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Old October 4th, 2015, 03:17 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Pickup mismatch, or am I doing omething wrong?

My #1 and only Tele is an '08 Roadworn. A couple years ago I put David Allen Cheetahs in it and love them. But I didn't use the bridge pickup much so I thought I would put something different in there. I bought a Joe Barden Danny Gatton Modern for the bridge only and put it in this morning. Both pickups work fine individually, but there is a significant volume and tone loss in the middle position. There was no such problem before the pickup swap. I'm pretty sure it's a phase problem, but I'm not sure how to resolve it, or if it is a mis-match that can't be resolved.

I've looked at the wiring schematic here and there are a few minor differences. The controls and switch were purchased in 2013 on "the bay" from seller Tundratone. It was a prewired pot and switch assembly with a treble bleed cap and was supposed to be an upgrade from the MIM stuff, although I remember not seeing any difference at the time. The reason that this may be important is that the output jack ground is on the tone pot instead of on the volume pot as shown here in the Tele 3 way wiring diagram. Also, there is a bridge plate ground on the tone pot.

Up until today, all my pickup grounds were on the tone pot as well. When I went to put the Joe Barden in, the supplied wiring diagram showed it's green lead and the bare wire grounded at the vol. pot. So I put them there, and left the other pickup, the bridge plate ground, and the output jack ground on the tone pot. As soon as I noticed the problem, I assumed it was because the two pickups were grounded on separate pots. So I moved the David Allen pickup ground to the vol. pot as well, but it didn't fix the problem, or change it at all.

Since everything always worked I'm assuming you can use either pot body for a ground? And if that's an issue, why would the pickups work ok separately? I'm going to go put the output jack and bridge plate ground on the vol. pot as well, but I suspect that won't fix it. I thought about switching the two wires on one pickup. That might correct the phase problem, but I think the polarity would then be wrong, so I'm thinking that won't work. Which leaves me thinking there is an incompatibility between the two pickups, but I thought everyone wired to the same standard.

Thoughts?

Thanks,

Tom

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Old October 4th, 2015, 03:31 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Your pickups are out of phase. Swap the wires from your bridge pickup.
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Old October 4th, 2015, 03:41 PM   #3 (permalink)
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So there won't be any polarity issues if I do that? What about the bare wire that is also grounded? Leave it grounded still?
Thanks for the response.



Tom
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Old October 4th, 2015, 03:54 PM   #4 (permalink)
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You've got a polarity issue now. Leave the bare ground wire attached to the back of the volume pot, and swap the other two.
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Old October 4th, 2015, 04:13 PM   #5 (permalink)
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That fixed it. I thought from the first time I noticed the problem that it was phase related, but I wanted to eliminate the other possibilities first, and I wasn't sure if switching the wires would create other issues.
I thought there was reverse wound, and reverse polarity, and that switching wires wouldn't correct for reverse wound, or something.

Thanks again,


Tom
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Old October 4th, 2015, 04:50 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Coyle View Post
I thought there was reverse wound, and reverse polarity, and that switching wires wouldn't correct for reverse wound, or something.
It's a little more tangled than that.

Forget the magnets and wind direction for a minute. If you put two pickups in parallel, you will have two possible conditions. In phase, meaning the signal from one pickup reinforces the signal from the other. Or out of phase, meaning the signals from the two pickups are fighting each other.

There is no convention from one manufacturer to another that I'm aware of, other than Fender seems to be backward from most others. So if you're mixing pickups from two different makers, you simply try it both ways, and use the one that sounds best.

Now, RWRP... RWRP is important if you want noise cancelling when both pickups are active. Essentially running a conventional pickup in parallel with a RWRP pickup nets you a humbucker-like configuration. The sound from one pickup reinforces the sound from the other, but the noise from one cancels the noise from the other. When matching a conventional pickup with another maker's RWRP, you still have to experiment with phase. And, humbuckers can also be out of phase with each other, too.

Once or twice I have run across a combination that just wouldn't work together no matter what. I don't know enough about pickups to understand why they didn't work together, but changing one of the pickups fixed it.
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