Rio Grande Tallboy Humbucker

This wasn't supposed to work. My understanding of this pickup is that it was designed for 25.5" scale guitars (especially the Fender Strat) so I was a bit skeptical about this working on a Carvin CT6 which features a 25" scale.

An online search found zero instances of anybody putting Tallboy Humbuckers in a CT6 but I did find one person who had put them in a PRS Custom 22 (and it sounded good) so I thought it was worth a shot.

The Rio Grande Tallboy Humbucker's claim to fame is that its coils can be split rendering a fantastic and authentic single coil sound -- not the typical crap you get from a split hummer. I already have a bunch of guitars with fat-sounding double coil pickups and I wanted to get some clucky, snappy, stuff out of this CT6 but also without introducing redundancy into my collection that already includes those classic Fender single coil tones. So, the aim was good humbucking sounds and great single coil tones but different than the run of the mill Strat sounds. Honestly, if it sounded even halfway decent in humbucker mode I would have been satisfied. However, these sound great in every mode.

The only issue is that the magnetic pole pieces do not quite line up with the high and low E strings on the neck pickup. Other than this little niggle it all looks good. As far as I can tell, this has no impact on the sound. The guitar sounds balanced to me.

The neck pickup is as clear as a bell with some ropiness to it; I can even coax some real piano-like stuff from it. The neck pickup in humbucker mode is very thick and warm without being muddy or boomy. The split in-between sounds are nice and clucky and the bridge single coil is snappy without replicating the twang of a Fender. All the way around, this turned out way better than I thought it would.

What beats it? The PRS Starla splittable humbucker!

Best amp for this guitar and pickup combination seems to be a blackface Deluxe style amps for cleans and they love high gain metal amps because of the strong fundamentals. The key seems to be scooped mids like you get on the blackface family. I do not like this guitar through a mid-boosted amp.

These Tallboys transformed a guitar that was very unenjoyable into a real pleasure to play with the right amp.