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Hi everyone!

This is my first post - and first build - so bear with me if I'm still learning!

In summary, my uncle has offered me a guitar body that he made and routed before he retired as a carpenter; I haven't seen it yet, but I'm told it has a Tele-shaped basswood body, with body cuts and is routed for a floyd rose bridge and 4 pickups - two humbuckers at the bridge, and two single coils at the neck. I've been looking into what to do with this, and I decided that it would be fun to try and fill all four routs, however, my experience regarding guitar wiring is limited at best, and this is not a design I can simply find a standard wiring guide to online! A friend of mine is able to help me with a lot of the basics - he suggested 4 individual pickup switches might work better than one rotary 7 way switch - but I'm not too sure how to connect it all up.

So really, I have the following questions: I'm looking at the Rolling Mill (PAF) and Steel Foundry (Tele) pickups from Iron Gear, but would you suggest that having a bridge-neck, bridge-neck arrangement would work? Would these pups fit together?

And secondly, theoretically, without seeing the guitar, how would you wire this kind of arrangement?

I should be getting the guitar this week, so when I do, I'll upload some photos for you all to look at. Otherwise, I'm open to any and all suggestions about where to go with the project - thanks in advance for any help you can give!

Oliver.

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18 hours ago, YellowSub14 said:

4 pickups - two humbuckers at the bridge, and two single coils at the neck.

Sounds like quite an adventure. Two humbuckers and two singles on a Tele would be pretty much wall-to-wall pickups from bridge to neck.

 

18 hours ago, YellowSub14 said:

So really, I have the following questions: I'm looking at the Rolling Mill (PAF) and Steel Foundry (Tele) pickups from Iron Gear,

I've not used that exact combination, but I can vouch for the Rolling Mill along with the Hot Slag as a pair. They're quite respectable pickups for the money. The specs also indicate that they're modeled on certain other big name brands (The Seymour Duncan JB/59 pairing are almost an exact match on paper).

 

18 hours ago, YellowSub14 said:

And secondly, theoretically, without seeing the guitar, how would you wire this kind of arrangement?

With difficulty. Four pickups is a lot of work by anyone's measure. Perhaps look into something like the Freeway Switch. I'm pretty sure they offer some 4-pickup options as schematic downloads. Or maybe the switching config used on the Steve Morse Ernie Ball guitar (if you can find it)?

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On 2/27/2018 at 7:57 AM, curtisa said:

Sounds like quite an adventure. Two humbuckers and two singles on a Tele would be pretty much wall-to-wall pickups from bridge to neck.

I've not used that exact combination, but I can vouch for the Rolling Mill along with the Hot Slag as a pair. They're quite respectable pickups for the money. The specs also indicate that they're modeled on certain other big name brands (The Seymour Duncan JB/59 pairing are almost an exact match on paper).

That's what I thought. My Uncle dug out the guitar this week for me to pick up on Friday, and luckily, it's actually only a HSS, which makes the whole project 10x easier! As my current guitar at the moment is a Pacifica, my plan for the moment is to get the top cavity re-routed for a Humbucker, leave the middle empty, and stick with those Rolling Mill pups to give me a nice range of tones between the two guitars. Glad you can vouch for them! Though I'd be curious to try the HHSS setup one day though, perhaps once I've got some more experience!

If I can work it out, I'm going to have a crack at some Jimmy Page-esque wiring, or at least some elements of it, like the coil taps and phase reverse. But I'm waiting to see the guitar before I decide on anything concrete! As I said, I should be able to pick it up at the end of the week, then I'll either post something here, or as a proper build diary.

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I'm a newbe here myself... and at risk of stepping on anyone's toes... wanted to offer my 2 cents. I have a mutant baritone that has two mini humbuckers and two singles - pretty close to the same thing you have here.  If it were me: I'd look at it as two independent wireups.  I wired my two mini humbuckers to a standard 3 way les paul toggle (since they are two conductor anyway).  Then I took the output of that toggle(ie center lug) and wired it into the first position on a standard 5 way strat setup with the other two pickups.  In position 1 you get les paul style operation with the two humbuckers.  In 2 you get les paul + a single coil.  In 3-5 you get the bridge neck combos from a strat. 

another "extra credit" point of interest on that guitar... wire that center lug on the les paul switch to go additionally to a push pull 2pdt, then the live on the volume pot.  then you can turn on the les paul part when you are in positions 345 yielding all four pickups at once.

assuming this appeals to you at all...

your humbuckers will no doubt be 4 conductor + ground.  Look on the site to see how they get wired in series (ie two of the wires will connect together leaving you with a live wire, and two ground wires that can be connected together for each pu).    the live from each goes to either end of the 3 way les paul switch.  the center to pos1 on a standard strat 5 way switch.  the ground lug and both grounds from the pickups go to the back of the vol pot ie ground.  then just follow a strat 5 way wireup.  The one other change you will make is to omit the 2nd tone pot on a std strat wireup.  just bridge the second set of lugs on the 5 way where the one tone pot will connect.

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On 28/02/2018 at 3:55 PM, mistermikev said:

I'm a newbe here myself... and at risk of stepping on anyone's toes... wanted to offer my 2 cents. I have a mutant baritone that has two mini humbuckers and two singles - pretty close to the same thing you have here.  If it were me: I'd look at it as two independent wireups.  I wired my two mini humbuckers to a standard 3 way les paul toggle (since they are two conductor anyway).  Then I took the output of that toggle(ie center lug) and wired it into the first position on a standard 5 way strat setup with the other two pickups.  In position 1 you get les paul style operation with the two humbuckers.  In 2 you get les paul + a single coil.  In 3-5 you get the bridge neck combos from a strat. 

Brilliant idea! It would certainly make the circuitry a lot easier, and wouldn't limit the amount of options or combinations that I could try. Thanks a lot for that!

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On 28/02/2018 at 3:55 PM, mistermikev said:

I'm a newbe here myself... and at risk of stepping on anyone's toes... wanted to offer my 2 cents. I have a mutant baritone that has two mini humbuckers and two singles - pretty close to the same thing you have here.  If it were me: I'd look at it as two independent wireups.  I wired my two mini humbuckers to a standard 3 way les paul toggle (since they are two conductor anyway).  Then I took the output of that toggle(ie center lug) and wired it into the first position on a standard 5 way strat setup with the other two pickups.  In position 1 you get les paul style operation with the two humbuckers.  In 2 you get les paul + a single coil.  In 3-5 you get the bridge neck combos from a strat. 

another "extra credit" point of interest on that guitar... wire that center lug on the les paul switch to go additionally to a push pull 2pdt, then the live on the volume pot.  then you can turn on the les paul part when you are in positions 345 yielding all four pickups at once.

assuming this appeals to you at all...

your humbuckers will no doubt be 4 conductor + ground.  Look on the site to see how they get wired in series (ie two of the wires will connect together leaving you with a live wire, and two ground wires that can be connected together for each pu).    the live from each goes to either end of the 3 way les paul switch.  the center to pos1 on a standard strat 5 way switch.  the ground lug and both grounds from the pickups go to the back of the vol pot ie ground.  then just follow a strat 5 way wireup.  The one other change you will make is to omit the 2nd tone pot on a std strat wireup.  just bridge the second set of lugs on the 5 way where the one tone pot will connect.

There are a lot of good ideas here.

I think multi-multi numbers of pickups can sometimes be unpredictable and seemingly illogical in the tones they produce. Splitting it down into a simpler and logical set of options as @mistermikevsuggests makes a lot of sense

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Four single coils or individual pickups could be looked at the same way as the four coils in two humbuckers. There are plenty of circuits out there that offer a wide variety of tones from the various coils available in those, so why not here?

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On 28/02/2018 at 11:55 PM, mistermikev said:

I'm a newbe here myself... I wired my two mini humbuckers to a standard 3 way les paul toggle (since they are two conductor anyway).  Then I took the output of that toggle(ie center lug) and wired it into the first position on a standard 5 way strat setup

The idea of having both Les Paul switch and 5-way Strat switch is great. I was contemplating it on a Les Paul I built but didn't want to do any more routing. It has a HSH configuration and deciding how to do the switching is a headache. First of all you have to decide what combinations you want - sure you can have them all but there's just too many solder joints and confusion trying to remember what they do

This is what I did to experiment:

I sent the Neck and Bridge wires from the LP 3-way toggle to a mini on-on-on switch. In the middle is normal 2 humbucker operation. Then click one way and the Neck becomes the Middle, click the other way and the Bridge becomes the Middle

Now that I have experimented I decided that this switching is too confusing to remember and the Neck (split) + Middle is a good sound but not fabulous enough to keep. So I plan to use a mini on-on switch so the Neck becomes Middle on the LP toggle switch

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On 3/5/2018 at 2:47 AM, YellowSub14 said:

Brilliant idea! It would certainly make the circuitry a lot easier, and wouldn't limit the amount of options or combinations that I could try. Thanks a lot for that!

thank you... thank you very much.

On 3/27/2018 at 1:17 AM, Andyjr1515 said:

There are a lot of good ideas here.

I think multi-multi numbers of pickups can sometimes be unpredictable and seemingly illogical in the tones they produce. Splitting it down into a simpler and logical set of options as @mistermikevsuggests makes a lot of sense

you are too kind sir.

On 3/28/2018 at 9:15 AM, Crusader said:

The idea of having both Les Paul switch and 5-way Strat switch is great. I was contemplating it on a Les Paul I built but didn't want to do any more routing. It has a HSH configuration and deciding how to do the switching is a headache. First of all you have to decide what combinations you want - sure you can have them all but there's just too many solder joints and confusion trying to remember what they do

This is what I did to experiment:

I sent the Neck and Bridge wires from the LP 3-way toggle to a mini on-on-on switch. In the middle is normal 2 humbucker operation. Then click one way and the Neck becomes the Middle, click the other way and the Bridge becomes the Middle

Now that I have experimented I decided that this switching is too confusing to remember and the Neck (split) + Middle is a good sound but not fabulous enough to keep. So I plan to use a mini on-on switch so the Neck becomes Middle on the LP toggle switch

there is a fine line between kiss and too complex.  I know because I constantly cross over it.  So much so that I've begun the practice of putting a cheat sheet on the control cavity of many of my guitars/basses -reminding myself of how the controls work.  I'm a spice of life kinda guy... that's not for everyone.

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On 3/27/2018 at 2:31 AM, Prostheta said:

Four single coils or individual pickups could be looked at the same way as the four coils in two humbuckers. There are plenty of circuits out there that offer a wide variety of tones from the various coils available in those, so why not here?

you've been so kind to me and lots of good advice prostheta - I don't know if I'm being stupid but I actually just realized I didn't see this post before... and I felt like perhaps it was rude of me not to comment... at the same time was conflicted because I don't want to domineer and think I need to respond to every post... long story short - I think too much.  but this is true... altho I think 6 coils in this case.  could be two strats even!  anywho, I'll shut up now.

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Entirely my fault for not keeping track, Mike. I should have read more of the previous responses and ideas. I just blindly threw an idea out there simply because I've been somewhat time poor of late. Don't worry about not responding to it....like I always say at work when brainstorming ideas, I'm happy that ten ideas are tabled even if nine might be complete crap and maybe one is workable. Tabling ideas and throwing things about is better than sitting in silence trying to find one idea. :lol:

Two Strats.....well, you know that Free-Way are releasing a (I think) ten-way blade switch very soon? That would offer infinite headaches trying to mash useful combinations into all ten settings! haha

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