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3 Wire Humbuckers


mdw3332
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Are they EMGs?

EMGs (and possibly other active pickups) have built in preamps. The wires coming out are signal, ground, and a third power line that hooks up with a 9V battery. You have to wire them up as if they were single coils, i.e. no coil taps, series/parallel, etc.

EMG does make circuits for these pickups, however, if you want onboard tweakability.

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One will be a lead, the other a ground. Try white as lead and red to ground first. The pickups in my Ibanez were wired that way. If that sounds crappy, reverse them and see what happens. That's the great thing about guitar electronics. It's nearly impossible to blow things up. :D

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To wire as a standard humbucker, the red wire is usually hot and the bare wire is connected to ground. The white wire is just insulated (the end is taped) so it won't contact other wires, contacts, etc.

The white wire is used when you want to do a "coil cut", that is the pickup will function as a humbucker or single coil with the aid of an extra switch.

Here is an example from the Stewmac site showing how their Golden Age 3 wire pickups are installed.

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And don't forget to connect the bare one to ground!

That basically looks like a normal "1" connector humbucker (which is in fact 2) except yours has the possibility of phase reversal.

Unless the 3rd lead (possibly the white one) is a tap between the two coils that you use to split the humbucker (single coil) by sending it to ground through a switch.

So send bare to ground, try the red one as the "hot" lead and ground the white one as well, then tap both coils slightly to see if both are on. If only one coil is working, then simply disconnect the white one and isolate it with some electrical tape and see what it does.

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If you've got a multimeter, it's really easy to find out what each wire is - just measure the resistance between each pair fo wires! If, for instance, the resistance from the braided shield to red is approximately twice the resistance from braid to white and white to red is approximately equal to braid to white, then the red is hot and the white is a coil split. Simple, easy, eliminates guessing.

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