Phat Cats/P90's: Series or phase?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by tms13pin, Dec 24, 2005.

  1. tms13pin

    tms13pin Supporting Member

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    I've got a pair of Phat Cats I'm putting into an axe that had a push/pull
    on one of the controls for a coil tap when the hums were in there. Being
    the tinkerer that I am, I can't just not use that switch. So, I'd like to
    either use it for an out-of-phase switch or a switch that puts the pups
    in series when I pull it.

    I've never had an axe with P90's, so I'm asking you P90 users, which
    would be the more useful sound? The pups out of phase, or series'd?
    Of course, this is subjective, but I'm askin' anyway... :) I know there are
    these 4-way switches for teles that let you put the pups in series and
    parallel... series tone is supposed to be more output but less highs (makes
    sense). And I'm familar with out-of-phase tone for a pair of humbuckers
    or a pair of strat pups, but not P90s.

    FWIW, this pair of Phat Cats has one RWRP so when they're paralleled in
    the middle, they hum-cancel.

    Thanks for your input!

    --Tom
     
  2. Jim Collins

    Jim Collins Member

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    Do the pickups have the traditional, braided shield style of lead? If they do, you will have to do some minor surgery one one of them before doing either series or out of phase wiring. The braided shield serves two purposes: the ground for the coil and the ground for the metal base. The metal base must be grounded, no matter how the pickup is wired. In either series or out of phase wiring, the coil ground must be seperated from the base ground for at least one of the pickups.
     
  3. mainsale

    mainsale Member

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    SERIES, definately! Yep, there is a grounding requirement but it's no biggie. Download the 4-way switching wiring schematic from the Acme Guitar Works website and it tell you what you need to know.
     
  4. Antero

    Antero Member

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    Series. Massive output, thick as heck, kick on a fuzz pedal and instant smooth synthy goodness.

    Or have it put them in series and out of phase. That's a Brian May thing, I know.
     
  5. soldano16

    soldano16 Member

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    Just curious - is this something that could be done on a tradition P-90 based LP with some new switches? My P-90 Goldtop is a tone monster but the thought of having even more options is a bit facinating.
     
  6. tms13pin

    tms13pin Supporting Member

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    Absolutely, as long as you re-wire the pups as suggested above... er...
    only if you want a safe axe!

    --Tom
     
  7. Jim Collins

    Jim Collins Member

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    It isn't so much safe as quiet. If you do not modify one of the pickups -- the one whose wires will be reversed (out of phase) or whose ground will be attached the other pickup's hot (series) -- the metal base of the pickup is suddenly placed in the circuit. It becomes an antenna.

    You stated you wanted to use the push/pull, and it seemed you did not want to alter anything else. Using that push/pull to select whether a single pickup is in or out of phase, and leaving the toggle switch to determine whether or not the pickup is actually in the circuit, is easy. Using that push/pull to put the pickups in series, while still using the toggle, is an entirely different matter.

    The best I can come up with (assuming your toggle switch is a Les Paul style switch) is that if the push/pull is in, the guitar works as normal -- all three toggle positions work, and the middle yields a parallel sound. If the push/pull is out, only the middle toggle position would give you a sound, and it would be series. If the toggle is in either of the other positions, and the push/pull is out, you get no sound. Personally, I would find that unacceptable in the heat of battle, but you may be different.
     
  8. axpro

    axpro Member

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    Personally, I tried the series wiring on a soapbar II, and i really liked it... but i sold the axe to pay for a custome 22 soapy!
     
  9. tms13pin

    tms13pin Supporting Member

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    Well, safe too, in that your strings are grounded (through your bridge) and
    if you don't add the extra wire and still ground your covers, you leave a
    potential diff. between one of the covers and the strings in series mode.
    Not that big a deal, but.... not as clean a job.

    Yeah, the way I have it figured, I'd have the push/pull down and get
    normal operation, have the push/pull up and I get series when the pup
    selector toggle is in one position. I think this is a tone that I'd only use
    once in a while (who knows until I try it) so we'll see. Upon further
    thought, I think I'm going to add a mini-toggle as well to do phasing, so
    I get both. I have room, and I have the extra toggles. I'm open to
    suggestions if you've got some cool ones. This is a Gadow Custom Hollow
    axe and I'm going to use it as a player, I don't have any problem
    modding it (I'm already adding a pieso) so as long as there is room and it
    will make the axe more flexible, I'm all for it. Feel free to scan and email
    me any diagrams you've sketched out if you've got a better way to do
    this. I've already modded my neck pup with the extra wire. I don't think
    I need to bother modding the rear the way I have this drawn up right
    now.

    Thanks for the tips!

    --Tom
     

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