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Ilitch Questions

ItsGiusto

Member
Messages
99
Hello. I'm considering getting an Ilitch noise canceling system for my strat. The strat has a rwrp middle pickup, and the 3 dc resistance values are all around 5.5 kOhm. I have a few questions about the system, however

1) The diagram here http://www.ilitchelectronics.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/hex005E.pdf
gets around the issue of having an RWRP pickup by wiring the tone pots directly to the hot leads from the neck and bridge pickups, then using the other side of the dp3t to do some switching magic. In the normal strat wiring, the tone pots are only connected to each pickup when the pickup is selected, through the other side of the dp3t switch.

Now, I don't know enough about electrical engineering to know is this will affect the tone. One side of me says, "Well, it would matter since these pickups are going to always be in the circuit, connected through the tone pot and ground. They will never be switched off, and thus will bleed into the other settings.
Then the other part of me says, "it won't matter since it's going through ground"
Then another part of me says, "but why would the stock strat wiring be using the other side of the dp3t if it could be done this way with an sp3t for less money"
If someone could shed some light on what the result of this wiring would be, it would be much appreciated.

2) I only want to get the Ilitch system if I can put a push-pull pot in so that I can have the original sound back when I like. I know that this is possible, but they only have the wiring diagram up for this if you are not using a RWRP pickup here http://www.ilitchelectronics.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/hex004E.pdf
Which wires would I want to connect to the push-pull pot if I wished to do this with my RWRP strat?

3) Is there any difference between the backplate and the pickguard noise canceling systems? I only ask this because three of the six screws on my back plate are stripped out of the sockets, so I worry about whether I'll be able to keep a back plate on my strat much longer.
 
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ItsGiusto

Member
Messages
99
I realize that my question might be somewhat confusingly worded. I've tried to simplify it.

The top image below is the stock wiring on a strat. Is it functionally and tonally equivalent to the image below it, which is the alternate wiring that Ilitch is using?

If not, how do they differ in sound?
If so then out of curiosity, why don't companies who make strats use the alternate wiring and save money on switches?


 
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walterw

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
38,566
OK, the easy questions first:
3) Is there any difference between the backplate and the pickguard noise canceling systems? I only ask this because three of the six screws on my back plate are stripped out of the sockets, so I worry about whether I'll be able to keep a back plate on my strat much longer.
this is a non-factor, fixing those screw holes is trivially easy with some titebond wood glue and toothpick slivers; soak the slivers in the titebond, stuff 'em in the holes, crank in the screws while still wet, leave 'em in until the next day, never worry about it again. (the screws themselves will still come right out after the glue has dried.)
why don't companies who make strats use the alternate wiring and save money on switches?
i don't think strat 3-ways without the second set of contacts are a thing, so there's no money to be saved on parts either way.

G&L strat-types only need one side of a 5-way, the tone and bass-cut are both master-type and so come straight off the volume pot; they use the same switch, with one side for the pickups and (just for laughs i guess) jumping each lug to its twin on the other side, just to have a second set of contacts doing the same thing.
 
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walterw

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
38,566
on to the harder questions:

i think the issue with your alternate version of vintage strat wiring is the shared tone cap, that the unselected pickup or tone pot ends up affecting the selected pickup through that shared connection; you can easily solve that with a separate tone cap for each tone pot, but now you've just increased the parts count, so leo wouldn't approve. the little trick of putting the tone pots on the other side of the switch saved that 5¢ per guitar or whatever it was in 1954, so there you have it.

(also, the two tone caps would be thrown in parallel on the N+M setting,making it even muddier than it already is from the shared tone pots. not a problem if you go neck tone, bridge tone.)

the push-pull to bypass the system has nothing to do with the switching or the pots, that's all about what's happening to the pickup hots; all the bypass does is throw the pickup grounds straight to ground instead of sending them through the ilitch circuit first.

having heard lots of these on suhrs, i gotta say the bypass pull switch is pretty much just an "in-store demo" switch to prove to skeptical customers that the system doesn't change the sound but reduces the noise. i see no reason for it on an aftermarket install.
 
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ItsGiusto

Member
Messages
99
on to the harder questions:

i think the issue with your alternate version of vintage strat wiring is the shared tone cap, that the unselected pickup or tone pot ends up affecting the selected pickup through that shared connection; you can easily solve that with a separate tone cap for each tone pot, but now you've just increased the parts count, so leo wouldn't approve. the little trick of putting the tone pots on the other side of the switch saved that 5¢ per guitar or whatever it was in 1954, so there you have it.

the push-pull to bypass the system has nothing to do with the switching or the pots, that's all about what's happening to the pickup hots; all the bypass does is throw the pickup grounds straight to ground instead of sending them through the ilitch circuit first.

having heard lots of these on suhrs, i gotta say the bypass pull switch is pretty much just an in-store "demo" switch to prove to skeptical customers that the system doesn't change the sound but reduces the noise. i see no reason for it on an aftermarket install.

Awesome, thank you so much for the answers! I'm glad to hear that the system will work for me. I guess I'd better get an additional .022uf capacitor, though to avoid the cross-talk between tone knobs.

I know everyone thinks I'm crazy for wanting a bypass, and believe me, 99% of the time, I don't believe tone voodoo. But when it comes to noiseless single coils, I have yet to hear a good one, and I don't really believe it to be true. I'm mostly getting this system so that in situations where my strat would be unplayable, I have an option. But hey, who knows, I might decide that this is really everything it's cracked up to be. But until then, I'd like to have it switchable.

Now I just have to decide if I want the back plate that has an opening to allow easy adjustment of the tremolo claw. It sounds like a great idea, although in the past when I've kept the backplate off, sometimes my chest hair would get caught in the tremolo block... It might be worth it anyway, though
 

walterw

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
38,566
I know everyone thinks I'm crazy for wanting a bypass, and believe me, 99% of the time, I don't believe tone voodoo. But when it comes to noiseless single coils, I have yet to hear a good one, and I don't really believe it to be true.
oh i'm with you there; the closest noiseless pickup i've heard is the dimarzio virtual vintage stuff, and they're like 90% of the tone of a real single coil; close, but not quite the same.

the ilitch circuit is that last 10%! it is the sound of the single coils. if there's a tradeoff (besides the money) it's that the hum-canceling isn't as perfect; typical stack pickups are dead-quiet, while the backplate cancels about as well as a noisy humbucker.

i've related this story before, but i tried for (i guess) a "single blind" test, where a guy played a suhr with the system behind my back, amp set to clean, angled to the spot of quietness even in single coil mode, and switched back and forth between system in and system out; i was barely able to tell which was bypass mode, it was the slightest bit brighter. i'm talking the difference between a good 10 foot cable and a good 20 foot cable, where you could never tell unless you had them wired to an instant-switching toggle.

playing it myself i can't tell the difference between engaged or not, because i know which way the push-pull is set and that expectation bias swamps anything i actually hear.
 

ItsGiusto

Member
Messages
99
oh i'm with you there; the closest noiseless pickup i've heard is the dimarzio virtual vintage stuff, and they're like 90% of the tone of a real single coil; close, but not quite the same.

the ilitch circuit is that last 10%! it is the sound of the single coils. if there's a tradeoff (besides the money) it's that the hum-canceling isn't as perfect; typical stack pickups are dead-quiet, while the backplate cancels about as well as a noisy humbucker.

i've related this story before, but i tried for (i guess) a "single blind" test, where a guy played a suhr with the system behind my back, amp set to clean, angled to the spot of quietness even in single coil mode, and switched back and forth between system in and system out; i was barely able to tell which was bypass mode, it was the slightest bit brighter. i'm talking the difference between a good 10 foot cable and a good 20 foot cable, where you could never tell unless you had them wired to an instant-switching toggle.

playing it myself i can't tell the difference between engaged or not, because i know which way the push-pull is set and that expectation bias swamps anything i actually hear.
Well, that certainly sounds promising. But I'm also of the mind that if I can put it on a switch, why not? Might as well have versitility, at least to see. Also, I have another switch I'm using for putting the pickups in series, and I'd like to keep that as well - The Ilitch won't work with series pickups.
 

walterw

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
38,566
The Ilitch won't work with series pickups.
right, series is pretty much out the window.

(i suppose you could wire the circuit with series pickups, but i'd bet the hum-canceling pretty much fails at that point.)
 

57paf

Member
Messages
231
OK, the easy questions first:

this is a non-factor, fixing those screw holes is trivially easy with some titebond wood glue and toothpick slivers; soak the slivers in the titebond, stuff 'em in the holes, crank in the screws while still wet, leave 'em in until the next day, never worry about it again. (the screws themselves will still come right out after the glue has dried.)
I suggest that you measure the size of your back plate and compare it to the Illitch. I bought a back plate when it was marketed under Suhr's name and the noise cancelling back plate was wider than my original, so I needed to make new holes anyway.
 

walterw

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
38,566
I suggest that you measure the size of your back plate and compare it to the Illitch. I bought a back plate when it was marketed under Suhr's name and the noise cancelling back plate was wider than my original, so I needed to make new holes anyway.
the plate is way wider than the original, but the screw holes should be the same as standard fender; suhr sold two versions, one with screw holes to match his own guitars and one with screw holes to match fender specs.
 

Mark Robinson

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
8,665
I have a Strat with the Illitch system and it's really nice. RWRP middle pickup was a no-no when I put mine together. Did he figure out a method for overcoming that?
 

walterw

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
38,566
I have a Strat with the Illitch system and it's really nice. RWRP middle pickup was a no-no when I put mine together. Did he figure out a method for overcoming that?
i think the trick is wiring up a superswitch such that the system gets disconnected on 2 and 4, and gets the wires to the coil reversed on 3.
 

71strat

Member
Messages
9,358
While my Strat/Partscaster pups aren't reverse wound. I have had the Ilitch for some 2 years now. I love it and recommend it for any single coil pickup it will work with.

The Only difference in sound I hear is Much Better String Definition and less clutter/MUD, and all but Dead Quiet. In this way it can affect the sound I guess. But IMHO in a good way. With a quieter pickup comes better string definition.

They now make a pickguard and Im going to use that in my next Partscaster. You can send them your own guard and they will mount their system, but they have certain specs in thickness you have to meet. I bought a WD Guard for my next project.

I built a partscaster about 2 years ago. I gathered all the parts over a couple years and sent it to Glaser Instruments In Nashville for a Complete Assembly, Set Up, Plek. I send all my guitars to Joes shop.

Ive got 2 original 66 Strat pups and 1 original 65.

I used an old modded at 1 time ,July 8 of 82 x 57 Fullerton Reissue body and a USA Custom Guitars Neck. I supplied them a Torrified Flame maple Blank and an African Blackwood Fretboard blank.

Im sold on the Ilitch though. It also fit the Fullerton Reissue body with no problems.

 

walterw

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
38,566
I gathered all the parts over a couple years and sent it to Glaser Instruments In Nashville for a Complete Assembly, Set Up, Plek. I send all my guitars to Joes shop.

Ive got 2 original 66 Strat pups and 1 original 65.

I used an old modded at 1 time ,July 8 of 82 x 57 Fullerton Reissue body and a USA Custom Guitars Neck. I supplied them a Torrified Flame maple Blank and an African Blackwood Fretboard blank.
now that's drool-worthy!
 

GGinMP

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
5,149
i think the trick is wiring up a superswitch such that the system gets disconnected on 2 and 4, and gets the wires to the coil reversed on 3.
I'm finally pulling the trigger on an Ilich coil for my G&L Legacy (the coil works well since the guitar has the big swimming pool rout). It's got Duncan SSL-2's with a reverse-wound middle, so I'm going for the Super Switch to get noise-canceling across all 5 positions. I love the guitar, but it's had more noise than I want to live with.
 

ItsGiusto

Member
Messages
99
I've installed the system now, but I'm a little disappointed. It only takes away about maybe 50% of the noise. It has good sound quality, but in situations where the noise is really really bad (the situations which are the reason why I got the system), there's still plenty of noise, just slightly better. It doesn't cancel nearly as much as my RWRP pickup does.
 

jimpridx

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,532
I've installed the system now, but I'm a little disappointed. It only takes away about maybe 50% of the noise. It has good sound quality, but in situations where the noise is really really bad (the situations which are the reason why I got the system), there's still plenty of noise, just slightly better. It doesn't cancel nearly as much as my RWRP pickup does.
You might want to try reversing the two main lead wires from the Ilitch system (I'm thinking the red & yellow wires?), for you should be getting much more than a 50% reduction in noise. I'm not familiar with the pickguard version, but I had to do this on both of my Strats with the backplate version. My guess is that it reduced the noise by at least 90% if not more.
 

ItsGiusto

Member
Messages
99
You might want to try reversing the two main lead wires from the Ilitch system (I'm thinking the red & yellow wires?), for you should be getting much more than a 50% reduction in noise. I'm not familiar with the pickguard version, but I had to do this on both of my Strats with the backplate version. My guess is that it reduced the noise by at least 90% if not more.
Hmm, well here's a clip I recorded. The first part is without noise canceling, then the second part is with the illitch noise cancelling, and the third part is with the RWRP middle pickup, stock, noise canceling, position 4. Does it sound like the illitch system is doing an appropriate amount of noise cancellation? There's still a persistent high-frequency buzz that doesn't go away with the noise cancellation on. Is this normal, or should I try reversing the wires?
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/10935663/illitchtest2-1.mp3
 

jimpridx

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,532
Yeah, I would think that with the Ilitch kicked in that it should sound pretty close to the third part of the clip with the RWRP pickup on position 4. Mine are essentially noise-free unless my guitar comes within two or three feet of the amp. It's been a while since I installed mine, but I do recall that I had a similar issue until I reversed the leads. I'd seriously give that a shot and then readjust your Ilitch pot accordingly.
 

ItsGiusto

Member
Messages
99
Yeah, I would think that with the Ilitch kicked in that it should sound pretty close to the third part of the clip with the RWRP pickup on position 4. Mine are essentially noise-free unless my guitar comes within two or three feet of the amp. It's been a while since I installed mine, but I do recall that I had a similar issue until I reversed the leads. I'd seriously give that a shot and then readjust your Ilitch pot accordingly.
Great, thanks so much! I'll give that a go and let you know!
 




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