Pickup Wiring Help Needed



As happy as I am with my musical knowledge...I’m a straight up dummy when it comes to electronics.

I have a guitar with 2 HB pickups, 1 volume, 1 tone, and a 5 way switch.

The pickups are a 59/JB set.

As it stands I have 5 sounds and only two of them are noiseless.

Please hip me to what configurations are possible that are hum free, but sound good. I’m open to putting in a super switch. And I’m assuming the pickups are 4 conductor types that allow for the coil selection and series/parallel monkey business.

I would love a viable pos 2 & 4 stratlike sound in addition to the full HB. What to do with the rest?

Thanks....please advise!


Silver Supporting Member
Push-pulls to enable coil splits or phase reversal?

Series / parallel switch?

The options are pretty large.


Super switch is all I know...

I know there are lots of options...but most aren't very useful. I’d go with push/pulls over dpdt switches and the like.

I think I’m ok with full humbucking in 1&5 2&4 should be the stratty sounds. Not sure what to do with the middle...

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Precisely the problem...it’s like info overload. I was there and Dimarzio’s web site too. No real info as to what any of that actually sounds like.

I’m more interested in anecdotal info regarding what actually works rather than drowning in the limitless possibilities.

I don’t like hum and have two humbuckers and a fiveway blade.

Your mission (should you choose to accept it)...Best hum free sounds for the 2, 3 and 4 positions.

Pretty please.

OK playing along, almost this:

But physically spin one of the pickups 180°, so that positions are actually as below. (Assuming stock SD magnetic polarity.)

  1. Bridge Humbucker
  2. Bridge & Neck outer coils parallel (humbucking)
  3. Bridge & Neck humbuckers
  4. Bridge & Neck inner coils parallel (humbucking)
  5. Neck Humbucker

Or this one by BriGuy1968, which is pretty cool (again spinning one of the pickups 180°):

...I’m a straight up dummy when it comes to electronics...
However if this is your first outing... I don't want to say "don't do it" but splitting coils, series/parallel etc. is not the easiest thing to learn on. Even worse if mixing vendors and colour codes, which fortunately you're not.

Expect to make mistakes, expect frustration, test as much as you can outside the guitar (humcancelling or not, right coils active or not) and don't close the guitar up too soon, guaranteed you'll be in there again as soon as you insert the final screw. I like to attach the pickguard (if applicable) with Blu-Tack to start, even if I haven't made a mistake, sometimes I change my mind about a switch position after hearing it.


@Multi Angle Vise

Thank you so much...

To be clear, I have a tech who’ll do the work. I just need to make choices. It’s all gravy at this point because I only use the Bridge and Neck in full humbucker mode. Those sound OK...or at least like a 59/JB is supposed to.

I think the Briguy 1968 chart is the right idea.

The neck in series and parallel...which one is more like a single? Or brighter? I assume I can actually order the pickup choices where I want on the blade? I might put the brighter neck sound in the uppermost position.

I’m just looking for a stratty sound or two out of this thing with no hum.

I may go for a split shaft pot so I can have a tone knob for both pickups...I find I’m often rolling off highs, but not on the neck pickup.

Thanks again!

...The neck in series and parallel...which one is more like a single? Or brighter?...
Parallel will be brighter and a little lower output, so heading more towards a single coil sound.

...I assume I can actually order the pickup choices where I want on the blade? I might put the brighter neck sound in the uppermost position...
Positions should be interchangeable. At first glance, just swap terminal 4 & 5 on every pole to flip the neck series/parallel selection.

John Hurtt

Gold Supporting Member
The first question you need to ask...are the humbuckers wired to split when they were wound?

Gary F

My Suhr has 2 HB and a five way. I wanted simple operation. I don’t care much for tapped sounds, too thin unless you do the partial tap ala PRS on one coil.
I had Suhr wire the five way like this
1: Bridge HB
2: Bridge Parallel
3: Bridge and Neck HB
4: Neck Parallel
5: Neck HB
In this configuration all positions are hum cancelling, no noise.

Works for me, simple logical operation with no fiddley push pulls. The Parallel sounds are much like a good single coil sound not thin like a tap. The most successful tapped sounds I have experienced have only been with high output pickups using the PRS idea of shunting some of the slug coil to ground.

Both pickups need to have 4 wires, the JB has but 59 can be 2 or 4. Super switch.



I recently wired my two-humbucker tele with a strat switch.

I have 4 hum-cancelling settings, and 1 that is single coil.

single coil from each (north and south for hum cancelling)
neck single coil.

I’m just looking for a stratty sound or two out of this thing with no hum.
The last two settings are lower in output of course, but they give it a couple more bright Fender sort of tones.

The switch is a standard 5-way strat switch.

I made a video about it, with sound samples as well.

...The switch is a standard 5-way strat switch...
Nice one! That trick with the coil junctions - neat when someone goes off-script with standard components and comes up with something interesting.

...I don’t care much for tapped sounds...
Me either, never really bother with them now, only use auto-tap to match adjacent single coil H-S-H / H-S-S.

Also generally like to have everything on one switch, no toggles/push-pulls etc.

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