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Help with an Ibanez wiring H-H with a 5 way


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Hi guys, long time I don't post here as I haven't been actively building guitars for a while. I have an Ibanez J model that came with a H-S-H set up. The owner wants to remove the SC and use the 5 way... which is normally pretty easy. Well, the pick ups on this guitar are 3 wire pups. I found this diagram online, the only one I have been able to find by the way with two 3 wire humbuckers and a 5 way switch. 


My issue is that looking at the schematic, it doesn't make sense to me... can someone with more experience in this look at it and see if they think it's correct? I was just going to wire it, but after looking at my old stock, I only have long shaft 500k pots, so I just placed an order for 2 short shaft pots from Stew Mac. 



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The magic will be in the switch, which will not be your average off-the-shelf item from Stewmac. A standard 5-way 2 pole blade switch will not give you those pickup combos.

If this switching scheme is anything like the one I had in my old Ibanez RG7620 (twin humbuckers, 5-way blade) the switch itself will contain a custom PCB that gives all manner of wierd and wonderful terminal arrangements. From memory the combos were bridge humbucker, bridge+neck outer coils in parallel, bridge+neck humbucker, neck coils in parallel, neck humbucker.

You might be able to make something close using one of those Oak Grgisby 5-way mega switches (the one with 20 solder teminals). Otherwise you'll either need the exact Ibanez replacement switch, or revise the switching scheme to something else that doesnt require such an unusual part.

The 3-wire pickup arrangement is just a simplified variant on 4-wire + shield. The tapping point between the two coils in the humbucker is hardwired out on one wire instead of provided as two separate wires which you would normally join together in the control cavity. And the shield is also hardwired to the cold side of the humbucker, saving you another wire to manhandle yourself. The downside is that you can't do special stuff like play with phase reversing and parallel coils within the one humbucker.

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On 11/10/2018 at 9:06 PM, curtisa said:

The downside is that you can't do special stuff like play with phase reversing and parallel coils within the one humbucker.

yeap... that's what's holding me up on it...


The problem I have is that there is no model number on the 5 way switch that I have. It's not a Stew Mac, but the one that came with the Ibanez. I guess I am going to have to solder it this way and see what it is actually doing. I may start by checking the resistance between poles and positions to see where do they actually go and make a simplified schematic on each of the 5 positions. 


I like a challenge, but this is almost a freebie to a friend from church... so I am not getting paid to do it. Will post up with my results so that it may help the next person attempting to do the same down the road. 




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If it's come from a HSH Ibby, it's likely to just be a standard 2-pole 5-position switch. Possibly with the in-between positions 2 and 4 merged on lugs 1/2 and 2/3.

I actually still have the original 5-way switch from the RG7620 (removed it when I converted it to a LP toggle). I can check it out if you like and see what pins connect to what as the switch is moved through each position if that helps?

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The way I read that switch with the diagram you have posted, it should give:

  • Position 1 (switch all the way right) = bridge humbucker
  • Position 2 = inner (or outer, not sure) coils of each humbucker in parallel
  • Position 3 = both humbuckers in parallel
  • Position 4 = neck humbucker coil split
  • Position 5 (switch all the way left) = neck humbucker
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  • 1 month later...

Well, that didnt work as planned. After ohm'ing out the switch, its a regular Fender style switch. I ended up using a diagram from Seymour Duncan, which was wrong... it had me grounding both volume and tone (you can tell its been a long time for me because I should had known better), I ended up having


1. Neck pup

2. Both 

3. Bridge pup

4. Both north coils

5. Neck north coil


I must admit that 4 and 5 sounded way better than I expected. It sounded like single coils with balls, instead of the slinky single coil sound you get from a regular strat. 

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