Author Topic: Positions 2 and 4 with H S H.  (Read 229 times)

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Offline nizz

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Positions 2 and 4 with H S H.
« on: January 30, 2019, 12:01:18 am »
New to forum, hello. 

I have been totally hit or miss on this and would love to hear from the collective knowledge of the forum to help me understand this phenomenon and why sometimes I win and sometimes I lose.

GUITAR:

Any HSH guitar with a 5 way toggle (NOT super switch, only CRL USA or OAK 5 way blade 8 lug) and humbuckers in neck and bridge and a true single coil in middle.

ISSUE:  Sometimes 2 and 4 are no noise.  Sometimes 2 and 4 are pure noise.  Sometimes only 2 is noisy  and 4 sounds good, sometimes 2 is quiet and weak and 4 is good, etc.  Clearly there has to be a match with middle single coil and the humbuckers and I am struggling to nail this formula?

I have ONE GUITAR that works perfectly and its a 1990 RG550 with a PAF PRO neck, ISCV2 middle and Megadrive bridge wired to a 5 way CRL USA using a diagram from amazing tech staff of dimarzio. 

I have another guitar that has AIR NORTON bridge and neck and some "guitar fetish" single coil and only position 2 is hum free while position 4 is noise.

I have another guitar with Gibson pickups in neck and bridge and some other random true single coil  in middle and the position 2 is super weak and thin but number 4 sounds good.

Is an 'RWRP' pickup needed in the middle in order to make 2 and 4 quiet?  What is the "formula" and does anyone know of an inexpensive single coil wired the right way from factory to stick into the middle of my guitars that have issues in 2 or 4 or both?

Please help me to understand this formula and what I am doing wrong with the dang middle single coils?  I never use the pickup by itself, i just love the 2 and 4 sounds under mega high gain.  thanks, sorry for long post

Offline marcwormjim

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Re: Positions 2 and 4 with H S H.
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2019, 12:51:09 am »
Apologies if I’m misunderstanding any part of your post when I say that it’s just a matter of knowing how humcancelling works.

An HSH guitar has five single coils. Think of a Strat with three single coils: To achieve humcancelling when any two pickups’ signals are combined, they must be of opposing polarity and wind direction. A humbucker is essentially taking those two strat pickups and mounting them together on a plate.

In an HSH setup, achieving the same humcancelling requires the additional step of ensuring that the active coils of each split humbucker are of opposing polarity and wind direction to the middle single-coil. When this is not the case, you end up with pickup combinations that are either noisy or out of phase.

From there, getting the sounds you want is a matter of taste: A hotter middle pickup may balance better with many hotter humbuckers that are still hot when split, but will sound less like a Strat. Weaker pickup combinations may sound more authentic, but may also be frustratingly weak in comparison to the humbucker switch positions.

It’s a matter of trial-and-error, in a battle of contrition.

Offline darkbluemurder

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Re: Positions 2 and 4 with H S H.
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2019, 07:44:59 am »
In an HSH setup, achieving the same humcancelling requires the additional step of ensuring that the active coils of each split humbucker are of opposing polarity and wind direction to the middle single-coil. When this is not the case, you end up with pickup combinations that are either noisy or out of phase.

This.

It’s a matter of trial-and-error, in a battle of contrition.

As regards the noise/out-of-phase, not quite if you have the right tools which are a digital multimeter (DMM), a magnet (can be an unused pickup - I use an old DiMarzio SDS-1 for this purpose) and a set of needle nose pliers or a screwdriver.

Test magnet polarity: just hold the magnet over the pickup coil you are testing. Note whether it attracts or repels. In the combination settings you always need one coil that attracts and one that repels.

Phase testing: connect the pickup leads to your DMM. Make sure that you always note which wire you are testing. Put the needle nose pliers on the pickup. Watch the ohms reading of the pickup. Now pull away the pliers and note whether the reading went up or down. To have an in-phase combination of coils, the readings must go both up or both down. One up and one down means out-of-phase.

These "tricks" saved me a lot of time, especially in guitars where you have to take the pickguard off (or worse, have to take the neck off to release the pickguard as it can happen with strat necks with a board overhang).

Cheers Stephan
Area 67, Area 58, VV Pro 54, Injector n, HB2, Cruisers, VSolo, SDS-1, Area T set, Area Hot T, Virtual Hot T, Chopper, Chopper T, Bluesbucker, Breed set, Air Norton, SD, DLX+, DLX-90, DP240, DP198, VHPAF, AT1, Morse set, SD S

Offline darkbluemurder

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Re: Positions 2 and 4 with H S H.
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2019, 07:58:37 am »
I have ONE GUITAR that works perfectly and its a 1990 RG550 with a PAF PRO neck, ISCV2 middle and Megadrive bridge wired to a 5 way CRL USA using a diagram from amazing tech staff of dimarzio. 

With all pickups coming from one manufacturer, the results are more likely to be good since the color code, polarity and winding direction are most likely consistent.

I have another guitar that has AIR NORTON bridge and neck and some "guitar fetish" single coil and only position 2 is hum free while position 4 is noise.

I have another guitar with Gibson pickups in neck and bridge and some other random true single coil  in middle and the position 2 is super weak and thin but number 4 sounds good.

Yep - can happen. In the first example, to get position 4 humfree would require to change the active coil of the humbucker in that position. With a pickup that has a four conductor wire, this is not difficult. The sound may change slightly due to the fact that a different coil is active. With DiMarzio humbuckers, one coil isred and black, the other is white and green. If you now have red = hot, green= ground and white + black= split, you need to wire red + green to split, white to hot and black to ground. If it sounds thin and ugly now, reverse white and black.

In the second example, position 2 is out of phase. You need to reverse hot and ground on the humbucker.

Good luck,
Stephan
Area 67, Area 58, VV Pro 54, Injector n, HB2, Cruisers, VSolo, SDS-1, Area T set, Area Hot T, Virtual Hot T, Chopper, Chopper T, Bluesbucker, Breed set, Air Norton, SD, DLX+, DLX-90, DP240, DP198, VHPAF, AT1, Morse set, SD S

Offline nizz

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Re: Positions 2 and 4 with H S H.
« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2019, 07:53:16 pm »
Thanks for the replies and feedback.  I do have a good DMM and an extra Alnico8 magnet and even a compass that I bought to help with magnet swaps.  I will try the needle nose plier trick.

It sounds like i need to learn exactly what is going on with the Gibson pickups and the middle single coil in the guitar that sounds great in all positions except position 2 where its just super weak and nasal.  Sounds like a phase AND a polarity issue.

Assuming I am a dimarzio fanatic and will always have some form of dimarzio humbuckers in neck and bridge, is there any super cheap alternative middle single coil that is known to be quiet in 2 and 4 when mixed with the dimarzios?  I never use position 3 on its own so i don't need a 'nice sounding' pickup there.  =)

as for this:

"Phase testing: connect the pickup leads to your DMM. Make sure that you always note which wire you are testing. Put the needle nose pliers on the pickup. Watch the ohms reading of the pickup. Now pull away the pliers and note whether the reading went up or down. To have an in-phase combination of coils, the readings must go both up or both down. One up and one down means out-of-phase."

Pretend i have a paf pro on the bench and I'm trying this trick.  How do I test the PAF PRO phase in relation to whatever middle single coil I am using?

Offline darkbluemurder

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Re: Positions 2 and 4 with H S H.
« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2019, 04:00:26 am »
Assuming I am a dimarzio fanatic and will always have some form of dimarzio humbuckers in neck and bridge, is there any super cheap alternative middle single coil that is known to be quiet in 2 and 4 when mixed with the dimarzios?  I never use position 3 on its own so i don't need a 'nice sounding' pickup there.  =)

Probably any DiMarzio true single coil such as a True Velvet or the Vai single coil (I think it is called ICVS or something like that) should work with two DiMarzio humbuckers.

"Phase testing: connect the pickup leads to your DMM. Make sure that you always note which wire you are testing. Put the needle nose pliers on the pickup. Watch the ohms reading of the pickup. Now pull away the pliers and note whether the reading went up or down. To have an in-phase combination of coils, the readings must go both up or both down. One up and one down means out-of-phase."

Pretend i have a paf pro on the bench and I'm trying this trick.  How do I test the PAF PRO phase in relation to whatever middle single coil I am using?

You test it just like you would wire it in the circuit. Connect the red test lead to the red lead of the PAF Pro and the black test lead to the green lead of the PAF Pro. Then connect the red test lead to the white wire of the single coil and the black test lead to the black wire of the single coil (most single coils come with one white and one black wire). If the meter goes into the same direction when you pull the pliers away, the pickups will be in phase when you install them in the guitar this way (humbucker red to hot, green to ground and single coil white to hot and black to ground). If the meter does not go into the same direction you need to swap hot and ground on one pickup - not on both, because then the phase relation would be the same as before.

Cheers Stephan
Area 67, Area 58, VV Pro 54, Injector n, HB2, Cruisers, VSolo, SDS-1, Area T set, Area Hot T, Virtual Hot T, Chopper, Chopper T, Bluesbucker, Breed set, Air Norton, SD, DLX+, DLX-90, DP240, DP198, VHPAF, AT1, Morse set, SD S

Offline darkbluemurder

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Re: Positions 2 and 4 with H S H.
« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2019, 01:09:57 pm »
Area 67, Area 58, VV Pro 54, Injector n, HB2, Cruisers, VSolo, SDS-1, Area T set, Area Hot T, Virtual Hot T, Chopper, Chopper T, Bluesbucker, Breed set, Air Norton, SD, DLX+, DLX-90, DP240, DP198, VHPAF, AT1, Morse set, SD S

Offline nizz

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Re: Positions 2 and 4 with H S H.
« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2019, 07:47:45 pm »
Stephan!  OK we are onto something here, my friend!!  It was not until I DID it that it makes sense.  I've just come from workbench after playing with 3 test subjects.  Let me tell you my findings and tell me what this means and what I've proven by doing the cool needle nose plier trick?

Note I used a DMM so it's not a needle that is moving but very obvious the numbers go UP or DOWN. 

Pickup #1.  Duncan EVH Frankenstein.
Red/White soldered together, not used in test.
Black test lead to black wire, red test lead to green wire, METER GOES DOWN
Black test lead to green wire, red test lead to black wire, METER GOES UP

Pickup #2.  Garbage Ibanez S1 true single coil.
black lead to white, red lead to red, meter goes up
black lead to red, red lead to white, mtere goes down

Pickup #3.  Delicious Dimarzio Heavy Blues 2
Black/white soldered and taped off, not used in test.
black lead to green, red lead to red, meter goes down
black to red, read to green, meter goes up

What I have I learned about these pickups and how can this help me with my 2 and 4 toggle spots when setting up more HSH guitars with 5 ways?



Offline nizz

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Re: Positions 2 and 4 with H S H.
« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2019, 10:05:05 pm »
BONUS!  Just fixed one of the nasty phase issues at #2 on one of my guitars!   But here is where it get super interesting!  This is an HSH guitar with 2 conductor humbuckers at bridge and neck and a true single middle. 

The bridge pickup had red wire to switch and bare to ground.  I put the freaking BARE WIRE! to switch and red to ground and by golly shucky darn dag nabbit tarnation almighty it fixed the issue!  I have never in all my years or wiring EVER put a bare wire to a switch!  YOWZA.  good golly miss molly booyah.

Offline darkbluemurder

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Re: Positions 2 and 4 with H S H.
« Reply #9 on: February 01, 2019, 04:28:54 am »
Pickup #1.  Duncan EVH Frankenstein.
Red/White soldered together, not used in test.
Black test lead to black wire, red test lead to green wire, METER GOES DOWN
Black test lead to green wire, red test lead to black wire, METER GOES UP

Pickup #2.  Garbage Ibanez S1 true single coil.
black lead to white, red lead to red, meter goes up
black lead to red, red lead to white, mtere goes down

Pickup #3.  Delicious Dimarzio Heavy Blues 2
Black/white soldered and taped off, not used in test.
black lead to green, red lead to red, meter goes down
black to red, read to green, meter goes up

What I have I learned about these pickups and how can this help me with my 2 and 4 toggle spots when setting up more HSH guitars with 5 ways?

This means that for these three pickups to work in  phase they should be wired as follows:
#1 black to hot, green and bare to ground (Standard Duncan wiring)
#2 red to hot, white to ground
#3 green to hot, red to ground (not standard DiMarzio wiring but OK)

When you do the phase test, the test meter should now go up on all pickups.

Alternatively you could reverse the hot and ground on all pickups. Doing the phase test this time the test meter should now go down on all pickups - this is fine as well.

As long as you don't split any of the pickups you can choose both ways - they are equivalent. Matters get interesting if you want to split #1 in this case as then you would need to decide which coil remains active in split mode.

Cheers Stephan

Area 67, Area 58, VV Pro 54, Injector n, HB2, Cruisers, VSolo, SDS-1, Area T set, Area Hot T, Virtual Hot T, Chopper, Chopper T, Bluesbucker, Breed set, Air Norton, SD, DLX+, DLX-90, DP240, DP198, VHPAF, AT1, Morse set, SD S

Offline darkbluemurder

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Re: Positions 2 and 4 with H S H.
« Reply #10 on: February 01, 2019, 04:35:20 am »
BONUS!  Just fixed one of the nasty phase issues at #2 on one of my guitars!   But here is where it get super interesting!  This is an HSH guitar with 2 conductor humbuckers at bridge and neck and a true single middle. 

The bridge pickup had red wire to switch and bare to ground.  I put the freaking BARE WIRE! to switch and red to ground and by golly shucky darn dag nabbit tarnation almighty it fixed the issue!  I have never in all my years or wiring EVER put a bare wire to a switch!  YOWZA.  good golly miss molly booyah.

Yes this works since in this case the bare wire acts not only as shield but also as a signal wire (same as on the single braided cable of the old Gibson humbuckers). With a normal four conductor wire the bare wire is only a shield so it would not work that way. If you don't experience any undue noise with the wiring the problem is solved.

If you have more noise than before you could correct the phase of the middle pickup but that would put it out of phase with the neck pickup, and then you would run into the same problem in reversing the phase on the neck pickup. The solution would then to change the conductor wire on the pickup but this is not something I would recommend that you do it yourself at this stage.

Cheers Stephan
Area 67, Area 58, VV Pro 54, Injector n, HB2, Cruisers, VSolo, SDS-1, Area T set, Area Hot T, Virtual Hot T, Chopper, Chopper T, Bluesbucker, Breed set, Air Norton, SD, DLX+, DLX-90, DP240, DP198, VHPAF, AT1, Morse set, SD S

Offline nizz

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Re: Positions 2 and 4 with H S H.
« Reply #11 on: February 02, 2019, 02:17:09 pm »
Stephan - Thank you so much for your help.  I learned a lot from you and sincerely appreciate the time and wisdom bestowed upon me. I am now much better equipped to troubleshoot these phase issues and it has already paid dividends when I fixed one of my #2 positions which is now in phase and sounds great.

I also noticed when using my little .87 cent compass from China on eBay how (not sure if this is a RULE) every pickup I test which has the SCREW POLES on bottom has NORTH going up on compass, and when i test pups that have SLUG POLES on bottom it has the SOUTH going up on compass.  I assume this is how, for example, a JB bridge and a 59 neck in an HH guitar have the correct phasing when in middle position of a 3 way toggle?  If one were to flip one of the pickups upside down it would be out of phase and sound super thin when combined?

I am curious about one other thing going back to the 2 and 4 positions again...  It seems that some of my guitars that are HSH are nearly dead silent in 2 and 4 when combining a true single with a split humbucker where others are actually still slightly noisy in those positions, though nowhere near as nasty as the true single coil in position 3.  This must be a result of how hot each humbucker is that is combining with the single coil?

I still would be curious to know if there is a 'generic' 2 wire true single coil out there that will work with dimarzio's and be noise free in 2 and 4?  I know the ISCV2 Evolution works perfectly but at $50 a shot for a pickup I never actually play, I was hoping to find a turd pickup for $10 or $15 that would accomplish task.

Thanks!!




Offline marcwormjim

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Re: Positions 2 and 4 with H S H.
« Reply #12 on: February 04, 2019, 07:41:00 am »
Any single coil will work, provided it and the active humbucker coils it’s paired with are of opposing polarity. Cheap single coils tend to have a bar magnet that can be flipped, whereas the traditionally constructed ones are wound around slug magnets. Changing their polarity requires a strong magnet to be passed by them.

From there, correcting phase issues are as simple as swapping what you solder the pickup’s two wires to (“start” and “finish” wires are a function of how you integrate them into the circuit. This dictates the functional “wind direction.”