LP neck pickup parallel?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by brianr0131, Feb 16, 2012.

  1. brianr0131

    brianr0131 Member

    Jul 19, 2010
    Cherry Hill, NJ
    Anyone ever wire their neck pickup with the 2 coils in parallel instead of series to make it a little brighter?

    I have been playing with parallel wiring on 4 conductor pickups a little and I notice the tone is brighter and a little weaker. It occurred to me that it may be a good thing on a Les Paul neck pickup that was a little on the dark side. Instead of no load tones and lowering the pickup down to the wood to offset the bassiness......Maybe this would work?
  2. Sensible Musician

    Sensible Musician Member

    Nov 17, 2009
    yeah it helps. a really hot setup is a 4- or 5-way switch (you can put a rotary switch in an LP) that gives you all your thick and thin sounds. you can figure out which sounds you want to keep, then figure out which order you want 'em on the switch, then draw the schemo, then find a switch with enough poles/positions

    i keep saying the following, hoping others will learn from my many years of fumbling: start with a vision of your fantasy guitar and figure out how to make it happen; i.e. work backward from the end. always assume that you can have it any way you want it, and you can usually figure out how to make it so

    as regards guitars, anyway : )

    besides parallel wiring, here are some other things that help thin out a neck pickup:
    • raise the screws real high. this does a few different things, the result of which is more clarity and focus (thinner)
    • high pass filter (bass cut)
    • q-filter
    • active filters. not very guitar-y, but very effective
    • unwind a few hundred turns (risky even if you have done it a few times)
    • make/buy a pickup that you're in totally in love with and works better with the standard low pass filter. blade pickups (e.g. wilde L-90) and double screw (e.g. suhr) have more clarity by design

    one more that is a little longer than a bullet point to explain: if your tube amp gets darker the more saturated it gets, you can set your pre gain pretty high and ride the guitar's volume knob to get more/less girth/clarity. at the same time, ride a 10-50k linear volume pedal (you will have to build this - sorry) in the buffered effects loop. so your volume knob is now basically a fat knob, and the volume pedal is the volume control. this is my preferred setup but i play a LOT of not-so-lucrative gigs (bandleader still owes me $75 from tuesday) so i travel extremely light for attitude' sake

    having said all that, there's a lot to be said for having a couple/three phenomenal sounds. look at scofield, who is the king of "orchestrating" guitar-only tunes; he has a coil split switch on his guitar, but he filed off the lever to get it out of the way LOL - nobody ever said he was the greatest guitar tech.

    my latest thing as a player is rebuilding two guitars to be identical, and i put away all my others. so i basically have one guitar, and sam rockwell's clone on a moon base for when the first one dies. definitely helps put the gear out of mind
  3. epluribus

    epluribus Member

    Dec 14, 2005
    Parallel-coils is one of the four settings on SD Triple Shot pickup rings. Very easy to install. There's some really beautiful pups hiding out there. BTW, I believe Vox is also dipping toe into this prefab switching-system thing.


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