# Explain Phase switch?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Sundown1206, Mar 10, 2010.

1. ### Sundown1206

Jan 26, 2010
Chicago
Hey guys I'm thinking about adding a phase switch to my Jaguar bass but I'm not sure how it works/what it does and was hoping someone would be able to answer my questions. I'm able to put it together I'm sure I just can't rewire anything if I don't understand how it works. Thanks in advance everyone

2. ### i_got_a_mohawk

The bass signal is AC. Each pickup produces a similar (though slightly different signal), to do with the differences in pickup and the difference caused by differing string tensions as you move closer or further away from the bridge.

The identical parts of the wave will be constructive, adding to the amplitude of the wave. However, a phase switch will swap the ground and hot of one of the pickups. This means the parts which produced a +ve amplitude now produced a -ve amplitude. So now, instead of the identical parts of the wave, no longer add together, but they subtract. So if the signals were to be identical, they would cancel each other out.

What this means is that what you hear, when the pickups are out of phase, is the differences between the two pickups, as opposed to the sum of the signal.

3. ### Sundown1206

Jan 26, 2010
Chicago
I think I understand that thank you very much. So now I have two questions more lol one is how would that work with a parralel series switch? And could someone explain how the diagram would work? And does someone have a diagram lol

4. ### line6man

As mohawk stated, a phase switch (also called a polarity switch) simply swaps the polarity of the two pickups so that they will be 180 degrees out of phase.

FWIW, two pickups out of phase from each other will usually produce a very thin and nasally sound.
A lot of people would call it completely useless except for sound effects and such.

With a Series/Parallel switch, the principle is still the same, the pickups will still be able to be in or out of phase with each other, regardless of whether they are in series or parallel.

I'll draw you a diagram for Series/Parallel and Phase if you want it.

5. ### Sundown1206

Jan 26, 2010
Chicago
I'd appreciate it if you did thanks a ton

7. ### Sundown1206

Jan 26, 2010
Chicago
i dont really understand how that works :/

8. ### line6man

That's about as simple as it gets, other than I should mention the: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/91/Earth_Ground.svg
symbol means ground, and these are DPDT On/On switches.
The top switch is the phase, and the bottom switch is the series/parallel.

9. ### Sundown1206

Jan 26, 2010
Chicago
I understand how I would do it, but it looks like they would get mixed up and not work..

10. ### lunarpollen

Aug 6, 2007
Sacramento, CA
Phase switching on basses has very limited applications. Basically, if you want to be able to strangle your sound for the occasional baritone guitar role, then a phase switch on one of the pickups can be a way to achieve this (with two pickups you only need to switch phase on one of them to throw them out of phase with each other). Most of your low end will disappear, and the remaining overtones can sound "interesting." But an out-of-phase sound isn't useful for a bass role.

11. ### vin*tone

Oct 19, 2008
Ballaarat, Ostraya
I just modded mine out of my '79 Sabre. It wasn't included in later Sabre versions for a reason: Totally. Friggen. Useless.

12. ### BassLife77

Nov 13, 2009
San Diego
I put the phase switch in the piccolo bass. interesting sound when playing chords through a phaser. it might sound good on a fretless for solos. I think Alphonso Johnson flipped a phase switch on his fretless Lobue bass during solos

13. ### Sundown1206

Jan 26, 2010
Chicago
Success! Thanks for the help everyone I got it

14. ### i_got_a_mohawk

Bingo, that's pretty much what the phase switch does

15. ### FunkMetalBass

Aug 5, 2005
Phoenix, Arizona 85029
Endorsing Artist: J.C. Basses
**smacks forehead** Shouldn't you try to find out what something is before you do it? That's like taking cyanide capsules and asking what they do after you've already swallowed them.

What are you hoping to achieve with this mod? What tonal changes are you looking to get from the mod? A polarity switch may not really be what you are looking for.

merseymale and ex-tension like this.
16. ### PJSShearer

Mar 1, 2009
Woking, Surrey, UK.
I have a phase switch on my PJ that has Jazz Bass wiring ie., two volume controls. When you the flick the phase reversal switch, if you back off one of the volume controls slightly you do get a useable sound - it is thinner, missing some mids, but it does have bottom!!.

17. ### Sundown1206

Jan 26, 2010
Chicago
Well obviously that's why I posted this thread

18. ### Sundown1206

Jan 26, 2010
Chicago
My bass now has master volume, master tone, blend, series/parallel, pre amp on/off, bass, treble, phase switch, and kill switch.

Sep 12, 2006
PA

Oct 31, 2007