Help me rewire my guitar please - Its complicated!

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by Sortalucid34, Feb 8, 2012.

  1. Sortalucid34

    Sortalucid34 Member

    Messages:
    32
    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2012
    I posted this is a different forum, but I'm reposting it here because I think this is a better place for it...

    Ok, so I've been playing a D'Angelico Ex-DC for years now. I love it. But the pickups and electronics have always sucked. The fact that I've been able to get it to sound as good as it does despite that is a testament to how well it's constructed in general.

    I know exactly what I want to do to it, but there are a number of questions I have about exactly how to execute it. I will be getting a tech to actually do the work for me, but I may need some wiring diagrams and some part suggestions.

    I am going to install Fralin Unbuckers (with 4 conductor wires)
    Seymour Duncan triple shot rings (for coil tapping)
    I want to replace ALL the existing volume pots

    Then...

    I plan on converting the knob configuration to:
    Master Volume
    Master Tone
    Pickup Blend Pot (when switch is in middle position)

    Additionally I want to replace the existing pickup selector switch to one of higher quality

    And I want to rip out the 4th knob and replace it with a 2-way master series switch (to run both pickups in series with eachother)

    AND I plan on making the tone knob push-pull for out of phase


    :huh

    Ok - so what I am asking of your knowledgeable folks out there is:

    1. Please help me pick the best possible Pots and switches. If I'm going to do this, I want to do it right.
    2. Can supply me with a wiring diagram for the pickup blend pot?
    3. Is there anything here that I'm planning on that is for some reason stupid/impossible?

    I would appreciate some thoughts/advice/suggestions from anyone here experienced in such topics.

    Thank you.
     
  2. the man2

    the man2 Member

    Messages:
    8
    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2011
    For wiring your guitar this is a good site that's easy to read. Don't know where to get good pots though
     
  3. fumbler

    fumbler Member

    Messages:
    1,471
    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2006
    Location:
    The Garden State!!!
    Tip #1: Wiring a semi-hollow is an infamous pain in the a$$. All the controls have to be fished through the pickup routes, f-holes, etc. I'd rather re-wire 2 strats and 2 les pauls in a row than 1 semi-hollow. You also can't shield the cavity (cause there ain't no cavity) so you'll need to use shielded hook-up wire throughout. You really may want to consider taking it to a pro.

    Tip #2: If you still want to go ahead, you'll want to use CTS brand pots (or DiMarzio's specially selected premium versions of the same. They're worth it.) Available at Amazon (believe it or not), StewMac, Allparts or check on ebay.

    Tip #3: Think about your wiring. The blend control (among other things) is pretty non-standard. I'd have to cogitate a while on how to get it to work with a standard Gibson-type toggle switch. Not sure it can be done. And you also want two humbuckers in series? That'll be mud city. Instead, I'd recommend an almost Jimmy Page style wiring: two volumes/two tones and two of the knobs are push/pulls; one splits/taps both pickups, the other one flips the phase on a pickup. The two volumes allow you to blend the pickups when in parallel and you also won't need those fiddly Duncan triple shot rings. If you insist, you can make a third knob push/pull which would put both pickups in series but, again, I doubt you'd like it much.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2012
  4. epluribus

    epluribus Member

    Messages:
    9,175
    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2005
    Ditto on the switch/blend plan. You can do one or the other, but installing both doesn't make sense to me. If you have the blend dialed full one way and flip the pup switch the other way, you get the wiring option WalterW refers to as the "Surprise Off" function. Bad idea, you're guaranteed to hit it at least once onstage, probably more than once. So what to do if you still want switching but some control over volume?

    You have space for four pots. On volume on each pup, a master, and a master tone, with selector switch...but you can still Surprise Off yourself. However, most four-knob-equipped guitars are wired with a volume pot on each pup, and rarely do you hear of people doing this to themselves when they use the select switch.

    Hokay, if you press ahead with the Triple Shots, now you have room for push-pulls. True, you can do one to reverse the phase, that's the easy one.

    The problem is the one that wires the pups in series. Works great, except you can't use your selector switch. If you select one pup off, you select both off...they're wired in series. Surprise Off.

    With enough fiddling, you can wire it so the two single-pup positions on the switch will still work, but having done something similar, I can tell you that the output level from the guitar drops off massively if you do that. I've found that type of series-wiring to be useless.

    But there's another way...use a 12-pole pickup selector available at Guitar Electronics, for starters. You'll wire one side similar to a conventional pup selector. But when you select Series with your push-pull, the other six poles are connected, and those have an addition to your series connection between pups...tone filters.

    When you wire two pups in series, even if you have 'em tapped to Single Coil function, they do indeed get boomy and muddy. Think vintage Tele neck pups, only muddier and boomier. But if you put a simple high-pass filter in the connection between them, you'll only hit the second pup with high frequencies from the first one, dramatically focusing the sound. Still thick, but very useable. Hm...so what frequencies and what pieces parts do you buy?

    I did it on perfboard on a workbench. Basically a high-pass filter uses a cap and a resistor in a little L-shaped circuit to shunt low freqs to ground. As you may guess, the value of the cap and the resistor determine where the corner point is and how steeply the shunted frequencies drop off. Selecting them is very fiddly, but fun. Build your high-pass filter on perfboard and use a trim-pot in place of the resistor. For caps I recommend a .022 or a .01 for starters. A .047 will work, but it's a bit extreme.

    Simply jumper the guitar to the perfboard and turn the trimpot till you find a "both-pickups" sound you like. Measure the resistance of the trimpot at that point and draw yourself a pic. Now keep twisting till you get a "bridge" pickup sound you like. Write that resistance value down. Finally, go back to your "both" setting, and this time play with the value of the caps to get your "neck" sound.

    Here's the tricky part...you're going to build a single high-pass filter, but instead of one resistor and one, cap, you're going to use two each, probably different values. The beauty of the fancy switch is that you can wire it so you can use two caps in parallel and lift one out of the circuit at one position on the switch. You'll also wire it so you bypass one resistor at that other end of the switch. Result? Both your pups will be on and in-series at all times, but when you throw the switch, you get a pseudo-"neck" tone, a tweaked "both" tone, and a pseudo-"bridge" tone.

    Is that useful? Depends on your ear, and how much amp gain you're using, among other things. Overused, it's a very easy path to Mudville IMHO...really demands you understand what your amp circuit is doing with all that signal, and what the mix needs. In that sense, I think it's far easier to skip the wiring and use FX.

    But is it fun? Yeah, no question, esp for the aspiring nerd-builder. Lotta really cool tone to be had that way, even if the usefulness is extremely limited.

    Currently I have one guit wired something like this...a Steinberger FrankenSynapse I use for travel. Versatile, great practice guitar. P-Rails, Triple Shots, phase-reverse, one master volume, and one master tone. The pup switch is a five-way Super Switch. 1, 3, and 5 are the usual parallel-pup Bridge, Both, and Neck circuits. 2 and 4 are series-wired, with a different high-pass filter in each for "juiced-neck" and juiced-bridge" tone. Of all that, I almost never use the phase reverse, nor do I use the Juiced Neck thing. The Juiced Bridge tone, however, is all sorts of fun running into twangy Tweed-style amps...Tele-on-steroids.

    IOW...humongous amounts of wiring and skull time for one extra really cool tone that you could get with a pedal or two. If you want phase-reverse, that's easy. But the series thing? You're gonna spend a lot of bench time working out those cap and resistor values so the component-lift trick works. I've done it, and if you're conversant in such things it's a pleasant evening in the shop, but it's marginally useful and lots of head-scratching to get there. And BTW...I could give you my R/C values...but they're radically different for each guitar. And they can get really wacko when you tap the coils, esp with all the choices provided by Triple Shots. Crazy. Must be done by ear.

    But whatever you do, if you play your cards right, the control deck looks pretty clean and stock. Onstage, I highly recommend pre-setting all your switches and only using the usual knobs and pup switch during a set. I do not recommend playing with the Triple-Shots mid-set, nor in your case either of the push-pulls...way too easy to mix 'em up.

    Set-and-forget the fancy switches, just use the simple stuff onstage.

    --Ray




    104 wirings, IIRC...

    [​IMG]
     
  5. Sortalucid34

    Sortalucid34 Member

    Messages:
    32
    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2012
    hey thanks a lot everyone!

    after listening to all your suggestions, I think I'm going to simplify and just go with push pulls instead of the triple shots and forget about the blend pots and series switch. I really wanted to have a lot of options but it just seems like it might be a bit more trouble than its worth.

    I'm thinking i might just keep all four knobs on but make them push pull to do coil tapping/out of phase...

    Last question...

    Is there a way to set up four push pull knobs so i can get

    1. Neck series/coil tap
    2. Bridge series/coil tap
    3. Out of phase
    4. Neck and Bridge pickups parallel (the individual pickups i mean)? This might not sound all that great with the un-buckers though as one coil is intentionally underwound...

    Again that might be too many options but it's worth a shot...

    And one more thing....

    What values am I going to want from these Push-Pull pots - assuming I go CTS - for Volume, Volume, Tone, Tone - I've been looking on allparts but I'm having a hard time finding exactly what I need. Any links would be appreciated.

    Thank you!
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2012
  6. mark123

    mark123 Member

    Messages:
    925
    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2006
    Dude, check out Seymour Duncans wireing diagrams on their website. http://www.seymourduncan.com/support/wiring-diagrams/ . Look under the tripleshot wiring options and you can more than likely find something that will do the trick. Tripleshot's make it pretty easy to do what you want.
     
  7. crunchman

    crunchman Member

    Messages:
    1,184
    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2009
    Location:
    Left Coast
  8. fumbler

    fumbler Member

    Messages:
    1,471
    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2006
    Location:
    The Garden State!!!
    I'm all for modding guitars out the wazoo but I think you'll find that many of the sound options you're talking about will be a little "meh". (Putting the individual coils of one humbucker in parallel?) And they'll also be pretty confusing to use in an onstage situation.

    When most of us TGP'ers decide we need more sound options, we tend to buy another guitar, amp or pedal :bonk

    Seriously, if you want to do an excellent job at something, you DON'T reach for a swiss army knife. You reach for a proper tool.
     
  9. epluribus

    epluribus Member

    Messages:
    9,175
    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2005
    Not a bad point, but I'm not sure I'd go that far. I'm a huge fan of parallel coils in HB's, for instance. Indeed, the output is much lower that way, but the transparency to the guitar's native body tone, along with the greater dynamic response (IMHO...not established by science that I know of) is extremely useful.

    AAMOF I far prefer P-Rails wired that way, as they have a really strong vintage 57-ish HB voice to them like that. P-Rails running as HB's with the coils in series, OTOH, gets you some pretty stout and modern-aggressive signal, which can be fun to hit some amps with, but you really miss all the detail. In my book you're really missing out on your P-Rails if you don't use Triple Shots with 'em...they really oughta just package 'em that way and have done with it.

    But as for the other tones, phase-shift, two pups in series with freq filters, etc...that's a much tougher thing to recommend. In almost every case I found very cool things to do with each option, but the applications typically limit you to the type of rig and sound/mix they'll work with.

    Like you, I hesitate to recommend those kinds of things to people unless I know they'll be prepared to experiment a lot and get them working in their narrower little grooves. If they don't find the groove, they'll be pretty disappointed. Worse, some of those grooves are really easy to miss, esp if you're not a solderhead and can't picture what the circuit wants to see.

    All that said, I find these chameleon circuits to be tremendously useful as long as you respect their demands...like Don't Induce Switch-Confusion Onstage, and Make Sure I'm Plugged Into The Right Gain Structure. Do that, these things are monsters. But in my book they're too fiddly for most players. As you say, far easier and more reliable to just grab the right ax in the first place...esp since every piece of gear has You Bet Your Show written on it. :)

    But building wild and creative circuits is just so much fun... :beer

    --Ray

    PS...SortaLucid...welcome to TGP! I like the cells on the side with the lake view, but that's just me. Watch out for the Turkey Surprise casserole on Thursday nights too...
     
  10. muddy

    muddy Member

    Messages:
    5,719
    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2003
    Location:
    nyc
  11. epluribus

    epluribus Member

    Messages:
    9,175
    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2005
    Ding! Lights coming on here boss. :) Thanks Muddy, great thread!

    SortaLucid, you want to have a normal pup selector, but you want to put a blend pot in the circuit when the selector is in "both" position. That way you can decide how much of each pup goes into the "both selection." Got it, nice, tons less fiddly than the old two-volume-pot approach, and as WalterW points out, it's less load on the pups that way. Cool, I like it.

    --Ray
     

Share This Page