The New Noiseless Single Coil
Single coil pickup fans take note: In late July, Taylor will release its new SolidBody Classic SC model, marking the debut of our proprietary Style 3 noiseless single coil pickup. The Classic SC captures all that’s great about the single coil sound, but leaves behind the characteristic hum.
“They’re as hum-canceling as a regular humbucking coil,” says Taylor Product Development Manager David Hosler. “The challenge isn’t in making a quiet single coil, but to do it without losing the single coil’s tonal character. Using our ‘flavor’ of design, we did that, and on top of it, we were able to maintain what we call a modern output level.”
Hosler says that for most of his life as an electric player, he preferred humbuckers to single coils. “I’ve owned probably three or four Strat-style guitars in my life — I’ve built two or three for myself — but they weren’t my main axe,” he says. “A lot of it was because I only found that sound usable for my style of playing here and there. But when we did these single coils and got them up and running, I found something I really liked. I like the power and the edge and the fidelity.
“I think your standard single coil player will find something extremely appealing that he hasn’t heard before, and I think the guy who normally plays full-shred humbuckers will find fresh inspiration.”
Taylor VP of Marketing Brian Swerdfeger underscores Hosler’s points in a video demonstration of the single coil, showing off the Classic SC’s ability to convey all the characteristic sweetness, breathiness and sparkle, without the hum. Brian plays the SC clean through a Vox AC30, then dirty through a Marshall DSL50 for a crunchier sound. Playing through the Vox, Brian works through the different pickup positions and reels off some bright, funk tones. Switching to the Marshall, he squeezes out a thicker, fatter sound. “I’m leaving the guitar wide open while I’m playing, but there’s no noise,” he notes during the demo. “You can turn the volume control down and the tone will clean up…. So, it’s a real versatile guitar without any of the traditional hum and buzz and artifacts of a regular single coil.”
Guitarist/producer Steve Mandile from the Nashville-based band Sixwire was one of the first pro players outside the factory to get his hands on a Classic SC. An early adopter of the Classic with the humbucker when it came out late in 2007 (Sixwire rocked the Taylor room at the 2008 Winter NAMM show), Mandile was also effusive about the SC’s sonics.
“I love it,” Mandile said before a gig in Nashville. “I did a session the other day where we had to replicate all these old popular songs from the ’70s, and I took both the humbucker and the single coil Classic and used them both a lot. They’re really, really versatile. The single coil sounds great, plays great.”
Mandile says he considers himself mostly a single coil guy, and liked the SC’s ability to deliver the tones he loved along with some fresh sounds, too.
“It seems a bit thicker, which is good. The single coils on my main guitar are really bright, so I kind of have that sound, but the [SC] seems a little bit thicker, and I think a little bit more usable than your typical single coil.”