11 August 2012

Wiring DIY - Part 10

Other Modules

Following modules, aren't directly related to just a coil or pickup but, they are more generic.

ArtieToo's Coil Swap

Once more, Artie came with a nice wiring that allows to create some virtual humbuckers, giving more combinations to your axe. Interesting idea. See the following diagram:

Each pickup's hot is routed to the right place (the volume pot or the selector switch, etc.).
When the switch is off, both humbuckers work on standard humbucking mode but, when the switch is toggled on, both humbuckers interchange their coils so, we are creating two new virtual humbuckers where the screw coil belongs to pickup A and the slug coil to pickup B and, where the screw coil belongs to B and slug to A.
Because of the distance between coils (one from neck and one from bridge pickup), we are having more openness in the sound.
This mod works better when each pickup has unmatched coils (not twin coils), because in that way, the differences between the two real humbuckers and the two virtual humbuckers are more distinguishable.
We just need a DPDT on/on switch here and, therefore, can be implemented with a pull/push switch.

Kill Switch

This is the typical button that someone press, intermittently to momentary interrupt the sound. Very liked by metalheads, it can be install on any axe, including active pickups based axes.

For this, we need a momentary on switch, so some sort of DPDT on/[on] switch.
The switch will toggle to kill switch mode while we maintain the pressure over the button. Those kind of switches are very usual in a press-button format and, there are some models that are small enough to be installed in any axe.
But, for sure, you can do it also with any regular DPDT on/on but, in that case, you will need to manually toggle on/off the switch.


A way to add some more combos to your Stratocaster or Telecaster is to install a bridge-on switch. When this switch is on, the bridge pickup will be added to any of the rest positions doesn't having the bridge pickup active by default.

When the switch is "off", the bridge's positive wire is routed the the normal lug on the selector switch but, when the switch is "on", the bridge's positive wire is linked to the regular output (from common lug) of the selector. This will add the bridge pickup in parallel to the three first positions of your strato so, you will have:

Neck in parallel with Bridge
Neck in parallel with Middle and Bridge
Middle in parallel with Bridge

As new-brand combos.

This mod can be implemented with a simple SPDT on/on switch or one pole of a DPDT on/on so, you can use a discrete pull/push pot for this.

Volume bypass

This mod allows you to bypass the volume control. This gives you an slight boost on the overall volume and, the sound is just a bit darker. It also allows you to immediately pass from a moderate volume level (by example, volume pot at 7) to full-throttle, as soon as you activate the switch and, to come back to your original volume once you are done with the full-throttle sound.
For that people that loves to control the amount of distortion of his amp just rolling off the volume pot, this can be useful to instantaneously swap from light drive to distortion at any moment and, come back to light drive exactly on the same volume pot position he has!.

We need any DPDT on/on switch, therefore, you can use any pull/push pot for this.
The hot input (from the pickup or the selector switch) is usually routed to the volume input but, when the switch is on, it's routed to the jack's output, instead.

For sure, you can use same trick to bypass everything, including tone control.

Stacked volume and Tone

Well, to include some interesting changes to your guitar maybe leads you to sacrifice one pot (and substitute it with a rotary switch or a toggle switch, by example). This sacrificed pot is often a tone pot. Even that most of people is working with its tone pot(s) at full all the time. But, if you want that tone pot come back after sacrificing its natural place, we have stacked pots to do that.
With a stacked pot, we can have volume and tone in a single pot. Usually, the edge of the pot has two different shafts, the lower one corresponds to the upper pot and the upper one corresponds to the lower pot. Those will need special knobs.
You can have two pots with different resistance values stacked together.

Look at this picture:

On the picture, the upper pot is the volume pot, while the lower pot is the tone pot. They are wired in modern way but, remember that you can always wire them in whichever of the 4 ways that we already described.

Be sure to don't confuse a stacked pot with a blend pot. Blend pots, usually have just one shaft that rolls to the upper pot in a half and that rolls to the lower pot on the other half of its rotation and, they usually have a center detention spot.

More mods?

We have described the most usual mods and even, some more but, as far as the imagination goes, the mods go so, be sure we aren't describing all possible mods. By example, you can select the mix of a pair of pickups with a blender pot, you can mix a piezo system with your passive pickups or, you can mix your active with passive pickups, etc.
I am always seen new ideas coming up when someone is ordering some wiring design to me (and I love it!).

End of Wiring DIY parts

Respect of describing the basic building blocks for our diagrams, we are done.
On future articles, I will introduce some wiring design and will discuss about what's special on it.
On a future article, I will describe the right way to solder a wiring design, as well as how to shield your guitar.
Those commented wiring will be delivered from time to time, with no planned schedule.
I am quite sure you have here information enough to start the most common modifications and, I hope you will appreciate it.

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