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HH vs HSS vs HSH Pickup Configuration: Which is the Best?

October 20, 2022


Pickups are an essential part of every electric guitar. It determines the main tone and tonal diversity of the instrument. Choosing the right pickup configuration for your new electric guitar is one of the most important decisions you’ll need to make when narrowing down your options.

HH, HSS, and HSH pickup configurations are some of the most popular and hardest to choose between, and are actually the options that many guitar fans struggled with when buying a second guitar. In this article, I’ll compare each combination in the context of specific Glarry GST models so you can decide which is the best choice for you.

HH Pickup Configuration

Glarry's newly released Tiger Stripe GST Electric Guitar is configured with HH pickups and was an instant hit with guitar fans upon its debut, so let's start here. There are just two humbuckers here, with one in the bridge and one in the neck position. The result is a warm and full tone that’s perfect for distorted tones as you won’t get any hum from a single coil when in either the bridge or the neck position.

Comes with a 3-way pickup selector that gives you three possible tones:

Humbuckers in the neck position sound the warmest and mellowest. They’re useful for lead sections, especially in genres like blues or blues-rock. Meanwhile, humbuckers in the bridge position are brightest and clearest. It can help to sound tighter and more modern in high-gain settings.

If you are a blues-oriented guitarist, or if you are looking for a standard for hard rock, heavy metal and plenty of metal subgenres, then this HH GST is definitely the one for you.

HSS Pickup Configuration

Aside from the triple-single-coil formation, the HSS (humbucker-single-single) is the most common one, and it is known for its versatility and beefier, cleaner tone.

Glarry's current HSS GST model uses a humbucker in the bridge position and two single-coil pickups in the middle and neck positions. The humbucker in the bridge adds more options for some heavier tones, and is perfect for high gain. The single coils in the neck and middle positions are great for cleaner tones as they provide more clarity and brightness.

Use the 5-way switch to get the following tones:

The most common being that position #2 uses only one of the coils from the bridge humbucker with the middle single coil to make it sound brighter but thinner. This is a very useful configuration for a range of music styles and for using clean and distorted amp settings.

If you’re new to guitar and not sure which styles you’ll be playing, or you want to be able to play a jazz gig one night and a metal show the next, the HSS GST could be the axe for you.

HSH Pickup Configuration

The HSH is the least common on this list, as well as the most diverse and complex configuration.

The new Glarry HSH GST has a humbucker at the bridge and neck , producing a very warm and thick clean tone that is perfect for distortion. A single-coil in the middle adds brightness to the bridge and neck. This configuration offers the player the most dynamic range (difference between the brightest and warmest tones).

Comes with a 5-way pickup selector. There are a couple of options with regards to how the selector is set up though.

  • Option #1

    The advantage here is that it gives you more single coil-type tones in positions 2 and 4, however it doesn’t allow you to mix the humbucker and single coil pickups for a more balanced sound.

  • Option #2

    The advantage of this setup is that it gives you the option of blending the humbucker and single coil, however you don’t get the opportunity to use more single coil-type tones (unless you just use position 3).

If you have a very specific sound you’re looking for, then an HSH GST with more options might be even better.

Which Configuration is Best?

As someone who plays heavy metal, such as metal and hard rock, having humbucking pickups in the bridge position is almost a must. For those who prefer a cleaner tone in the neck position, the HSS is the perfect combination of humbuckers and single coils. Another guitarist might prefer the warmer tone of a humbucker in the neck position, then they might then prefer an HH or HSH.

So, when it comes to HH vs HSS vs HSH pickups, there isn’t really a best configuration. All three of these pickup configurations have their own pros and cons. It all depends on what you prefer and what you need.

If you have any questions or suggestions, please fell free to contact us. Our email address is: [email protected]. Thank you for your interest.

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