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Blender Pot Instead Of Selector?


Walmslap
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Hi everyone.

I am in the design stage of a flying v project. I thought it would be nice to simplify the electronics by by substituting a blender pot for a 3 way toggle.

The basic setup in my brain is 2 humbuckers, blender pot, 2 pushpull pots. Master volume, master tone, blend between to pickups, and have the pushpulls do a couple coil combinations, out of phase or something, haven't decided yet.

I think I could get the desired simplicity while keeping versatility by subbing the blender for a rotary, but the blender seems cool.

Has anyone seen something like this before? Will using the blender pot degrade the guitar's signal at any time, such as in the extremes on either side?

What do you think about the ability to blend between 2 pickups?

Thanks for your input,

Thomas

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Have done it, wouldn't do it again with passives. Definitely would do it in lieu of a pickup selector switch. The taper isn't as smooth as I'd like, and the in between sounds are disappointing.

Blending, say, piezos and magnetics, actively, is a different story, but in terms of live usefulness, the switch shows you what your pickup selection is, at a glance. Two independent volumes is also more useful than a blend, IMO.

In terms of usefulness, I find phase switching overrated, did on my first, likely won't do it again. Parallel coils or coil tapping is of the good, though.

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Have done it, wouldn't do it again with passives. Definitely would do it in lieu of a pickup selector switch. The taper isn't as smooth as I'd like, and the in between sounds are disappointing.

Blending, say, piezos and magnetics, actively, is a different story, but in terms of live usefulness, the switch shows you what your pickup selection is, at a glance. Two independent volumes is also more useful than a blend, IMO.

In terms of usefulness, I find phase switching overrated, did on my first, likely won't do it again. Parallel coils or coil tapping is of the good, though.

I was wondering how the blend control would work on passive pickups. I agree, it works well with blending piezo and mag PUPs - as in the Parker Fly & Nitefly. My Mojo Nitefly can get some really nice tones with the pickups blended. :D

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I'd echo what Matttia has said. I did it on passive pickups and was underwhelmed. It seemed that the useful settings were at either end and in the middle. There didn't seem to be a lot of sublety in between. I adjusted the taper with resisters but I still didn't think it was very interesting. I took out the blend pot and put a three way switch in the hole.

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perhaps you should try a linear slide pot hooked up externally to see if you like the sound. i have done this before with a low k resistance and a old pot from a mixing board. it worked nice. also something to look into if you are tricky. you can find dual fader pots or you could couple the dc froma small battery to it and simply decouple the audio signal to it and have led's to let you know the level of each pickup based on the brightness of the led.

my old guitar used a fiveway switch and rewiring it to have the h/s/h on one side of the switch i drilled holes for 3mm green leds. used the same current limiting resistor and had them light up in respect to the pickups position. ie neck on one led neck and middle two leds middle middle led etc.

took less than hour to do counting all the rewiring. its a great thing to do to a guitar that has a fiveway and does not use the other side to manipulate tone controls like a strat style guitar does. Ledsb4Gluing.jpg

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The usefulness of out of phase pickup combinations is interesting to me. My present axe is wired to get three different OOP's; single-single, single-slantbucker coils parallel, and single-slantbucker coils in series. These three sounds are very, repeat VERY different from each other. Part of it could be the fact that I'm starting with three low impedence, vintage sounding singles, which tend to give much more tonal variation than hotter singles or humbuckers when recombined. The single-single combination has the most dramatic cancellation of frequencies, but the single-slant parallel brings the 'bandpass' sound lower into a very 'old time radio' area. The single-slant series sound has only a touch of the cancellation compared to the other settings. It seems like the slantbucker sort of overpowers the singles ability to cancel frequencies. The amount of variation between these settings made me realize that in planning future wiring schemes, any planned OOP wiring combinations for someone elses' axe should be tested first with the old aligator clips to see if the player will like them.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thank you all for your input. I've decided to nix the blender idea after reading your responses. Your experiences have saved me a bit of time with trial and error.

I must confess that my wiring scheme for this project is primarily influenced by aesthetics. I have three of those ufo gold/abalone knobs I want on there, and I don't like the look of a toggle or lever switch for this project.

Im gonna go with master volume, PRS style multipole rotary switch, and a killswitch. The killswitch is going to be really fun to install, it will be fitted with a ufo knob to look like its a pot, but it will be a normally open momentary switch.

Keep an eye on the in progress/finish work forum, I'll be starting the thread soon. It should be a really engaging project!

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Dugg: I agree the out of phase sounds are very distinctive and very different - the guitar I did them on had Duncan 59's that I could split, parallel or series wire (vintage/low output pickups), but the thing is, while series, parallel and single, and putting the pickups into series (with each other) all work great, as do individual volume controls, I just don't like any of the OOP tones; thin, nasal, hollow. I don't have much use for a old timey radio tone in a live setting, and a good EQ can take care of the rest.

Try it out, see if you like it, but I still feel series switching and parallel/single coil options give you the widest variety of useful tones that maintain similar volume levels. Phase switching just didn't work for me, on the guitars I tried it on (the second also had buckers, BTW). May try a brian may style series/phase switching scheme with some brit-style pickups when I get around to it, as maybe it was 'just' the wrong electronics, but I'm not terribly optimistic.

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I think you have made the right decision ditching the blender idea (to do it properly you need an appropriate dual gang pot which can be hard to come by) as switching is easier and more dramatic. A rotary switch can give you a tremendous amount of options, but it depends on the number of poles how far you can go with it...a fender blade selector is really a rotary switch on it's side BTW.

OoP sounds can work great but it depends on what you play and the guitar and pickup combination. It gets a bad rap because it is sometimes applied to the two coils of a humbucker and this will always sound "bad" as the coils are so close together. To get a decent sound, you need to have some distance like between the neck and the bridge. Where it can work really well in on a three pickup guitar with all the pickups in series but one of them out of phase as this will moderate the bass a little.

On a twin HB guitar, the better options would be B, B+N, N as your basics and perhaps some split of parallel selection between them on a five way. If you are playing with distortion (which is kind of de rigor with a V) some of these exotic wirings have little real benefit, especially with HB's.

The only draw back with a normal knob on a rotary switch is that it is difficult to change selections on the fly and know where you are with them, but if you tend to select a sound and just go with that, then they work fine. The easiest and usually the best is toggle switch though...but if the streamlined look is more important, go with that and don't get too fussy with the electronics side of things...

pete

PS...I seem to be missing something with the kill switch thing...everybody seems to want one, I even put one on my latest guitar, but this mass appeal has got me beat!

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I'm gonna go with rotary for this project, then I'll see how I like it in the future. I think toggle or blade type is optimal, but it would look out of place on this guitar.

As for the killswitch, its mostly just something to do for 3 knobs and it may be fun for a little screwing around.

But really I just wanna be Tom Morello.

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