Special-II: Convert 650R & 700T pickup leads from one-conductor to four


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Aug 6, 2018
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I have a 2013 Epiphone Les Paul Special-II (LTD) which I bought used. After my last mod (2-vol, 2-tone, dual-concentric pots: dedicated volume/tone controls for each pickup), I've been wanting to play with tone-wiring mods. Unfortunately, the Special-II's pickups (650R & 700T) have one-conductor leads (plus ground). Many tone-wiring mods require at least two—often four.

I considered buying new pickups.[1] But, I don't want to pour a lot of money into a "starter guitar." (Plus: maybe the 650R & 700T aren't as "starter" after all.[2]). I don't have a playing style yet, nor an ear for tone. I wouldn't appreciate one purchased pickup over another. I just want FOUR leads so I can mess around with tone wiring. I bought the guitar to LEARN.

Then I saw this video showing how to convert one-conductor pickup wire to four:

("Guitar Electronics Tutorial - How to make a 2 wire humbucker into a 4 wire!"

That looked easy. Also, familiarity with pickup innards could lead to other pickup mods (like replacing ceramic magnets with Alnico).[3] That would be even more tone experience (without spending much).

After converting mine, I can say: this mod is more time-consuming than difficult. You have to constantly remind yourself "think three times before touching anything." The coils are delicate. As one Seymour Duncan article puts it: "You don’t have to handle them like they’re the Queen’s Gems, but don’t handle them like you’d handle a pickup on its own."[4]

The following steps show my conversion. I recommend it. You'll learn something that you probably wouldn't on a more expensive guitar. After doing this, you can easily try tone-wiring mods (out-of-phase pickups; parallel or cut coils. Or, you might dive back into your pickups to replace the magnets.). If you mess up, what's the worst that could happen? You buy the new pickups after at least learning something.

1. Overview
This is the wiring diagram of my 650R & 700T coils:

Diagram: 650R & 700T coil wires

(click for larger)
PDF version attached to post

I use Seymour Duncan's wire color scheme.[5] The video uses DiMarzio's. This table summarizes the differences between 1) the coils (mine versus the video) and 2) the 4-conductor wire schemes (Seymour Duncan versus the video):

                      <-- PICKUPS SEEN  -->     <-- COLOR CODES -->
   COIL       WIRE    650R    700T    Video     DiMarzio  S. Duncan
North/slug:   Start:  White   Red     White  =  Red       Black
             Finish:  Black   Black   Red    =  Black     White

South/screw: Finish:  Black   Black   Red    =  White     Red
              Start:  White   Red     bare   =  Green     Green

I suggest reading the following steps, then watch the video (again). The video is much better demonstrating the experience.

2. Remove your pickups
If you implemented my dual-concentric 2-vol 2-tone mod, you already have a diagram of your wiring. Otherwise, your original Special-II wiring should look like this:

Diagram: Original Special-II wiring

(click for larger)
PDF version attached to dual-concentric post

The first thing to do is unsolder each pickups' hot and ground wires.

ABOUT SOLDERING: This mod doesn't require much soldering skill. But, soldering a pot or switch requires skill not to overheat the component. Overheating is easy to do when you use a low-watt (20w) soldering iron. (The object being soldered will suck the heat out of the iron faster than the iron can replace it. The result: slowly heating the entire component until it's all hot enough to melt solder.). It's necessary to have a 40-50w iron and run it at a sufficient temperature for the solder joint to wet within 2-3 seconds. Any longer than that: you risk putting too much heat into the entire pot (or switch). (If it wets immediately, you have the iron too hot and the radiant heat could overheat nearby items, typically insulation).

For more thoughts, see my dual-concentric mod's post #3. The inexpensive soldering iron I use is discussed there. It also talks about using small alligator clips near the solder joint to "sink" the heat (prevent heat from traveling into a pot, etc.). Also search for YouTube "how to solder" videos.​

After your wires are unsoldered, unscrew a pickup (just one) from the body:

Ring screws loosened

(click for larger)

It may be possible to loosen your strings enough to finesse the pickups out. Or, you may have to unstring your guitar. Remember: the string-ends are hazardous. (They could poke a dog's eye. You could poke yourself. If the strings lay on the guitar body's finish, they could scratch. ).

HINT: It's always wise to protect any finish with masking tape. It's not a matter of "if," but when you make a mistake. Tape is cheap, easy insurance.

WARNING: Masking tape can adhere too strongly. I press the tape against my pant leg a few times before putting it on the guitar. Masking tape probably wouldn't hurt the Special-II's thick poly finish. But, could be a problem for other guitars.

WARNING: the two height-adjustment screws are long. Be very careful not to scratch your finish trying to pull the pickups out sideways. You can bring it up between the strings. Or, rotate it upside down, and walk the strings over the adjustment screws as you remove the pickup to the side. (Again: tape your finish and the face of your pickups. You'll have much less risk of something going wrong.).​

As you lift the pickup, you may need to push/guide the other end of the pickup wire within the control cavity. The pickup wire is locked to the pickup's metal plate. But, I wouldn't pull too hard. If you must pull, grasp the pickup wire itself.

This is the underside:

Bottom of pickup

(click for larger)

The bottom of mine is stamped "N" (the bridge pickup is stamped "B"). If yours isn't you should mark it so you don't forget which is which. (You can always tell the difference with an ohmmeter. The bridge coils have twice the resistance as the neck.).

Now remove the two height-adjustment screws, springs and outer ring. (Notice how the springs have a wider end. It faces the plastic. Also notice the bridge ring is taller than the neck. And, both rings are angled. The taller side of each ring faces the tailpiece.).

3. Remove fabric tape around coil
The coil windings are protected by a black fabric tape. Use a magnifying glass and find the edge of the tape. There should be two layers over one end (the end with the wire connections beneath). The tape's edge should be about 1" down either side from that end. It may be hard to see. Scratch your fingernail over the surface to discover & lift it.

The fabric will probably rip into strands (lengthwise). It's not worth trying to preserve this. It won't be very sticky. Plus, the new wiring requires four soldered wires instead of two. That additional bulk made my tape shorter when I tried to reuse it.

WARNING: Be careful as you remove the tape. Especially when you reach a point where the tape is adhered to the lead wires. Put a finger over those and try to stop the pulling from disturbing those wires.

Most of the tape is adhered to something which covers thin, enamel-coated wires. I don't know whether it's possible to pull that material off. But, if you peel back the tape at a sharp angle, I believe the force will be applied in a manner to reduce that risk. (Just watch for lead wires as they are revealed. Anchor them with a finger while pulling.).

Peeling tape suggestion

(click for larger)

4. Spend a lot of time THINKING (no touching yet!)
Now is the time to think about what you're seeing as you examine your coil. You can translate that to what you saw in the video. You may have to watch the video a few times. The biggest risk is that you handle the wires too much. So, really understand the coil diagram (Step #1) before touching your pickup. Think about how it applies to what you saw in that video, which wire's which. This should be totally clear before proceeding.

  • The video uses DiMarzio's color scheme. I use Seymour Duncan's. I translate those colors for you in Step #1.
  • It's tedious, but get used to thinking "south" and "north" coils (and "start & finish" wires). The coil with the adjustable (screw) poles is always "south." Coils with slugs are "north." They each have a "start" & "finish" wire.
If you can identify each coil (north or south) by it's slug or screw, and each coil's "start" and "finish," you'll be less confused about colors.

This is what your neck pickup should look like:

Original coil wires (illustrated)

(Original photo)

Alternate views

(click for larger)

If you spend time viewing my pickup, your pickup, the diagram, the video (and Step #1's translated wire colors), you should be able to identify each wire of your pickup before you touch anything.

My coils are elevated to make it easier to see. (I propped the coil up with a small jeweler's screwdriver placed underneath.). To do that, there are four bobbin screws on the back of the pickup:

Screws holding bobbins to plate

(click for larger)

Those four screws secure the coils (bobbins) to the plate. You can loosen and lift the coils as I did (If you use something to prop them up, be careful not to poke anything. I wouldn't remove the screws. I don't know if anything would come apart. If it came apart, there could be polarization issues putting it back together.). But, the extra 1/4" (loosened) does help.

Note: pay attention to how tight those bobbin screws are. Try to tighten them a bit (before removing them) to know what it feels like. I didn't do that and was a worried I would overtighten/strip something (when I reassembled). As long as you have an idea how tight they are to begin with, you should be safe.​

You'll notice wax covering some things. You can gently scrape that off the wires to help you see. Don't dig into the coil (between the bobbin flanges).

Notice the bobbin above my ground solder. It looks like that wax[6] melted when the factory soldered the ground beneath it. That's an example of what I said earlier: how a solder iron's radiant heat could damage things. (I don't believe that "damage" affects anything. But, you could do something like that if you're not thinking.).

5. Bend the wires out, separate them
Based upon what you've seen in the prior step: bend the wires out to be easier to work on. Try to do it in just one move. (Don't keep flexing/bending them. Think about where you want the wire to be, and put it there.).

Don't pull on a wire (much) without grasping it closer to the bobbin (to prevent pulling against the delicate windings). Always pull against yourself.

Coil leads bent away from coils, exposing heatshrink-covered solder joints

(click for larger)

6. Remove the insulation cover from the two soldered wire joints
A hands-free magnifying glass helps when working on small things like this. I got this at Harbor Freight:

(click for larger)

My soldered wires were insulated with heatshrink. It was mildly dry/crumbly. I used a small jewelers screwdriver, dragging the sharp corner (of the tip) along the edge of the heatshrink. Then I pushed the jeweler's screwdriver under the heatshrink and pried up to split it open. (Don't bend your screwdriver. If the heatshrink doesn't split or crumble, then continue to score it. You can use an exacto knife, or razor blade. But, I didn't want to cut through and risk nicking a wire's insulation. I just wanted to score enough that it would split/break apart.).

Once the heatshrink is split/cracked/peeled far enough to expose bare wire, it should pull off. (Again: don't pull against the coils. Hold the wires and pull against yourself.). Try not to bend/flex the wires unnecessarily.

Bare solder joints

(click for larger)

7. Unsolder the old 1-conductor pickup wire
This is one of the less risky soldering jobs you'll have. The only risk is if the iron is too hot and melts the wire's insulation (or radiates to nearby wires).

My wires weren't twisted together. They popped apart when the solder wetted. I used a pinpoint solder tip for this. If the soldered wires didn't pop apart, I would put that tip behind the wires and drag it between them as the solder wets, separating them with the tip. If they were twisted, I would hold the wires with one hand, and pull the tip through, forcing them apart.

For this task I would set my inexpensive iron to 325C. (That's not an exact temperature. It's just a reference to the adjustment knob turned down about 1/3 from full temperature.). The risk using full temperature is that the wires' insulation could melt, and the radiated heat could damage anything else, if the iron were close to that.

Note: As mentioned earlier, I discuss my limited experience soldering in my dual-concentric mod's post #3. That post discusses the inexpensive soldering iron I use.​

Unsolder the ground wire/shield from the metal plate. I use a chisel soldering tip, and turn the iron's temperature to full (450c on my knob). It takes about 8-12 seconds for the solder to wet enough to pull the wires away.

WARNING: This is where it's especially useful to loosen the four screws on the back of the metal plate, and elevate the coil (bobbin). Also orient the pickup so heat rises away from the bobbin (not against it).

It's not a bad idea to use a piece of aluminum foil (folded into 4-5 layers) as a shield. You can slip it under the coil and fold it up, over the coil:

(Bridge) pickup covered with aluminum foil, preparing to solder new ground wire

(click for larger)
[Note: That photo was when I prepared to solder my new 4-cond to the bridge pickup. Notice the two red "start" wires coming from the coils, instead of white from the neck's coils.]

When unsoldering that ground point, the metal frame will sink the heat from the iron. It takes my iron about 6-12 seconds for the solder to wet enough to pull the wires away. If you don't take precautions, you could damage the coil with radiated heat. Especially if it takes your iron longer.

Because the steel plate acts as a heat sink, if you use a lower-powered iron (and it takes longer), you're sinking more heat into that plate. I had an old 20-watt iron that would take over a *minute* to wet that solder. All it would have actually done is heated the entire steel plate to be hot enough to wet solder. That entire plate would be radiating that much heat against the bobbins (and probably damaged them).

That's an extreme example of why (for this step) you want to use a reasonably-powered iron, on it's highest temperature, with a larger bit to transfer the most heat. You want to heat that one spot fast—not the entire plate slow. If it takes more than 15 seconds to wet the solder, I would stop and think about what's not right. Whether I need a better soldering iron (or tip); if I should fully remove the bobbins from the plate (instead of just loosening/raising them). If it took 20-30 seconds, I'd really take it seriously. (Let it cool completely before trying again. Otherwise you'll keep starting with the plate at a higher temperature, getting hotter each time.).​

8. Prepare the new 4-conductor pickup wire
I used Gavitt 4-conductor (28 gauge) shielded pickup wire. (You can find many people selling it.). It has a foil shield & bare ground wound around four insulated tinned stranded wires. Three feet should be enough. But, it's inexpensive. I recommend buying additional feet to avoid the risk of making mistakes and coming up short. (You're going to practice stripping and soldering some scrap, too.).

The first thing to do is determine how much outer sheath to remove. The exposure of the wires should begin at the ground solder point. See the photo in the previous step (demonstrating the aluminum-foil shield).

This is another opportunity to practice patience. Spend time looking at your coil wires, imagining where you want them to be when eventually folded and buried beneath the fabric coil tape. You need enough exposed wire to extend as far as its matching coil wire ends up (folded and buried). Allow enough length for the furthest one. (It's best to err on the side of excess. You can trim it before soldering.).​

Mark the outer cover just behind the solder blob (see previous photo). Then remove the outer cover and foil shield:

New 4-cond pickup wire trimmed and bent

(click for larger)
[I left some foil shield for visibility (you shouldn't)]

Slice around the circumference of the cover only enough to see the foil. Don't cut the insulation of the small wires.

Note: I put a sharp kink in the pickup wire where it passes through the frame's hole. That helped "key" it in the same position. When you finally insert the cable through the hole in the frame, you can kink the other side of the plate (like a "Z") to lock it better while you work on soldering the wires.

Also, you can't see it in this photo, but I wrapped about 6-8 layers of vinyl electrical tape around the pickup wire just left of the sharp bend (beneath the bobbin). That makes the cable thick enough for the bobbin to press down upon it. I thought that might act as a "strain relief" (if the pickup wire were pulled). Maybe prevent vibration if the pickup wire was loose in there.​

Now you can begin matching coil leads to their corresponding 4-cond pickup wire.

This is another good time to think. Don't rush. Think about which wire goes with which. Where will each pair fold and bury beneath the fabric coil tape?

When you have a good mental picture for how it will look, start with the coil-wire that will fold around to the far side (like the two black "finish" wires were originally folded to that far side, and buried under the coil). Cut the corresponding 4-cond wire to a length that will reach as far..

Strip about 3/16" of insulation from the end of the 4-cond wire. (You can strip it longer, later cut the excess.).

Note: This is the only style wire stripper I'm aware of that will strip 28ga wire. It's infinitely adjustable. To set the "stop" screw, you need to practice on a scrap piece of pickup-wire. (A reason to buy a little more wire than you think you need.).

(click for larger)

Be careful stripping. It's easy to nick or break one of the strands, pulling a strand off with the insulation. Practice on a scrap piece of pickup wire before starting this step. I clamp down, open, rotate, clamp; a few times. (When I only clamp and pull, I tend to pull a strand of wire off with the insulation.). Use a magnifying glass to examine your work, to see if a strand pulled off with the insulation.​

After the wire is stripped, "tin" that exposed end. The wire is already tinned. But, a heavier coating made it easier for me to solder the wires together. It will also protect the strands as you continue matching/stripping the remaining wires. (To tin the end, I set my knob to 350c. It should only take 2-3 seconds for the solder to wet. If the insulation melts, it's too hot. If it takes 5-8 seconds for the solder to wet, it's too cool. But, that may not be a problem in this case.).

9. Solder the new 4-cond pickup wires
After you cut, strip and tin each conductor, you can begin soldering the pairs together.

Since all the wires have solder on them, you should be able to touch the wires together and bring the soldering iron to them. They should wet in 2-3 seconds. Remove the iron while continuing to hold one wire to the other. Give it 3-4 seconds to cool.

You can also try to twist one slightly around the other. This can cause them to stay together (so you can hold solder). But, they tend to slip when they wet. (And, if wires are twisted together too much, they can be difficult to unsolder.). If I needed to use both hands to apply solder, I would use an alligator clip to hold the two wires together. (Maybe a paper clip would work.). But, if you tin the new wire, there should be enough solder on both that you don't need to apply solder. You just have to hold them close enough that they stay in touch. (Get used to your fingers burning as you struggle to hold them long enough. The pain goes away.).

Yours should end up looking like this:

New 4-cond pickup wire soldered to neck pickup

(click for larger)
[Note: I should have removed that excess foil before now. I had a brilliant idea that I could wrap it around the exposed wires, under the tape. But, perhaps that would interfere with the pickup's magnetic field. I don't know. I cut it off. Unfortunately, the foil makes it harder to see which wires go to the coil or lead.]

Notice my insulation looks a little glossy/melted. My iron was hotter than I suggested above. (Another good reason to practice on a piece of scrap.).

Notice also how the south (screw) start wire (white coil wire) goes to the 4-cond's green wire. Now the coil's ground is separated from the frame/shield ground. This is necessary to wire the humbuckers out-of-phase, without hum.

Also, the north (stud) start (the other white coil wire) goes to the 4-cond's black wire. That's the same as before (except the neck's 1-cond wire was white.).

So, the only changes you made are 1) the coils' two finish wires (both black) now go to the controls (as red & white). And, 2) the green wire (the south-start white wire) has its own wire, instead of merging into ground at the pickup. That's all there was to this entire exercise.

10. Tape the exposed wire joints, and fold them into place
The new wire joints need to be insulated. You can use 1/16" heatshrink tube. I'm nervous about using a heatgun (or flame) near what appears to be waxed coils. (I would shield the coils with a few layers of aluminium foil.).

I used ordinary vinyl electrical tape. The "flag" should be trimmed to 3/16" wide. If too wide it will play peekaboo as you try to bury it. These wires won't be disturbed after the fabric coil tape is installed. So, the insulation over these joints doesn't need to be much.

Taped solder joints

(click for larger)

After being insulated, the pairs of wires can be bent/folded into their final resting place (against the coil):

Folded/buried wires (neck left, bridge right)

(click for larger)

The neck (left) pickup's wires are almost folded/buried. The bridge (right) is done. I was able to bury two wires under the bobbin on the far (left) side. One wire can fit between the coils. Try to keep it low, with the "flag" pointing down (so it won't peekaboo). You can fit one wire under the center of the coils. Or, just leave it flat against the side of the coil.

This process is a little unnerving because you have to move the wires more than you previously have. (Remember: conserving movements earlier in this mod contributes to how much they can take in this step).

11. Wrap the coils with fabric tape
Before taping the wires down, you may wish to verify that the coils work. Strip the ends of your pickup wires (tin them too, so they won't snag an bend as you work), and test the coils' resistance using an ohmmeter. Remember:
  • Your original pickups had the two "finish" (black) coil-wires soldered together for serial coil wiring. Now they're separated. So, don't measure the two "start" wires (green & black). It will look like it's broken. Instead, you can measure each coil via its own start/finish wires (south/screw coil = green & red wires; north/stud = black & white).
  • If you tin your stripped ends (you should!) they could have rosen flux residue. Don't get nervous if your ohmmeter doesn't get a reading. Triple-check whether you have a good contact on the wires. Scrape the solder surface and try again.
My pickups had 1/2" wide (12mm) fabric tape. I didn't feel like it was reusable. If you buy new tape, there seems to be three types (one fabric, two paper):

Three types of 12mm coil tape

(click for larger)

The reason I mention it: I bought the cheapest tape I saw (crepe paper tape) before realizing there are two others. I'm not sure why a person would choose one tape or another.[7] The Toyo-brand paper tape appears be for vintage enthusiasts. I've read that some Seymour Duncan pickups have paper tape over the wires, then fabric tape wrapped all the way around.[8]

I have excess tape: if you're doing this mod in the US, I can mail some of my tape so you don't have to buy yards of it. Private message me.​

Starting with my bridge pickup, I covered the wires with the 12mm crepe (paper) tape:

Paper (crepe) tape over the wires (bridge pickup)

(click for larger)

I pulled it hard to help flatten/compress the wires. Then I started the fabric tape a little further from where the paper tape started:

Starting the fabric tape (bridge pickup)

(click for larger)

Try to keep the tape straight/flush with the bobbin's top ledge. Pull hard, especially over the wires (to help them stay flattened).

Tape complete!

(click for larger)

12. Reinstall your pickups
Reinstall the plastic ring on your pickups. Remember that the spring's wide end faces the plastic bezel. (The shortest side of each ring should face the neck. The tallest ring is used with the bridge pickup.).

Remember: the neck's south-screw coil is closer to the neck. The bridge's screws are closer to the tailpiece. (The slugs of each coil are closer to each other.).​

WARNING: Don't overtighten the pickup-rings' four mounting screws. There was a recent thread about a ring that was broken that way, and the finish damaged. Just tighten till snug.​

If the ends of your leads are stripped and tinned, wrap them with 2-3 layers of electrical tape so they will push through the passage without snagging.

It's a good idea to put something on the end of one pickup lead to help you identify which is which. (When you push those into the control cavity, you won't know. But, you can always use an ohmmeter. The bridge's coils are twice the resistance as the neck's).

Note: I intended to shield my pickup cavities with copper-conductive tape. However, I thought that might interfere with the pickup's magnetic field. I decided to leave it unshielded so I don't change too many things at once.

The pickup wire is shielded. The pickup itself has a steel plate which is grounded. It doesn't seem like lining those cavities would accomplish much. Then you have to figure out how to connect that shield to ground; possible ground loops. I decided to leave that for another project (if ever).​

As I lowered each pickup into its cavity, I formed a loop of pickup wire around the bottom of the cavity. (The control cavity isn't large enough to hold much spare length. Having this spare wire might be appreciated someday.).

12. Reconnect your wires
If you want to put your guitar back the way it was, see the following diagrams:

Diagram: Dual-Concentric wiring with 4-conductors

Diagram: Special-II original wiring with 4-conductors

(click for larger)
PDF versions attached to post

The only differences are:
  • The new red & white wires are connected together (creating the original serial wiring—when the black coil wires were connected together at the coils).
  • Each pickup's hot wire is now black. They are reconnected where they originally were (neck's hot was white, bridge's hot was black).
  • Each pickup has a new green wire which goes to ground. It (south-start) was originally sent to ground at the pickup. (Each pickup's bare wire is now just a frame and shield ground.).
If you want to try tone-wiring mods (humbuckers out of phase. Or, coils cut, or wired in parallel), you can easily experiment using micro-clip jumpers like these:

Micro-hook jumper connectors

(click for larger)

You can find those in a variety of colors, with or without wires (make your own). They're called "EZ-Hook," "mini grabber," "Mini SMD test hook," "mini hook" or "pico hook." They make it relatively easy to try sample different wiring with the guitar laying on the table.

Next project: I installed tone-wiring switches: Special-II wiring mod: "Albert King tone" & coil-cut / parallel coils. It sounds really good.

[1] If you're afraid to mod your pickups, or don't have time, you could replace them. Expect to pay about $140 USD for quality pickups. Example: Seymour Duncan (JB bridge & Jazz neck are reported to be a popular pair for average playing style.). Less-expensive pickups exist which are considered an upgrade. (GFS comes to mind.). Pay attention to whether you're getting 4-conductor. Some aren't.

[2] Perhaps the Special-II's pickups aren't as "starter" as one might assume. The 50%-more-expensive Epiphone LP-100 comes with the EXACT same pickups (Epiphone 650R neck, 700T bridge.). The LP Studio LT uses them too. Apparently they're good enough for guitars costing 50% more.

[3] The 650R/750T magnet is ceramic:
A future pickup mod to consider: Replace 650R/750T ceramic magnet with Alnico (archived).
This forum post (archived) ranks the various Alnico magnets by strength and warmth. Per Seymour Duncan's Pickups 101 (archived): ceramic has higher output than Alnico, and an Alnico 5 is considered between Alnico 2 & ceramic. I'd like to try an A2 for clean/vintage. Next, A5. (Note: Unused Alnico magnets/pickups should be stored with a few inches space between them, and not against metal. They shouldn't be stored with ceramic magnets/pickups. If you buy magnets, ask the seller for advice. But, a few inches apart is safe. Maybe keep ceramics further away.).​

Another pickup mod: How to make a hybrid humbucker (unmatched coils) (archived).

And, another: The DiMarzio "air" mod (archived)

[UPDATE: At the end of my tone-switch mods, I consider adding "quick disconnects" to the pickup wires, so they can be removed easily for modding.]​

[4] See footnote 3, "How to make a hybrid humbucker" link.

[5] For Seymour Duncan color codes:

Seymour Duncan color codes:
BLACK = start of stud/north coil
WHITE = finish of stud/north coil
RED = finish of adjustable/south coil​
GREEN = start of adjustable/south coil​

  • South is screw side; north is slug side.
  • The White & Red wires are usually soldered together and taped for serial coil wiring.
  • Green is ground and Black is hot/Output.
[6] When you remove the fabric coil tape, I'm not certain what that material is underneath. Mine had some wax on it. But, it seems to be shiny mylar. A part of it melted over the ground point. (I didn't do it. It was that way when I bought my guitar.). I can see the thin enamel-coated winding behind that mylar. It's covered in wax. But, I don't know what this outer mylar stuff is, which the fabric tape adheres to.

[7] Regarding the three types of coil tape, I started a forum topic. I wasn't sure if there could be tonal differences. Thus far, it seems to be a matter of taste, or what's available. If you have questions or comments about this topic, please post there.

[8] "... pickups like the JB, Full Shred and Alternative 8 use a piece of black paper tape to hold the lead wires in place, covered by a piece of black cloth tape going all the way around, with a bit of overlap at the end." See footnote 3's link to "How to make a hybrid humbucker" article.


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