Trembucker vs Humbucker: The Differences (& Does It Really Matter)?

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  • Coined by Seymour Duncan, The Trembucker is essentially a larger sized humbucking pickup
  • We explain whether you need either a Trembucker or a Humbucker
  • And delve into the differences between the two!

Trembucker and Humbucker are often confused with each other, and many guitarists are confused with the term “Trembucker”.

Trembucker is just a type of humbucking pickup, and it’s a term coined by the pickup company Seymour Duncan.

But Seymour Duncan advertises the two types of pickups as separate pickups, so it is often very confusing to differentiate the two types of pickup models.

We know that all these different names and terms can be confusing, but it’s confusing for us as well – so you’re not alone! Whether it’s a Trembucker, humbucker, or an F-spaced humbucker, we’ve got you covered in this article. 

The Difference Between Trembucker and Humbucker

Simply put, the main difference between Trembucker and Humbucker lies in the spacing of the Humbucker’s pole pieces

When we look at a standard Gibson guitar, the standard Humbucker’s pole pieces have a string spacing of 1.930”.

But the modern solid-body electric guitars with Floyd Rose-style bridges, Fender-spaced tremolo bridges, or two-point fulcrum bridges have a wider string spacing of 2.070”.

So, to accurately pick up the vibrations from the strings, these types of guitars needed pickups with pole pieces that are slightly further apart.

To properly accommodate Tremolo bridges, the name “Trembucker” came from a combination of Tremolo and Humbucker. 

Seymour Duncan’s original solution to this difference in spacing of pole pieces was to just angle a regular humbucker and try to find a sweet spot that will best pick up the string vibrations of the outermost strings.

But later on, modern electric guitars came with even wider spacing, and this solution didn’t work anymore. 

The trembucker was the perfect solution for this new, wider string spacing. If your guitar’s bridge section is wider than two inches, your guitar will need a Trembucker for the bridge pickup. 

Does Humbucker String Spacing Matter?

The humbucker string spacing only matters for the bridge pickup, since the neck pickup section of the guitar is narrowed down compared to the bridge section of the guitar.

A regular humbucker pickup will work perfectly for any type of electric guitar on the neck pickup section. 

But if you’re looking for a bridge pickup on your guitar, the humbucker string spacing matters quite a bit and you should check the string spacing and find out if your guitar’s bridge pickup needs to be a humbucker or a Trembucker. 

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The quickest way is to find the exact measurements of the bridge string spacing, and check if the string spacing is wider than 2 inches. If that’s the case, then the chances are you will probably need to get a Trembucker.

There are many great Trembucker models produced by Seymour Duncan and DiMarzio such as the Seymour Duncan TB-4 JB Trembucker or DiMarzio Evolution Bridge.

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There are exceptions to this, certain modern pickups like active pickups don’t adhere to this rule and you do not need to worry about the spacing of pole pieces and bobbins.

This is because active pickups are composed of a single, large bar magnet instead of individual pole pieces and bobbins.

So with active pickups, they work the same whether the pickup is on a Gibson, Fender, or a Floyd Rose-style bridge. 

What Does F-Spaced Mean?

F-spaced pickups are just another term for Trembuckers, and they essentially mean the same thing.

The term Trembucker is a term used by Seymour Duncan, and it’s a popular term because Seymour Duncan is the biggest electric guitar pickup manufacturer in the world.

But other guitar pickup companies like DiMarzio use the term F-spaced pickups to refer to the same thing, a bridge pickup for the wider-spaced guitars. 

F-spaced refers to Fender spacing because in the electric guitar world, Gibson and Fender are the two biggest companies and so the term F-spaced also became a widely used term.

So next time you see the word F-spaced or Trembucker, you now know that those two terms refer to the same thing, but from two different brands, and you can choose your pickup accordingly!

Do I Need a Humbucker or a Trembucker?

The simple answer to this question is that if your electric guitar has a bridge spacing wider than two inches, it is wise to use Trembucker /F-spaced pickup.

Now, considering all the explanations above, you might have thought that if the bridge spacing is wider than two inches, you have to use a Trembucker instead of a regular humbucker.

But the truth is, you can use both, even with Floyd Rose-style bridges. 

Since the pickups are microphones that pick up the vibrations of your guitar strings, regular humbuckers can also easily pick up the vibrations on a bridge with wider spacing.

If you look at Eddie Van Halen’s iconic “Frakenstrat” guitar, you can tell that the bridge humbucker doesn’t fit the spacing of the Floyd Rose-style bridge. He was still able to get one of the most iconic electric guitar tones with this setup. 

So if you have a wider-spaced electric guitar, and you care about the aesthetics and want the bridge pickup to fit perfectly, then you should get a Trembucker or an F-spaced pickup.

But if you don’t care much for the aesthetics, you can still pick up a regular-sized humbucker for the bridge and still be able to achieve those same guitar tones you could have with a trembucker. 

Can you put a Trembucker on a Les Paul?

A Seymour Duncan Trembucker will fit on a Gibson Les Paul.

Especially because the modern Gibsons are spaced wider, you will be able to fit your Trembucker on your Les Paul.

Unless you are looking for a specific tone with a Trembucker, we recommend you use a regular humbucker designed to fit perfectly on a Les Paul.

If you want to change the pickups on your guitar, remember to always find the exact measurements. Remember, you can always talk to a professional if you are unsure about anything!