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Single Coil - Red, White, Bare


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I have a tele-style bridge pickup, but it's not 2-conductor like typical similar pickups.

My understanding is that the bare is likely just shielding (non-conductor), and that it really doesn't matter which of the other two wires is "hot" and which is "ground". However, I just wanted to be sure.

If I'm not mistaken, switching them around changes the polarity (?), but in my setup that shouldn't matter, as it'll be either alone, or with a "full" humbucker (not tapped).

The crux of the question is simply this:

1. Am I correct that it doesn't really matter which wire is which?

2. Despite the answer to #1, is there a colour that is more COMMONLY ground in a red/white setup (black/white, from what I understand, has different conventions)



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You need to look at the pickup where the wires are attached. On the top side you will be able to make out the thin coil wires comming from an eyelet connection to the external wires. If you have two then you have a typical single coil. If there are three, then you have a tapped single coil.

Phase will matter when used in conjunction with any pickup, especially a problem when there are two different makers involved.

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It's just a cheap pickup that used to live in my Yamaha Pacifica 302S. I'm quite certain it's not tapped. The white and red lead "into" the coils, but so does the bare... no idea why! The bare is ALSO soldered to the brass baseplate, which is what made me assume that it's just a shielded ground.

I don't remember exactly how it was wired up originally, it was so long ago, but the guitar wasn't tapped and I doubt Yamaha would install a tapped single coil into a production-line budget guitar.

You're right about phase, though. I know I can just de-solder, swap, and re-solder if I wire it in reverse of what it SHOULD be, but the way I routed everything, it'll be a headache to do so, meaning that I'm hoping to get it right the first time. :D

Thanks for your input and reminding me of the phase issue, which is different than a polarity issue.


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