Taming that nasal "out of phase" sound

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by swangdb, Jul 14, 2008.

  1. swangdb

    swangdb Member

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    The out of phase sound I'm talking about is when two pickups are used together and the polarity of one of the pickups is switched. The resulting sound is kind of "nasal" or "honky."

    I've had two guitars that offered this sound:

    - A Gibson L6S which had a 6-position rotary switch that offered two out of phase sounds (serial and parallel)

    - An 80s PRS which had a 5-position switch that offered a serial out of phase sound.

    I sort of like this sound and sort of don't. I guess I'm curious if anyone has developed a passive filter of some kind (something better than your regular tone control) that would smooth out some of the peaks of this sound and make it less honky and more usable, for me anyway. Maybe a resistor/trim pot to just turn down one of the pickups would help the sound, though I'm not sure if this would work with the pickups wired in series.

    Ideas?
     
  2. CDaughtry

    CDaughtry Member

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    I've found that adjusting the volume controls ever so slightly makes a BIG difference. For example, let's say you have them both set on 9. If you want it less bassy, dial the neck pickup down to 7 1/2 or 8, and vice versa. Little bitty changes in levels makes a BIG difference when you are using the out of phase tone, but the rewards are HUGE!
     
  3. Trebor Renkluaf

    Trebor Renkluaf I was hit by a parked car, what's your excuse? Gold Supporting Member

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    What CD said. The trick to getting a useable out-of-phase tone is to have volume controls for both pickups. Alternativley I suppose you could have some sort of blend control. The bottom line is you need to be able to blend the two pickups some how - on Gibsons this is done with the individual volume controls.
     
  4. swangdb

    swangdb Member

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    The guitar I might rewire someday is a Telecaster which doesn't have separate vol controls. Maybe I could put an internal trim pot on the phase switch that is only on when things are out of phase and then adjust the volume and find the sound I like. I just need to figure out how to do that...
     
  5. treeofpain

    treeofpain Silver Supporting Member

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    Also, try a compressor. It will tame the resonant frequency and will and a bit of overall beef to the sound.
     
  6. EADGBE

    EADGBE Member

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    A booster or preamp pedal might help.
     
  7. swangdb

    swangdb Member

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    I like that idea. Time to dust off the old Barber Tone Press...
     
  8. korus

    korus Member

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  9. swangdb

    swangdb Member

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  10. morlll

    morlll Member

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    I hate that sound also.

    It sounds broken to me.
     
  11. murkat

    murkat I like sea otters Silver Supporting Member

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    well, if you want to use that tone (outta phaze) on the volume pots, switch the pickup hot lug to the switch lug. (lug to ground/ pup input/ switch output) this will make each pups volume independent from each other instead of having a master volume for either when used together, like a lp. try that :)
     
  12. AndrewC

    AndrewC Supporting Member

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    I have no idea how or why it works, but I have been doing this for 20 years - set the amp to a fairly fat tone with moderate gain, use a treble bleed capacitor on the guitar and back the volume off to 7 or so. The tone cleans up nicely with just the right amount of snap and bite.
     

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