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Old 5th April 2013, 11:51 PM   #1
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Default Wiring guitars: which features are important

My favorite electric guitar had no controls at all, though a volume pedal was handy. My second favorite had all kinds of weird multi-position selectors...

There's so many popular wiring options now...which do you find most valuable? This is for a guitar with 2 humbuckers.

1 humbucker coil taps (for lower output and lessinductance, more treble, switchable to high-output inductive metal screamers). Unfortunately not availalbe on the Alumitones I'm going to use. Still curious what you players out there think.
2 humbucker series/parallel switch (not between two pickups, between the two coils of one pickup). I think most humbuckers have their two internal coils in series.
3 phase-reverse switch for one pickup, so that the two pickups can be in phase or out of phase. This is a personal favorite because is makes pinch harmonics so easy and fun.
4 single-coil mode for humbucker, to turn off one coil of a humbucker and make kind of a single-coil (though of course the magnetic structure is still not like a single-coil).
5 Ability to control which coil is off and which is on when humbucker is in single-coil mode. Common compromise is a switch between the inner coils nearest each other versus the coils nearest bridge and neck. In single-pickup mode that allows you to select any single coil, but with both pickups on you can't have just the two coils (one in each pickup) nearest the bridge, nor just the two coils (one in each pickup) nearest the neck.
6 switch or knob to run bumbucker like a single-coil pickup for treble and mids, but like a humbucker for bass.
7 multi-position indented rotary selector. A friend's old ES 355 was interesting, but I won't get into wiring stereo guitars. I actually like having two "tone" pots, each with an associated multi-position rotary selector: One "treble-cut slope" pot and its knee selector, and one "bass-cut slope" knob with its knee selector. One thing I'm concerned about is how those knees may change with different pickup switch selections. More typical is a variety of bandpass filters on one rotary switch.

I've never had a switch for putting the two coils of a humbucker in series vs parallel, so I'm really curious about how that sounds. Not many pickups or guitars have that.

Similarly, I've never had a switch for putting two humbuckers in series vs parallel, so I'm really curious about how that sounds. Not many pickups or guitars have that either.

I'm starting to think I should wire up an off-guitar breadboard and try all these things first; but there's 4 wires from each pickup, and if I don't want to run 8 guitar cords I need 8 small flexible wires under 1 shield.
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Old 8th April 2013, 02:00 PM   #2
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It has been 3 days. Suggest you check music-electronics-forum.com. I'm not a member there, I don't know enough about guitars to gain membership.
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Old 9th April 2013, 10:33 PM   #3
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The only options I don't know much about are:

I've never had a switch for putting the two coils of a humbucker in series vs parallel, so I'm really curious about how that sounds. Not many pickups or guitars have that.

Similarly, I've never had a switch for putting two humbuckers in series vs parallel, so I'm really curious about how that sounds. Not many pickups or guitars have that either.

Guitar wiring is just so simple nobody reads posts on that subject anymore.
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Old 9th April 2013, 10:49 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cyclecamper View Post
I've never had a switch for putting the two coils of a humbucker in series vs parallel, so I'm really curious about how that sounds. Not many pickups or guitars have that.
.
Getting the pick ups out phase was found by accident on Fenders.
If you put the 3 way pickup switch between two settings it would put the pickups out of phase.

I prefer post processing my guitar with a Zoom effects pedal.
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Old 9th April 2013, 10:53 PM   #5
pilli is offline pilli  France
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I had installed a 4 pole multiple selector into a semihollow (two humbuckers).
I think it had 11 positions, and I must have used 7.
There were the obvious ones (bridge, neck, both, coil split)
and a couple of strange ones, like series and antiphase.

I don't remember all the different sounds anymore. They had a tendency to become a continuum from the thinnest (antiphase) to the fattest loudest (I think it was series).
Antiphase can give you a "different" sound, thin and acid.
The others are more predictable. I think that series was "louder and fatter" than parallel, in fact quite nice, but not "totally different".
I don't use very extreme effects, apart from reverb and some overdrive.

I have a strong preference for using the neck pickup by itself, so that gadget wasn't very useful for me, after all. That switch spent more time in the think and build than on the guitar itself...

But it was funny to try it.
I would get the eight cables out into a breadboard, as you said, and only build something final once you make up your mind. You can use a piece of computer network cable.




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Old 16th April 2013, 12:58 PM   #6
MelB is offline MelB  Canada
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After 40 years of playing with an infinite number of combinations on a multitude of guitars it all comes back to just using one pickup at a time. If it's a humbucker use it like a humbucker. If its a single coil use it as a single coil. Your distortion will be less mudded up and your clean will be cleaner.....
Forget about all the weird switching schemes. This is my experience. Like Nigel says post process the single pickup sound.
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Old 17th April 2013, 04:08 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by MelB View Post
just using one pickup at a time. If it's a humbucker use it like a humbucker.
That would be far too limiting, having only two basic sounds. There are definitely times I want two out of phase for the way it makes pinch harmonics pop out and makes that type of plaing so expressive. And the power and balance of both in-phase. And hooking up a humbucker as a single-coil for HF and still bucking hum and real power at lower frequencies sounds like something I really want to try.

SO I guess my real question is about how coils in a pickup and pickups in a guitar sound in series versus parallel. And I guess I just have to find out for myself.
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Old 17th April 2013, 08:03 PM   #8
Enzo is offline Enzo  United States
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Your question was which features were most important, and that boils down to a matter of personal preferences. I mostly use my bridge pickup and rarely the neck pickup. SO a lot of things I don;t care about might still be important to you, if you like to use multiple pickups.

I don;t agree that simple pickups is limiting you to two basic sounds, any more than a chef is limited if he only has beef and chicken. There ar stilll millions od posibilities.

yes, do try various wiring arrangements to find what you like.
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Old 17th April 2013, 08:05 PM   #9
Enzo is offline Enzo  United States
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Indianajo, you don;t have to know squat about guitars to join M-E-F. I know little about them other than my own play. I think of that forum as mainly guitar amps. The guys who see it as mainly about pickup winding, probably feel different. But there are no requirements to join it.
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Old 17th April 2013, 10:05 PM   #10
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Yep. And I appreciate each opinion, I was just hoping for much more variety of responses.

I'm starting to know what I want on this clear-acrylic SG with the alumitone pickups now.
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