Polarity question

cromulent

Senior member
Messages
222
If you put 2 single-coil pickups in series (let's say on a Tele), will the tone be different if one is RWRP vs if they both have the same polarity?  Will one of these combinations be in phase and the other out-of-phase, or does it not make a difference?

Google has very conflicting information on this matter.

Many thanks!
 

stratamania

Senior member
Messages
9,227
Perhaps look at how a humbucker works and you should have your answer. Basically two coils in combination.

https://www.fralinpickups.com/2017/08/22/how-do-humbuckers-work/

How you combine coils and magnet polarity makes a difference to the amount of hum and results also in different tonal differences to a greater or lesser degree.

 

DuckBaloo

Senior member
Messages
282
People argue all the time whether RWRP changes tone or if it just sounds different because of the lack of hum. Or whether it affects inbetween tones on a Strat. Or all sorts of things. There seems to be no definitive or objective answer.

Series versus parallel shouldn't matter but, without RWRP, there usually is more hum in series because of the increased output.
 

Spud

Senior member
Messages
963
I have read people saying that a RWRP  in strat in between positions having less "quack" I had a setup like that before and can't really recall hearing much difference. But it's been a while now. In fact I think I still have the Duncan AP-2 RWRP wired in next to a Fender alnico 5 single coil, but they are just acting like a normal pair as I didn't reverse the wires.
 

cromulent

Senior member
Messages
222
Ok I think I figured it out. 

If you change the polarity of a pickup, you change the phase.  If you change the winding of a pickup, you change the phase.  But if you change both, the phase does not change.  So it shouldn't matter whether you have both stock or one RWRP in a series setup.

Thanks all!
 

stratamania

Senior member
Messages
9,227
cromulent said:
Ok I think I figured it out. 

If you change the polarity of a pickup, you change the phase.  If you change the winding of a pickup, you change the phase.  But if you change both, the phase does not change.  So it shouldn't matter whether you have both stock or one RWRP in a series setup.

Thanks all!

If you change both you end up with RWRP. Then you need to consider how that works in combination with another pickup.

Another useful article from Fralin...


https://www.fralinpickups.com/2019/08/02/the-nashville-tele-problem/
 

DuckBaloo

Senior member
Messages
282
cromulent said:
Ok I think I figured it out. 

If you change the polarity of a pickup, you change the phase.  If you change the winding of a pickup, you change the phase.  But if you change both, the phase does not change.  So it shouldn't matter whether you have both stock or one RWRP in a series setup.

Thanks all!

If you are curious about how they sound out-of-phase? Much, much thinner, because a lot of the signal is phase-cancelled out of existence, but also a bit a funk-style smear or creamy effect (akin to a phaser pedal). It's what is left over that is different between the two signals because the string vibrates slightly different (and slightly wider at the front PU) over each PU.

The in-between positions of a Strat have erroneously been called "out of phase" because they have this "smear" from the string vibrations, but they don't cancel out each others normal output.
 

Rick

Senior member
Messages
4,329
I love that out of phase funk sound, coupled with an auto-way or phaser it's nice.
 

uOpt

Active member
Messages
71
To my ears the neck and middle pickup in a Strat are close enough that their magnetic fields influence each other to an audible degree.

It is easy to test:
- take a guitar with no middle pickup, switch to neck pickup and start playing an open string
- hold a loose Strat pickup above the strings where a middle pickup would be
- turn that Strat pickup upside down
- do you hear a change?

To accentuate the effect you can do the same thing closer to the neck pickup. That will help in showing you what to look for.
 

uOpt

Active member
Messages
71
Here is how the magnetic field changes.  The non-RWRP one has a much narrower view of the vibrations on the string.

rwrp-graph1.jpg


rwrp-graph2.jpg

 
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