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2 HH + Parallel switching help


biliousfrog
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Forgive me for being that family member who disappears for years and only turns up when they need something (I think it's been about 8 years since I posted here)....

I recently bought a Charvel Pro-Mod DK24 HH at a crazy price and it is mostly amazing. Spec-wise it's a really high-end guitar that can be used for pretty much any style without looking out of place but the electronics seriously let it down. The pickups are great for high gain shredding but lack any character and the 10 possible pickup combinations (5 + series/parallel) sound almost identical.

Current switching and specs: https://www.charvel.com/gear/shape/dk/pro-mod-dk24-hh-2pt-cm/2969411534

What I'd like to do is swap the pickups for something a little more rounded (Dimarzio super distortion in bridge & PAF Pro or Liquifire in neck), use a 3-way selector and keep the series/parallel. For me that would make the guitar a much more versatile instrument for recording, functions and multi-genre playing. I'd also dump the low-friction volume pot because I'm constantly knocking it off 10!

So, my question is - how would I wire that up?

Ideally I think I'd like the 3 positions to be: 1)Bridge humbucker - 2) Bridge + Neck (inner coils only) - 3) Neck humbucker.

Then the toggle to switch between series & parallel. The current switch is basically two switches in one allowing both pickups to be changed with one switch.

Any help is greatly appreciated. I could probably get there on my own but not without losing even more hair than I can afford.

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1 hour ago, biliousfrog said:

Ideally I think I'd like the 3 positions to be: 1)Bridge humbucker - 2) Bridge + Neck (inner coils only) - 3) Neck humbucker.

Then the toggle to switch between series & parallel

I think it can be done with some minor caveats. Need a bit more clarification regarding your choice of seriel/parallel options (this was discussed recently). Do you mean with the mini toggle in the series position you want:

1. Bridge series (ie normal humbucker)

2. Bridge and neck inner coils in series

3. Neck series (normal humbucker)

And with the mini toggle in the parallel position you want:

1. Bridge in parallel

2. Inner coils in parallel

3. Neck in parallel

Or something else?

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18 minutes ago, curtisa said:

I think it can be done with some minor caveats. Need a bit more clarification regarding your choice of seriel/parallel options (this was discussed recently). Do you mean with the mini toggle in the series position you want:

1. Bridge series (ie normal humbucker)

2. Bridge and neck inner coils in series

3. Neck series (normal humbucker)

And with the mini toggle in the parallel position you want:

1. Bridge in parallel

2. Inner coils in parallel

3. Neck in parallel

Or something else?

That is exactly what I was thinking.

I'm not against having both humbuckers in the middle position but I've never found that position to be very usable on HH guitars. I suppose outer coils would also be preferable if that would make any difference to the ease of wiring.

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I'll scribble something together tomorrow. Things to be aware of though:

  • The three way blade switch will require a specific version (not your standard Tele-style selector switch) which may be a bit hard to come by. Essentially it's a 3-position version of the Oak Grigsby 5-position super switch. One example here.
  • The two pickups will need to be installed with one spun around 180 degrees. If the look of the pickups is important to you choose humbuckers that don't have a single row of exposed pole pieces, polepieces that are different in appearance (a row of screws and a row of slugs) or zebra bobbin colours.
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Pickup direction isn't an issue, I'm sticking to the allen head poles that it currently has and Dimarzio's aren't labelled like the SD's. 👍

I think the switch might prove difficult to get. There are plenty of the 5-way ones available but no 3-way in the UK so I'll probably have to import from somewhere.

 

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I ***think*** this is what you're after. It's a bit of a head-scratcher, but this should give you the following:

With the mini toggle in the 'series' position:

  1. Bridge humbucker with coils in series (ie, standard humbucker wiring)
  2. Bridge + Neck inner coils in series
  3. Neck humbucker with coils in series

With the mini toggle in the 'parallel' position:

  1. Bridge humbucker with coils in parallel (thinner/brighter tone)
  2. Bridge + Neck inner coils in parallel
  3. Neck humbucker with coils in parallel

As an added bonus it can be done without rotating any pickup around backwards and all positions are humbucking. The only catch is that pesky 3-way 4-pole toggle switch. It appears to be made by Goldo who seem to have good sales representation on the continent, so maybe importing one shouldn't pose too much of a hassle for you?

Apologies for the use of light grey wire on the white background to represent the white wires from the pickups. I don't have any proper image drawing software on this PC at the moment to make a white wire look more obvious. There is meant to be a jumper between the terminals on the lower-right of the 3-way switch labelled 'in2' and 'in3'; it's just hard to make out.

You can re-use the existing volume pot, tone pot, tone cap and output jack from the original guitar.

image.png

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Easy tiger! I should point out this is totally untested - you're the guinea pig ;)

I'm also not certain how the pickup coils labelled 'North' and 'South' are physically going to orient themselves when installed in the guitar (I'm assuming the bridge 'north coil will be the inner and the neck 'south' will be the inner as well if both pickups are installed with the cable exiting on the same side of the humbucker frame). If it turns out that you're actually getting the outer coils for position 2 the easiest solution will be to swivel both pickups around 180 degrees on the guitar rather than fiddle around with the wires. In that case leave yourself some slack on the pickup cables so that you can draw them back through the wiring channels to make spinning the pickups around easier.

Or you might find that the outer coils are close enough for rock 'n roll. In which case, :thumb:

  • Haha 1
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Inner or outer coils, either will work. I suppose the outer coils will be more Tele'ish (which ain't a bad thing) and inner coils will be more middle humbucker'ish - either will be more useful than both humbuckers IMO.

Guinea pig or not I really appreciate the help 🤘

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  • 3 weeks later...

Great news -  it "mostly" works. For some reason the middle and neck positions in parallel seem to be just the neck? Also, tapping the pole pieces suggests that they might be split rather than in parallel (only North coils active) but that might just be how it works. Either way it sounds so much better and it's much more usable.

I ended up getting the Dominion set as Dimarzio pickups are very scarce at the moment and I wanted a white F-spaced set. It was a gamble as they are very much a metal set but reviews suggested that they are much more versatile - and they certainly are! They are amazing clean pickups. This might take over from my strat as my main clean guitar.

Thanks again for your help!

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2 hours ago, biliousfrog said:

Great news -  it "mostly" works. For some reason the middle and neck positions in parallel seem to be just the neck? Also, tapping the pole pieces suggests that they might be split rather than in parallel (only North coils active) but that might just be how it works. Either way it sounds so much better and it's much more usable.

I ended up getting the Dominion set as Dimarzio pickups are very scarce at the moment and I wanted a white F-spaced set. It was a gamble as they are very much a metal set but reviews suggested that they are much more versatile - and they certainly are! They are amazing clean pickups. This might take over from my strat as my main clean guitar.

Thanks again for your help!

Scrap that, I've just played through my amp at a decent volume and it's much more apparent.

Thanks again, I'm really pleased.

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  • 1 month later...
On 9/3/2021 at 12:05 PM, Prostheta said:

Nice seeing you check in! What's happening during these crazy times, bud?

It has been a crazy time for sure!

Unfortunately I've had to downsize considerably since my previous activity on here so I haven't got space to build anything except pedals (which is why I stopped coming here). I've done a few repairs and I'm constantly modding but otherwise my apocalypse has been spent writing tunes, entering mix & production competitions, and trying to keep my head above water while running my animation business. I really miss building guitars though. Hopefully I can dig myself out of post-covid debt and get a workshop somewhere to tinker in 🙂 

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Ahh yes, Frappr... Now it seems to randomly lead both to a site that tells it's for sale but also to a bunch of less safe pages - once it showed a Norton (which I don't use) warning offering a scan because of detected malware... @biliousfrog, may I suggest you to remove that link?

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