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Out of phase pickups?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by blipndub, Sep 29, 2004.

  1. I just wired up a set of SD Hot jazz bass pups and they sound hollow and thin, and really put out when i roll one of them off. So i think they are out of phase but my wiring looks ok. What would the wiring look like if they were out of phase?
  2. naughtry


    Jan 31, 2004
    NYC / D.C.
    yeah they are out of phase probaly. Just switch the white and black wires. Same thing happened to me when I installed my hot for jazz in the bridge of my P/J Fender Special. You can actually get some very cool tones this way.


    Werid thing is, all i touched was the wires in the pickup cavity but even now, switched back norma,l I have individual volume controls rather then a single blend knob.

    Chekc out schematics here:
    Standard Jazz Bass:

    The problem might be SD assumes you are replacing Seymour Duncan pick-ups and not stock ones so you got to make sure your factory wiring is the way they want.
  3. naughtry


    Jan 31, 2004
    NYC / D.C.

    What do in phase and out of phase mean?
    Phase refers to the relationship of two sine waves (signals) to each other. If both signals are at their highest peak (+) at the same time they are in phase. If one signal is at its highest peak (+) while the other signal is at its lowest peak (-) they are 180 degrees out of phase. While a complicated and lengthy explanation of this phenomenon is possible, guitar electronics are fairly simple and a basic understanding goes a long way to ensuring your guitar works properly.
    Humbucking pickups have the individual coils connected in opposing phase and each coil uses opposite polarities of a single bar magnet. If either of these two conditions is not met the resulting tone will be thin and nasal sounding. It is the combination of these two elements that give a humbucking pick up it's strong full tone with the majority of hum being cancelled The same thing applies to single coil pick ups. It is the combination of opposing phase and magnetic polarity between a RwRp single coil and a standard single that causes the combination to be noise canceling.

    How can I tell if my pickups are out of phase?
    With two humbuckers connected by a switch in phase pick ups will sound normal, while out of phase humbuckers will sound weak and nasal. This is because out of phase humbuckers result in a lot of low and mid frequency cancellation. With Strat and single coil type guitars being in phase is the problem and if adjacent pickups are in phase the combined selection will not be noise canceling.
    This may be a confusing explanation. What we need to emphasize here is that humbuckers work because the coils are out-of-phase and the magnetic polarities are opposite. Either condition by itself will produce conflicting (out-of-phase) string signals from each coil that will result in a thin, nasal sound, but the two conditions together produce a full and powerful string signal and cancellation of most of the hum.

    How can I correct out of phase pickups?
    With humbuckers it can be as simple as changing the hot and ground connections or flipping the magnet. To correct phase problems with single coils is harder because the pick ups must be both magnetically and electrically out of phase, and it is next to impossible to change the magnetic orientation in single coil pick ups unless you have a magnetizer
  4. Thanks for the input. I switched the ground and the hot on the pot of the questionable pickup and the problem is solved. One thing I had forgotten was that I had broken off one of the leads on the pickup inself while futzing around with it and may have reversed the polarities when reattaching.

    No doubt the out of phase sound was interesting, and MIGHT be useful but only in very particular circumstances (like what I don't know!)
  5. bigbeefdog

    bigbeefdog Who let the dogs in?

    Jul 7, 2003
    Mandeville, LA
    You could always rewire it, with a push-pull pot, to give you both options.... :p