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

Wiring a humbucker w/4-way switch

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by thaus, Jan 12, 2009.

  1. Deaf Eddie

    Deaf Eddie Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Mar 17, 2003
    Sunny San Diego, CA
    Yup. In the series combo, that pup's metal cover, baseplate, and the entire length of the braided shield is gonna be on the "hot" side of the bridge coil. IF the braid or any metal part of the pickup touches the shielding anywhere in the axe (including the strings, which are grounded), all you'll hear is the regular neck pup - the bridge pup will be "shunted" out of the tone. IF you touch the cover with your fingers when you're in series, you'll probably get an unpleasant buzzzz out of the amp.

    Read this: unground/reground the metal cover. The theory applies to any and all two-conductor pickups that have metal covers and/or baseplates.

    Pups with braided shield leads are almost always using the briadied shield as the ground AND negative conductor. That makes them the worst possible choice for this mod.

    IF you can swap it for a modern four conductor humbucker, your problems would all go away - four-conductor pickups typically have an FIFTH conductor, a bare wire in the lead bundle that serves as teh ground/shield conductor for all the metal parts of the pickup, independent from the negative lead from from the coil(s).

    Your other option would be to lift the negative lead on the bridge pickup, and run the series the other way:

    http://www.tdpri.com/forum/tele-technical/141953-wiring-humbucker-w-4-way-switch-3.html#post2343473
     

  2. Bonillot

    Bonillot TDPRI Member

    12
    Sep 2, 2012
    Las Vegas, NV
    4-way Tele switch w/PAF

    I'm a little confused. The bridge pickup HAS a metal base plate. It also HAS 3 wires coming off it (white, black, and blue). The blue wire is soldered to the metal base plate. The white and black wires go through eyelets in the base plate. There does not seem to be any jumpers or wires connecting the base plate to the pickup so I am assuming the black wire and the blue wire are designed to be separate grounds. The pickup is a Bill Lawrence L-48T.

    The other pickup is a great sounding 70s Japanese PAF with 1 white lead surrounded by a braided shield. When you say "run the series the other way," are you suggesting to flip how the PAF is connected to the switch or what? Also, to separate the ground on that pickup, wouldn't I have to unsolder the cover from the baseplate, then run a separate wire from the PAF cover to the switch (or ground or whatever)?

    I am trying to have the switch function like this:

    1.. Bridge only
    2.. Both pups parallel
    3.. Both pups series
    4.. Neck only

    Thanks so much in advance for all the help and advice. You rock! :)
     

  3. Bonillot

    Bonillot TDPRI Member

    12
    Sep 2, 2012
    Las Vegas, NV
    I like the appearance of the covered humbucker in the neck position, but just for my general info, how would this situation change if I simply discarded the pickup cover on the PAF? As I recall in the 70s (at least in Detroit), guitar techs were always telling you to get rid of the pickup covers on Teles and sometimes Gibsons.
     

  4. Deaf Eddie

    Deaf Eddie Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Mar 17, 2003
    Sunny San Diego, CA
    A three-conductor bridge pup is ideal for running the series the other way - you won't have to mod the pickup. Run the black and white to the 4-way and the blue to ground. In the drawing in thread I linked to, the black line is the black lead and the red line would be the white lead. The combos are all the same as running the neck pup in series.

    HOWEVER, unlike the order in that drawing, you want to put the series and parallel combos in the middle - so you would have to swap the way a few lugs are wired:

    [​IMG]

    We used to remove the covers on humbuckers in the hope that it made them a little brighter, or gave them a bit hotter output. And, it looked cool... Taking the cover off of your neck pup won't really solve the issue.
     

  5. Bonillot

    Bonillot TDPRI Member

    12
    Sep 2, 2012
    Las Vegas, NV
    Okay... So my only remaining question is the purple wire is the center wire of the braided lead, correct? I'm assuming he braid must be connected to he volume pot chassis for grounding.
     

  6. Bonillot

    Bonillot TDPRI Member

    12
    Sep 2, 2012
    Las Vegas, NV
    Will I still need to deal with the pickup cover of the PAF?
     

  7. Deaf Eddie

    Deaf Eddie Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Mar 17, 2003
    Sunny San Diego, CA
    Yes, the purple line is the center (hot) conductor from your neck humbucker. The braided shield on its lead must be grounded.

    Wired this way, you don't need to do anything with the cover on the neck pup.
     

  8. Bonillot

    Bonillot TDPRI Member

    12
    Sep 2, 2012
    Las Vegas, NV
    Yay...! Thanks so much, Eddie. I will try to post pictures of my wiring. The guitar has the kitchen sink in it: a "no-load" tone pot, 50s Gibson wiring, a Bill Lawrence Q-Filter, a top loader bridge. Can't wait to hear it! Maybe I'll post a few sound clips. I will definitely describe the sound here later.
     

  9. Bonillot

    Bonillot TDPRI Member

    12
    Sep 2, 2012
    Las Vegas, NV
    Issues... For the moment, I am aborting the 4-way switch in favor of a typical 3-way to debug the tone circuit I'm attempting. Understanding my pickup lead situation, how would you suggest I wire the 3-way? Thanks so much for your help.
     

  10. Bonillot

    Bonillot TDPRI Member

    12
    Sep 2, 2012
    Las Vegas, NV
    So if anyone is still paying attention to this thread, I got the Franken-Tele playing with a conventional 3-way switch, a Bill Lawrence Q-Filter switchable with a regular cap (0.012mFd), a Wilde Bill L-48TL (bridge), and an old 70s DiMarzio PAF. The sound was very interesting if a bit shrill. I never played the thing with tone control past about 4!

    Update: Decided to take out the Q-Filter. Replaced the DiMarzio with a Wilde Bill L-90 (2.0) in the neck position. Replaced the 500k pots with 250k pots and went with a more conventional 0.022mFd cap on a no load pot. The result is much more useable. The Lawrence L-90 works better with my Lawrence L-48TL. The highs have been tamed tremendously, but there remains a sheen or presence to the sound. Good mids which the guitar was missing (probably the combo of 500k pots, treble bleed resistor, and the 0.015mFd capacitor killed). Good boink! I used the DPDT switch to switch between series and parallel on the L-90. Interesting character to this pickup, but I believe I will enjoy it.

    Tone wise, the center position on the 3-way switch produces that Keith Richards/"Start Me Up" tone. There are lots of colors I am finding with the L-90 humbucker already. The guitar has been together for only two hours, and I know this pickup suits my needs way better than the DiMarzio. It is headed for EBay! The good news is the change was for the better, and I learned a lot.

    I do have a question, however. Has anyone ever tried making that capacitor trick which reduces a 500k potentiometer to 250k switchable with a Tele 3-way or 5-way so that the potentiometer stays at 500k when only the neck pickup is engaged? Please let me know.

    Thanks for everyone's help.
     

  11. Bonillot

    Bonillot TDPRI Member

    12
    Sep 2, 2012
    Las Vegas, NV
    OMG, my Franken-Tele guitar is awesome now! The Bill Lawrence pickups are fantastic! A very natural 50s vintage sound. These pickups are hot, but they sound like cool very low output vintage Fender. I built this guitar primarily for doing a show every night in a theater with reo-stats every which direction. Even my Gibsons made noise with all the lights. It had to be noiseless and cheap! Here are some details for those who would like project suggestions:

    Fender Squire neck with rosewood fretboard and a 24.75" Gibson scale (this affects the placement of the bridge so watch out);
    Neck mounted with a graduating shim to give the neck a bit of a tilt;
    Asian-made Telecaster body of unknown wood (probably poplar or basswood. A white wood with no discernible grain pattern);
    Top loader (no holes through the body);
    GraphTech bridge saddles (6);
    Bill Lawrence "Wilde" L-90 (2.0) humbucker in neck position attached to DPDT switch for series/parallel option;
    Bill Lawrence "Wilde" L-48TL "humbucking" Tele lead pickup in bridge position;
    Standard 3-way Tele pickup selector switch;
    CTS 250k linear taper master volume potentiometer;
    CTS 250k "no load" audio taper master tone potentiometer;
    Russian-made NOS paper in oil capacitor in tone circuit rated at 0.022mFd;
    50s Tele wiring (the wire coming off the tone potentiometer goes to center lug of volume potentiometer).

    This thing sounds awesome now! It has a total world class sound. Think Keith Richards (Rolling Stones) intro to "Start Me Up." Parts and everything, this project cost approximately $325. Cheers! :-D
     

  12. sohosteve

    sohosteve NEW MEMBER!

    1
    Jul 22, 2008
    Soho London UK
    Hi Eddie,
    This is a very cool wiring suggestion.
    I have used the first configuration with the split coil on the bridge, not neck pickup.

    Could you please help me modify it so that the second position gives me the humbucker in parallel humbucking mode as opposed to coil tapped?
    So that the pickup is humbucking in both selections

    eg
    Position 1 - Bridge pickup Series Humbucking
    Postition 2 - Bridge pickup Parallel Humbucking
    Position 3 - Both pickups
    Position 4 - Neck pickup

    It is a Seymour Duncan with the following colour codes

    GREEN = start of adjustable/south coil
    RED = finish of adjustable/south coil
    BLACK = start of stud/north coil
    WHITE = finish of stud/north coil
    BARE = earth

    As I'm not an electronic engineer could you kindly tell me which colours go to which terminals and which are soldered together?

    Thanks very much for your help.
    And apologies if my question is a little dumb...!

     

  13. Deaf Eddie

    Deaf Eddie Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Mar 17, 2003
    Sunny San Diego, CA
    Nope, there's not enough poles to get a coils-parallel out of that switch. You need one more pole to switch the white lead between connecting to the red lead or going to ground.
     

  14. dgraves

    dgraves NEW MEMBER!

    Age:
    46
    2
    Jun 12, 2017
    Seattle
    Hello,
    I'm new to the TDPRI forum and Tele mods in general, so please excuse my "noobness" on the subject. :^)

    Optimally, I would like to try a similar mod by adding a 4-way switch and a Dimarzio DP384 (4-conductor) humbucker to the bridge position of my '62 Tele (Japan) reissue, which currently has Texas Specials in it.

    Shooting for:

    4. Neck Pickup (normal)
    3. Bridge and Neck Pickups in Series (bridge pickup coil tapped)
    2. Bridge Pickup (coil tapped)
    1. Bridge Pickup (humbucker)

    Hoping the Texas Special in neck position is the reverse wound of the two, so when position 3 on the switch is used, pickups will be noiseless. An illustration (as above) on how to achieve this wacky mod would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance! :)
     

  15. Deaf Eddie

    Deaf Eddie Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Mar 17, 2003
    Sunny San Diego, CA
    Allow me to correct your terminology: you want to play your bridge pickup coil-shunt or coil-split, not coil-tapped. That's a whole different idea.

    I believe that you will find that the Fender and DiMarzio pickups are out of phase, if wired as recommended. If that's the case, you will simply reverse the red and green leads when you install the DiMarzio, using the RED as the GROUND, green as hot.

    The tough part of your request is, which coil for the DiMarzio makes a noise-cancelling pair with the neck pup. This I do not know. Typically, to find a RW/RP pair of coils, I would hold them face-to-face. If they repel, they are the same magnetic polarity. If they attract, then they have the opposite magnetic polarity. That mighty be a tough call on a narrow humbucker like the DiMarzio, but give it a shot. If you can make a clear call on which coil is RP, then we can figure out how to use that coil in your series throw.

    In any case, here's my WILD GUESS at how you might wire a four way to get what you want. The provisos here are the assumption that the DiMarzio must be wired "out of phase," and that the south coil will be the magic match to the Fender. If you find that you need the north coil instead, let me know and I'll edit the drawing to match. If you find that I'm wrong, and they DO play in phase, let us know that as well...

    4-way-TDPRI-request.jpg
     

  16. dgraves

    dgraves NEW MEMBER!

    Age:
    46
    2
    Jun 12, 2017
    Seattle
    Thank you very much! Will give it a whirl and get back with the results. :)
     

IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.