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Ibanez HH 5 Way Switch With Duncans

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  • Ibanez HH 5 Way Switch With Duncans

    There are tons of Ibanez/Seymour Duncan HH 5 way switching posts, but after reading through lots of them, most seem to be incomplete. Most posts address one aspect but ignore others and are usually abandoned. Rather than piece together a spider web of threads I thought I'd consolidate what I've found, ask a few questions, and hopefully clarify stuff for a lot of folks.

    Here's my situation...and I'm obviously a novice. I'm building an HH guitar with one volume and one tone pot. The pickups are the Jazz in the neck and JB in the bridge. I want to achieve Ibanez's standard HH switching per their diagram below. Based on everything I've read this switching is unique to Ibanez and the quickest way to achieve it is to use their 5-way switch, pictured below. For Seymour Duncans to work with the switch one humbucker magnet needs to be flipped and then the hot and ground reversed.

    Question, I understand how to flip the magnet, and understand it can be done on either the neck or bridge, but I'm not clear about the flipping the wiring. I've read conflicting posts that say one or the other need to be performed, or both need to be performed. Which is it? Also, below is Duncan translation of the Ibanez configuration that I found, and a snapshot of someone's control cavity. Are these wired properly? I flipped the magnet on my bridge pickup, will the diagram work for me, or is the wiring specific to the neck pickup?

    Here are the resources I've found:

    Required Ibanez Switch:


    Original Ibanez Diagram:


    Translated Duncan Diagram:


    Control Cavity:

  • #2
    Re: Ibanez HH 5 Way Switch With Duncans

    This will work. No need to physically flip the magnet or anything. The reason they tell us to is that in position 2 with this particular Ibanez wiring is that it would not be hum cancelling if you chose not to flip the color code on a pickup in position 2. I've seen it first in the fender showmaster so I call it the showmaster wiring. It has a nice ring doesn't it. Or at least more memorable than a TV remote like model.

    This is what you'd do. Without that Cortek switch I wish someone told me that it's an impossible wiring 2-3 years ago. I made the mistake of trying this with a basic 5 way import switch with no name import 4 wire pickups assuming I didn't know the color code properly. Then I found the youtube video that is probably print screened from where the man described the pin layout of that switch. I learned a lot about pickups and wiring from that endeavor but regardless this is what you'll want to do.

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    • #3
      Re: Ibanez HH 5 Way Switch With Duncans

      Wow, thanks so much! Without your help, I would never have known to look for Showmaster wiring. Seriously, you just helped me a ton and save a lot of people hours of frustration!

      Just to clarify. I should flip my bridge magnet back to its original position, can simply wire everything up per the diagram, and all positions will be hum canceling. Is that correct?

      My goodness...you've saved me so much frustration and time. Big Thank you!

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      • #4
        Re: Ibanez HH 5 Way Switch With Duncans

        Here is Fender's official Showmaster wiring diagram. This assumes a Reverse Polarity neck humbucker, meaning the magnet is flipped. I'm pretty sure it doesn't matter which pickup has the flipped magnet...just one needs to be flipped. With that said, the diagram ShadowFire90 provided is much easier and doesn't require you opening, and possibly killing, your humbucker.

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        • #5
          Re: Ibanez HH 5 Way Switch With Duncans

          Cool user name I was just noticing it now my brother used to sell a lot of WWE and Japanese wrestling memorabilia online. We sold a shirt Mick Foley wore when he was Cactus Jack that we imported from Tokyo. He can tell you more about it than I can as he's a walking dictionary of wrestling.

          I'm glad I could help as I'm not even joking I probably tried this wiring 4-5 times easily treating it like one of those bucket list sort of things thinking there was only one type of import 8 contact 5 way blade. I even tried flipping the color codes and all these crack pot theories. However it did keep wiring interesting and to realize that Cortek switch was different was a sigh of relief. For their price on ebay people might as well get a super 5 way switch. That wiring Ibanez loves to use I've seen it on the RG7321 among others I can't for the life of me remember at the moment. I remember a few weeks ago another person asked the same question about it so luckily I knew what it was.

          My experience with this wiring as I've put it in a ton of guitars if you follow my color code you'll get the right tone out of your guitar. However for reassurance.

          the hum cancellation comes from the pickups black / white (coil 1) as well as red / green (coil 2) going backwards so the same principal as a reverse wound single coil how they become hum cancelling in position 2 and 4. If you were to do both pickups like it where the coils "match" like red and white being the coilsplit for both pickups you'll get that distinct 2 wire single coil hum called 60 cycle hum. This will make sense when we look at any pickups color code drawn out by guitarelectronics.com I'll put one for reference.

          if you flipped the magnet physically like actually unwrapped the pickup and all you'll get out of phase in positions 2 and 3 which is very nasally and quack like. If so your best bet is to flip the magnet as getting everything in the bridge position lets say to work correctly it's a lot easier to just do that instead of swapping a theoretical black and or green wire in a Seymour Duncan pickup. The old school way of checking magnetic polarity is with a compass and they are getting tougher to find because everyone has smart phones with GPS.

          here's a good example of out of phase


          For a lot of other wiring diagrams if anyone wants to browse through about 50 or so variations of stuff I've put together in the last month or so. All are Seymour Duncan color code because I loved the way they drew out their diagrams the best compared to Dimarzio, EMG and so forth. Plus aside from guitarelectronics.com it's how I learned. Don't mind the mouth breathers on imgur with the thumbs down on my stuff. They just get a bit "angry" when it's not recycled memes from facebook and tumblr. I miss photobucket as I hate the social aspect of it but I felt this was easier than making a facebook group.
          https://imgur.com/user/anythinganyone123

          and this is a good indication of pickup color codes so that whole black and white , green and red make sense

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          • #6
            Re: Ibanez HH 5 Way Switch With Duncans

            This wiring is definitely possible with a 5-way super switch, and all positions can be hum canceling. I too chased this scheme and never could get any help putting a correct diagram together that actually worked and where all positions were hum canceling.

            It works best with the neck magnet flipped and then wired "inside out."

            Here is a modified Dimarzio diagram with Seymour Duncan colors written in red. I can verify it works because I now have four HH guitars wired this way and have toured them all year.


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            • #7
              Re: Ibanez HH 5 Way Switch With Duncans

              Sorry, here is the diagram you'd want for 1V and 1T

              Click image for larger version

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              • #8
                Re: Ibanez HH 5 Way Switch With Duncans

                thanks a lot Tone Meister. I had photoshop open and I was trying to figure it out which my experience is 3.4 and standard 5 way blade switches, toggles and push pulls for the most part. It's funny because I ended up emailing Dimarzio as I was after that diagram. No idea how I lost it and they got back to me in around an hour. Mind you it was 3 in the morning they got back to me.

                I'll draw this out in the seymour duncan format with the converted color code to make it as easy as possible for others to install on their guitars.

                And how did the wiring go on the guitar Cactus Jack? Any issues or you're all set.

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                • #9
                  Re: Ibanez HH 5 Way Switch With Duncans

                  Originally posted by shadowfire90 View Post
                  thanks a lot Tone Meister. I had photoshop open and I was trying to figure it out which my experience is 3.4 and standard 5 way blade switches, toggles and push pulls for the most part. It's funny because I ended up emailing Dimarzio as I was after that diagram. No idea how I lost it and they got back to me in around an hour. Mind you it was 3 in the morning they got back to me.

                  I'll draw this out in the seymour duncan format with the converted color code to make it as easy as possible for others to install on their guitars.

                  And how did the wiring go on the guitar Cactus Jack? Any issues or you're all set.
                  Awesome! I don't have the time or software to do a pro drawing, so that is most welcome.
                  Can you draw them both and covert to PDF? I'll pm you with my email address.

                  Also, keep in mind that flipping the wiring "inside out" on a humbucker is very different than just swapping the hot (+) and ground (-) leads.
                  Last edited by Tone Meister; 10-18-2019, 01:05 PM.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Ibanez HH 5 Way Switch With Duncans

                    Thanks for the heads up. I can imagine swapping both coils leads. For instance black becomes white , green becomes red?

                    for the diagram I'll make it a JPG or PNG. Usually I save images quite large so JPG shouldn't be a problem. The difference between JPG and PNG is that PNG is a much higher quality image. What MP3 is to WAV in a recording. The pro to sending JPG images is that you can share it easier with people around the world. Social media especially.

                    I've got it drawn out but since I'm juggling a few things I had an idea. Like I was suggesting to cactus jack as it's been 2-3 years since I've done this wiring and it's always great to have a second opinion on this.

                    Lets say I flip the color code of the bridge pickup to get my hum cancellation. Focusing on the bridge pickup. Green/black become my coilsplit on a Seymour Duncan pickup. Now this would fix the hum in position 2. Now say someone on here had a hand wound pickup and didn't want to unwrap it and all. We've put the pickup inside out. Now the only reason we're flipping the magnet to eliminate out of phase right? If so would it be better to just suggest in the diagram to change up the red and white wires on the bridge pickup to make it so I wouldn't have to tell everyone to flip their bridge pickups magnet?
                    Last edited by shadowfire90; 10-18-2019, 01:38 PM.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Ibanez HH 5 Way Switch With Duncans

                      With other 4 conductor pickups, unwrapping and such isn't necessary - you'll just need to know the polarity of each coil's winding (NS, NF, SF, SS) and color codes, and you'll also want to know the magnetic polarity so you can orient the coils correctly with the Duncans, whose screw coils are South.

                      With the OP's specific wiring scheme only, one magnet must be flipped to retain hum canceling in position 2's parallel inner slug coils. Seems like I had tried flipping the bridge pickup's magnet first, then went with the neck, but I don't recall the reason why it worked better.

                      Turning the humbucker's wiring "inside out" is exactly the way you described it in your first paragraph. To use other pickup brands, simply translate the Duncan's NS, NF, SF, SS colors to the colors of the new pickup.

                      You can assess the above drawings amd figure it out pretty quickly. Simply study the neck wiring vs the bridge wiring and the light will come on.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Ibanez HH 5 Way Switch With Duncans

                        Thanks, guys.

                        I ordered the Ibanez/Cortek switch yesterday so won't be able to wire anything up until early next week.

                        Also, I still have the magnet in my bridge humbucker flipped. I'm still a bit unclear whether or not I need to return the magnet to its original position. If I flip the magnet back and follow the modified Showmaster wiring, everything should be hum-free correct? Or, do I keep the magnet flipped and wire the guitar up per Fender's Showmaster wiring?

                        I chose to flip the magnet in the bridge because it doesn't have a cover. My neck humbucker has a cover so I thought it would be easier than soldering the cover back. I'm fine doing either, just thought I'd try the easy option first.

                        So to summarize. Thank you to you both. This is awesome and I'm very grateful for the help. Please let me know if I should flip the bridge magnet back, and which diagram to follow. I'll then get things wired up, and confirm everything is working.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Ibanez HH 5 Way Switch With Duncans

                          At the moment I don't have any guitars with blade switches to use as guinea pigs to reassure myself. That particular cortek switch I've seen 3-4 times ever in like 10 or so years. One time I even sold a pickguard i wired up out of spare parts for peanuts not knowing how expensive or rare (at least for me) that switch was.

                          I do remember putting this wiring using a bare knuckle black hawk and a standard Ibanez 4 wire neck pickup. At most all I did was flip the pickups color code inside out like Tone Meister suggested and I was ok. I say try the wiring out the way the cortek wirings are illustrated and if there is any nasally quack like in position 2 or 3 like in that youtube video or hum in 2 there is a few fixes I can think of to help you out. I've taken pickups apart and done everything but wind and wax pot them. The time before that was 3 years ago putting a Dimarzio evolution bridge pickup and a Schaller hot stuff (X2N style) in the same guitar. I ended up extending the wires on the Schaller to Dimarzio color code as it was a quite old pickup or the person just sucked at soldering and had no issues.

                          by putting the pickup inside out and all so we're on the same page. This I'd suggest doing in the bridge position over the neck as it's less complicated. But lets see if there is any second opinions in case I'm wrong about anything.

                          the usual seymour duncan color code is
                          black - north start - traditionally to the switch
                          white - north finish - coilsplit
                          red - south finish - coilsplit
                          green - south start - ground
                          bare - ground

                          inside out is reversing each coils colors
                          white - to the switch
                          black - coilsplit
                          green - coilsplit
                          red - ground
                          bare - ground

                          my dumb way to remember the seymour duncan color code is "i got a black and white tv for christmas"

                          if out of phase persists in position 3. Kind of over thinking things but
                          red - to the switch
                          green / black - coilsplit
                          white - ground
                          bare - ground
                          the only time ive ever had to do this on a pickup is to do out of phase with my guitars with 12 tone wiring as there is too much going on to just add a traditional phase switch

                          oh and Tone Meister I'll send you the diagram drawn the way I do all my stuff in a few minutes. I just got home.
                          Last edited by shadowfire90; 10-18-2019, 08:58 PM.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Ibanez HH 5 Way Switch With Duncans

                            Thanks again for all the guidance. The switch arrived today so I jumped in and tried to get things wired up. This is my first time ever attempt at soldering and wiring. What took me hours would probably take most folks a few minutes. Good news...the switch works properly. Bad news...I have a ground issue somewhere. Help .

                            I decided to follow the Fender Showmaster wiring diagram. To make position 2 work properly I did need to flip the magnet in the bridge back to its original position and then flip the magnet in the neck. With the magnets in their standard orientation position 2 selected the outside coil of the neck and the inside coil of the bridge. Flipping the neck magnet made it so both inside coils were selected.

                            Anyway, the switch works as intended. Now to the problem. I can't find the ground issue, and it's certainly difficult to see from the pictures. Also, I used the old pots and everything was grounded to the volume pot so thats what I did. There was a lot of solder on it before plus cut off wires so I used a solder sucker and cleaned it up the best I could. I then grounded everything with my terrible soldering skills. I'm definitly missing something as the guitar has a constant hum and anytime I touch the humbucker cover, bridge, control plate, switch the hum amplifies.

                            Do you see any obvious issues? Other than my terrible soldering skills . Any recommendations on what I should look for?








                            Last edited by cactus jack; 10-19-2019, 10:14 PM.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Ibanez HH 5 Way Switch With Duncans

                              I'm going to remove all the grounds and start again. My soldering is so bad it must be a cold solder joint. Really glad I have a solder sucker...gonna come in handy! I'll report back after I give it another try.

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