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Parallel/Series pups


Hotrock
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Alright dudes, I think I've finally settled on the wiring for my project but I just want to ask a couple of questions first.

I've got two coil tapped humbuckers and what I'm planning to do is:

1 Tone for each pup (Push/Pull for coil tapping)

1 Volume for each pup (So I can blend them)

And heres the bit I've been thinking about.....

..... As using the two volumes will negate the need for a pickup selector switch, I was thinking about using the switch for series/parallel connection of the pickups. Is this possible?

Doesn't the switch have 3 positions, so could I use one of the positions to effectivly have a standby on the guitar, alternatively if I have an extra position on the switch what could I use it for? Or can you just get a 2 position switch that looks like the ones found on a Les Paul?

What exactly can I expect from wiring coil tapped pickups through parallel/series? Or any pickups for that matter as I have never heard a guitar played with both.

Is it all worth it? Have I missed the point?

BTW, I don't play live so I'm not really bothered about having to fiddle with all the knobs to find the desired sound, but I do like buttons to play with :D

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What exactly can I expect from wiring coil tapped pickups through parallel/series?

Normally, pickups are wired in parallell. A humbucker is like two sc-pickups wired in series. Sounds cool when the two coils lie close to each other. Although I'm not sure that wiring two or more coils far from each other in series will sound good. You might get some weird cancellation effects.

Try it.

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What exactly can I expect from wiring coil tapped pickups through parallel/series?

Normally, pickups are wired in parallell. A humbucker is like two sc-pickups wired in series. Sounds cool when the two coils lie close to each other. Although I'm not sure that wiring two or more coils far from each other in series will sound good. You might get some weird cancellation effects.

Try it.

No, it's usually warmer and louder. I have a few combos on my guitar that I can do series or parallel, and the series is always warmer & louder. A regular strat could get pretty close to a humbucker sound this way.

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...I'm not sure that wiring two or more coils far from each other in series will sound good. You might get some weird cancellation effects.

Think Brian May - The Red Special can run all three singles in series (or parallel). It's a very warm, humbuckerish tone (if one of the singles is reverse-wound, it is a humbucker, but sounds different because of the distance between the coils).

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I don't believe that series/parallel switching can be done with a 3 way toggle(les paul style). Series/parallell switching reuires actually flipping the polarity of one of the coils, the single circuit of this switch would not allow it. However I believe that you can do this with a 4p3t toggle switch as seen on John Petrucci's music man guitar.

Logically I would try to get the series/parallel switching rigged up first, then I would implement the coil tapping switches into this setup.

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Cheers dudes, I'm not too flash at electronics (all those lectures seem so long ago :D ) so I'm not too sure if I'm on the right track.

Cheers for the words on the switch Sethmetal, that's what I though (I was actually shocked that I got that one right B) )

What I was originally thinking was that the series/parallel would be split between both Humbuckers as a whole and not between each coil of the pup. So that when I'm blending between pups using their volumes, I can switch to series/parallel between the neck and bridge pups.

Can someone clarify this for me because I'm begining to confuse myself?

Cheers for all your help guys, keep it comming :D

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^bump^

Also, is this the same as the pups being in phase/out of phase. If it's not then what would this do.

I think the main thing is that I have space to put a switch on the guitar and I want something to play with, what would you guys recommend?

Just so you don't have to go back to the top of the thread it's got:

2 Coil Tapped Humbuckers - These can be modded, as I haven't wound them yet

1 Push/Pull Tone pot per pup

1 Vol pot per pup

1 Switch to do something funky - what to do funky, I just don't know

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  • 2 weeks later...

You're going to need your 3 way toggle switch, so don't get too funky yet, between the switch and your two push/pulls, you have enough options to satisfy, check it out. I think you could do it without a switch, but the switch will make things easier. And it will function like you don't have a switch if you keep it in the middle position. In the middle you can blend with your volumes knobs as you suggested.

One option is to use one of the push/pulls to coil tap both pickups. A coil tap only requires one pole. A push/pull has two so you could either have two seperate soil taps or one switch that does both. Here are the switching options.

1)Individual taps:

a)taps are off

1 Bridge series

2 series bridge and series neck wired in parallel

3 Neck series

b)Bridge tap on

1 Bridge single

2 Bridge single and series neck in parallel

3 Series neck

c)only neck tap on

1Bridge in series

2 Series Bridge and single neck in parallel

3Neck single

d)Both taps on

1Single Bridge

2 both singles in parallel

3neck single

This setup gives you 8 uniques combinations

With both tapping on one switch, you lose the conmbinations of singles mixed with humbuckers in parallel, so you only get 6 options

Or you could have two seperate series/parallel switches (Series parallel requires 2 poles, so they have to be seperate switches)

a) both off

1 bridge series

2 neck and bridgein series, wired together in parallel

3 neck series

:D bridge on

1 bridge parallel

2 Bridge P and Neck S, wired in P

3 Neck Series

c)Neck on

1 Bridge S

2Bridge S and Neck P, wired in P

3 Neck P

d)Both on

1 Bridge P

2 Bridge P and Neck P, wired in P

3 Neck P

This option allows for 8 options.

Personally I would go for two series/parallel switches for these reasons:

All positions are humcancelling, unlike coil taps

You get 8 sounds, and utilize all of your parts

Although you don't get single coil options, you bypass the noise factor, and get a similar sound in it's place.

In my opinion a parallel bucker can be close to a single coils sound. Less output than series, and alot cleaner. Possibly not as bright as a single, but that depends on the pickup.

The middle position on a les paul switch only allows to wire the two pickups in parallel. Which is fine, because two series pickups wired in series (A 4 coil series humbucker) might be alittle much on the gain spectrum.

If you want you can also wire up one of each switch, maybe a coil tap bridge to get the strat and tele twang tones, and then a series parallel in the neck to get some smooth jazz, or ultra clean tones.

You have lots of choices. Hope that my novel helps

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While mucking through various schematics and diagrams, it seemed like the PRS-style switching that uses a 5-position 4-pole switch had the best way of doing what Seth was talking about with all positions being hum-cancelling. Again, as he mentioned, there are no actual discrete single-coil sounds, but the variety you get seems to make up for this shortcoming.

Diagram on GuitarElectronics.com

Some helpful forum members showed me that even though this diagram calls for a rotary switch, it's really kind of arbitrary that they put "rotary" in there since with a blade-style switch you still have the same number of poles and connection 'nodes' or whatever they're called.

If you're super-keen on getting a telecaster or strat sound, you could always consider building a second guitar <wink wink>. Just kidding, though-- I know how alluring having all those tonal possibilities is... but I'm likely going to go with the PRS-style switching just because I want a more elegant look to my guitar.

Cheers,

Greg

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Cheers Seth and Greg, I've been spending the morning trying to bend my head around all of that and it's all starting to sink in.

I don't really want to use 2 swithes as I think it's going to be congested enough with 4 pots and a switch (and the little microswitches are too ugly to go on my baby).

Could you write me another little novel (if you get chance) expalining how this bit works a little more:

If you want you can also wire up one of each switch, maybe a coil tap bridge to get the strat and tele twang tones, and then a series parallel in the neck to get some smooth jazz, or ultra clean tones.

This sounds good, I'm begining to think that with this idea, I wouldn't need a switch, it could all be done through the coil taps. Is that right?

EDITED DUE TO IDIOTIC SPELLING :D

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I have a two-humbucker guitar with a single volume and tone and a standard LP-style 3-way toggle. Both pots are push-pull and they are used to switch each pickup in to series or parallel mode just as Seth described, and i'm extremely happy with the variety of tones i can get out of this guitar, all hum-cancelling.

Incidentally, i'm using a Seymour Duncan '59 in the neck and a JB in the bridge, and they both sound fantastic in parallel mode. They hardly lose any of their volume, so your output is nice and consistent.

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I guess you missed what I was saying.

All of those options I mentioned are based off of your 2 volume, 2 push/pull tone, and 1 3way switch.

I never said that you need to put mini switches in. The switches that I refered to is the push/pull, as it is essentially a mini switch.

That being said, no need to drill holes. All of that including the half/half combo which I am about to explain, can be done with the parts you have.

Again, I really recommend using the 3 way switch in conjunction with your other controls. It will simplify switching on the fly and maintain the stock look you are going for.

I really love push-pull pots. I bought a guitar used that had one and I didn't even figure it out fo a week. I had no need to open the back plate, and even though I have push/pulls on my guitars I never thought that this stock looking guitar would have one. If that isn't a Testament to the stealth powers of a push/pull I don't know what is.

Anyway, the Half/Half setup

I would recommend the bridge be a coil tap and the neck be series parallel if you plan to go this route, it seems most useful to me.

a) Both switches off

1) Bridge Series

2) Both pickups in series, wired together in P

3) Neck Series

b)Bridge tap on

1)Bridge Single coil (with 60 cycle hum)

2)Bridge single and Neck Series, wired in P(humcancelling)

3) Neck Series

c) Neck switch on, bridge switch off

1) Bridge Series

2) Bridge Series and Neck Parallel, wired in P

3) Neck in Parallel

d) Both switches on

1) Bridge Single

2) Bridge Single and Neck Parallel, wired in P(Humcancelling)

3) Neck in Parallel

This setup offers 8 options and only one had 60 cycle hum (When the bridge is tapped and alone.)

Hope this helps. If I were in you're situation, I'd go with the two series/parallel switches)

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Ah, I'm begining to follow now, cheers guys.

What I'm going to do now is print this out and go over it over and over and over.......

I'm going to put this to bed now (for a while anyway), have a good long think and come back to you soon when soldering is ready to go. Got to make the pups first :D so I've got a bit of time to think about it.

Cheers again guys, much appreciated......

.......WATCH THIS SPACE B)

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Oh no, am I too late?? Well, I'll give it a go anyway.. If you don't want that irritating 60 cycle hum when you split your coils, shield your control cavity.. It's pretty simple to do if you follow the instructions on the GuitarNuts page.. Take some time to go through the steps well.. Even though it's written for a Strat, you can apply the same steps to just about any guitar.. You won't be disappointed.. Take it from someone who now has a hum free Strat... :D

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