Do You Know the Difference Between Coil Splitting and Coil Tapping?

Hey guys, I need to make a confession here. I may run Gear Gods and all, but I was totally ignorant as to the difference between “coil tapping” and “coil splitting.” How about you? I’d always used the terms indiscriminately. So praise be to Seymour Duncan, because this blog post sent the scales falling from my eyes.


Coil splitting mode that most people probably are familiar with. It’s when you set a humbucker to bypass one of its two coils, effectively turning it into a single coil pickup with a brighter, more vintage tone.

But coil tapping? Totally different:

…you can install a switch to select between a single coil pickup’s full output or a lower output, giving you two distinct levels of power from one pickup. The tapped output level will give you a more vintage-like sound, while a hotter, more modern voice is available from the full-powered setting.

If you have pickups that are already single coil your guitar might have an option to tap them. It could be done with a push/pull, a mini-toggle, or it might be two of the positions of a five-way selector.

So now you know. Or maybe you already did. But I sure as hell didn’t. Tune in next week when we segue into little known facts about root beer tapping.

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Chris Alfano has written about music and toured in bands since print magazines and were popular. Once in high-school he hacked a friend's QBasic stick figure fighting game to add a chiptune metal soundtrack. Random attractive people still give him high-fives about that.