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Wiring guitars: which features are important
Wiring guitars: which features are important
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Old 18th April 2013, 02:28 AM   #11
Gilgy is offline Gilgy  United Kingdom
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Join Date: Oct 2009
Pickup selector switch and a volume control is all I ever need - and I only use the volume control to completely kill the guitar between songs.

I have no time for tone controls, phase switches and that horrible Fender S1 switching thing.
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Old 18th April 2013, 04:27 AM   #12
kenpeter is offline kenpeter  United States
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Location: Dallas
Your hands should be playing, leave switching to your feet.
Humbucker near bridge is plenty versatile with a DSP pedal.
Every extra pickup you don't need is dragging down sustain.

Keep it simple, else many tentacled madness surely awaits...
I'll give you an example:

There are interesting things you could do in frequency domain
with a single pickup per string, if you could totally buck each
from hearing its neighbor. I'd also want to know which fret was
in contact with each string.

For example: A guitar with all frets ergonomically spaced, rather
than spaced by logarithm. Arbitrarily defined droptunings, capos,
alternate tunings, non-western scales. Formant modeling rather
than synthesized tonal qualities to mock classic famous brands
and other layouts of pickups. Perfect tuning and intonation only
a button press and training sweep up the neck away. You could
have perfect tuning on the fly without a pre-training, but might
lose the ability to do bends, depending how smart the routines
were at determining your intent..

All very hard to do when the six strings are all pre-muddled by
a shared pickup. An arbitrary remapping of frequencies and for
any specific string and fret position would sound very wrong if
applied to another bleeding through the same channel.

Needless to say, I digress..

Last edited by kenpeter; 18th April 2013 at 04:42 AM.
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Old 18th April 2013, 07:33 AM   #13
Tarzan is offline Tarzan  Belgium
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Join Date: May 2004
Location: Genk
My favorit settings? Don't remember. It's been 40+ years.
Probably the neck pu as I've been a great fan of the Spotnics.

But if you do the wiring, there are a few hints I can give.
Allthough it seems a lot of work; at the end it saves you a lot of time.

Make notes on how the wiring is done.
Then remove all the wiring on the pot's, switches and jack.
Clean up everything (remove excess solder and clean the pots inside and the switches.
And now that everything is removed; use copperfoil to cover the inside of your controll space.
Then mount the hardware in the guitar.
Solder a thick solid (1.5 mm) copper wire (clean it first with fine sandpaper) from pot to pot and all other metalic part that can be touched.
This way you make a ground wire.
Solder a wire from the ground bridge to the copperfoil. Do not use another mechanical way to connect the foil to the copperwire, it will make a bad contact sooner or later.
Then resolder the cables coming from the pickups to the switches, pot's etc according the schematic you like.
Connect the output jack.

Why the thick copper wire?
It is used a ground wire to solder the screens of your screened cables to. It is no longer needed to solder on the metal caps of the potmeters.
If you are not experienced enough and or do not have the right iron, you will end up with a lot of bad solder joints and even melted pots.
By using a coppper wire you an solder and solder and solder again and again...
No way you will damage your pots.

And because you made a drawing of your wiring; it's easy to find a problem after many years.
Leave the note in the guitar next to the controls.

Good luck and happy jamming.
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Old 18th April 2013, 08:35 AM   #14
Zaireeka is offline Zaireeka  France
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Location: Bordeaux
On my les Paul Studio I made the following mods :

Variable coil tap (Autres circuits embarqués). Very useful on the neck humbucker to get cleaner sounds, but doesn't sound good on the bridge one. As I'm only using the extreme settings a switch would do the job aswell.

Humbucker series/parallel switch, great on the bridge pickup with distortion, produces a more edgy sound with a pronounced frequency peak. When turning the tone button all the way down it almost sounds like a blocked wha pedal (think "Money for Nothing"). The clean sound is also great with both humbuckers in parallel mode.

I hope this helps!
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Old 19th April 2013, 03:09 PM   #15
cyclecamper is offline cyclecamper  United States
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Location: Chicago IL, Long Beach CA, Vienna VA
Thanks, at least somebody has tried humbucker coils in parallel versus series (as there's no vintage instruments I know of that have the individual coils in parallel).

There's no other way for an amplifier or any post-processing to get the same sound as having the two pickups out of phase, and though it's not a normal setting it's useful. My Hamer has a sub-mini DPDT mounted in the edge of the pickup ring with the cut-off shortened bat parallel to the guitar top. It's WONDERFUL! I never ever hit it accidentally because it's not sticking up, it's sticking out from the side of the ring. Yet whenever I want I slide my pinky toward the bridge or toward the neck to change phase of that pickup. The pickup companies should engineer similar features into their pickup mounts. The bridge pickup usually has a taller pickup ring, and I have the Schaller black cast metal pickup rings, so it might be possible to do that again, but its easier with thinner stamped sheetmetal pickup rings. Cast metal or cast plastic rings are stronger but their additional thickness leaves little space for the switch. I need a really teensie DPDT.

I agree that switches could do most of what I need better than knobs. I never make micro-adjustments of balancing the two volumes to get an exact mix of pickups. And I find it more problem than help for the volume to change when I switch pickups. So I only want one volume control. And I'm not interested in pre-sets, so I don't need individual tone controls.

The commercial product that
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Old 19th April 2013, 04:14 PM   #16
cyclecamper is offline cyclecamper  United States
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Location: Chicago IL, Long Beach CA, Vienna VA
The commercial product that gives single-coil treble and humbucking bass (including cancelling 50 or 60 cycles hum) is a knob to mix between that and normal humbucker, but I'd prefer just a switch.

I don't find rotary selector switches convenient at all. I usually have to look to see where I'm at. Especially a vario-tone which uses caps and inductors to make a mid-peak; I'd rather have separate control of the turnover and rolloff knees.

The feature that lets humbuckers operate as single-coil for treble but humbuckers for bass would have to operate differently with coils in parallel versus series. So I'm inclined to be without the parallel-coils option.

Parallel coils: you say gives a 'money for nothing' sound like a stationary wah. I'd expect the inductance of series coils to cause a high-cut like the low-pass filter of a stationary wah; I think of 'money for nothing' sound as a strat quack bandpass.

A really hot neck humbucker has a useful sound but all that inductance cuts the treble, so indeed I'd expect that to benefit from coil-tapping to use only part of the windings on both coils. But I'm using Alumitones which have more output and less inductance, so they probably do everything well if untraditionally. In fact, I expect they'll exhibit less difference between series and parallel connection of the individual coils or between entire pickups. They're inherently less resonant and broader bandwidth.

I guess I'm answering my own questions about how I want it wired.
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Old 19th April 2013, 04:17 PM   #17
cyclecamper is offline cyclecamper  United States
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The plastic cavity cover on the back will be stainless instead, and the plastic pickguard will be stainless instead. I could put a layer of mu-metal under both, and put a layer of it around the sides of the control cavity too. Could line the pickup cavities with mumetal too.
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