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Splitting and Blending Humbuckers (RBV-ish)

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by WTXBass, Nov 24, 2018.


  1. WTXBass

    WTXBass

    Nov 17, 2018
    Let me start off by saying that I’m a newb with electronics. So I apologize if this is a dumb question or poorly thought out. I have reasearched the board but have not come across this topic.

    So, I’m considering building a bass and am toying with the idea of using 2 humbuckers. I was looking at doing a PJJ, but I think the humbuckers are the better way to go. However, I want to be able to do the following using toggles, blades, rotory switch, and/or push-pull pots (PPP) without using active electronics (if possible).

    Neck Humbucker Switch: split coils with a switch for Series Humbucker (SH) / Neck Side (NS) / Bridge Side (BS) / Parallel Humbucker (PH).

    Bridge Humbucker Switch: same as above.

    Toggle #1: Neck/Both/Bridge

    Toggle, blade, rotary switch, or ? #2: the option to mix the pickups (NeckNS & BridgeNS, NeckBS & BridgeBS, NeckSH & BridgeBS...)

    Toggle, blade, rotary switch, PPP, or ? #3 through #x: whatever is needed

    Controls: I’m thinking V/V/T but I imagine I will need to incorporate some PPP.

    This is similar to the Roscoe Beck (RBV) wiring, but I would like to be able to use each coil of the Humbucker individually. The RBV only allows PH, Coil Tap (Neck Side Only), SH.

    Is this possible? Does anyone know of a bass that currently uses something similar? I know Jimmy Page’s Les Paul is similar, but his PPP are used more for phasing. The Fender Jaguar HH is close, but it uses Kill Switch and like the RBV, you can only use the Humbucker or one of the Single Coils.

    Thanks in advance for any advice!
     
  2. Axstar

    Axstar SUSPENDED

    Jul 8, 2016
    East of Eden.
    That seems entirely possible, if a bit complex to use on the fly perhaps.

    In the simplest terms, treat each humbucker as two single coil pickups that just happen to be right next to each other in a shell. What you are looking to do is basically the wiring scheme from Fender's Baja Telecaster guitars. They offer each pickup (coil in your humbucker) and both 'coils' either in series or parallel.
     
    Haroldo, PawleeP and WTXBass like this.
  3. WTXBass

    WTXBass

    Nov 17, 2018
    Thanks! So, I’m assuming I would need the following to accomplish this:

    Neck Volume Control with S-1
    4 position Switch for Neck
    Bridge Volume Control with S-1
    4 position Switch for Bridge
    3 Position Pickup Selector Switch (Neck/Both/Bridge)
    Master Tone Control

    I would like to be able to control the tone of each pickup if possible. Would I need two tone controls or a stacked concentric tone control (Top: Neck Tone 0-10, Bottom: Bridge Tone 0-10) assuming I don’t want 4 knobs?
     
  4. Axstar

    Axstar SUSPENDED

    Jul 8, 2016
    East of Eden.
    The S1 switch isn't necessary.
     
  5. WTXBass

    WTXBass

    Nov 17, 2018
    Ok. The Baja uses an S-1 Switch though.
     
  6. Axstar

    Axstar SUSPENDED

    Jul 8, 2016
    East of Eden.
    The S1 switch reverses the phase of one pickup in the Baja Telecaster. Great if you want that weird nasal Tele tone that you hear on the intro of 'Party of Special Things to Do' by Captain Beefheart, but probably less useful in a bass as it would cancel out all the low frequencies.

    There are more basic four-position Telecaster wiring schemes that give you what you are looking for. They appear to use a basic 4-way, 2-pole switch, and you can get rotary switches with this spec. Simply work out the common terminal for each set of poles and you should be able to recreate the Tele switching scheme.
     
    WTXBass likes this.
  7. solderfumes

    solderfumes

    Mar 16, 2016
    You can also do the switching for each pickup with two SPDT toggles. This is how the Seymour Duncan Triple Shot mounting rings do it, and they have a diagram for doing it with push-pull pots (each of these pots is a DPDT switch, but only half of each switch is dedicated to each pickup): The P-Rails Wiring Bible, Part 3. It might make for a slightly cleaner control layout (you can happily use small mini-toggles for this), or it might be worse than a rotary switch for each pickup -- depends on your tastes and your bass, I'd say. EDIT forgot to mention, the relevant diagram is the third one down in the article.

    Alternatively, if you were able to go V/V/T/T then you could have all four be push-pulls and implement this switching that way -- have two of the push/pulls working on the neck pickup and two working on the bridge pickup.
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2018
    WTXBass likes this.
  8. solderfumes

    solderfumes

    Mar 16, 2016
    Oh, another thing: if you go with normal Jazz Bass wiring you also probably don't need a toggle switch for neck/both/bridge, as you can just mix the pickups using the volumes.
     
    WTXBass likes this.
  9. solderfumes

    solderfumes

    Mar 16, 2016
    Can confirm, I have switching that allows for this on two basses because I am a sucker for punishment and they are not useful settings!
     
    Axstar and WTXBass like this.
  10. WTXBass

    WTXBass

    Nov 17, 2018
    Which is more efficient? Will they both get the job done or is one a little better than the other?
     
  11. WTXBass

    WTXBass

    Nov 17, 2018
    Thank you for posting!! So, if I only wanted to use the Neck Side Single Coil, I would Pull the Tone pot Up and either toggle to Neck Only or turn the Master Bridge Volumn to zero.

    But, say I wanted to replicate a jazz bass, how would I create 2 single coils and run them in parallel?
     
  12. jallenbass

    jallenbass Supporting Member Commercial User

    May 17, 2005
    Bend, Oregon
    I know from experience that having the ability to select either bridge side or neck side single coil makes almost no discernible difference. Better to have series/parallel/single and just choose bridge or neck side as the permanent single coil.
     
    craigie and WTXBass like this.
  13. WTXBass

    WTXBass

    Nov 17, 2018
    My thinking was that having a Humbucker at the bridge with the ability to single either the north or south Coil would provide both ‘70s and ‘60s Jazz Bass Bridge positions. Personally, I can’t hear much of a difference on the videos I’ve listened to (I do not have access to a ‘70s bass) but there are thousands of posts on TB that swear to there being a noticeable difference particularly with slap.
     
  14. solderfumes

    solderfumes

    Mar 16, 2016
    Re: Jazz Bass-style wiring (i.e. no pickup selector, independent volumes) or Les Paul-style wiring (i.e. with a pickup selector and interacting volumes)
    If you go with a pickup selector and two volumes as they're wired in a Les Paul, then the volumes will interact when the pickups are used together: if you turn down the bridge volume, say, it will lower the overall volume. Jazz Bass-style wiring probably allows for more usable blending of the two pickups, but there is the possibility of some tone suck when the pickups are not either dimed or all the way down (probably quite subtle). Tough call, but I would think that most bass players would be more comfortable with the Jazz Bass-style independent volumes, and on a bass that's how I'd go.

    For this you would put both of the pickups into single coil mode, and then either blend them with the volumes (if you have a Jazz Bass 2-volume setup) or by putting a pickup selector switch into the "both" position. Depending on the coils you select, this will either be hum-cancelling or not, so just be aware of that.

    I'd agree with both standpoints. I have a couple basses with humbuckers and switching that allows north/south/series/parallel options, and I'd say that

    a) depending on the pickup and the pickup position, there can be a reasonably noticeable difference between the two single coil settings, but
    b) if you were going to sacrifice any options, then the ability to select either coil would be the one to give up. Especially with a typical soapbar humbucker I'd guess the differences between them would be quite subtle.

    Note that if you decide to only use one of the single coils, you'll probably want to choose which coil is used in the split mode so that when the neck and bridge pickups are used together, they'll cancel hum.
     
    WTXBass likes this.
  15. -Asdfgh-

    -Asdfgh-

    Apr 13, 2010
    UK
    There is a 6 way switch for Gibson Les Pauls (I have one, but I have forgotten the brand name), which is essentially two banks of three. That might be worth consider for complex switching. It's not cheap, though.
     
    WTXBass likes this.
  16. JKos

    JKos

    Oct 26, 2010
    Torrance, CA
    This one: Home (Free-Way Blade switches)?

    - John
     
    WTXBass likes this.
  17. -Asdfgh-

    -Asdfgh-

    Apr 13, 2010
    UK
    Same company, but the 3x3-03 is what I was thinking of/have.

    I'm going to be using it to provide the standard three Gibson options, plus both pickups series in phase, series out of phase, and parallel out of phase. (other switching then allows series, parallel, or single coils on any of the pickups).
     
  18. solderfumes

    solderfumes

    Mar 16, 2016
    Just checking, but are you sure that's possible with that switch? I've implemented that switching before with a 4p6t rotary switch, but am not entirely sure it's possible with the 3x3-03 or even with the Free-Way Ultra (which I believe are both 2p6t -- just had this same discussion in another thread). A quick peek through the "2 pickup" schematics on the website don't show that specific scheme.

    It's possible with the 3-way blade switch they make apparently, but that might be different under the hood.
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2018
  19. -Asdfgh-

    -Asdfgh-

    Apr 13, 2010
    UK
    That's because it's actually the 3x3-05 that I have. If you look at about the third scheme of 3x3-05 2PU 4Pot D.pdf which is for single coils, has the overall pickup combos. Individual series/parallel and single /dual switching is on push pull before the wires get to the 6 way switch.
     
    solderfumes likes this.
  20. solderfumes

    solderfumes

    Mar 16, 2016
    Awesome, thank you -- missed that one (there are a *lot* of schematics on that site!). Interesting though that that wiring scheme calls for a master volume and a bridge blend as opposed to separate neck and bridge volume pots; with a 4p6t I think you can do that but I wonder if that's how they pull it off with this switch. Definitely gotta delve into that one further to understand it!
     

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