Why it was developed
I have done numerous “Jimmy Page Mods” to Corsa guitars at customer request. Take a look through the Manalishi and LCPG Galleries and you’ll be able to find them. But, after every installation and playing the guitars, I always thought to myself, “why would anyone want this mod? It seems totally useless when you do the coil split, sounding really weak and tinny.” Everyone who does the mod expects to hear a nice single coil tone, reminiscent of a Strat, Tele or P90. What they really get, though, is something entirely different.
Typical Strat and Tele single coils have outputs roughly around 6k ohms. P90s are a little higher output usually. Traditional Humbuckers are somwhere around 7.8K neck, and 8.2K. Let’s just say they average 8K. That means that each coil is 4K. So, splitting a typical humbucker gives you around 4K ohms. That’s 33% (?) less than a Strat or Tele single coil. And it makes a significant difference in volume and “guts.” At 4K, to me, a humbucker is just useless. I did a small, unscientific survey of some of my customer who ordered the Jimmy Page mod and asked them their impressions of it. Most were happy they ordered it, but most also admitted that they rarely use the split option, although coil splitting was their primary motive in wanting the mod. Aside from coil splitting, there are some other interesting settings in the Jimmy Page mod so they felt it was worthwhile overall.
When I had the idea to create the Little Dog with a single pickup, I wanted the guitar to be more than just another “junior.” One mod I had heard about, but never experienced before, was the “cocked wah” tone. Okay, that sounded appealing to me because I know that if you dial in a wah wah pedal, you can get a pretty good simulation of “out of phase.” Being the Peter Green freak I am, that was a no brainer. It took me a while to figure out the best capacitor value with a humbucker to simulate the out of phase tone, but I eventually found it. I still wanted to give more to the guitar, though, and from the beginning I wanted to do a coil split, but it just bothered me that it would be a feature that players would want, but be disappointed with ultimately.
Then, an idea popped into my head. Why not build a humbucker with one of the coils at 6K and the other at 2K? Total output is typical humbucker, but when you split to the 6K coil, it should make a big difference. The result is the Manalishi SplitBucker. It sounds just like a regular humbucker when not split, with a nice, usable single coil tone when split. Success!
I don’t offer the Jimmy Page Mod as an option any longer, but if I did, or if a customer insisted upon it, I would only do it with SplitBuckers. Instead, I offer the “Mass.Effect” system, which has 24 different tone possibilities. Even though that is 3 more than the Jimmy Page Mod, it is more intuitive and easier to use than the JP mod, which is quite confusing and very difficult to use without constantly referring to the settings sheet. More about the Mass.Effect system in another post.
In conclusion, the SplitBucker offers what regular humbuckers can’t: normal humbucker tone AND usable coil splitting. If you are looking to upgrade a guitar to the Jimmy Page mod, or a more simple coil splitting only option, the SplitBucker is the only way to go. No one else has them!