How Gibson developed the mini-humbucker, its underrated ‘other’ pickup

Epiphone Coronet
Mini-humbuckers were one way to distinguish the newly acquired Epiphone-branded guitars from their Gibson counterparts, as was the case with this California Coral Epiphone Coronet from Well Strung Guitars’ collection (Image credit: Olly Curtis / Well Strung Guitars)

While we were putting together our tribute to 70 years of the Les Paul, I asked Gibson’s senior director of product development, Mat Koehler, what his favourite pickups for Les Pauls were. While acknowledging the allure of the fabled PAF, he named the humble mini-humbucker as his favourite, underrated tonemaker. 

“It’s just a very specific sweet tone that I really enjoy,” he mused. “And a lot of the great recordings of the ’70s and beyond were done on mini-humbuckers – and you just don’t realise it.”

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Jamie Dickson

Jamie Dickson is Editor-in-Chief of Guitarist magazine, Britain's best-selling and longest-running monthly for guitar players. He started his career at the Daily Telegraph in London, where his first assignment was interviewing blue-eyed soul legend Robert Palmer, going on to become a full-time author on music, writing for benchmark references such as 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die and Dorling Kindersley's How To Play Guitar Step By Step. He joined Guitarist in 2011 and since then it has been his privilege to interview everyone from B.B. King to St. Vincent for Guitarist's readers, while sharing insights into scores of historic guitars, from Rory Gallagher's '61 Strat to the first Martin D-28 ever made.