you won't need to crank up your distortion. Save your pickups.
Most mini humbuckers have eight or more preamp outputs, but it‘s a good idea to keep extra, spare pickups on hand so your amp sounds as good as it can.
What should I consider when buying a mini humbucker?
Humbucker pickups are a style that has been around for over half a century. Starting with the original Fender Mustang and running through to the more modern models from the likes of Schecter and Gibson, the mini humbucker pickups have been a hugely popular choice.
We’ve taken a close look at all the prices of mini humbuckers to ensure that no matter your budgets you can find one that will deliver a quality, dependable and enjoyable performance.
Bringing you the views of both professional and enthusiast players we looked at both the good and the bad reviews of every mini-humbucker that we could find. These reviews provided us with a lot of insight into what makes a good mini tuba and, hopefully, will help you make an informed choice when it comes to your next purchase. What Features Should You Look For In Mini Humbucker Pickups?
Apart from just the pickup, you will want to look for a mini tone control, tone controls, and coil tap adjustment if you want the ability to dial-in exactly the tone you are looking for.
Of course, there are many options when looking at the pickups. You can go for an active or passive pickup depending on how you intend to use the humbo. Active pickups deliver full tone and are generally used in heavy rock and blues. Passive pickups, on the other hand, are good for jazz and country.
The coil taps allow you to adjust the amount of treble and bass to deliver the perfect tone. It‘s important to know the type of coil tapped to get the best tone, so make sure you read the description of the coil tapping on your selected mini tuner.
If you're looking to plug in a full tube sound to accompany your heavier rock or blues then you may want a higher output humbucker. However, if your playing will mostly be in the style of rock 'n roll, your mini humbucker may be perfect.
How expensive are mini humbuckers?
Between $30 and $50, you’ll find some compact entry-level mini humbucker pickups that aren't much louder than the majority of entry level humbuckers. While these models may lack the warm sound of pricier models, they will suffice for casual and light rock and blues.
If you spend between $75 and 200, expect to find bigger pickups with better midrange clarity and a warmer sound. For these, a pair of coil-split humps with around 1% more resistance is sufficient.
Expensive (and rare)
If your musical taste leans toward heavier rock or blues, or you have a sizable investment to make, then you can expect some of the most sought-after features on these pickups. These models have larger coils (up to 2% larger in some cases) that produce a richer, more balanced sound than many entry models.
What features should I look for in mini humbuckers?
You'll find a standard output humbucker in the majority of mini models, but some offer extra output, giving them a bigger sound. The output (also known as output range) is the maximum amount of power a hum tube can give off. If you're looking for a guitar that's good for playing in your car, it has a lower output than if you were looking to power it up and play it in front of a crowd at a festival. Most mini pickups use standard single coil pickups, which are a good option for beginner players. You can also find models with hum bucker pickups that give you a wider sound range, offering a higher output for solos and other higher notes.
Mini humbuckers are limited in how much power they can output and because of this, they need a power source. With this in mind, many of the options on this list are battery powered. In fact, most mini-humbuckers will only require batteries to operate.
The pickup of choice for most beginners is probably a singlecoil pickup, with single coils giving you that warm, distortion-like sound that you get from a pickup. For more experienced players though, single and dual coil models are available. These offer more output but can't give as clean a sound as a full coil model.
Mini humbucker pickups are smaller than standard models, usually ranging from 4.5 inches to 5 inches in length, and 1.25 inches wide. They feature a single coil pickup and can produce a high, warm tone or a gritty, aggressive sound. Mini humbuckers are easy to play and easy on the ears, but they lack the sustain of full-size humbuckers. The best mini humbucker pickups can create a warm, dynamic sound with a punchy low end, plus you can use them in an electric guitar with an open string mount to create an impromptu resonant tone.
Mini Humbucker FAQ
Q: What is a mini humbucker?
A: A mini-humbucker is an electric guitar amplifier that uses a single coil in series with coils that are wound around the pole pieces of a traditional humbucker pickup. These are commonly referred to as traditional pickups.
Q: Why use mini pickups?
A: To get a fuller sound from your guitar or bass, you can use a low-end pickup paired with a high-gain pickup, but you usually end up with an ugly, noisy distortion. With a miniature humbucker, though, the gain is inverted so you get the clean sound of the original pickup with the distortion you want. This makes it much easier to get that perfect mixture of low and high frequencies that you need to really get your sound just right.
Q: How do I get a nice clean sound out of my mini-humbucking pickups
A: Simply connect them to your amplifier using the supplied cable, and you should be able to get an excellent clean, punch-you-in tone from your mini guitar pickups.
Derek is a professional musician who specializes in percussion and works with the independent WGI group Cap City Percussion. With a Bachelors of Music from Capital University, specializing in Music Industry studies, he consistently finds himself playing and teaching percussion to anyone who has the will to learn. Derek is also a former member of DCI groups Legends (2014-15) and Colts (2016-18); he is also the percussion technician and instructor of the drum line at Olentangy High School. You may find him playing a gig throughout the greater Columbus, Ohio area.