Hum in second position on strat, HELP

recto-robbie

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2,322
Hey all, not a pro pickup installer here but I have done a few swaps in the past with good results.

I just installed a ssl3 pickup in the bridge position of my 2015 American standard with fat 50's.

Everything seems to work fine now except I get hum in the second position. The new pickup sounds great, all other positions sound as good as ever and position 4 is quiet.

Before I go ripping it apart again I hope someone here can suggest what the issue may be?

Can this issue arise if the pickup is installed backwards? Simply turn it around?

Or should I have swapped the black and white wires just opposite of the original bridge pickup?

This ssl3 is not a reverse wound. I swear I installed a ssl5 non reverse wound in the past with great results but cant remember if I had to wire it backwards.

I appreciate any help you can offer me, thanks
 

walterw

Platinum Supporting Member
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40,981
turning it around will have no effect, and reversing the wires will leave the #2 setting sounding thin and hideous.

the trick here is to swap your neck and middle pickups! the new bridge is obviously the same polarity as your middle, so swapping middle and neck will put the pickup that's reverse polarity from the other two in the middle where it belongs. (neck and middle pickups from calibrated sets are usually the same except for polarity, so your actual sound shouldn't change.)
 

Blackmoreguitar

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recto-robbie

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2,322
Hey thanks guys, so the last post suggests to simply reverse the leads, is that correct? Or will it sound thin and hideous as walterw mentioned.

If I remember correctly, the ssl5 I installed in the past wasn't reverse wound but had the leads reversed.
The more I think about this stuff the more confused I get.
 

recto-robbie

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Although it isn't always consistent. I wanted to put an SSL-5 in my strat and based on the advice in the linked article I purchased an RWRP version, only to find that what was needed was a standard polarity but with the leads reversed.


When I installed that ssl5 in the bridge I spoke with a local gent shop owner who told me the entire history of how fender changed this and that on how they manufactured their pickups over the years. I'm just as confused now as I was that day
 

Blackmoreguitar

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It's easy to tell the polarity; the two outer pickups should repel each other when pushed together and should be attracted to the middle, (assuming you have RWRP in the middle position which most do). On both Seymour Duncans I have fitted in the bridge of my white strat I have had to reverse the leads (SSL-5 as mentioned and recently installed Twangbanger). I believe Seymour Duncan tell you that the leads should be reversed to match with Fender pickups. N.B. on the Twangbanger, the grounded baseplate had to have the ground link moved to accommodate the reversed wiring.

So to try and answer your question, I would first make sure you have a reverse polarity in the middle position and then worry about getting the wiring correct. I would expect you will need to reverse it if the other two pickups are standard Fender pickups.

It really is a pain isn't it :)
 
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Mincer

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Reversing the leads should get you your tone & phase back. This is because Seymour Duncan makes their pickups like Fender used to, before they changed their wiring direction.
 

AdmiralB

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3,060
Reversing the leads should get you your tone & phase back. This is because Seymour Duncan makes their pickups like Fender used to, before they changed their wiring direction.

I don't see where he lost his "phase".
 

recto-robbie

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2,322
Yea thanks again, I'll try reversing the leads later when I get
Reversing the leads should get you your tone & phase back. This is because Seymour Duncan makes their pickups like Fender used to, before they changed their wiring direction.



I believe this is exactly the story I was told, I don't remember ever buying a reverse wound pickup and I vaguely remember having to reverse the leads with the ssl5 when I installed it.
 

Blackmoreguitar

Silver Supporting Member
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2,235
If you have a magnet or spare single coil you can use that to check the magnet polarity; the neck and bridge should be opposite to the middle. Worth checking before messing about with wiring.

The more I think about it I think you needed a reverse wound reverse polarity pick up, and therefore you need to check the polarity as this has to be right.

If the magnetic polarity is not correct then re read Walters post re swapping the middle and neck pick ups.
 
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AdmiralB

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Yea thanks again, I'll try reversing the leads later when I get.

If the sound is proper now - it just has hum - you're wasting your time with the leads.

Do what the fellow above suggested. Find a magnet. Mark one side/end. Place that end against the polepieces of the new pickup - it will either attract or repel.

Then do the same, with the same edge/end, against the other pickup. If it does the same thing as the new pickup - IOW both repel or both attract - no amount of swapping leads is going to help, and you'll need to do what Walter suggested - swap neck and middle.
 

walterw

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yep, if they sound right together then do not reverse the leads!

reversing fender single coil leads is best avoided anyway, because it then puts the magnets right against the hot end of the coil, making said magnets really noisy if touched.

that's why old mustang pickups are under those solid covers, so they don't make a bunch of extra racket when you touch them after flipping that goofy phase switch.
 

recto-robbie

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2,322
Yup im more confused now, I thought this would happen, nothing is ever easy.

So the polarity is correct, bridge and neck repel and the middle attracts. I went ahead and reversed the leads and everything seems the same except I thought the sound was a smidge better before reversing them, BUT I could be dreaming here, stupid me didn't plug in before doing the switch, so I will have to reverse again to compare.

Important note to mention here is I said I was getting a hum, that is incorrect. In the second position I am getting that same static single coil noise as the others positions only its much less. Position 2 has this much less noise compared to position 1 3 5, but position 4 is perfectly quiet.

A thought, I left the leads of this new pickup at full length in case I decide to sell it. Could there be some type of interference because of this if they aren't routed around the rest of the electronics well enough?

I never trimmed the leads when I put the ssl5 in either and never had this issue so confusion has set in.

thanks again and happy new year all!
 

walterw

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I went ahead and reversed the leads and everything seems the same except I thought the sound was a smidge better before reversing them
the sound you're comparing is strictly the M+B position, and it's not subtle! the right way will sound like all the records by eric clapton and robert cray, while the wrong way will sound like your guitar is broken!
 

recto-robbie

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2,322
the sound you're comparing is strictly the M+B position, and it's not subtle! the right way will sound like all the records by eric clapton and robert cray, while the wrong way will sound like your guitar is broken!

Yea walter you are right, I switched it back and forth enough tonight to hear what your talking about.
For some reason I'm still getting that slight static/hum in position 2.
I went and reinstalled the original fat 50 bridge pu and everything is back to normal.
I read that seymour duncan link and it sounds like I should have bought a reverse wound, but wouldn't that change the polarity? I'm lost here.
I love the way this strat plays and feels and I keep trying to make a strat work for me but I'm struggling with its sound, excellent clean it is but add some gain and its all off to me.
I've always been a LP guy and I'm having a hard time with a strat.
Hey thanks for all your time
 

recto-robbie

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2,322
yeah, that's why i said to swap the neck and middle pickups; that'll fix both issues.

I guess I'm not understanding this scenario, wouldn't doing this put two pickups with the same polarity next to each other? Bridge and middle.


And fender has all the original fat 50 leads cut to the minimum, so if I move the middle up to the neck, the leads won't reach the terminals and pots. Again maybe this is a non issue for someone in the know?
 

walterw

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40,981
I guess I'm not understanding this scenario, wouldn't doing this put two pickups with the same polarity next to each other? Bridge and middle.
no, because that's the problem you have now, two pickups with the same polarity next to each other; that's why they're not hum-canceling.
I move the middle up to the neck, the leads won't reach the terminals and pots.
that's the PITA part, you'll have to add wire to the ends of the new neck pickup.
 

recto-robbie

Member
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2,322
no, because that's the problem you have now, two pickups with the same polarity next to each other; that's why they're not hum-canceling.

Hey Walter, I mentioned above that when I got home today I checked the polarity with the new ssl3 in the bridge position, I did the magnet test like the guys above mentioned and both the bridge ssl3 and neck repeled and the middle attracted. Am I missing or not grasping something here?
 




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