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help with 3 lead soapbars

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by C-5KO, Jan 14, 2006.

  1. C-5KO


    Mar 9, 2005
    Toronto, Canada
    I've tried searching for a 3 lead pup thread and didn't find anything.

    Splittable soaps will have 4 leads, and your standard jazz or p pup will have 2 leads. Is a red, black, ground, 3 lead soapbar pup standard? I'm guessing it's not possible to wire it with a coiltap.
  2. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004

    For all intents and purpose, there is no standard in the bass world.

    You can't "tap" a two lead pup. You can "tap" a 3 lead pup if it's a coil tap pup.

    Color codes vary with manufacturer - even they vary within themselves sometimes. In general warm colors are hot leads and dark/earthtones are grounds (ie. red hot black ground) but that varies.

    A coil has a begining (start) and end (finish) with associated leads. The pup doesn't know one from another, they are interchangeable within themselves, and will sound the same no matter which is used for hot in a pup with two leads - 95% of the time . You use a meter to find the leads associated to a given coil. The start/finish will show continuity on the meter and will not to the ground lead (unless the pup is screwed up OR is a REAL coil tap pup).

    Today, a passive pup (DC resistance of roughly 7K and more) with 3 leads will invariably have a start/finish and ground. The ground is often obvious in the form of a braided cable or equivalent, though not always. In the circuit, ground and coil finish typically go to pot back/equivalent and coil start to pot lug(usually center)/equivalent.

    Today, most pups with 3 leads are probably active, often with a noticeably smaller gauge red lead that goes to the battery clip or preamp. The other two are start and finish of the coil and wire like passive. If DC resistance is close to 2K it' s likely active.

    An older pup may actually be a REAL coil tap pup. I don't know of any bass pups made today that are coil tap. A coil tap is technically not splitting coils in an HB but is actually a third (sometimes more) winding that is "tapped" in between the start and finish of the full coil. It therefore yeilds a different tone. The meter reading will be distinctly less for the tap lead relative to the other two.
  3. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    everything Ron said...

    I've seen a number of 3 lead pickups where the 3rd wire is a shielding ground.