3 pickup wiring options for my SG copy?

Discussion in 'Tone Zone' started by Babaluma, May 12, 2017.

  1. Babaluma

    Babaluma New Member

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    I finally got hold of a 3 pickup SG, albeit a Tokai. It is a surprisingly great guitar for the money. I was thinking about various ways I could expand the range of tone I can get from the 3 pickups. At present it is 2 tone and 2 volume with the switch selecting neck, middle/bridge and bridge.

    Here are the options I was thinking of, any thought would be most welcome:)

    1) convert to 3 volumes and 1 tone pot.
    2) keep as 2 vol and 2 tone but have a push/pull pot to turn on the middle pickup. Possibly have it slaved to whatever tone/vol it is paired with so if neck Pu selected when you turn on the neck tone/vol controls effect it. If you want just the middle PU you can put selector in middle and turn down vol of neck and bridge although not sure how to then control tone/vol control?
    3) crazy idea of replacing two pots with the double pots of a fender jazz bass with a large pot and a smaller one in the middle. Larger pots would control neck and bridge tone and vol while smaller pots woudl control tone/vol of middle PU.
    4) keep 2 tone and 2 vol but have a 6 position chicken head selector switch instead of three way switch.
    5) keep 2 tone and 2 vol but replace the selector switch with a vol knob for third PU. Have it slaved to the tone of which ever other PU it is paired with and if only middle selected no tone control. Not great for quick changes of tone but good for recording sessions.

    Any of these make sense or all madness?

    Thanks
     
  2. Kep

    Kep Well-Known Member

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    or....Keep the factory controls - wire bridge straight in to the switch and use volume and tone on the front two PUs.
     
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  3. AngelDeVille

    AngelDeVille Well-Known Member

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    I don't know nuthin' bout no wiring stuff, but I do want to see pictures...
     
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  4. Dave Johnson

    Dave Johnson Well-Known Member

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    I have three different SG's wired up with the neck & bridge pickups and the 3 way switch connected to one volume & one tone pot. The middle pickup has its own volume & tone pot. It can be added in with a twist of the volume.
    This gives you all seven possible pickup combinations. If you want to get adventurous if your pickups are 4 wire, you could add coil splitting, series parallel switching, and in & out of phase with push pulls.

    This is the only copy of this diagram I can find on the web. It's crude but works as promised.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2017
  5. Babaluma

    Babaluma New Member

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    Thanks very much I will check this out. There are a lot of good options to try. Out of interest are series/parallel a significantly different sound to coil splits? I was thinking of this but thought series/parallel was preferable as it would produce a Straty sound but still remain hum cancelling? Or is coil split really the best way to get that quack?

    Isn't the middle PU already set out of phase with the bridge? So once you have separate volumes a tweak of the volume levels will give you that sound?
     
  6. Babaluma

    Babaluma New Member

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    I will post some pics as soon as I can work out how to make the size a bit smaller!
     
  7. Dave Johnson

    Dave Johnson Well-Known Member

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    Think of series / parallel as kind of normal to "motherbucker" tone, depending on switch position. It's a full almost muddy tone in series.
    Out of phase needs to happen with a switch or with flipping the magnets. The "Peter Green" mod.
    Coil splitting just gives a weaker signal and the joy of the added hum. Not really a Stratish sound in my opinion, but still a useful option.
    Only a Strat will really quack like a Strat.
    But it's a ton of fun trying things out and finding what's right for you.
    Alligator clip jumper wires are your best friend when trying different things. After your happy with the results, solder it up for good.
     
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  8. Babaluma

    Babaluma New Member

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    Nice one thanks for this useful info, really helpful cheers!
     
  9. Babaluma

    Babaluma New Member

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    @Dave Johnson
    Sorry a dumb question I am never sure about which you maybe able to help with. I opened it up and all the pickups look to be in phase. I have not set it up yet but with separate volume controls between the middle PU and the neck PU will there still be a certain amount of phase sound due to the proximity of the poll pieces or is the real out of phase sound strictly something you get through switching the magnet or with a switch?

    I have read that a Strat's PUs in the 2 and 4 position are refered to as out of phase but they are not. But that it's the close proximity that causes a mechanical out of phase with certain harmonics that gives the more hollow tone than neck with bridge?

    Cheers!
     
  10. Babaluma

    Babaluma New Member

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  11. Dave Johnson

    Dave Johnson Well-Known Member

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    A modern Strat has a reverse wound reverse polarity pickup in the middle, that gives you the quack.
    A wire flip via switch, flipping the neg. & pos. wires will get you in the ballpark. But may cause some noise if your now making the shielded ground hot. This is where alligator clip jumper wires are your best friend. Keep trying things till you get the desired results.
    I just did a triple pickup P90 conversion on an SG and I'm still playing around with phase.
    I used a RWRP middle pickup, but I'm just not getting the sound that I'm shooting for yet.
    I may swap positions with the neck & middle pickups and see if that gets er' done.
     
  12. Babaluma

    Babaluma New Member

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    Thanks very much for this info Dave appreciate it!
     
  13. Lynurd Fireburd

    Lynurd Fireburd Active Member

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    This "Frampton" diagram is in many wiring libraries.

    I think my issue chasing a successful 3 pickup diagram lay in my pickups. They were 3 identical mini humbuckers so the bridge & middle would be out of phase when on together, draining on the bridge pickup when the middle was blended in. Sounds weak & bland.

    I'm tempted by this diagram you post, which is the same as on the Dimarzio site I believe.
     
  14. JimD

    JimD Member

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    This is a bit of a ramble, but I thought I'd share my thoughts!

    I've always thought there's some confusion between what I'd call strat out-of-phase (oop) and Gibson out-of-phase. It's possibly easier to call the former "Sweet Home Alabama" and the latter "Oh Well". But even so this is not a great explanation since both versions can happen on any type of guitar, and there are many more songs than just those two. Although both sounds are caused by the interaction of two pickups, the sound is not the same.

    My take on "strat oop" is a sound caused by the physical addition of a middle position pickup to a bridge or neck pickup. This (as you suggested) blends the different frequencies picked up along the string's length and you hear the result in the amp. It always sounds sweet and bell-like to me.

    "Gibson oop" is either the electrical or magnetic alteration of the phase of one pickup in combination with another. It can be done electrically by swapping the hot and ground wires of one pickup or changing the orientation/polarity of the magnet(s) in one of the pickups. I've done electrical phase alteration but not magnetic. Some people think there is a slight difference. Either way there's some sort of cancellation (rather than blending) of the different frequencies picked up along the string's length. Again you hear it in the amp. It always sounds notched and hollow to me.

    So you have one phrase (out-of-phase) describing what sound to me like two very different sounds caused by different methods :)

    I've never had a three pickup SG, so although I've read that the middle switch setting is bridge and middle pickup out-of-phase, I've never known if out-of-the-factory this was a "Gibson electrical/magnetic oop" or a description of the "strat added-middle-pickup oop" that comes with three pickups. The one example I've heard and seen was a clip of Jimi Hendrix playing an SG custom and that sounded like it was "Gibson oop" (so there was a magnetic or electrical phase alteration going on in addition to the physical combination of the pickups). You can hear it around 1.55 on this clip:



    You can also electrically reverse the middle pickup on a strat-type setup and you get a very very thin and hollow sound if the magnets of both pickups are oriented identically. I demonstrate this in a video here:
    .

    That sound is humcancelling but very thin sounding. If I could flip the magnets in that guitar I would have a nice strat oop sound that was humcancelling when both pickups are on, but I'd probably break the pickup trying to move the magnets around. Brian May's guitar allows for all sorts of in and out of phase electrical combinations as well as physical combinations.

    On a Gibson-style guitar with two sets of volume and tone a two pickup "Gibson oop" arrangement you can alter the degree of "oop" with the volume of each pickup too.

    Incidentally a single humbucker utilises out of phase wiring of two coils in series and opposing magnetic polarity to get a humcancelling sound. Wiring the coils in parallel gives you more high frequency response and is still humcancelling, but the string is also still picked up by two coils. Cutting out one coil of a humbucker to just give a "single coil" is a slightly thinner sound again, but you get hum at high gain. In a standard humbucker both coils are "meant" to be heard. But both humbuckers in my "Lucifer" SG (an Adeson Lucifer and Oil-City Brassknuckle) are made from single-coil designs. In single-coil mode they get very close to a traditional single-coil guitar sound, but if I A/B them on their own i.e. not in a mix, they are not quite there (basically my tele and strat type guitars just do that sound nicer, and I can't work out if that's scale-length, body materials, positioning or just lucking out with the guitars I have). But onstage battling with the mix and other instruments I have all the flexibility I'd need (even if talent is short on supply).

    My Lucifer video:



    explains all the different phasing and coil versions on that guitar, although I need to update it now I have the brass knuckle in there.

    Wow, all that rambling and I haven't even got a three pickup SG!
     
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  15. njpaulc

    njpaulc Active Member

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    This is what I always wanted to try, master volume and 3 push/pull on/off tone pots, 3 position toggle switch, neck, all three and bridge, and you mix the middle position with the on/off pots. I wouldn't have a problem with the master volume because my SG toggle in the middle position is only as loud as the lowest volume setting, and I like to mix my tones, bridge at 10 neck at 0 or vice versa.
     

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