Out of phase pickups

johnnybregar

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I've searched the forums - but haven't found any reference to out of phase pickups from the factory. I have a 2020 AO 60's Thinline I bought used off of Reverb. The middle switch setting sounds like my pickups are out of phase. There is a huge volume drop and it looses all its low end. Something is definitely not right. I took off the pick guard and it seems to be wired correctly, no evidence of a pickup swap, and the little round plastic rings from the original pick guard plastic sheet came off of the screws when I took them out - I don't think anyone has ever been in there. Therefore, my conclusion is that these were sent out from the factory wired out of phase. Each pickup on it's own sounds great, there's no noise or other issues. The guitar is dead mint. Just super thin in the mid position.

The question is what should I do? I could reverse the wires on the neck, and re-ground the pickup cover, but it may not be as easy as that from what I'm reading about magnet polarity. I'm definitely confused. Should I send the pickup to Fralin or somewhere to have the magnet polarity reversed?

Help!
 

howardlo

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Very well could be that one pickup got wired incorrectly. A few years ago I bought a new set of Fender ‘62 Jazzmaster pickups for my Jazzmaster.
Once I installed them I had that same thin out of phase sound you describe with both pickups on. I checked my wiring and the white and black wires were connected where they should be.

Upon closer inspection I discovered that on the neck pickup that the factory had soldered the black and white wires revered on the pickup.
 

Tuxedo Poly

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The AO 60s wiring should look something like this. The black grounds are on the right hand eyelets of both pickups with the soldered grounding links.
Tele_Am_Orig_60s_wiring.jpg
 

Steve Holt

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Thanks - how could you tell the white and blacks were reversed on your neck pickup? Did you have noise from that pickup?

Wind direction is pretty easy to determine on most pickups.
single-coil-pickup-winding-depicted-900.jpg


This picture identifies the end of the coil in red. Take a look at the other side. Notice that the wire coming off the black wired is buried under layers and layers of copper, and the end going to the white wire comes right off the edge. So this one is wound counter clockwise.

Reversing polarity is pretty easy with minimal tools. First you can check with a small magnet and see if the magnet attracts to both pickups, attracts to one and pushes from the other. Or maybe it pushes from both. Don't use a really strong magnet because you don't want to mess with the magnets in the pickup. You're just trying to figure out the polarity is different. You don't really need to worry about North and South either on this. Just as long as they're opposite. And then you want to make sure the winds are reversed. You can do that by flipping the wires on one if they aren't. But as you mentioned, you'll have to mess with the grounds too. You could disconnect the neck pickup cover from the ground and then give the cover it's own dedicated ground wire. You find a lot of pickups with a separate ground wire for the cover anyway, because you need it if you do a 4 position switch.


Check out this tutorial on stewmac on winding pickups. You'll learn a lot and there's a section about charging pickups. I use rare earth magnets and stick them to a steel vise in my shop and pass the pickup between them. If you don't have access to a vise or two pieces of steel you cam sit apart from each other, you could probably glue some magnets to a couple boards and do it that way.
 

Ricky D.

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...

The question is what should I do? I could reverse the wires on the neck, and re-ground the pickup cover, but it may not be as easy as that from what I'm reading about magnet polarity. I'm definitely confused. Should I send the pickup to Fralin or somewhere to have the magnet polarity reversed?

Help!

If you just want the pickups to be in phase, you can keep things simple. Just reverse one thing and leave the rest alone. No need to worry about magnet polarity, just reverse the leads on one pickup. Bingo! Out of phase is now in phase.

You can test the in/out of phase question with a volt meter (VOM). I got my VOM a few years ago at Harbor Freight for about $5.00. You can do this quicker than you can describe how to do it.

Connect the test leads to the guitar output and select one pickup. Set the meter to measure DC voltage. Now hold something steel like a screwdriver shaft next to the selected pickup's pole pieces. Then move the screwdriver away while watching the meter. The meter will read either a positive or negative voltage. Now select the other pickup and repeat the screwdriver procedure. If both are positive or both negative, the pickups are in phase.
 




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