Out of Phase... question...

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by jkingma, Jul 19, 2019.

  1. jkingma

    jkingma Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I built a guitar a while ago with 4 single coil pickup, each with its own SPST switch, wired in parallel. This allows for about 15 different combinations. A few of them are out of phase and rather weak.

    Is there any way to combat this? I'm no electronics expert, but I kind of doubt there's anything that can be done.
     
  2. Lawdawg

    Lawdawg Tele-Meister

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    Maybe I'm missing something (I'm also no electronics expert), but couldn't you just add a phase reversal switch for at least a couple of the pickups.
     
  3. Obelisk

    Obelisk Tele-Afflicted

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    Sometimes having the pickups out of phase is cool when running a tube amp really hard. You can clean up your sound by throwing them out of phase. I do this with my Guild guitars from the 70's that have a phase switch. You would have to show some pictures of the guitar in question to get any suggestions. I believe you can reorient the polarity of a pickup. Is there enough space for more switches? Can you take pickups out of the equation? Is this some homage to Steve Morse? Vague query without more information. A picture of Steve Morse's 4 pickup guitar:

    SM.jpg
     
  4. jkingma

    jkingma Super Moderator Staff Member

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    The wiring is pretty basic. Can't be much simpler. As mentioned before, 4 pickups, 4 SPST switches. 1 volume, 1 tone.

    all pickups on there own sound great. all combinations of 2 pickups sound great. but when you have any combination of 3, or all 4 it sounds out of phase and weak.

    I can live with it, just wondering if there is a simple way to fix this.

    056_n.jpg 200_o.jpg
     
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  5. bmorepunk

    bmorepunk TDPRI Member

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    To the basic question: Pretty much no; if you have two pickups in parallel with out of phase wiring you're going to have significant attenuation (cancellation) of frequencies. The only way to boost that is through active electronics or to somehow delay one of them so they're back in phase (with active electronics or wires so long you would have to wrap them around buildings, or possibly with the right filtering trick). But at that point I'm questioning why you didn't just flip the output wires of one of the pickups.

    All these pickups look like they're from the same manufacturer; are they the same model #? If they're all the same part number and all the same output wires line up, they should be adding constructively.

    Does this weak sound occur when you have a certain number (say 3 or 4) pickups engaged at once but it's fine when you use any combo of two?
     
  6. jkingma

    jkingma Super Moderator Staff Member

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    In my previous post I said...

    all pickups on there own sound great. all combinations of 2 pickups sound great. but when you have any combination of 3, or all 4 it sounds out of phase and weak.

    I don't see how switching the wires on just 1 pickup is going to solve the problem.
     
  7. tubejockey

    tubejockey Tele-Meister

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    If you bought the pickups as sets, you likely have 1 or 2 that are rwrp. Swapping the wires on those will correct your issue, but you will lose some of the hum cancelling combos.
     
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  8. TRexF16

    TRexF16 Friend of Leo's Vendor Member

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    And this brings up the question "how were the pickups purchased?" Four of the same pickup, two sets of two? A strat set plus and extra? That may help.
    I'm also no expert but the fact that every combination of two sounds fine makes it seem odd to me that any combo of 3 sounds OOP.
    So how'd you buy the pickups?
    BTW, that guitar is very cool!
    Rex
     
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  9. strat a various

    strat a various Friend of Leo's

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    I have a Bass with two single coils I wired out of phase to create a primitive humbucker. It works great and the combination sound is good, but much quieter than the single pickup sound. So, I found this secret trick to address that ... it's called a Volume knob. It's on the guitar right next to the Tone knob. I set the amp loud enough for the Out Of Phase to be the right volume, and turn down the Volume if I use the single pickups.

    Here's another thing, prolly better for you ... you can use a clean boost to goose your out of phase sound. I do that w a Strat I have that has one weak output but great sounding humbucking Strat-size PU.
     
  10. jkingma

    jkingma Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Long time ago....

    IIRC they were 4 identical individual pickups. I have no way to be sure anymore.
     
  11. Zepfan

    Zepfan Poster Extraordinaire

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    Member Freakmagnet, had a similar issue with a pickup he recently made for a bass. Each pole had 2 small coils and he wired them in parallel. He had phase issues as well. He had to wire the 2 coils for each pole in series and then the 4 sets of coils in parallel to overcome the issue. So your problem sounds like wiring to me with 4 individual wires running to the same volume pot.
     
  12. Zepfan

    Zepfan Poster Extraordinaire

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    If they are the same polarity and wind direction or one of the in between pickups is the same, that would be your problem. Got a compass?
     
  13. Teleterr

    Teleterr Friend of Leo's

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    ? Turn on the neck. if 1 or 2 p-ups are out of phase, switch their leads on their switch. If 3 are OoP , switch the neck's.
     
  14. Asmith

    Asmith Friend of Leo's

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    Do any combination of 2 sound in phase? If so its not a phase issue, i reckon its an inductance issue. If theyre like typical lipsticks and they'll be low ouput/low inductance. When you wire pickups in series you get a boost, when you wire in parallel you lose some output, thats why position 2 on a tele and 2 and 4 on strat are little subdued compared to the other positions.

    With the 7 way strat mod people usually find all 3 a bit weak for this reason. Loosing output and to much harmonic cancellation.

    Maybe try implementing series into a switch or two instead.
     
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  15. johnDH

    johnDH TDPRI Member

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    Yes Asmith speaks truth.

    There are 6 possible two-pickup combos. I suggest check them all. Are all of them really in phase?
     
  16. jkingma

    jkingma Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I'm going to do some experimenting over the next week or so. It's not likely going to be as simple as I hoped. I'll report back if I come up with something. If I don't, I will just live with it like I've been doing for the last 4 years. ;)
     
  17. Ricky D.

    Ricky D. Poster Extraordinaire

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    Pick one pickup as your reference. Listen to it combined with one other pickup. If the combination is oop, flip the second one. Repeat for the other two. Now you have all in phase, verified.
     
  18. jkingma

    jkingma Super Moderator Staff Member

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    That would be true as long as I have my reference pickup in use... but what if I'm only using the other 3 and I have the same problem?
     
  19. Teleterr

    Teleterr Friend of Leo's

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    Yeah , I said that. This thread is a put on.
     
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  20. bmorepunk

    bmorepunk TDPRI Member

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    I apologize for not reading everything properly.

    This is where I was headed with my question about whether it occurs when it's a certain number used. If every combination of two is fine, I can't see how there's an issue with phase.

    I can't figure out intuitively why this would happen, though. If the output sounds good with two pickups, and it suddenly goes bad with three, that goes against how I would assume the frequency response would change in an RLC series model.
     
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