If you are thinking of switching to Mini-Humbuckers, or upgrading to them, here is a rundown of the best ones out there.
Mini Humbucker pickups offer you the best of both worlds; they are humbucking (i.e. no 60-cycle hum), they are capable of great chime and clarity when you play clean, and when you use a lot of drive, they sound fantiastic. They will never sound quite the same as a full-sized humbucker, but they have a fullness and grit all their own. You really have to experiment with Mini Humbucker pickups and find the ones that are best for you, but it is worth the effort.
Vintage Mini-Humbucker SM-1
This is a pretty faithful reproduction of a Firebird pickup. Duncan kinda ruins it by sticking their friggin’ logo on it, but that’s just me. Great single coil / humbucker hybrid sound and drops right into place.
Custom Mini-Humbucker SM-2
This is a great mini humbucker for more driven tones. The clarity is pretty good on this pickup and it does clean tones well.
Seymourized Mini-Humbucker SM-3
The most aggressive of the three, this pickup offers a high output with strong mids and great clarity.
Both the DP168 and DP198 are pretty cool pickups. But naturally, the DP198 is quite a bit hotter. The difference between the sound in parallel and series modes is pretty drastic. In series mode this is the thickest mini humbucker I know of. It may be a bit too much for some, but the lower mids are pretty off the hook. In parallel mode these are a bit on the bright side, but plenty of snap crackle and pop.
Gibson Les Paul Deluxe Mini Humbucker Reissue
This thing just sounds great. If you are a big fan of the Les Paul Deluxe, this pickup pretty much nails that sound.
Summary: Mini Humbuckerguitar pickups are wonderful inventions. They offer plenty of girth and bite when you want a full humbucking sound. Yet, when you want the sweet bell-like tone of a single coil, they can handle that very well. These days, it seems like just about every after-market company offers at least one Mini Humbucker pickup. Vintage, Noiseless, take your pick(up)… pun intended : – )