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Polymaker

HSH Wiring Questions

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Hi guys, 

I've been given an HSH pickups set not too long ago and while I already finished designing the guitar I'll used them on, I still haven't decided on how I'm going to wire-up the pups.

For this build I want to understand what I'm doing instead of blindly following a wiring diagram.
Electronics has been my nemesis for a very long time and now I decided to take the time to try and understand how it works.

I already learnt quite a bit while finishing my pickup winder last month (I'll make a topic on that as soon as I get my new motor, I fried-it like a rookie when trying to measure the current 😅).

Just today I finally solved the mystery of coil-splitting. I couldn't understand how the coil that stays on was different on the neck and bridge while the wiring is the same for each. Many diagrams do not show properly that the neck humbucker is flipped (or the bridge idk) so the coils are opposed to each other.

Now to get back on topic, I have two questions regarding coil split:

  • First, how do I figure out with which coil (adjustable or slug) the middle pickup will hum-cancel.
    I've read that it has to do with how the pickups is wired/wound and so it can vary from one band to another,
     
  • Second, this one is a thought I had that I think may be crazy or may not work at all because I couldn't find anything on the internet.
    Normally, from what I understand, when combining the middle pickup with a coil-split humbucker, they are wired in parallel right? 
    Is it possible to wire them in series to make a virtual humbucker? How would it sounds like? Is this crazy? 😁

For information the pickups are from an early 2000 Ibanez S model.

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5 hours ago, Polymaker said:

Many diagrams do not show properly that the neck humbucker is flipped (or the bridge idk) so the coils are opposed to each other.

Yes, and if you look at photos of some variants of the Ibanez Jem (the guitar where I believe this switching pattern first originated), you will see the neck and bridge pickups with the screw slugs on opposite sides to allow this to happen.

 

5 hours ago, Polymaker said:

First, how do I figure out with which coil (adjustable or slug) the middle pickup will hum-cancel.
I've read that it has to do with how the pickups is wired/wound and so it can vary from one band to another,

Normally in a HSH combo with the positions 2 & 4 Stratty 'quack', it's the middle single that is spec'ed as reverse wound/reverse polarity, as it would be for a regular Strat. It's easier and cheaper for the manufacturers to achieve this than reverse winding/reverse magnetising the two humbuckers on either side. That should mean that the coils you want to combine from each humbucker should have the opposite magnetic polarity compared with the middle single. Easily checked with a magnet - on the humbucker coils the magnet will be attracted to the slugs and on the single it will push away. Reversing the winding (if necessary) is then just a matter of swapping the solder connections on the single.

 

5 hours ago, Polymaker said:

Normally, from what I understand, when combining the middle pickup with a coil-split humbucker, they are wired in parallel right? 
Is it possible to wire them in series to make a virtual humbucker? How would it sounds like? Is this crazy?

Parallel is normally the way to do it, yes. But anything is possible given the right switch. No idea how it would sound; hotter/warmer than the equivalent parallel position 2 & 4 I would've thought? Series wiring on a Strat is fairly common mod, there appear the be a few Youtube videos out there that demonstrate what it sounds like.

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9 hours ago, curtisa said:

Yes, and if you look at photos of some variants of the Ibanez Jem [...]

This is exactly how I figured it out the pickups were inverted.

9 hours ago, curtisa said:

Reversing the winding (if necessary) is then just a matter of swapping the solder connections on the single.

That's reassuring to hear. My friend gave me the pickups after fixing a phase issue on his guitar. He upgraded his pickups a long time ago with Seymour Duncans HB and a DiMarzio SC and position 2 & 4 were not sounding good. When I did the fix I did not understand at all how it was wired. Having fixed a phase issue on my own-made T type guitar (1SC 1HB), I assumed that I needed to invert the wiring on the middle pickup, but from reading recently about coil splitting and complex wiring I had second thoughts if it was the right problem/solution.

Also thank you for all the information, it is very useful and much appreciated.

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I have a 89 jem 77 fp and imo this pickup wiring was the biggest innovation in guitar wiring in a long time.  The idea of that guitar is to do both a strat and a lp and it comes closer than anything else I know.  It does strat very well... it does lp soso.

I recently built a strat with the ability to switch into series mode so I can/will comment on how it sounds... a lot like a humbucker.  you loose some highs and gain some 'snarl'.  it's great for the strat cause it gets a hair more aggressive which is nice for mid/high gain stuff.

imo, if it were my only combo... I'd go with parallel.  The magic of hsh is that it can do strat sounds and humb sounds.  putting it in series would be redundant - imo, because the humbuckers are already yielding a series sound in pos 1/5.

just my 2c.

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