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3 volume & 3 tone controls, or other setup?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by Super Locrian, Jun 19, 2006.

  1. Super Locrian

    Super Locrian Member

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    The Koll I have on order is likely to have 3 Jason Lollar mini-humbuckers. I'm looking for the most versatile setup when it comes to the electronics. What options should I consider? I'm thinking that it would be nice to have a separate volume and tone control for each pickup. Any reason not to ask Saul for that? :)

    I'm also uncertain about the wiring/pickup selection. I want to be able to switch quickly between bridge, middle and neck pickup without getting entangled in the in-between positions. While it would be nice to have the option of combining the bridge/neck & middle (or even the bridge with the neck) pickup, I'd like to have this function separated from the "regular" pickup selector switch. Comments or thougths on that? :)
     
  2. MjCartney

    MjCartney Neo-Maxi Zoom Dweebie Silver Supporting Member

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    If you did a regular 3-way switch, that would give you the basics you're looking for.

    If you added an on/off/on DPST switch to that, with the output jack in the center and the hots from the neck and bridge volume controls on the outside terminals, you'd get these handy additional options:

    1.) With the 3-way in the middle, you could add in either the neck or the bridge with the DPST switch.

    2.) With the 3-way in either the neck or bridge positions, you could use the DPST to give you the neck/bridge combination.

    OOOH, OOOH, OOOH, I've got it Mr. Kotter! If you're doing separate volume and tone controls for each pickup, add switches to each of them. If you set up the volume control switches to add that pickup to the main output, you could get the basics from the 3-way & add individual pickups to whatever was selected. (You could get all the combos I listed above, plus ALL ON) Then, if you had switches on the tone controls, you could get even more sounds by using them for coil taps or phase. That could be pretty cool...
     
  3. Super Locrian

    Super Locrian Member

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    Pardon my ignorance,:jo but what exactly is a DPST switch or a coil tap?
     
  4. MjCartney

    MjCartney Neo-Maxi Zoom Dweebie Silver Supporting Member

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    Oops! Actually, now that I see this in the morning, I should've said SPDT rather than DPST.

    A typical switch, like a regular on/off switch is SPST, or "Single Pole, Single Throw". It has two connectors and will make or break a connection between those two points. In contrast, a DPST, or "Double Pole, Single Throw" would have four connectors and will make or break a connection between two of them simultaneously. It's like having 2 SPST switches that are controlled by a single lever so you can flip them at the exactly same time.

    A "Single Pole Double Throw (SPDT) switch will have 3 connectors on it, and will connect one of the connectors to one of the other two depending on which way you flip it. Typically a "Double Throw" SPDT would just have 2 positions, on/on. If you think of the connectors as "A", "B", and "C", flipping the switch one way will connect "A" to "B", and flipping it the other connects "A" to "C". In this case I'm suggesting you use a on/off/on, or "on" on one side ("A" to "B"), "off" in the middle ("A" to nothing), "on" on the other ("A" to "C").

    Using a switch like this will give you a toggle switch that would have 3 positions on it, in addition to your main 3-way switch. Flipping the toggle switch to one side would add the neck pickup into whatever is selected on your main 3-way, while flipping it the the other would add the bridge pickup into whatever is selected on your main 3-way, and placing the toggle in the middle position would give you whatever is selected on your 3-way only.

    A humbucking pickup has two coils of wire that are hooked up together, and a coil tap is where you will essentially "switch off" one of the coils to make it a single coil pickup.

    Not sure if I explained that stuff very well or not. I went back & edited a couple times, hope I didn't confuse things more!
     
  5. Super Locrian

    Super Locrian Member

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    Thanks MjCartney, I think I understand most of what you wrote. :)

    Having separate tone and volume controls for each pickups is my first priority, I think. And a 3-way switch to quickly select either the bridge, middle or neck pickup is also preferable to a Strat-style 5-way switch.

    I guess my question is, is it worth the trouble to have all the other options you mention? It seems nice to be able to have any pickup combination (B/M, B/N, N/M, B/M/N), and on top of that to choose whether to run each pickup as a single-coil or humbucker! But will this array of options really give me many useable sounds that can't be attained with just the 3-way switch and the separate tone and volume controls? It's nice to have options, but only if they're really useful, if you see my point. :)
     
  6. MjCartney

    MjCartney Neo-Maxi Zoom Dweebie Silver Supporting Member

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    Yeah, I can see your point. You would get a lot of nice sounds that you can't get with just the 3-way and V/Ts, but how many of those would you really wind up using?

    I've never played a 3-pickup mini-humbucker axe, but I'm kind of equating it to a Strat in my head. Not in tone, but in terms of wanting to combine the B/M, N/M, and N/B. I use the N/M and N/B combos a lot on Strats, but I'm not sure if it would be the same with the 3 minis. I'd think you might want that N/B combo from time to time though.

    What if you went sans switch & just used the volume controls to blend in whatever pickup combination you wanted? That could be very interesting...
     
  7. Super Locrian

    Super Locrian Member

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    I have considered that, but that would make it harder to switch quickly from one pickup to another. But I like the idea of being able to blend the pickups like that.

    By the way, I didn't know you could combine the neck and bridge pickup on a regular Strat setup? Not with a regular 5 way-switch, at least?
     
  8. Super Locrian

    Super Locrian Member

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    Having thought about it some more, I think I have found the solution: What if there was a separate switch that turned all pickups on (thus bypassing the 3-way switch), whereupon I could use the volume controls to blend each pickup as desired, for instance 50% neck, 15% middle, 35% bridge? Then I would have the best of both worlds: maximum flexibility, as well as easy switching. I think this is it!
     
  9. MjCartney

    MjCartney Neo-Maxi Zoom Dweebie Silver Supporting Member

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    I have my Strats set up with a standard 5-way & an extra switch that adds in the neck pickup to whatever is selected. When that switch is on, the 5-way gives you N, N/M, N/M, N/M/B, N/B. The extra switch is mounted on one of the tone controls, so I just pull that knob up when I want to select the other "mode".

    I like to mod my guitars, but don't like to drill holes in them, so if I put in some type of funky switching scheme I usually use the switches that are mounted on a control knob.
     

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