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Gitarpik

pickups direct to jack

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I posted this to Repair&Restoration because it seemed like the best area- it describes a mod I tried to pickup selection:

 

Very soon into learning electric guitar I found that my tone came from the neck pickup (an H/H configured axe) with tone & volume all the way up.I have a melodic lead style and like a smooth sustainy tone, and like to have as much signal as possible going into the amp or whatever is in front. I developed a nervous habit of grazing my fingertips across the volume pot to ensure it was all the way up- crying out for more sustain. My first guitar was an Ovation Eclipse, a poor kid's version of an ES-335, with a bolt-on neck, crappy bridge design, and not very sustainy.

 

Years later I got a Gibson L-6S –- because of its sustain - and not long after that realized I wanted to try different pups. I stripped out all the electronics and put in three 3-pole-4-way rotary switches.

 

For each pickup one switch selected: full humbucker, single coil, both parallel in phase, both series out of phase. Then those two switches went into the master switch to select: neck, bridge, both in parallel, both in series.Then straight to output, no tone or volume pots.

 

Well, that cured my nervous habit!

 

This yields forty unique combinations. I'll mention a few notables:

 

All four coils in series- ultra humbucker. Disappointingly, this was a super muddy, blurred sound lacking in highs or attack. I didn't find it useful.

 

All four in parallel- again, a blurred tone, not so much as the series. But there was an interesting effect- I believe the rule for adding voltages in parallel is the lowest voltage pulls all other voltages down to equal, and this has the effect of compressing the volume. Imagine you're going to roll four dice a hundred times and always tally the value of the lowest die- the data would be compressed into the lowest domain. I have always felt that combining coils in parallel has the effect of smearing the details, detracting from the focus of either coil by itself.

 

Both coils of the same pup in parallel. Yes, you do get the noise canceling effect but similar to the above combo the tone is a little blurry compared to just a single coil.

 

One coil from each pup in series in phase- a hybrid humbucker of coils from both pups- subtly different than the "middle position" combo of a standard H/H config (both humbuckers in parallel), a little more defined and punchier.

 

Several of the combos offer various degrees of out-of-phaseness- one humbucker in series with the other which is in its out of phase setting gives all four coils in series with only one of them being out of phase, which was much crisper with more bite that all series in phase. Different settings select which one is out of phase, and each setting has a unique nasally signature. Or, each pup out of phase in series with each other gives all four in series, with two out of phase. Or combos of three coils with one being out…...

 

Ironically, after exploring this realm my switches settled down, again, on my neck humbucker. Out of the slew of tones I could get only a few of them were really useful. But I've always been glad I took the trouble to find out, and maybe my findings will save someone else- maybe you- the trouble.

 

Did I say trouble? Actually, it was fun. I did a few other fun projects I will be posting about before long- if you found this interesting, stay tuned

Edited by Gitarpik

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Thanks for an excellent and very interesting post.

 

Two of my guitars have the J Page-type wiring with 4 push-pull pots.

I am a fan of "bridge into neck and out-of-phase".

However these days (and so far on my Gibsons) I leave everything stock.

 

My 1st Gibson was a wine-red L6S Deluxe with the Bill Lawrence pickups, 24 frets and through-body stringing.

Another guitar I should never have sold!!! ](*,) ](*,)

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