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Humbucker wiring

Discussion in 'Pickup Forum' started by axejock, Dec 4, 2018.

  1. axejock

    axejock Strat-Talker

    336
    Jul 26, 2018
    Washington State
    I'll admit to being hopelessly "electrically challenged", but I have recently acquired 2 Fender MIM Loaded bodies and one new Fender loaded pickguard with Texas special single coils and a Fender Atomic Bridge Humbucker (all have 4 wires on the humbuckers). On the original, loaded bodies, it would appear that the humbuckers are wired such that selector switch position 1 gives full bridge humbucker (both coils hot) and switch position 2 only picks up one bridge pup coil and couples it with the middle pup. I don't understand the wiring schematic on these or how they work even after studying them closely for a while.
    Then, I start working with the new loaded pickguard (with the Atomic humbucker) and find that the Humbucker on that pickguard has two of the four wires that come from the pup simply "capped off", and the other two wired into the circuit like a common SSS Strat. I think that means that in switch position 2, I have a full hot humbucker at the bridge coupled with the single coil middle pickup?
    I look at Fender schematics to try to make sense of this and am apparently not smart enough to understand the logic being employed in any of these wiring situations. Can one of you electrical wizards out there help me understand what Fender has tried to do with these HSS pickup installations? And by the way, the way they have the Atomic Humbucker wired makes it sound "weak" when used alone when it is supposed to be an exceptionally hot pup. Help!!!
     
  2. stratomatt

    stratomatt Strat-Talker

    387
    Sep 23, 2010
    San Diego
    You are (probably) correct. The 2 wires joined together and taped link both humbucker coils together in series, which is the normal full humbucker sound. So in position 2 you would get your humbucker combined in parallel with the middle single coil. I believe my Jackson HSS has this configuration and in position 2 it's a little clearer and less powerful than the HB by itself, but still louder than both single in position 4. If you want to split the HB you will need to un-solder the 2 wires connected together and use a superswitch or push-pull pot, mini-switch, etc. to get to the split HB tones. I haven't had my Jackson long and haven't torn into the electronics, so I'm not 100% sure mine is full HB and single in position 2, but because it is not as loud as position one, and doesn't sound anything like position 2 on a SSS guitar, I'm pretty sure what I'm saying is correct. But luckily you have a 4 wire humbucker and that opens a lot of possibilities. Personally I really like the HB and single coil tone in position 2 quite a bit.
     
    axejock likes this.
  3. Andrew Wasson

    Andrew Wasson Strat-O-Master

    Age:
    54
    525
    Nov 6, 2018
    Vancouver, Canada
    It’s difficult to say without seeing the pickguard or a schematic but usually when a switch position selects one coil of a humbucker somthat it becomes a single coil, that join between the two humbucker coils is grounded. I still that what you are seeing? In that case the pickup output is reduced considerably but the result is more of a searing unscooped tone. I’m not sure that that answers your question.
     
  4. axejock

    axejock Strat-Talker

    336
    Jul 26, 2018
    Washington State
    I think I figured out the humbucker having two wires "tied together" which makes it "hot" on both coils in switch position 1 or 2. But, on the original MIM Strat HSS setup, it is definitely wired so that the humbucker has both coils hot in position 1 only. When I select position 2, I get one coil on the humbucker and the middle pickup together. BUT, in position 2, absolutely no sound will come from either pickup unless one or both of the tone controls is turned "up" (away from the full counterclockwise position). Turning either of them up just a little bit "enables" position 2 to work properly, but further rotation of them has no effect. It's like they are the "on/off switch" for position 2. I believe that this is the factory wiring, but sure don't understand the tone control role in switch position 2. Anybody got any ideas as to why this would be the case? (I see nothing unusual or grounded/shorted out in any of the wiring).