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Need help w/ 80's Seymour Duncan - Did they change wire color start / finish ever?

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  • Need help w/ 80's Seymour Duncan - Did they change wire color start / finish ever?

    Hello.

    I have a Seymour Duncan humbucker of some sort. It was pulled out of a guitar from 1987. It could perhaps be a little newer, but I wouldn't think by much if at all.

    I can't determine what model it is.

    Anyhow, all of the SD wiring diagrams online show the following:

    south coil as red and green, with green being the start. (mine is allen / hex pole pieces)
    north coil as white and black, with black being the start. (mine is screw poles)

    My pickup indeed does adhere to this color scheme as far as the south coil is concerned.

    However, my on my north coil, my white is the start!

    Did they change / standardize their wiring at some point?

    And just to confirm, if I connect a coil to my analog multimeter, and strike the poles of that coil with a screwdriver, and the meter rises, whichever coil wire is connected to the red meter lead positive is the start of the coil, correct?

    My cheap analog meter has to be set to ohms to do this, as it doesn't work on ac or dc because it doesn't have a low enough setting.

    Thanks

  • #2
    That's a Screamin Demon. The wiring scheme hasn't changed. Black would be the start of the South screw coil and white is the end. Red is the start of the North coil and green is the end. Red and white taped together is series humbucking.

    https://guitarelectronics.com/guitar...e-color-codes/

    *edit: I just realized that the SD diagram for the P-Rail is backwards on Guitarelectronics.
    Last edited by idsnowdog; 08-23-2020, 03:08 PM.

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    • #3
      I'm confused. Very confused. Can you please clarify? My analog meter moves forward on the green and red coil (when I strike it with a screwdriver) when the green wire is attached to the red (positive) wire on my meter. Doesn't that make green the start?

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      • #4
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        • #5
          Originally posted by luffliffloaf View Post
          I'm confused. Very confused. Can you please clarify? My analog meter moves forward on the green and red coil (when I strike it with a screwdriver) when the green wire is attached to the red (positive) wire on my meter. Doesn't that make green the start?
          That's the way it's supposed to be. On any Duncan humbucker, bringing the screwdriver up against the poles should go positive, and yanking it away should go negative. That doesn't necessarily mean start or finish. If you flip the mag, you'll get the opposite reading, while the start/finish remain the same.

          Wait a sec. You should get what I just said with red meter lead on red, and black meter lead on green. If opposite, it means that someone MAY have flipped the magnet. If you put black meter lead on white and red meter lead on black, and you get the same "backwards" reading, then definitely the mag has been flipped.

          And . . . one more edit. IIRC, a batch of JB's got out quite some time ago with mags flipped. If it happened to one, it could happen to another. But more than likely, a previous owner did it. Does the tape look like its been messed with?
          Last edited by ArtieToo; 08-23-2020, 02:27 PM.

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          • #6
            I am even more confused lol! Can you please answer me this question?

            Let's say we have a coil. It's south according to my compass (north points at it / opposites attract). It has red and green wires. I attach my analog meter's red positive lead to the green wire, and I attach the meter's black negative lead to the coil's red wire...

            I strike it with a screwdriver. The meter goes UP. Does this make the green the start or the finish?

            The problem is, if this makes green the start, then that's correct according to the diagram.

            However, on the other coil, the WHITE is the start then, which is wrong.

            Thank you.
            Last edited by luffliffloaf; 08-23-2020, 02:51 PM.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by luffliffloaf View Post
              I strike it with a screwdriver. The meter goes UP. Does this make the green the start or the finish?
              The problem is, that's not relevant. There's no correlation between voltage polarity and start/finish. Consider this:

              I take a normal Duncan 'bucker. I put my black lead on green and my red lead on red. I do the screwdriver strike. I get positive, then negative. Now, I flip the magnet. I'll now get negative then positive. We obviously didn't rewind the pickup. There's no relevance to start/finish.

              Having said that, if you're getting a positve, then negative, with red on green and black lead on red, then your magnet is flipped. Make sense?

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              • #8
                Hi. You know, I'm no spring chicken, and certainly no newbie, but this is just not making sense unfortunately.

                I have wiring diagrams that specifically call for (for example) the north start to be soldered somewhere, and the north finish to be soldered somewhere else.

                If what you're saying is true, and there's no correlation between voltage and winding start / finish, then how on earth can I determine which is which and know then where to solder which wire?

                I don't understand what you mean by the phrase "flip the pickup?" This may not be what you're referring to, but clearly the screw coil is south and the slug coil is north. My compass tells me so.

                So how do I ultimately determine which is the start, and which is the finish of any pickup coil then?

                Thanks

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by luffliffloaf View Post
                  If what you're saying is true, and there's no correlation between voltage and winding start / finish, then how on earth can I determine which is which and know then where to solder which wire?
                  You use the wiring diagram I posted above

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                  • #10
                    Let's ignore my Seymour Duncan for a moment. Let's say you have a box of old unmarked 4-wire humbuckers from the 1980's that you pulled out of Washburns, Morris's, Epiphones, Arbors, Kawai's, Corts... whatever. You don't know who made them. There is no wiring diagram online. How do you determine which wire on a coil is the start, and which is the finish?

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                    • #11
                      Edit: I was typing this as you asked your "box 'o pups" question. This should explain that perfectly. I hope.

                      Actually, I said "flip the magnet." That changes the voltage polarity independent of all other considerations. Let me see if I can explain this better.

                      First off, I think you may be getting too hung up on the whole start/finish, (S/F, from here forward), thing. It's virtually irrelevant as to how you wire up, and/or, install a pickup. I never pay attention to S/F, and I do some pretty wild wiring schemes. And, I can mix pickups from different manufacturers and have them stay hum-cancelling and in-phase. And, as I said, I never pay attention to S/F. Duncan and DiMarzio both wind their pups the same direction. They both connect them S-F-F-S. Yet DMZ puts the magnet in the opposite way, so they both have different voltage polarity to each other. You simply reverse the hot & ground wires on one if you want them to play nice together. There are some custom winders, who wind each coil in opposite directions. They connect their coils F-S-F-S. And again, that's not what determines the voltage output polarity. It's the way they insert the magnet. And if you buy one of those, and "flip" the magnet, you'll reverse it's designed voltage polarity. No problem.

                      I can connect the two coils S-F-F-S, F-S-S-F, F-S-F-S, or S-F-S-F, and still have any voltage polarity I want by virtue of how I insert the magnet. That's what I mean by start/finish not being relevant. So, to get to your primary question: "How do I know what to solder where?" There's a few different ways to approach this. The easiest, of course, is to stick with one manufacturer, and follow their diagrams. But that isn't realistic or practical. Here's what I do:

                      Since Duncan is my favorite pickups, I use there wiring code as my reference. I can take any other pickup, known or not, and convert it to Duncans wiring schemes. Lets say you have some 4-wire Chinese pickup with no data at all. (I should mention, you must have a DMM for this.) With the meter on ohms, measure all the wires until you determine which two pairs go together. I.e., they read some resistance. Hopefully, both will be very close. Now put your meter leads on a known pair, and your meter on DC volts. Bring a screwdriver up against one coil, then yank it away. Repeat for the other coil. One will have a stronger voltage reading than the other. That lets you know which coil goes with which pair of wires. I know this sounds complex. But once you do it once or twice, the whole process will take less than 60 seconds.

                      The final step: Put your black meter lead on one coil wire of the stud coil, and the red lead on the other lead of the stud coil. Do the screwdriver yank test. (Clip-on leads are very helpful for this.) If the voltage goes positive as you approach and negative as you pull away, then label, (on paper), the black meter lead wire as "white", and the red meter lead wire as "black". If it went negative, then positive, then red lead is "white" and the black lead is "black". Now do the same for the screw coil. When you get positive as you approach and negative as you pull away, then the black meter lead wire is labelled "green", and the red lead labelled "red".

                      Now, your pickup is "normalized" to Duncan colors and you can just follow any of their diagrams.

                      I know that sounds complicated, but it really isn't. You just determine which wires go to which coils. Then you determine their voltage polarity. Start/Finish never comes into it.

                      Make sense?

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                      • #12
                        Ok I appreciate your thorough and detailed response. Thank you. Your information regarding "normalizing" unknown pickups to Seymour Duncan wiring makes perfect sense, and I will do that for my old, unknown foreign pickups.

                        It's all becoming clearer, but where I am still unclear is that everything you said regarding testing on the meter is accurate regarding my south coil. Green's the start. Piece of cake!

                        But white's my north coil's start when it's supposed to be black!

                        I realize that you're saying the start and finish don't really matter, but I'm hung up on why are we normalizing to SD's standard when my SD itself seemingly isn't standard?

                        Or is my particular pickup just "an employee screwed up on a Friday near quitting time" pickup?




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                        • #13
                          Anyone else notice that a late 80s pickup wouldn't have the modern 3 hole base plate?

                          I thought that was something from the past decade.

                          Maybe someone swapped the pole pieces?

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                          • #14
                            The 3-hole baseplate is for Trembuckers only (TB-12, TB-4, TB-5, etc.). Standard spaced humbuckers still come with only 1 hole on each tab.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by luffliffloaf View Post
                              Or is my particular pickup just "an employee screwed up on a Friday near quitting time" pickup?
                              That's possible. But what's also possible is someone converted it to 4-wire, or replaced the cable when some previous owner cut it too short. Notice how the tape doesn't look quite right. It isn't wrapped as smoothly or neatly around the ends. I've done several pup rewires myself, so it's possible.

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