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How does different wiring affect sound?

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  • How does different wiring affect sound?

    Im getting an SH-4 JB and ive heard of people wiring guitars in different ways ... what difference does this make? what sounds can be achieved with different wiring of an SH-4 on a Les Paul replica (Agile LP2500). Also, where is the pickup wired to ... the volume control, and the switch?

    thanks a lot

  • #2
    Re: How does different wiring affect sound?

    The more load you put on the guitar signal (long wires, lots of pots and switches) the darker the guitar will become. For instance a guitar with only 1 volume pot and no tone controls will sound brighter than a guitar with 2 volumes and 2 tones.

    I don't know if that answers your question at all but its something to keep in mind.


    • #3
      Re: How does different wiring affect sound?

      Hi shiznats; If both humbuckers are 4-wire, I think I counted once, that were around 30 different ways you could wire those up. Of course, it would be impractical to try them all in one guitar, but you have a wide range of options.

      With just one pickup, you can wire it as a normal humbucker, (both coils in series), as a "split" coil, (using either the adj, or stud coil by itself), or with the two coils in parallel.

      Then, you can take any one of those, and combine it with the other humbucker in the same way: both humbuckers in seires, both humbuckers in parallel, one coil of the neck, with one coil of the bridge, etc., etc.

      Probably the most common configuration would be using a standard 3-way switch to select between the two humbuckers, and then use a volume push/pull to split the neck, and a tone push/pull to split the bridge. This will give you a pretty wide variety of sounds, while keeping the wiring fairly straightforward.

      What you may want to do is go to the SD main page, click on Support, then click on Schematics, and look over all of them to see what appeals to you. I actually download them all, and then view them using an image viewer of some sort. Makes it a whole lot easier.



      • #4
        Re: How does different wiring affect sound?

        Of course, that all doesn't really answer your specific question, which was - how would they sound.

        A humbucker in humbucker mode, is generally a bit more subdued then a humbucker in single-coil mode, (split). But even then, an Invader won't be as subdued as a Seth Lover.

        A humbucker in single-coil mode, (split), tends to sound a bit brighter.

        I'm not sure what the two coils sound like in parallel. Never done that. Hopefully someone else can describe that sound.



        • #5
          Re: How does different wiring affect sound?

          A humbucker in the standard series mode will be louder than either of the two coils by itself, and has a fatter sound with more midrange emphasis than the typically bright single coil. A humbucker in parallel has a bright tone that's similar to a single coil, though it's also quieter and smoother, and lacks the single coil's "edge". Both series and parallel modes are hum-cancelling (hence the term "humbucker"; it "bucks" the hum). This can be done with two single coils as well, or with two split humbuckers.

          Then there's the matter of phasing. Pickup coils can be wound either clockwise or counterclockwise, and the magnets can have either North or South polarity. When two coils have the same winding direction and polarity, they are in phase. When they are both wound the same but have opposite polarity (or have the same polarity but are wound opposite) they are out of phase, resulting in a thin, "nasal" tone that some people like and others find annoying. And when they have opposite winding and opposite polarity, this being out of phase twice-over brings them back into phase, as far as the sound is concerned, and cancels the 60-cycle hum (which is how a humbucker works).

          The same rules apply when combining two humbuckers. Normally they are both in series, linked together in parallel, for a sound that's full and bright, and not quite as loud as either humbucker alone. But as ArtieToo mentioned, they could also be linked in series, which I've never heard but imagine would be very loud indeed. And like individual coils, the two humbuckers can be either in or out of phase, though two humbuckers out of phase will have a stronger sound than two out-of-phase singles, and are still hum-cancelling.

          One last thing: There are generally two ways to split a standard series humbucker. Using SD's as an example, you'd normally have the black wire hot, the green wire grounded, and the red and white connected to each other as the series link. To get the slug coil alone, you'd need a switch to ground off the series link. But to get the screw coil alone, the switch has to make the series link hot instead of the black wire. I personally like to split both humbuckers differently (bridge slug coil, neck screw coil) so that it's still hum-cancelling when they're both split together.
          Let's go where the raptor goes....