Help with Strat wiring - Neck/middle position is not hum-canceling...

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by jmp2204, Mar 23, 2015.

  1. jmp2204

    jmp2204 Supporting Member

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    I swapped out the stock single coils from my MIM Strat and replaced with two antiquities and a Tex-Mex RW/RP in the middle. The bridge/middle position is hum-canceled, but the neck/middle is not hum canceling. Still get the right signal and all, but also the hum.

    I also moved the middle tone pot to the bridge, in case that has any bearing on it.

    what should I check/look for?

    thanks in advance.
     
  2. Jerry

    Jerry Supporting Member

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    Looks like there are 2 varieties of Antiquity Strat pups. One has north magnetic polarity and one has south magnetic polarity. What model(s) did you get?
    Stew-Mac sells a little pick up polarity checker, which is a nice tool to have at times .
     
  3. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    if 2 and 4 both sound good (meaning everything is in polarity) then your neck and middle pickups are oriented the same as each other and won't hum-cancel together.

    the only way you can get 2 and 4 to both hum-cancel is to put what's now the bridge pickup in the middle instead, which may not sound the best if it's an actual designated "bridge" pickup.

    however...

    this opens up a neat option:

    if you swap the middle and bridge wires, just swap them on the switch, you get your second hum-canceling setting and a new sound, bridge plus neck!

    B+N is a cool jangly sound, like a tele, and in your case it would be hum-canceling. the only weird thing about it is that throwing the switch all the way back gets you the middle pickup, and putting it in the middle gets you the bridge pickup, which might be confusing in the middle of a song.

    you get (in order from all the way back):
    M
    M+B (hum-canceling)
    B
    B+N (your new sound, hum-canceling)
    N

    you could also get clever with a superswitch 5-way, which would let you keep everything the same as stock in the same settings, except N+M would be traded for N+B.
     
  4. jmp2204

    jmp2204 Supporting Member

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    hmmm. I am not sure I understand. The middle pup is RW/RP, so it should work with the other two, it did with the two previous MIM pups I replaced. So is one of the Antiquities (Surfer California & unknown model) the wrong polarity.

    It does sound fine in 2&4, just the neck/middle is still humming.:dunno
     
  5. KeithC

    KeithC Silver Supporting Member

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    RW/RP always means in relation to the other pickups. No single "RWRP" pickup would always be RWRP in relation to every other pickup.
    Between brands its a crapshoot unless you just happen to know or have specs on all other pickup brands and models.

    Of course the quick "non expert" was to check polarity is to put the magnets together to see if they attract or repel each other.

    The wind can be easily "reverse matched" by switching the leads to the switch and ground.
     
  6. kevmin

    kevmin Supporting Member

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    Yes, it sounds like the neck pickup has the same wind and polarity as the RWRP Fender middle pickup. That is why it is "in phase" with the middle pickup but does not hum cancel.

    Pickups are in phase if they have the same wind and polarity or if they have the opposite wind and polarity.

    The easiest and cheapest fix is to trade the bridge pickup with the middle pickup. But if the bridge pickup is wound hotter and you need it to stay in the bridge, you can either (1) live with it the way it is (single coils that are not hum-cancelling when combined have better quack anyway) or (2) put the neck antiquity in the middle and buy another antiquity for the neck that is the same wind and polarity as your bridge pickup.

    It sounds like the Duncan pickup you have in the bridge was intended to be a RWRP middle pickup anyway. Here is an explanation from the Duncan site:

    "Here’s the catch … yeah, we all knew there was a catch. Life’s never that easy. If you’re using pickups from the same manufacturer it’s pretty straightforward to match wind and polarity. They are all designed to work together. A Seymour Duncan single coil pairs perfectly with a Seymour Duncan RWRP single coil. Unfortunately, this is not true if you mix and match pickups from different manufacturers. One manufacturer’s idea of a standard single coil might be another’s idea of a RWRP, and vise versa.
    The most common scenario in which the above comes to bear is when combining Seymour Duncan single coils and Fender single coils. It all started when Seymour decided to base his single coils on the original Fender single coils from the 1950′s, which were south, top going. At some point in the 60′s, Fender decided to change their single coils to be north, top coming. The end result is that Seymour’s regular pickups are equivalent to Fender’s RWRP, and vise versa. The only exception to this is the Antiquity Texas Hot; that’s because it’s an accurate re-creation of the “new” style of Fender pickup."
     
  7. kevmin

    kevmin Supporting Member

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    OP, so what was your resolution on this issue?
     
  8. markstullkc

    markstullkc Member

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    Old thread search bump.

    So I got a lollar special s bridge and put it in my Jimmie Vaughn strat. Had phase issue in pos 4, so I reversed the wires on the lollar. Now I'm in phase in pos 4, but it hums. Position 2 is quiet. Lollar sounds fantastic by the way. Way better than the Tex-Mex.

    So now, if I understand correctly, no way to get hum cancel in both pos 2 & 4, it will be one or the other?
     
  9. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    not at all, you'd just swap your middle and neck pickups around. (you might need to lengthen the middle pickup wires so it reaches the switch from the neck position).

    the only drawback here is that reversing the wires on a regular strat pickup causes the coil to be "backwards", so that the hot end of the wraps are right against the magnets; that doesn't hurt the tone, but it causes the magnets to be "hot", so they're really noisy if you touch them.

    a fix for both problems would be to keep the other two pickups where they are and get the bridge re-polarized the other way, using strong neo-D magnets to reverse the direction of the alnico magnets; that'll fix the sound and the hum at the same time.
     
  10. markstullkc

    markstullkc Member

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    Well I was thinking about an ilitch backplate
     
  11. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    those are awesome, but you'd need all three pickups to be the same polarity for it to work right in all settings. it basically becomes the RW/RP coil for all three pickups, except it doesn't choke the tone like regular dummy coils do.
     

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