Pickup wiring

August 5th, 2005

See the photos

I've re-wired the pickups.

Until now I've had the following passive on-board setup: Each pickup to its own volume control with a pull-switch for parallel-series toggle, into a master tone control and then to the output jack. This setup gave a bunch of very different sounds; the series sound is very different to the parallel sound; but it is also much louder, which makes it less useable. Also I never used a combination of one pickup in series mode and the other in parallel. And I never touched the tone control. So I have simplified things a little.

The new setup is centered around a 3-position rotary switch, which selects coils: position 1 activates the outmost coils of each pickup, position 2 activates all coils, and position 3 activates the inner coils of each pickup. This rotary switch sits where the tone pot used to be. Then there is one volume control for each pickup, without any pull-switches. So the new setup is simpler in many ways: it has only three coil combinations (as opposed to four before) and they are all very useable, and there's only one knob to turn instead of two knobs to pull, to choose coil combinations.

I think it is brilliant. Much easier to use, and I have sounds available now that I didn't have before. The differences between the settings are more subtle now, but more sweet and less in-your-face, sort of. I can nail the Jazz sound now, by using position 1 - the outer coils. And I still have that fat double humbucker sound in position 2. The third position sounds like nothing I've heard before - it has elements of Jazz but voiced differently.

Here are some sound clips:

Recorded from the XLR direct out on my Eden WT-800 head, into my M-Audio USB thing. No EQ or other processing, not even compression (you can hear a slight overdrive at one point). What I've done is to play the same thing (more or less) first with the outer coils selected, then with all coils, then with the inner coils. All files are mp3 mono 64kbps, and all are under 400kB in size.
Bridge pickup
Both pickups on full
Neck pickup
Then there's one with slap-hand playing (which I suck at), both pickups full on.