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Bass with too many controls. Need wiring help. Please :)

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by suraj, Jan 25, 2012.

  1. suraj


    Oct 1, 2008
    Mumbai, India
    My first post in the Electronics section :hyper:

    Anyway, Im building a 5 stringer, first build, and I want my electronics to work in a specific way, but I don't know exactly how to wire everything. I know how to wire basically everything(as shown on the aguilar diagram), except for all the extra switches and pots i've added -

    2 x Passive home made humbuckers, wound by me. Should be around as hot as a musicman humbucker. Would look like one too :p

    Aguilar OBP-3 Preamp.

    Stacked Bass/Treble. ( can this treble work as a tone control in passive mode ? if not, i'm thinking of a separate tone pot )

    Stacked Mid/Mid frequency sweep anywhere from 250 to 800hz.

    Volume with push pull pot for active passive switching. (need pot value)

    Blend, between the two Humbuckers.(need pot value)

    3 way, on-on-on toggle switch for each of the humbuckers. This is a coil tap which lets me select coil 1, coil 2 or both together with the switch in the centre position.

    2 series parallel switches, one for each humbucker, to wire the two coils of each humbucker in series or parallel.

    1 series parallel switch for series or parallel connection between the two humbuckers.

    I hope I explained all that properly.

    I like a nice bright piano like tone with lots of overtones, so recommend pot values accordingly :)

    I also need to know if I can sweep mids with a concentric pot, where the bottom cuts and boosts, and the top sets the frequency. Such a pot would have identical values for the top and bottom "pot", so I dont know if it will work.

    I know im asking for too much :bag:

    Thanks for reading :)
  2. suraj


    Oct 1, 2008
    Mumbai, India
  3. FunkMetalBass


    Aug 5, 2005
    Phoenix, Arizona 85029
    Endorsing Artist: J.C. Basses
    A few things:
    1. Save yourself some trouble and go with either a 4-position blade switch or a rotary switch that can do coil 1, coil 1/coil 2 (series), coil 1/coil 2 (parallel), coil 2.
    2. I think MEC is the only company that makes the stock pot you'll need for the mid/mid freq knob, and it is not cheap. You might consider two separate pots (or a dual stereo pot to incorporate under the blend pot)
    3. It's hard to know the pot values for your pickups because you wound them yourself. I'd guess 500k.
    4. No, the treble will not also work as a passive tone control. You'll have to install one separately. You'll also need to install a second switch for putting the passive tone in and out of the circuit (unless you choose to use a 3pdt switch for the preamp bypass).

    All of the diagrams can be found online. Here's the general chain you'll be following:

    Humbucker 1 -> 4-way switch 1 -> blend
    Humbucker 2 -> 4-way switch 2 -> blend
    blend -> volume -> bypass switch -> preamp -> bypass switch -> passive tone -> output
  4. I'll draw you a diagram when I have time.

    Having series/parallel and north coil/humbucker/south coil switches sounds pretty overkill. You might consider a series/single coil/parallel switch, instead.

    You cannot do a concentric bass/treble pot that functions as a passive tone pot in passive mode. Such would require a triple ganged pot.

    Use 250k or 500k volume and blend pots. I would go with 500k pots to prevent loading the pickups down.
  5. mikezimmerman

    mikezimmerman Supporting Member

    Apr 29, 2001
    Omaha, Nebraska
  6. kraigo


    Jun 21, 2007
    Minneapolis, MN
    I went through the pain of documenting how to wire a Series/Single/Parallel switch in another thread. I'll repost it here.

    Some background info.

    The switch you want is a DPDT (dual Pole/Dual Throw) on/on/on. There are copious notes out there on how to do this, notably check GuitarNuts.com and SeymourDuncan.com

    The switch is symmetrical. If you turn it over the shorted poles react the same geometrically.

    Forgive the ASCII art.

    One extreme position will (independently of each row) connect the middle and the end lugs.

    *-* *
    *-* *

    The other extreme position will connect the middle and other end lugs.

    * *-*
    * *-*

    The middle position ties the upper left and lower right lugs as you look at the switch from the bottom.

    *-* *
    * *-*

    We're going to number the lugs the way SGD Lutherie's documentation does it. I presume David is following a convention.

    3 2 1
    6 5 4

    The generic form for the series/single/parallel switch is to solder a wire between lugs 3 and 5. I'll draw it like this. The editor is doing weird things with my spaces, so I'm going to use '-' as a space holder:

    3 2 1
    6 5 4

    Series position is going to be when pins 3 & 2 and 6 & 5 are shorted together. Parallel position is going to be when pins 2 & 1 and 5 & 4 are shorted together. Middle position will be single coil. I'm telling you this so you can trace the simple circuit to correct errors. Series to the left, single in the middle, parallel to the right.

    Output will be to the right.

    3 2 1 ---- Hot
    6 5 4 ---- Ground

    Nordstrand uses the Seymour Duncan wire color codes convention. The Seymour Duncan has a great PDF with other vendors' conventions here: http://www.seymourduncan.com/pdfs/su...olor_codes.pdf

    With the Nordstrands, and I presume most other humbuckers with four wires coming off them, the pair of pickups follow the same magnetic coil winding orientations, so for single coil operation to make a humbucking pair like a Jazz Bass does you want either the outer two coils or the inner two coils. For greater variety of tone, I chose the outer two coils.

    In order to do this, series position will use red and white wires connected in the neck pickup and black and green wires connected in the bridge pickup. I was concerned that when I used both pickups in series that there might be some weird polarity issue or something. There wasn't. It works perfectly.

    So we know where two pins are tied together, which position gives us series, single and parallel options and where the hot and ground output pins are.

    The wiring is identical for both switches, only the wire colors change. We will have wires off pins 3, 2 and 1 on the top and pin 4 on the bottom.

    I've gone as far as my ASCII art will take me, I think. Draw this out and follow along.

    For the neck pickup on the Norsdstrand DC's (and all humbuckers that follow the Duncan convention), single coil operation will be with the black and white wires. Black is hot, so it goes to pin 1. For single coil, the switch is in the center. The white wire is connected to pin 3. The jumper wire connects it to pin 5 and from there the white, red and green wires all go to ground (red and green wires are the other coil and are shorted together at the ground).

    For series, pins 2 & 3 and 5 & 6 are closed. The black wire is still hot. The white (pin 3) wire connects to the red wire (pin 2) via the switch (white is also tied to pins 5 & 6 at this point, but they don't go anywhere), so the series connection between the coils is achieved and the green wire (pin 4) goes to ground to complete the circuit.

    For parallel black (pin 1) and red (pin 2) are tied together via the switch and go to hot and white (pin 3 which takes the jumper to pin 5) is tied via the switch to green (pin 4) to ground.

    Let me recap (remember that the '\' indicates that pins 3 and 5 are tied):

    3 2 1 ---- Hot
    6 5 4 ---- Ground

    For the neck pickup:

    W R B ---- Hot
    6 5 G ---- Ground

    Where W is white, R is red, B is black and G is green.

    For the bridge pickup, just swap which coils you're using:

    R B G ---- Hot
    6 5 W ---- Ground

    Troubleshooting: The easiest way I know of to verify a single pickup is to connect an ohm meter to the outs on the switch. The middle will be the nominal value of one coil. Series will double the value, parallel will half it if you've got the wiring right.

    If you are doing this for a different wiring color convention you can reason it out using the steps above or you can translate it using the Seymour Duncan PDF linked above.

    Good luck.


  7. If you want series/parallel and north/humbucker/south, that's done like this:
    Note that the series/parallel switch must be set to series mode if the other switch is set to a single coil mode, otherwise you short the output.

    All other combos on a single switch are shown here:
  8. suraj


    Oct 1, 2008
    Mumbai, India
    Is this switch the same as any on-on-on switch -

    3-Way Guitar Toggle Switch-Chrome

    The standard on-on-on mini toggle switch is hard to find in my area. This switch above is the same used as a pickup selector for the les pauls.
  9. suraj


    Oct 1, 2008
    Mumbai, India
  10. That's a type of DPST switch which is commonly configured as a SPDT Center-On, by externally jumpering the commons.
  11. suraj


    Oct 1, 2008
    Mumbai, India
    Thank you line6man :) i have decided to take your advice and go the series, single coil, parallel route for each humbucker on my bass. Will this switch work for that application ?
  12. No, you need a DPDT On-On-On. (Also known as a SP3T.)

    The only thing a pickup selector switch would be good for is north coil/parallel/south coil switching.
  13. suraj


    Oct 1, 2008
    Mumbai, India
    wow you really do know a lot, I would love to be as knowledgable :p

    Thanks again :)
    I guess i'll just shoot you a pm next time if you don't mind.
  14. suraj


    Oct 1, 2008
    Mumbai, India
    Thread resurrection time..!!

    Well I have finished building the bass I was making, its just the wiring that remains. Lets just have a look at the bass first :D


    And this is the mess I'm gonna need help wiring, so I'm gonna be asking questions on this -


    There are 3 switches for 4 coils (2 hum buckers )

    A series-single coil-parallel switch for each hum bucker, and
    A master series parallel switch between the two hum buckers.

    A blend knob will be used to pan between the hum buckers

    Now my first question is -

    A 3 way toggle switch on-on-on, in the centre position will work like this (according to the internet) -

    x-x x
    x x-x

    BUT, using the multimeter, I checked my switch and in the centre position, it connects like this -

    x x-x
    x-x x

    which is an exact mirror image. (or am I supposed to look at the switch from the top and not the back where the terminals are ?)

    Now the main question is, the circuits shown above are for a standard switch. Since my switch seems to be a mirror image, should my connections also be made in a mirrored fashion ?

    Thanks in advance.

    Lots of dumb questions to follow :D
  15. suraj


    Oct 1, 2008
    Mumbai, India
  16. suraj


    Oct 1, 2008
    Mumbai, India
  17. suraj


    Oct 1, 2008
    Mumbai, India
    Ok so I wired it all up the way I thought was right, and it works !!, But i think I have some reverse phase issues..

    The controls are -

    1 volume
    blend between the two hum buckers
    series split parallel for each bucker
    master series parallel between the buckers

    Between these above switching options I am having phase issues, and i'm unsure which coils to flip the leads on.

    There are 4 coils, I wound each coil with the same winding direction, but Reverse magnetic polarity, thinking I can just flip the leads to compensate for reverse winding.

    So lets say I have four coils from neck to bridge, all with same winding direction, but alternating north up and south up magnets. So should I flip the leads of both south coils? or one north and one south coil ?

    Sorry if my question is too vague, I can try to explain it better..

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