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3 Wire Pickup


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Coil tap, maybe? Check it with an ohmmeter.

Edited by fookgub
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i wish i had an ohm meter or the money for one :D

can a single coil have a coil tap? also, did they make coil tapping pickups in the 60s?

1. Yes. In fact, the use of the 'coil tap' to mean using one coil from a humbucker is wrong. A coil tap is a connection made somewhere in the middle of the winding. For example, a pickup might have, say, a DC resistance of 10k across the entire winding, and a coil tap with 7k, or so. In effect, the tap is 7/10 of the entire winding. Don't quote me on this, but I believe Kent Armstrong makes a jazz pickup with a true coil tap.

2. Probably. It's not rocket science.

By the way, ohmmeters are useful and not very expensive. You could probably find a suitable one for about $15 at home depot.

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+1 You can pick up a digital multimeter for about ten bucks from Harbor Freight - and I bought an analog meter (the one that goes to gigs with me) recently for less than half that. Sure, it's a cheap flimsy import, but it's accurate enough to do continuity checks and find ground loops, and if it gets smashed, I'm out next to nothing, so it's ideal for a knockaround.

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Is there another posiibility for the third wire, that it is just a screen, that connects to the pickup body/rear plate but not the coils? The screen would be wired to the ground point. I have this on some old single coils from an '80s Hondo. If you get that cheap digital or anallogue meter, youll soon find out if there is any continuity between the three wires. If it were like mine, with all three wires disconnected from the guitar, the screen wire would have no connection to either of the other wires.

Short of getting a meter, how about doing this:

1. get the pickup fully disconnected from the guitar if not already

2. connect pairs of wires to a jack lead to an amp, in turn red/black, red/blue, black/blue

3. lightly tap the pole pieces with a screwdriver to hear a thump

4. if you get that thump only with one pair, then they are the coil wires, the other is a screen

5. if you get a thump with all pairs, then it is more likely that one wire (guessing, blue) is a coil tap, being a connection part way along the coil. The pair with the loudest/deepest thump will be the ends of the coil, with the other wire being the tap

Any use?

If you had a meter, it would be easier though.


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