SSH270/SSH273

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The SSH273 combines both the definition associated with single coils and the low noise typical of humbuckers. It uses a humbucking configuration where two coils share the same set of pole pieces. Thus, the strings are sensed at a narrower area, avoiding much of the muddiness associated with conventional humbuckers. This arrangement places both coils so that their combined inductance is less that the sum of the individual inductances of each coil, which is just the oppossite of what happens in conventional humbuckers. This effect is corrected by increasing the number of turns of the coils which, as always but even more in this case, is a parameter that, isolated, means very little.

This pickup is small enough to fit into most archtops:

  • Its depth is 13 mm. That is more than other floating humbuckers, but the adjustable pole pieces don’t reach to the bottom and will never protrude. The design of the SSH270/SSH273 puts two magnets deep in the pickup, more or less at its center, while the conventional design needs one at the bottom of the pickup. Thus, the pole pieces are shorter and the pickup won’t need a safety height above the top. Additionally, the surface of the pickup is curved; the curvature radius is around 20″, which allows it to be positioned 1mm closer to the strings; not much, but every milimeter counts here.
  • Its width is 35 mm (SSH273) or 33 mm (SSH270). There are some floating pickups that go down to 28 mm, while two of the most popular units measure 32 and 33.5 mm.
  • Its length (without the tab) is 70 mm. The mentioned popular units measure 67 and 65.5 mm.
  • The tab itself is 17 mm long, but I can make 25 mm tabs at an small extra cost.
  • The polepiece spread is 50 mm. (52 mm available with a longer casing).

Note: These pickups are made of wood, so dimensions have some variations. Please refer to the drawing:

I have tried to get other things right:

  • The case is polished wood, which looks better than the plastic cases that are the norm with these pickups. Except when requested, I don’t use wax or lacquer, just the polished wood, and I can use ebony, rosewood and many other species. I can even laminate different species to reproduce for example the fretboard binding.
  • This pickup is made to be attached to the pickguard by means of a tab that is part of  the case, so you can use the wood glue of your choice. The tab can be shimmed, filed, sanded or drilled because there are no wires near its surface.
  • The pole pieces are adjustable. This is very important for jazz guitar pickups because many jazz players use bronze strings which need different pole piece adjustments.
  • The magnets are Alnico 5. In spite of having two instead of one, they are smaller. The output of this pickup is moderate.
  • The output wire is placed at one side so that you don’t have problems with it hitting the top (it can be placed at the other side for left handed players).