Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups Warmoth.com
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups Warmoth.com
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups Warmoth.com

Adding a humbucker to the neck......

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by Swampash&Tweed, Sep 20, 2017.

  1. Swampash&Tweed

    Swampash&Tweed Friend of Leo's

    Jun 22, 2011
    South Florida
    I have a New Rick Kelly Tele in route. One of the reasons I bought it is that Rick routed it for a neck Humbucker when he made the body. It even comes with a Humbucker routed black guard.

    I have the neck Humbucker already......a PAF SD Antiquity.

    Do I have to change any values of the pots? add any resistors? Or can I just ground it and put it exactly where the neck single coil went and go on?

    Thanks.......
     

  2. The short answer is no, you dont have to change anything and assuming std 3 way switching you can wire it just like the single coil neck pickup, except it'll be a single conductor with braided shield doubling as the ground lead.
    If you like how it sounds you're good to go, however IME adding a neck bucker is rarely plug and play.
    What bridge pickup will it be paired with? If you have a hotter broadcaster-ish wind in the bridge you may be able to use a 500k or 1M volume pot without the bridge being too shrill. That, and relative volume of the two pickups is the main problem.
    Many humbuckers get muddy sounding with 250k pots. If that's what this Tele has and you find the bucker too muddy, you'll need to go to a higher value volume pot. I use a 1M in mine which pairs a Seth Lover with a Rumpelstiltskin 1950 blackrope. The Rumpel has zero ice pick so no problem with the high resistance pot. If you do get too shrill at the bridge with a high value pot, that's when you can add a parallel resistor off of the bridge pickup hot lug on the switch going to ground. That will effectively reduce the amount of treble you get out of the bridge pick up while not reducing treble at the neck pickup. You can try different resistor values to tailor the result to your liking so the std 470k resistor recommendation is not an absolute.
    Then there's the volume issue. Pick up height is the main way to try to get the volumes close to matching. Again a hotter bridge pickup and lower output neck pickup will play better together. Although I did not have to lower my Seth flush with the pick guard, it is lower than it would be if it were by itself.
    Also, I had to shorten up the legs to get it into the Tele route with any ability to adjust the height at all. Doing it again, I'd order a humbucker with short mounting legs.
    IMO, 4 way switching is a waste of time. Series with the humbucker is more mudslide than These Go To Eleven... yrmv
     
    Swampash&Tweed likes this.

  3. Swampash&Tweed

    Swampash&Tweed Friend of Leo's

    Jun 22, 2011
    South Florida
    Thank you for such a lengthy detailed reply! Made it much easier. :)
     

  4. I neglected to mention the phase issue. IF you find the pickups out of phase on the middle position you have a couple of options. If your bridge pick up does not have a metal base plate you can swap the conections of the +/- leads at the switch. If it does have a metal base plate you can still do that but you also need to cut the jumper that connects the baseplate to the ground lead and add a separate ground for the base plate.
    If you dont want to alter the bridge pick up you can flip the magnet inside the humbucker. There are multiple videos on youtube that show how to do this. Its not hard but you have to remove the cover of the pickup if it has one.
    The best option is to start with a 4 conductor humbucker. Most winders will make one for you if you ask. Dont forget to order your custom 4 wire with short legs too
     
    Swampash&Tweed likes this.

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