August 9th, 2012, 07:21 AM
I recently bought some ibanez 2 humbucker, 4 knob thing, and found that it was wired such that if you turn one pickup's volume all the way down, you get no output in the middle pickup selector position.
This isn't anything new, I found the same thing a while back when I wired a frankentele according to fender's 72 custom wiring diagram (http://www.cnjradio.net/fendergits/SD0137500CPg2.pdf)
It's an easy enough fix to change the wiring so that you can turn each pickup as low as you like and still use the middle position (I think this diagram will do it, in case anyone needs to know http://www.blueskillet.com/images/Guitar%20Stuff/Gibson%20Wiring%20-%20Independant%20Volumes.jpg). But I was wondering what's the benefit of this original wiring? Personally I can't see any usefulness in grounding my whole output in the middle position because I've turned my bridge pickup down. Is there any? Or is there some other electrical side effect from this wiring that is beneficial?
August 9th, 2012, 02:23 PM
That's the way it works.
Trick is not to wind one of the knobs all the way down but to use the pair of them to balance and mix the pickups.
If you swap the vol pots around so the input is to the wiper then their load to the pickup changes as they are used, that alters the tone on the twiddle.
The 2+2 is same as an LP, they take a bit of getting used to but work rather well.
August 9th, 2012, 02:32 PM
Personally I can't see any usefulness in grounding my whole output in the middle position because I've turned my bridge pickup down. Is there any?
August 9th, 2012, 03:04 PM
personally, i decouple any couple vol pots - that krap is annoying. ymmv.
August 9th, 2012, 04:34 PM
The "independent" wiring mod the OP suggests is not as useful as you might think. It's actually impossible to mute the guitar if you 're going to put it down for any reason, because even with both volume knobs all the way off you still get some sound coming through.
The advantages of the stock wiring on a two-pickup, two-volume knob setup are (1) you can turn the whole thing off between sets/songs, (2) you can turn one down and use the toggle switch as a kill switch for staccatto sound effects, (3) you can still blend the sound with both pickups on in order to control how bright or thick the tone is, and the 'independent' wiring doesn't really do that any better than stock.
So, basically, there's a reason why that's the acceptable way to wire a guitar of that style.
August 9th, 2012, 04:43 PM
It's an easy enough fix to change the wiring so that you can turn each pickup as low as you like and still use the middle position
May I ask what is the benefit of playing the middle position with one pickup turned all the way off? Would you not expect that to be the same as just the pickup that is on, i.e. pointing the pickup selector towards that pickup?
August 9th, 2012, 05:33 PM
From what I've heard said, it sounds better wired that way. But feel free to experiment! After all, jazz basses and Gretsches are wired that way.
August 9th, 2012, 05:48 PM
I have a Gibson Invader, and an Epiphone LP, both wired as you describe.
I prefer it that way - after all if I want just one or the other pickup on I can flick the switch.
Although personally I generally use just the middle position, and blend the pickups using the two volumes.
I also like being able to kill the whole guitar with one knob, like between sets.
August 9th, 2012, 05:57 PM
A lot of this comes down to simplicity and passive electronics.
As long as one is stuck with high impedance, passive electronics, the options for independent volume controls are very few. The old Gibson/Fender Jazz Bass method was to tie the pickup outputs to the wipers of the volume controls, which does achieve what the OP is looking for. However, this also has the effect of severely loading the pickups as the volume is reduced, resulting in a muddier tone.
The more modern method of simply tying the pot wipers together at the output jack allows for a clearer sound (most of the time) but sacrifices the independence to a substantial degree. It's really just for tweaking the balance between the two pickups. It's also "good enough", which is largely what determines the marketplace.
The only "proper" way to do this is with active electronics. That allows for complete independence of pickups and complete control over frequency response. It's been done a million times, but guitarists keep coming back to passive systems for various reasons - not the least of which is familiarity.
(I've mused upon, but never built, an active setup that replaces the selector switch with a "balance control" that sweeps between the 2 pickups. Now you've got every possible sound and a single point of control for volume.)
August 10th, 2012, 05:44 AM
Rather than playing with one pickup all the way off, I was thinking more of when I want to play with just a little bit of one pickup, but towards the end of the pot turn it brings the whole output down. Maybe other people don't do that.
Turning just one pickup all the way off, you can still switch to the 'off' pickup for guitar muting or staccato effects. I've never noticed any sound coming through when volumes are down with the independent wiring.
Talking of blender controls, Rickenbackers have a blender control to adjust the balance between the 2 pickups (put simply). And with passive electronics. Speaking of Rickenbackers, I've heard it said over on the rick forum that if you're going to spend all your time playing with one particular pickup, you should keep your selector in the middle position, and turn down the volume on the unused pickup, because this saves wear on the springs in the selector switch. not sure what i think of that, but you'd need independent wiring for it!
I didn't know that the independent wiring changes/muddies the tone. You might be talking me round!