Can I flip the magnets & coil in my SG Classic to make it humbucking? YES! (P90)

Discussion in 'Pickups' started by Pearly Gator, Jul 12, 2010.

  1. Pearly Gator

    Pearly Gator Member

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    One reason I do not gig my SG Classic much is that where I play, there is horrible power. My Classic with P90s picks up lots of hum. So, I usually play my SG Standard with humbuckers.

    Can I flip one coil and it's magnets to make my SG Classic humbucking when both pickups are used together? Anyone ever successfully do this?

    Thanks!

    PG
     
  2. dbb

    dbb Well-Known Member

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    Re: Can I flip the magnets & coil in my SG Classic to make it humbucking? (P90)

    I don't think it is that easy. However I'm too tired to think of the reason or solution! One of our resident pickup experts please....
     
  3. Pearly Gator

    Pearly Gator Member

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    Re: Can I flip the magnets & coil in my SG Classic to make it humbucking? (P90)

    That's how it works in a Stratocaster. The middle pickup is RWRP (Reverse wound, reverse polarity on the magnets) so that when the middle PUP is used with neck OR bridge PUP, you get hum cancelling.

    I think it will work. I'm just wondering if anyone has done it.
     
  4. philosopher

    philosopher Member

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    Re: Can I flip the magnets & coil in my SG Classic to make it humbucking? (P90)

    You can also install a dummy single coil inside the pot cavity.
    The pickup will be too far from the strings to pick any noise and mess with your sound, but you will have hum canceling.
    Ritchie Blackmore used to do this trick with his strat a while ago to have hum canceling for the bridge and neck pickups of his strat.
    Google it, you'll be surprised how many people have done this trick.

    Edit: yeah I know it's quite a mess to have a single coil in the cavity, not so nice, but it'll work
     
  5. dbb

    dbb Well-Known Member

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    Re: Can I flip the magnets & coil in my SG Classic to make it humbucking? (P90)

    [quote author=philosopher link=topic=20801.msg250373#msg250373 date=1279058513]
    You can also install a dummy single coil inside the pot cavity.
    The pickup will be too far from the strings to pick any noise and mess with your sound, but you will have hum canceling.
    Ritchie Blackmore used to do this trick with his strat a while ago to have hum canceling for the bridge and neck pickups of his strat.
    Google it, you'll be surprised how many people have done this trick.

    Edit: yeah I know it's quite a mess to have a single coil in the cavity, not so nice, but it'll work
    [/quote]

    I knew I was too tired to think straight, and may have been thinking of the Fender Duosonic's series setup..thanks for reminding me about Blackmore's Strat trick. He lowered the middle pickup if I remember.
     
  6. Pearly Gator

    Pearly Gator Member

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    Re: Can I flip the magnets & coil in my SG Classic to make it humbucking? (P90)

    It worked!

    Last night, I popped open the neck pickup. I knew that to make the coils of both pickups buck common mode hum, the coils needed to be wired out of phase. So, I swapped the ground and the signal leads on the one pickup.

    Next, I reversed the polarity/mounting of the magnets to put the output signal back in phase. The guitar sounds the same as before. It's just that using a lot of gain, there is no hum with both pickups on.

    Sweet!

    I took some pictures. Should I post them?
     
  7. Dorian

    Dorian Active Member

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    Re: Can I flip the magnets & coil in my SG Classic to make it humbucking? (P90)

    Pearly Gator -- We would of course be pleased to see the pictures and details. It doesn't sound like too much work, and I expect it is a real improvement to the instrument. I'm a bit unclear on something in your post, though. Do you mean that you reversed the magnets in both pickups? I think you should only do one of them, or they will have the same electrical relationship as before. Changing the wires on one pickup would then give you an "out-of-phase" configuration of the two pickups. Sometimes this sounds a bit "nasal", with missing lows, but I have no experience with this for two P-90s.

    What puzzles me, though, is why this hum canceling wiring was not done at the factory in the first place? My strats have this configuration when their pickup switch is in a two-pickup position. My first thought was that Gibson should have provided for this already on your Classic. But then Gibson does not always get things right.
     
  8. Kevy Nova

    Kevy Nova Well-Known Member

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    Re: Can I flip the magnets & coil in my SG Classic to make it humbucking? (P90)

    Pics with a detailed step-by-step explanation would be awesome! I too have a classic that I would love to use more if I could get the hum cancelled. One of my other SG's has GFS Mean 90 pickups that came reverse wound, so I mainly use that guitar. I could never figure out why a company that makes $37 pickups can get it right but Gibson, the most over-priced guitar company on the planet, can't.
     
  9. mikeystool

    mikeystool Well-Known Member

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    Re: Can I flip the magnets & coil in my SG Classic to make it humbucking? (P90)

    i guess im lucky, but i never hear THAT much hum with mine...surely not enough to bug me...the way i see it, if i want silence , i turn the volume down on the guitar...like in between songs in a set...and if i get hum, its always when im playing dirty...im interested in seeing pics though man!
     
  10. Pearly Gator

    Pearly Gator Member

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    Re: Can I flip the magnets & coil in my SG Classic to make it humbucking? (P90)

    Proceed at your own risk. If you are unsure, have a professional do it for you. This is how I modified my guitar. I am not responsible if you damage your guitar. This WILL void your warranty. Yada, yada, etc....

    Here are the pictures I took when modifying my 2008 SG Classic to be humbucking when both pickups are used. The modifications are done to only one pickup. It is not necessary to modify both pickups. I chose the neck pickup.

    1. Pop off the pickguard assembly. It will be easier to reassemble with the strings removed, too.

    [​IMG]

    2. Place a soft cloth between the pick guard & guitar to prevent scratches. Note the pickup and wiring orientation. (See the cutouts on the pickup bottom plate corners? Take note.)

    [​IMG]

    3. Remove the screws, nuts & washers holding the pickup cover in place. Remove the cover.

    [​IMG]

    4. Remove the pickup from the pick guard and remove the mounting hardware. Watch those gray threaded clips as they fall off easily.

    [​IMG]

    5. Note the assembly of the pickup and familiarize yourself with the part stack up.

    [​IMG]

    6. Remove the two mounting plate screws and the mounting plate.

    [​IMG]

    7. Mark the two magnets to identify their polarity. I used a blue Sharpie.

    [​IMG]

    8. Gently push out the end of the magnets on the opposite end from the wires. Just move them out enough to grab them with your fingers. You can see I used a small screwdriver. Slide them out of the pickup.

    [​IMG]

    9. Set the magnets aside.

    [​IMG]

    10. GENTLY pull out the taped end of the shielded/braided wire. Just enough to clear the pickup.

    [​IMG]

    11. Carefully unwrap the black tape from the end of the cable. Save the tape as you will reuse it. Note the white pickup wire goes to ground and the black wire goes to the shielded cable center conductor. These are the two wires we will swap. We will solder the black to ground and the white to the output lead. This modification will put the coils out of phase when used together and will give us hum canceling.

    [​IMG]

    12. Carefully unsolder the leads. DO NOT PULL ON THEM AS YOU COULD DESTROY THE COIL.

    [​IMG]

    13. GENTLY work the white lead back through the hole in the brass base plate, being careful not to damage the insulation.

    [​IMG]

    14. Gently thread the black coil lead through the base plate.

    [​IMG]

    15. Resolder the leads to the new wiring configuration. Black to the ground lug and white the the shielded cable center conductor.

    [​IMG]

    16. Insulate the white lead with the black tape you saved. See that loop in the braided wire near the ground connection? I had to pull the cable out slightly because the white lead is shorter than the black lead.

    [​IMG]

    17. GENTLY tuck the taped lead end back into the pickup assembly. The hardest part is done.

    [​IMG]

    18. Reinstall the magnets with the polarity reversed. This puts the pickup's output signal back in phase with the unmodified pickup. The blue magnet marks I added are now facing the pickup adjustment screws. Press the magnets in firmly and make sure they are in physical contact with the long thin steel spacer below the screws.

    [​IMG]

    19. Reattach the brass pickup mounting plate with it's two screws. When tightening hardware, snug is good. Don't strip the plastic by over torquing.

    [​IMG]

    20. Reassemble the pickup cover with its hardware.

    [​IMG]

    You're done! Remount the pickup and reassemble the guitar in the reverse order of disassembly. Note the orientation of the pickups in picture # 2. I put mine in wrong the first time and could not remount the the pickguard due to insufficient clearance.

    When using high gain, there is no hum when using both pickups together.

    Cheers!

    PG
     
  11. ESSER

    ESSER Active Member

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    Awesome, why the hell didn't Gibson do this in the first place?
     
  12. dbb

    dbb Well-Known Member

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    I'm completely impressed by this procedure and the pictures and directions themselves. Pearly Gator has done a great job showing this method.

    Unfortunately I won't be doing it on my own guitar - hum has never been too much of an issue, except when recording and then it's only when I turn a certain way toward the amp or digital recorder. So I just turn in the direction that does not hum! and the problem is solved. I am also operating at low volume levels relatively speaking so what hum is there is not too loud.

    Honestly I thought I understood all about pickups and wiring way better than it seems I really do, after reading several of the threads on this forum. Thanks to all for the education.
     
  13. Dorian

    Dorian Active Member

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    Pearly Gator -- Thanks! This is a really nice description with clear photos. You seem to have done a splendid job. Like Esser, though, I wonder why Gibson didn't do this at the factory?
     
  14. mikeystool

    mikeystool Well-Known Member

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    i asked for pics :D....nice man...
     

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