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A few wiring questions


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1. On wires:

Pickups - What wire does what?



If you've ever bought or been given a pickup and wanted to know how it should be connected, this tip should help. I will explain the process for a single coil but the SAME principle applies to HBs. If it is a 2 wire you will do it for the pickup as a whole, for a 4 wire HB you should do each coil separately.


Tools needed: multimeter (MM) that can read DC, screwdriver (metal).


1. First, connect the MM across the leads in resistance mode to make sure that you have a complete coil (this might be especially important for 4 wire HBs).


2. Connect the MM across the coil leads in DC mode (if you have to set the sensitivity, some MMs do this automatically go for the most sensitive setting).


3. Tap the coil with the screwdriver. Actually, it is not really necessary to touch it, but you must bring the metal of the screwdriver within the coil's field. When you do this, the meter will jump either positively or negatively. When you remove the screwdriver from the field, the meter should jump in the opposite direction.


4. Record the color leads connected to the + side of the voltmeter and the - side. Call the lead connected to the + side of the meter when the voltmeter jumps + the positive side of the coil. Actually, I may have + and - reversed here, but it really doesn't matter ALL THAT MATTERS is that all the pickups you install get installed the SAME WAY. On 2 wire pups, however, if one of the leads is a shield, call that the - lead (shields should always go to ground).


5. Repeat for every other coil/pickup. If the next coil/pickup makes the needle jump negative when you touch it with the screwdriver, then whatever lead you have connected to the - side of the voltmeter is the + lead for that coil/pickup.


When you are done you will know the + and - side of each coil/pickup. In order to make sure what you are installing is in phase with what is already in your guitar, check it too.


I didn't invent this, I got it from a book. But it has made me NEVER have to guess how to wire a pickup!


2. On pot values, higher value pots give brighter tone. Typically, for guitars anyway, 250k pots are used for SCs and 500k pots for HBs.


3. A Jazz bass is normally in parallel. In series, when the pup heights are set so right, it gives a reasonable approximation to a P sound.

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