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Pickups out of phase?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by jameshdurham, Aug 19, 2012.

  1. jameshdurham


    Aug 13, 2010
    Hello all, I recently bought one of the new Squier SS Jaguar basses just to have something different to mess around with. For the price, it's not a bad instrument, but I do have a question.

    When I turn both pickups all the way up, I lose basically all bass frequency and most of the volume. I can roll back one knob or the other just a bit and all of the bass frequencies and volume return. I know that dual pickups sometimes lose some of the response if both are turned up, but in this case, it is extreme. I read on another site that wiring the pickups out of phase can cause this issue.

    When I remove the jack-plate, there is a white and a red wire coming from the P-pup. The red goes to ground, and the white connects to the volume pot. The J-pup has three wires; Red, black, and yellow. The red and black wires are hooked to ground, and the yellow goes to the volume pot.

    I have only a little bit of experience wiring guitars and I've never seen pickups with these color wires before. Is anyone familiar with these color combinations?

    It actually sounds pretty good if I just turn the J-pup all the way down and use the P-pup, but I can't help but wonder if there is a phase issue and what the bass might sound like if I could turn both pickups up at the same time.
  2. That is really interesting. Was it this way when you purchased it, or has the wiring been modified?

    What your describing does sound like an out of phase pickup issue.

    If the bass is original 'unmodified', I would exchange it. Otherwise you could switch the red and yellow wires from the jazz pickup. You will want to pull the J pickup out and verify that the yellow and red go to the coil while the black is a ground to the pickup housing.

    Seymour duncan uses similar colored wires. Black, White, Green & Red. With my experience, (I've only wired a SJB3-5, SPB-3, SMB4a, and SH13 pickups) the black is the +, white and red together for a humbucker series and the green is the ground. To run a Duncan HB in parallel the red & black are + while white & green are -... which is backwards from my automotive experience with black always being ground.
  3. jameshdurham


    Aug 13, 2010
    It hasn't been modified yet. But I have an SPB-3 that I've been thinking about putting in it. So I may try switching those two wires while I have my soldering iron out.

    One reason that I bought it is that my left hand has developed some pain issues and I want to try a SS bass to see if it helps. But mostly I bought it to have something to tinker with. So maybe I can learn something about pick-ups and being out of phase while I'm at it.

    Thanks for your reply.
  4. jameshdurham


    Aug 13, 2010
    Turns out that the black wire was just connected to the body with a screw. I left it connected to the ground. The red and yellow wires came out of the pickup, but the cover is glued on so I couldn't see which wire was connected to what.

    I took a chance and swapped the Red to + and the yellow to -. It seems to have fixed the problem. The volume still dropped when both are set to maximum, but not nearly as much and the bass frequencies seemed to hold up better.

    Then I installed the Seymore Duncan SPB-3. It's a much hotter pickup than the J that is in the bridge. So the bridge pickup doesn't really seem to add a whole lot at this point. But I'm fairly sure that swapping the wires took care of the other issue.

    Thanks again!

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