Series-Parallel for PJ but not exactly

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Wfrance3, Oct 2, 2021.

  1. Wfrance3

    Wfrance3 Supporting Member

    May 29, 2014
    Tulsa, OK
    Ok I know this is the um-tenth time this one has come up. Hear me out tho…

    Not a wiring expert, but if I follows what I think I know, a store-bought PJ bass would come wired parallel most of the time. Right?

    A store-bought P bass would come wired series most of the time right?

    Does it make sense to think it would be cool to have a VVT (volume volume tone) setup with a push-pull tone knob that would be parallel in standard pushed in position, and pull drop outs the J (bridge) pickup while simultaneously switching the P to series?

    Forgive the post if this is a nonsense question, i just don’t know that much about bass wiring and want to explore my options. The folks who read and write these posts are super smart, so this seemed like a good place to find out.
  2. LightForce104

    LightForce104 Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2012
    A PJ set is usually wired in parallel between the two pickups. A P pickup is almost always wired in series with itself, even in a PJ set.
    CallMeAl likes this.
  3. Wfrance3

    Wfrance3 Supporting Member

    May 29, 2014
    Tulsa, OK
    Ok, so on need to switch off the J pickup to assure series when solo-ing the P Pickup. Cool/Thanks!!
  4. CallMeAl


    Dec 2, 2016
    Ithaca Ny
    I don’t think you need to do anything special here. You could just roll the J pickup down to 0, the P will always be in series (with itself.) now, some will tell you a P pickup solo in a PJ set will never sound like a pure P bass, but that’s another debate.

    A standard PJ wiring is a P pickup (in series with itself) in parallel with the single coil. You can install a switch to put the 3 coils in series, which is less common. A 3 way switch can give you easy access to “Full on PJ” with master volume control…

    But none of those options put the P pickup in parallel with itself. You’d really have to go out of your way to do that.
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2021
  5. CallMeAl


    Dec 2, 2016
    Ithaca Ny
    To get a P in parallel (with itself) you have to clip the little wire that connects the 2 coils, and split it into 2 separate hot/ground pairs:

    49DA8383-3284-48C2-A1E3-F933D5B466B1.jpeg DEBBF5C7-A329-4715-B42F-8A88D945A37F.jpeg
    ctmullins likes this.
  6. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    I have noticed a difference in the tone of the same bass wired VVT and one wired to a switch when running the P bass pickup solo. That's why I prefer my main player with a 3 way switch that "turns off" the bridge pickup.

    My preference in your situation would be master volume and tone, 3 way neck/both/bridge switch, 2 way series/parallel for neck and bridge pickups, 2 way series parallel for P bass pickup. I prefer mini toggles.

    These two are my main players.

    This one is volume and tone, 3 way pickup selector, 3 way series/single/parallel for the bridge. It's my #1.

    This one it VVT, series/parallel for the pickips, series/single/parallel for the bridge, amd pull pot on the tone knob for brighter and darker caps.
    CallMeAl likes this.
  7. dwizum


    Dec 21, 2018
    Maybe it's worth pointing out that a PJ has three coils - two for the P and one for the J. The concept of series vs parallel doesn't inherently apply to the entire bass all at once, it applies component to component.

    In other words, the question of the two halves of the P being in series or parallel with each other is independent from the question of the P (as a unit) being in series or parallel with the J.
    CallMeAl likes this.
  8. vinnydbass


    Feb 4, 2008
    I like putting a 47k resistor across the series switch. That way, when engaged in series I don't get the volume bump, just the tone of series. I found my PJ in series was a bit overkill and some pedals tracked like crap. I also put a 0.22 cap on a switch in series with the bridge pickup that cuts lows. When engaged, the lows from the neck pickup are brought back when the pickups are both full volume.
    ctmullins and JKos like this.
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