Out of phase - has the magnet been flipped?

stavrose

Junior Member
Joined
Mar 27, 2020
Messages
12
Reaction score
2
Hey all,

I am confused and stressed - please put me out of my misery

I purchased a ‘57 classic humbucker from a reverb seller, and I’m having a nightmare with it.

it’s a 4 conductor pickup but it has been adapted by the seller to a 2 conductor - ground and hot.

so I wired it into the bridge position of my es335 copy - ground to ground, hot to hot. (this was using the shortcut method, i.e. joining the new pickup wires to the old pickup wires rather than pulling out the whole wiring loom).

It sounded great until I tried the middle position which was weak and low output/volume. When I rolled back one of the volume pots a bit, the volume did increase a bit. But obviously it wasn’t working as it should.

So, from my research, I understood the issue was that the pickup was out of phase.

I took someone’s advice and rewired the pickup by reversing the polarity - I wired hot to ground and ground to hot. At first I thought this fixed the problem because all three positions sounded great.

BUT, with the bridge pickup engaged I realised that when I touch the bridge pickup with my hand it buzzes like 60 cycle hum!

This kind of makes sense because the outer case of the humbucker is not grounded, because I wired ground to hot.

what is the ultimate solution? Do I need to put the wiring back to how it was on my first attempt and flip the magnet? The pickup has the letter N written on it with a direction arrow, it might mean “north” and could suggest that someone has messed about with the magnet. The seller said N means neck. Who knows?

Any advice would be hugely appreciated. Thanks in advance!
 

ARandall

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 16, 2012
Messages
17,025
Reaction score
14,975
If it's a 2 conductor then the chassis ground is always connected to one of the pickup coil wires. So when you reverse then this ground is now on the hot signal, meaning you now are making that usually grounded signal go to the amp.
So you do need to flip the mag, and yes the N is north. But it doesn't matter what the N actually means as long as the side the N faces swaps around.....so if it was the screw coil it now should be the slugs coil.
 

stavrose

Junior Member
Joined
Mar 27, 2020
Messages
12
Reaction score
2
If it's a 2 conductor then the chassis ground is always connected to one of the pickup coil wires. So when you reverse then this ground is now on the hot signal, meaning you now are making that usually grounded signal go to the amp.
So you do need to flip the mag, and yes the N is north. But it doesn't matter what the N actually means as long as the side the N faces swaps around.....so if it was the screw coil it now should be the slugs coil.
Thanks for your advice. Does it strike you as strange that the arrow handwritten written on the back ( next to N) of the pickup points lengthways not sideways?
 

Attachments

  • 5258EB58-0EDD-4143-8355-F3C99275F79A.jpeg
    5258EB58-0EDD-4143-8355-F3C99275F79A.jpeg
    120.5 KB · Views: 11

ehb

Chief Discombobulator
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Feb 20, 2013
Messages
43,158
Reaction score
178,554
N for Neck probably....
 

ARandall

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 16, 2012
Messages
17,025
Reaction score
14,975
I thought you were talking about the marking on the magnet.
 

stavrose

Junior Member
Joined
Mar 27, 2020
Messages
12
Reaction score
2
I thought you were talking about the marking on the magnet.
Does that change your advice to flip the magnet? Unless I’m mistaken I can’t see what else I could do to fix the issue. Do you agree?
 

ehb

Chief Discombobulator
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Feb 20, 2013
Messages
43,158
Reaction score
178,554
Well it could be but ‘57 classic pickups can be used in either position

Somebody marked it.... I always mark mine.... If N on the neck pickup is north pole, does the B most likely on the bridge pickup mean Bean pole? ;)
 

stavrose

Junior Member
Joined
Mar 27, 2020
Messages
12
Reaction score
2
Somebody marked it.... I always mark mine.... If N on the neck pickup is north pole, does the B most likely on the bridge pickup mean Bean pole? ;)
North or Neck. Who knows? But the arrow and the fact that the pickup is out of phase would suggest its N for North.
 

ARandall

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 16, 2012
Messages
17,025
Reaction score
14,975
Yes you still have to flip the mag.....its just the N is less useful now as its not on the mag itself. Hopefully there will be some marking on the mag so you can easily confirm the long side has been swapped after your mod.
 

stavrose

Junior Member
Joined
Mar 27, 2020
Messages
12
Reaction score
2
Yes you still have to flip the mag.....its just the N is less useful now as its not on the mag itself. Hopefully there will be some marking on the mag so you can easily confirm the long side has been swapped after your mod.
Thanks, much appreciated!
 

jonesy

GLOBAL WIRING GURU
MLP Vendor
Joined
Mar 28, 2008
Messages
17,476
Reaction score
4,854
Normally Slug coil is North and Screw coil is South on most humbuckers.

 

copperheadroad

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 7, 2010
Messages
1,376
Reaction score
574

cooljuk

Transducer Producer
Joined
Mar 11, 2009
Messages
17,856
Reaction score
27,365
You bought a 4 conductor Gibson pickup. If you do that and/or try to match it up with another Gibson 4 conductor pickup - There’s the problem. They are not all made the same, anymore.

Based on what you said, put the wiring back how it was, so the cover is to ground, AND flip the magnet of either pickup (whichever is easier to get to). Done. All problems solved.
 

BadPenguin

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 12, 2015
Messages
1,767
Reaction score
1,964
If the conversion from 4 to 2 conductor was screwed up, it might be out of phase due to wiring, NOT magnet position.
The thought of rewiring to normal is proper, so here's the Gibson color codes to do so.
 

cooljuk

Transducer Producer
Joined
Mar 11, 2009
Messages
17,856
Reaction score
27,365
There's no difference in sound between a pickup wired in reverse electrical polarity and a pickup installed with opposite magnetic polarity. Reverse either one and it sounds exactly the same. Reverse both and they cancel each other out and you are back to where you started.



This is why there's a new thread exactly like this twice a month -

Gibson now makes their four conductor pickups in the Gibson USA guitars with push/pull knobs and PCBs intentionally reverse magnetic and reverse electrical polarity from each other. Neither the color codes nor the physical internal construction is the same between their bridge and neck pickups. Gibson has been doing this for probably 10 years now, but those "master color code" images people have been passing around whenever this comes up are probably 20 year old data and just a stumbling block.

There is no Gibson color code, nor magnetic standard, for four conductor pickups.

To know that, the owner would have to know if it's a bridge or a neck pickup, if it's a retail aftermarket pickup, if it came out of a Gibson USA with push/pull knobs, and how long ago it was made, if so.

It's not worth trying to figure that stuff out. The solution options are simple.

First, just try it. If it's in phase, you're done. Rock on.

If it's out of phase and you want it in (or the other way around) you have the choices of flipping either magnet in only one pickup (doesn't matter which one) OR if either pickup is still four conductor (not converted to two conductor, like in this case) you could electrically reverse the polarity of either but only one pickup. If both are two conductor pickups, you have to flip the magnet.

It makes no difference if you flip one magnet or the other. It makes no difference if you reverse electrical polarity of one pickup or the other. If makes no difference if you flip a magnet or reverse electrical polarity. They all sound exactly the same in all positions and change only the phase relationship of the two pickups in the middle.

FWIW 1) it also makes no difference if coils are wound backwards (nobody really does this, anyway, besides new winders in their basement still figuring things out) or if the coils are wound the same and connected electrically backwards. In nearly every humbucker set out there, including all original PAFs, all four coils are wound the same direction.

FWIW 2) In the case of a vintage PAF, don't take the cover off to monkey around with this stuff. Even if it's already been off. A pro with the right equipment can reverse the electrical polarity of the pickup without taking it apart, of even unsoldering it from the pots. I can do this. I also have a fixture that allows me to charge, or reverse polarity of, Fender pickups without even taking the strings off. With the right tools, so much more can be done properly.
 

Latest Threads



Top