Blending in 3rd pup and maintaining 50s wiring?

bossanova

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Hey all, I’m stumped trying to figure out a wiring scheme that would maintain my beloved 50s wiring 2v2t scheme and make use of a middle humbucker.

the traditional gibson 3 pup wiring (only N, B and M+B in middle pos) is out, as is the 3v/master tone because I didn’t think it sounds as good as 50s, with the cap placed between each V and T pots.

so, if I have a *5th* pot available and use that for the middle volume, and wire the output straight to the jack, would that in theory allow me to blend in the middle in any position? If I converted the pot to be “no load” on 0, would that make the guitar behave exactly as my regular 2 pickup LPs? TY!
 

Dazza

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So long as the cap is placed on the output signal and not connected directly to the pickup it's technically 50's style wiring. As it is with a master tone.
Any method of including a middle pickup is a compromise in 1 area or another. Over several months I tried all the typical wiring suggestions with my 3 pickup LPC to determine the most useful and practical options for me. In the end I settled on a master tone and put the middle pickup on a push/pull volume to engage and control it.
The compromise in this case is a strident bridge position - for which I've used a lower spec volume pot, balanced with a higher spec pot for the neck vol. Controlling both positions with 1 tone is not ideal, though obviously every guitar and pickup set can have different results. I'm recently considering rewiring it to vol / tone just for the bridge and leave the other 2 positions without tones . I typically roll bridge tones back on every guitar so I think this will give me the best option in this case.

The most independent control option is 'independent wiring'. I can't remember what about it I didn't like, but recall I didn't. Maybe some odd interaction or signal bleed ? I used a set of 'stunt pots' for these experiments as I figure I'd likely cook them with so much repeated soldering.

Daz
 
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bossanova

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So long as the cap is placed on the output signal and not connected directly to the pickup it's technically 50's style wiring. As it is with a master tone.
Any method of including a middle pickup is a compromise in 1 area or another. Over several months I tried all the typical wiring suggestions with my 3 pickup LPC to determine the most useful and practical options for me. In the end I settled on a master tone and put the middle pickup on a push/pull volume to engage and control it.
The compromise in this case is a strident bridge position - for which I've used a lower spec volume pot, balanced with a higher spec pot for the neck vol. Controlling both positions with 1 tone is not ideal, though obviously every guitar and pickup set can have different results. I'm recently considering rewiring it to vol / tone just for the bridge and leave the other 2 positions without tones . I typically roll bridge tones back on every guitar so I think this will give me the best option in this case.

The most independent control option is 'independent wiring'. I can't remember what about it I didn't like, but recall I didn't. Maybe some odd interaction or signal bleed ? I used a set of 'stunt pots' for these experiments as I figure I'd likely cook them with so much repeated soldering.

Daz
Sounds like we are similar, if I didn’t happen to have a 5th pot already handy (it’s actually a Kirk SG) I’d rather have the neck with no tone at all than live with a master tone. I usually play with the neck tone on 10, bridge around 6-7 but it varies from guitar to guitar.
 

Dazza

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Sounds like we are similar, if I didn’t happen to have a 5th pot already handy (it’s actually a Kirk SG) I’d rather have the neck with no tone at all than live with a master tone. I usually play with the neck tone on 10, bridge around 6-7 but it varies from guitar to guitar.
Agreed. I prefer using 2 vol / 2 tones but limited to 4 knobs and 3 pickups I was forced to think differently, resulting in a master tone. Maybe later this week I'll dissect my LPC harness yet again !

Having the middle pickup wired in or out of phase was another conundrum. My research found guitars produced both ways. While I'm a fan of OOP I feel it's a better achieved between bridge and neck rather than either with the middle. The close proximity makes for a weaker, thinner result overall. Of course with separate volume controls one can blend relative outputs to taste, where-as a stock 3 pickup Gibson can't. I kept mine in phase which gives a pseudo-oop clucky tone - as it does with positions 2 and 4 in strats. Another reason I'm convinced I'll be happy without a tone on the middle pickup is my strat is wired that way.

As for your actual questions - I've no idea hehe. I'm just rambling away about my own stuff and probably not that helpful. However others around here are far cleverer than me in such matters.

There was a 3 pickup Custom with 3 volumes and master tone in the toggle switch spot. I forget the name. I'd assume it uses 'independent wiring' which ultimately allows for every single pickup or combination possible. I just can't recall what it was I didn't like with independent wiring though.

Daz
 
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bossanova

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Agreed. I prefer using 2 vol / 2 tones but limited to 4 knobs and 3 pickups I was forced to think differently, resulting in a master tone. Maybe later this week I'll dissect my LPC harness yet again !

Having the middle pickup wired in or out of phase was another conundrum. My research found guitars produced both ways. While I'm a fan of OOP I feel it's a better achieved between bridge and neck rather than either with the middle. The close proximity makes for a weaker, thinner result overall. Of course with separate volume controls one can blend relative outputs to taste, where-as a stock 3 pickup Gibson can't. I kept mine in phase which gives a pseudo-oop clucky tone - as it does with positions 2 and 4 in strats. Another reason I'm convinced I'll be happy without a tone on the middle pickup is my strat is wired that way.

As for your actual questions - I've no idea hehe. I'm just rambling away about my own stuff and probably not that helpful. However others around here are far cleverer than me in such matters.

Daz
Oh, I figured it out yesterday. Went to practice with the guitar and it’s glorious. I recently learned to install resistors so that I could do partial splitting, works brilliantly. So maybe try that too if you open up that harness. Using 2.2k resistors I have to option to partially split each of the 3 pickups independently.

In my current setup I have a .015 tone cap for the neck and none for the middle. I don’t think you’d miss it much, and you’ll have the freedom to adjust bridge to taste.
 

bossanova

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Oh, and I am having a weird phase issue, where M+B are OOP (which I hate) and you’re right it sounds hideous. All other combinations are in phase and are all very usable.
 

Dazza

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Oh, and I am having a weird phase issue, where M+B are OOP (which I hate) and you’re right it sounds hideous. All other combinations are in phase and are all very usable.
It sounds like 1 pickup is out of phase. 'All other combinations are in phase' are you sure ? For eg if bridge and neck are in phase then it's the middle thats reversed. But then middle and neck would also be out of phase. Either swapping wires or magnet flipping will reveal which is which. (Though the discussion of magnet vs wire swapping for OOP is lengthy).

Daz
 

jonesy

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If you have 2 V 2 T with 50's wiring adding in a 3rd pickup with just a volume does not change how the tone circuit works so it would maintain the 50's wiring scheme. The tone controls will only work on neck and bridge and not the middle pickup.

What you might notice is that the Ohm load will change when more than one pickup is on at the same time since they will be in parallel with each other. 500K for one pot, 250K x 2, 125K x 3 or roughly those readings. This will decrease output and cut some highs.
 

bossanova

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If you have 2 V 2 T with 50's wiring adding in a 3rd pickup with just a volume does not change how the tone circuit works so it would maintain the 50's wiring scheme. The tone controls will only work on neck and bridge and not the middle pickup.
Exactly, I didn’t want to compromise the basic wiring scheme.
What you might notice is that the Ohm load will change when more than one pickup is on at the same time since they will be in parallel with each other.
Interesting, but would this be any different than using the middle position (N+B) on a regular 2HB guitar? For example, if I switch on N+M (a really nice tone, btw) would I be losing any more highs than using just N+B?
 

bossanova

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For eg if bridge and neck are in phase then it's the middle thats reversed. But then middle and neck would also be out of phase.
This is what I thought too, which has me confused. I think Gibson just did something weird in the middle pickup on this particular model. More will be revealed when I replace it in a couple of weeks, I have my preferred set on order already.
 

bossanova

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@jonesy btw, I first learned about 50s from you on YT years ago, and haven’t looked back since! A big, huge thanks!
 

jonesy

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Exactly, I didn’t want to compromise the basic wiring scheme.

Interesting, but would this be any different than using the middle position (N+B) on a regular 2HB guitar? For example, if I switch on N+M (a really nice tone, btw) would I be losing any more highs than using just N+B?
No it's the same when any two pickups are on but I suppose it also depends on how the 3rd pickup is wired into the circuit. You mentioned using a no load pot otherwise it is always loading the circuit. When all 3 pickups are on at the same time is when you will notice more of a change.
 

bossanova

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You mentioned using a no load pot otherwise it is always loading the circuit.
That was my original thinking. I know people often manually mod regular 500k tone pots to be “no load” on 10. In my case, if I modded this middle volume pot somehow to be “no load” on 0, would this effectively remove the middle from the circuit?
 

ARandall

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You be better off with it being no load on 10, as with it at 0 you'll never shut it off.

Probably better to use a pushpull for the on-off switching which then routs it to the volume pot.
 

jonesy

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That was my original thinking. I know people often manually mod regular 500k tone pots to be “no load” on 10. In my case, if I modded this middle volume pot somehow to be “no load” on 0, would this effectively remove the middle from the circuit?
Yes when a no load pot is on 10 it acts as a bypass until you roll it down to 9 then it kicks in.
 


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