What are your favorite "Hot Rod" techniques?

bbl4ck

Senior member
Messages
1,974
After long deliberation, reading every book and rag, and searching every forum [by the way, Unofficial Warmoth by far rocks above all forums  :hello2:], I am finally ready to order my body and electronics for my 1st build [Warmoth Flying V].  However, I am still spinning from all the wiring options.  I am using the Rio Grande Texas BBQ set [BBQ bucker bridge - Genuine Texas neck].  I have seen diagrams from the basic V wiring of 1 tone & 2 volumes to 2 humbuckers with 21 sounds.  I don't believe in loading my box with a bunch of $%@* that I will never use.  Please tell me what are your favorite special wiring options and why [the ones you really use and groove with :guitaristgif:].  I am looking at:

1)  Volume boost / bypass switch
2)  Phase reversal
3)  Series / Parallel
4)  Coil split

I've read that a lot of humbuckers really don't split well, therefore, not giving much difference in sounds.  This does vary with the pick-ups and not sure how the Rio Grande's split.  What do you folks feel are the best options that are doable together?

My latest knucklehead thought last night in my sleep was to throw a Seymour-Duncan Phat Cat in the mid position.  Not sure how the P-90's mix with the humbuckers.  Is this just too wacky or should I save the P90's for another build?  What do ya think? 

Thanks for your thoughts and be cool!  :rock-on:
 

djf67

Senior member
Messages
366
I like this and have mentioned it a few times...
I use all five positions depending on sound/tone I'm after. I've got Dimarzio Breeds which split well.

wdu_hh5l11_02
 

tfarny

Senior member
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4,481
For two humbuckers, I'd guess split both & series, or split both and parallel are your best options. A split HB by itself, your basic PAF hb at least, usually sounds like a chinese squire strat pup - weak, thin, characterless single coil. I just installed a tele mod which gives me both tele pickups in series & out of phase, and it's actually a very cool sound, I would describe it as like a strat in the notch position with extra 'quack', or like a fixed-position wah. parallel out of phase is always junk in my experience.
 

GoDrex

Senior member
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3,619
I don't really agree with everything tfarny said. For one thing, two humbuckers parallel out of phase is like the famous Peter Green tone - which can sound really cool for blues-y type leads. It also sounds cool to me with a clean tone. But yeah it's not everyone's cup of tea.

Series out of phase is more extreme and reminds me more of tones Brian May used for some solos. With splitting you can make you guitar sound like it's coming out of an AM radio  -  like the beginning of Wish You Were Here.  :laughing7:

Just plain two humbuckers in series is really loud but kills a lot of high end so it might sound muddy depending on your gear.

Also two humbuckers split and in series is like making a single third humbucker that's somewhere in the middle.

I also think that a neck pickup split can sound really good for clean tones. It's not like a strat, but is it's own thing -  maybe it's like a cheap single coil but it sounds cool to me. It's very crisp and clear sounding.

On my guitar I also like the bridge pickup spilt with some distortion for a thinner lead tone. It sounds cool to me. But I have a pretty weird bridge pickup and can get two different split tones out of it because the coils are very different. Depending on which one is active it sounds very different.

Anyway - It's my feeling that if you mainly play with a lot of gain/distortion then these options don't offer much, but if you're more into lower gain crunch and clean tones they can be interesting. It's true that split coils don't recreate single coil tones, but they're really something different.

I put up sound clips of some of these options a while back:

http://www.unofficialwarmoth.com/index.php?topic=3305.0 - - at the bottom of the first post
 

bbl4ck

Senior member
Messages
1,974
Hey,
Thanks everyone for your comments.  GoDrex, that diagram with the 5-way switch looks good to start out.  I like that I don't have to drill any extra holes in my body and I can always change it later if I want to try something else.  Thanks for the link to the clips and that is a mighty purdy Goldtop you have there as well.  Sounds great!  :hello2:
 

dbw

Senior member
Messages
4,531
I put a coil tap on my first Warmoth... not that useful.  Maybe for studio recording or something, which I never do.  My second Warmoth doesn't have any fancy wiring options.

Edit: I'm thinking of putting in push-pull pots on my LP though.  When they're up the corresponding pot will be removed from the circuit, so it has an effective resistance of infinity.  Kinda like the "turbo" switch on an old PC!  :)

Edit2: When the knob is up it would actually be as though it were turned HIGHER than 10.  So the guitar would LITERALLY go to eleven!!
485785.jpg
 

bbl4ck

Senior member
Messages
1,974
Hey dbw,

I like idea of removing the resistance.  Nice to have a little power booster!  In the book "Guitar Electronic-Understanding Wiring" by T.A. Snake, he talks about using a volume boost / bypass switch that when turned on bypasses the tone and volume pots and sends the signal straight to the output jack, thereby reducing resistance.  Is this the same thing as you are talking about?  The concept sounds like a useful feature and I also wondered if it worked as good as it sound!  :icon_scratch:

 

tfarny

Senior member
Messages
4,481
I was thinking about this a little bit while practicing this morning - most of my experiences hot rodding have been with single coils. I've done parallel out of phase on a strat (by accident) and it sounded like total garbage to me, whereas the serial out of phase on my new tele (with trad tele pups) is very usable, it's actually a lot like picking near the bridge, and the volume is comparable to the parallel in phase setting. That could be the serial / parallel aspect, or the different pickups involved, I don't know. I have done the wiring shown in the second post, and it was cool, but the 2 and 4 were very similar on the guitar I tried it on.

Since you've got a rear route, and you don't need to take off the neck to mess with the electronics: why don't you wire in a few on/on/on switches in the body cavity, leave the cover off, and spend a month or so playing around with the 87 different combos till you find the 5 or 8 you'll actually use with your pickups and rig, then go back and re-wire for just those. That way you won't mess up the face of your guitar with a million switches.

Also: you can get no-load tone pots that will take the pot resistance totally out of the circuit, same effect as a 'turbo' switch but doesn't involve extra switching, just turn the knob till it clicks. Also, a 1-meg pot is pretty much the same as no-load, you can always turn it down to 9 to simulate a bit of resistance. Guitar electronics.com has all the parts.
 

Superlizard

Senior member
Messages
2,514
I'm more of a traditionalist, but I've been known to do a coil-tap here and there (next one's a single humbucker guitar and it's getting the series/tap/parallel treatment), and have futzed with fancier stuff... although I'd prolly try a Lifeson setup at some point in time.

To be honest, I really don't want to have to think about my switching whenst playing... I'd rather focus on the notes and getting the vibe out, and tone is also a high consideration.
 

Wyliee

Senior member
Messages
1,931
bbl4ck said:
I've read that a lot of humbuckers really don't split well, therefore, not giving much difference in sounds.  This does vary with the pick-ups and not sure how the Rio Grande's split.  What do you folks feel are the best options that are doable together?

My latest knucklehead thought last night in my sleep was to throw a Seymour-Duncan Phat Cat in the mid position.  Not sure how the P-90's mix with the humbuckers.  Is this just too wacky or should I save the P90's for another build?  What do ya think? 

I've got Rio Grande Crunchbox and Punchbox in my strat with coil split.  I think there's a clear difference in tone.  I've also added a Dirty Harry Jr. (RWRP) strat pickup in the middle.  It's basically a P90 in strat shape.  It matches very well with the split humbuckers for position 2 & 5 strat sounds.  Good tone, just a whole lot bigger!
 

dbw

Senior member
Messages
4,531
bbl4ck said:
Hey dbw,

I like idea of removing the resistance.  Nice to have a little power booster!  In the book "Guitar Electronic-Understanding Wiring" by T.A. Snake, he talks about using a volume boost / bypass switch that when turned on bypasses the tone and volume pots and sends the signal straight to the output jack, thereby reducing resistance.  Is this the same thing as you are talking about?  The concept sounds like a useful feature and I also wondered if it worked as good as it sound!  :icon_scratch:

Yep that's basically the idea.  With all four pots up I would just have 2 hbs wired to a switch wired to the output jack.
 

Superlizard

Senior member
Messages
2,514
Fras said:
Hmm, might I inquire on this Lifeson setup you are speaking of? :)

(Alex Lifeson of Rush)

Nothing fancy...

It's been awhile since I've seen the schematic (on a website somewhere... might have it in my archives), but IIRC it's essentially
a Strat with 3 single coils - with push/pull pots to put for instance the bridge SC and the mid SC in series for a humbucker tone ... and same with neck SC and mid SC.

I thought it was clever... looks like a stock strat but has the ability to do humbucker tones.

In practice I don't know; haven't tried it.  I'd assume of course that to get authentic tones for both (SC and humb), you'd need to find the right pickups to do so.
 

Rick

Senior member
Messages
4,154
I like things simple, with just a little oomph.

If you go with two humbuckers, then a simple 5 way switch as above.

If you go with 3 single coils, then a seven way switch.

If you go with a Humbucker in the bridge, p-rail like thing in the middle and single coil in the neck, then add a toggle in the bridge position for humbucker, add a toggle for the p-rail, and a seven way switch.
 

Rick

Senior member
Messages
4,154
for complicated see H's Jimmy Page thread, I wouldn't want to solder that.
 

Fras

New member
Messages
3
Superlizard said:
(Alex Lifeson of Rush)

Nothing fancy...

[...]

Hmm, when did he use a strat with single coils only? The 'Hentor Sportscaster' guitars were the only ones i knew about. :p
 

Superlizard

Senior member
Messages
2,514
Fras said:
Superlizard said:
(Alex Lifeson of Rush)

Nothing fancy...

[...]

Hmm, when did he use a strat with single coils only? The 'Hentor Sportscaster' guitars were the only ones i knew about. :p

Maybe that was the one... it had a Gibson-style toggle.  My memory of it isn't great (senility LOL).

Maybe they weren't all SC's, but I do remember some SC's in it, and the clever way of series-ing them.
 

markwayne

Active member
Messages
26
I was turned on to this by a tech while on tour back in 1980. I was thinking about routing my newest Strat and adding a bridge humbucker and a tech suggested doing the rout but using a fourth (reverse wound reverse polarity) single coil instead. You get to keep your Strat and you add three virtual humbuckers. The big difference is that when you split them, they sound like good single coils . . . 'cause . . . well . . . they are good single coils. You can even add a fifth single coil if you have a neck humbucker rout. (Which I added later.)

The other cool part of this is that the same tech turned me on to this little company called Warmoth two years later when I got sick of the flimsy, three bolt, micro-tilt nonsense. The tech ordered me a birdseye maple, 22 fret Strat replacement neck. I don't think you could order direct then. I still have that guitar with that neck.

This is a lot like the old Jeff Beck signature Strat from the late 90's. That was a cool guitar.

For a dual humbucker guitar you can use blade pickups like EMGs or just ignore the fact that the pole pieces don't quite line up. (If you keep the pickups low, it doesn't make as big a difference as you would think.) I had an SG that I put four Strat pickups in and it could out Strat a lot of Strats. You also may want the Al Kooper mod for a Strat. (A switch to throw the bridge and neck pickup together for a faux "Tele" tone.)

Oh, and yes, P90s mix very well with other pickups. You can always solder a small resistor in series with a pickup that's too hot.

Wayne
 
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