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StingRay5 mod (single position from coil 1 to coil 2) possible?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by andruca, Jul 4, 2016.

  1. andruca


    Mar 31, 2004
    Madrid (Spain)
    Hi everybody. I own two Stingray fivers, one 1997, the other 2003. The older is a really special one, birdseye neck and fretboard so no messing with it, but after hearing a MM clone that could do the coil 2 only sound (closer to neck instead of coil 1 -closest to bridge- as it comes wired stock) and loved the sound. This is how switch positions work with the factory 3 coil MusicMan pickup, which is what I have (5 wires, red+black+white+green+shield).


    I just want the middle switch position to be coil 2 instead of coil 1, like this...


    Now, it seems like coil1 is already bridged together with the phantom coil with the posibility of bypassing it (when used in series or parallel mode that don't use such phantom coil). So it looked futile to try to re-wire it at the point the pickup wires come into the circuit board. In fact I tried and failed. Apparently north wires are white and red for normal -non dummy- coils, tried reversing them and got only one position working, another position was mute and the other was just hum. So here's a pic of how wires come out of the pickup.


    Sorry for the ugly photo. Now, what you see ontop of it all is the dummy coil and under that it's coil 1 (left) and coil 2 (right). Named the soldering points to simplify. So shield and white are both ends of coil 1, green and red are both ends of coil 2 and altho' black is one end of the dummy coil (D-, not too obvious in the crappy photo) the other end doesn't have its own wire to the PCB but is bridged with the shield wire (short red cable on the left). I was simply thinking I'd mirror this wiring so that I have them all the same (series or parallel when chosen) but the middle, single coil + dummy coil using coil 2 instead of coil 1. Is this OK? Is there an easier alternative? Also, is my understanding of the various + and - ends of each coil correct? Thanks so much in advance.
  2. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    the problem is the other coil won't hum-cancel with the dummy coil.

    i'm skeptical that the difference of placement would make all that much sonic difference, but if i really wanted that sound, i'd try just turning the entire pickup around (drilling new holes in the wood for the mounting screws of course).

    for that matter, are you sure this MM clone even had a dummy coil under there? because if not, the single coil setting would indeed sound better, as in louder and livelier, regardless of which coil it was. (it would just hum a bit.)
    andruca likes this.
  3. andruca


    Mar 31, 2004
    Madrid (Spain)
    No, the MM ripoff is a 2 humbucker bass I bought for my wife, then rewired it's 5 pos. switch in a more logical way (was unusable stock) and ended up with 2 (amongst others) positions with just coil 1 or just coil 2, single, nothing else in series nor parallel. Here's a thread with the whole story and here's a clip comparing both positions. What you hear first is coil 1 (the "Aeroplane" solo sorta' thing) and then you hear coil 2 (an excerpt from Rush's "La Villa Strangiatto"). I really dig the coil 2 sound, sort of a more growlier, slightly Precision-ized Musicman sound (closest stock would be series position in a 3 coil MM, but this has way more character and definition IME playing both). The pickups in this MM "inspired" bass work simply as 2 single coils (4 wires -north&south for each coil- plus the shield), no dummy coils nor anything.
  4. andruca


    Mar 31, 2004
    Madrid (Spain)
    Reviving this, better than opening a new one. I finally did a mod to one of my SR5s (and will do the same to the other) involving a 4PDT/on+on commuter and making the humbucker a 7 coil (instead of 5) to be able to interchange the 2 coils that produce sound. Doesn't affect series and parallel but you can choose which coil to use when in single+phantom mode (it's only bridgeside coil stock). With this I have now all 4 posible sounds out of my Ray's 3 coil humbucker. Will post photos and some sound samples as soon as I can.
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2017
  5. andruca


    Mar 31, 2004
    Madrid (Spain)
    This was last night testing with everything open, when trying to figure out...

    And this morning I did the final installation...

    Might sound insignificant to most SR5 users but the neckside coil soloed really adds yet one more nice sound out of this humbucker, been playing SR5s for 16 years and besides me thinking there's no better 5er in the world I still craved for this extra tone option since trying it months back on a cheapo clone (sorta').
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2017
    Petebass likes this.
  6. Petebass


    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    Interesting idea. I also have two SR5's (one the same colour as yours but with a maple board), and never thought of doing this.
    andruca likes this.
  7. andruca


    Mar 31, 2004
    Madrid (Spain)
    My other SR5 has a maple neck too (birdseye). They sound almost exactly the same, maybe this one has more bite, a more "in your face" tone.

    BTW, just modded it too...


    And here's a sound sample, each round a different sound, parallel, series, single bridgeside (stock) and single neckside (the "new" sound). Most important character thing about it is some sorta' "precisionish" clank the other combinations don't have.
  8. ofajen


    Apr 12, 2007
    92.4W 38.9N
    Personally, I'm with walterw and regard the pickup reversal as the more elegant solution. Still, your method gives four settings, instead of three.

    andruca likes this.
  9. andruca


    Mar 31, 2004
    Madrid (Spain)
    It's still easier to do some wire bridging than having to detach the cover from the PU to do that, there's 2 thick glue lines back there that should requiere a cutter or similar to release, I'm definitely more confident soldering.
  10. andruca


    Mar 31, 2004
    Madrid (Spain)
    BTW, a scheme of how I'm doing the coil swapping for full PU flexibility...


    First of all some rectifying. On the original post I mislabelled D+ and D- (both ends of the dummy coil) on the pickup photo, they were reversed. This one is correct.

    On the PICKUP SIDE you need to desolder both wires going to C1- (the pink wire in the left comming from D- and the ground) and those together will be a 6th. wire to the control cavity (I called it N1). The 7th. cable (called it N2) must come soldered from C1-.

    On the ONBOARD PREAMP SIDE, all 5 stock PU wires (red, white, black, green and ground) come soldered to the onboard peamp PCB. You have to leave both black and ground wires alone and only desolder the red, green and white wires to do this. Then just follow the diagram. NOTE: dotted lines are bridges to be made between some of the 4PDT (on/on BTW) switch's points, this is indeed what does the coil swap (C1+ <---> C2+ and C1- <---> C2-).

    In the diagram the standard single coil position would work when center and left columns (in the switch) are in contact (lever to the right). In that case red, green and white simply pass thru' to the preamp and N1&N2 are shorted (as they come stock).
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2017
  11. two fingers

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

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Nice work! Bet it sounds great!
    andruca likes this.
  12. andruca


    Mar 31, 2004
    Madrid (Spain)
    One more followup, I recently got a Sterling5 HS and just had to have this sound there too (it has single -back- coil or series combinations as stock). Now, both pickups work like 2 singles in series with only 3 wires coming out of each (the single neck PU is the same as it has the dummy coil attached). So I only put a 2PDT sliding switch for just reversing 2 ends of the humbucker (red and black wires) so I can switch coils when in single mode (pos 2 of 5 starting from the bridge). The switch does all sorts of cancelations when selecting any combinations involving the non dummy coil of the neck PU (we're interchanging a south end of one coil with a north end in the other), so it's only really usable for single and series modes, as both only use the humbucker. Didn't have a pickguard to pinch this time (screwing up the wood is a league I try avoiding on basses past a certain price) so I did a new control cavity cover out of some plastic laying around my home (solid but not that good looking, I know, and scratches easily) then put the tiny sliding switch on it, shortening the lever so that it's almost flush with the cover, to prevent accidental operation.

    Last edited: Feb 23, 2017
    ex-tension and RobTheRiot like this.
  13. andruca


    Mar 31, 2004
    Madrid (Spain)
    Time for one more update. I recently got a nice black Ray35 used in new condition (and light, compared to my USA SR5s, could it be a mahogany body?) for doing some long planned Frankenstein. Even tho' it feels, plays and sounds amazingly close to the real thing I miss the true single coil tones I get from my old 3-coil ceramic Ray 5ers. I have nothing against alnico, like how it sounds (if anything a little more hi-fi than ceramics) but I think the "filtered series" in modern 2-coil Musicman PUs doesn't add anything, sounds simply like "dead series" to me. So I've already modded this Ray35, added a DP3T on-on-on switch to have the bridgeside (white wire) or neckside (black wire) coils turn off for use when in parallel (or both on in the central position to have the parallel tone and also for the series positions to work). All I can say is this half hour/2$ mod can give all sorts of new life to your 2-coil Ray35 or post-2008 Stingray5, and going real single coil (no humcancelling dummy coils here) is still safe enough, increase in hum is really negligible. Here's a diagram for the DP3T switch wiring.


    Not much to see of the bass itself, it's minimally invasive (prolonging the black & white wires and drilling a 5mm hole in the pickguard for the mini switch). I'll add some under the hood photos next time I take out the pickguard (soon, as there's the aforementioned Frankenstein pending).


    I insist, this switch is meant to be operated when the stock 3-pos blade switch is in the parallel position, and should remain in the center position for the other 2 options (series and filtered series) to work.

    Funny thing, when using the neckside coil soloed (my fave combination of them all) I get a more "clonky" sorta' "precisionish" tone (+ all the MM authority and balls) out of this Ray35 than my USA SR5s. Hope to be able to make some sound demos soon too.

    EDIT: some guts' picture (DP3T switch left of the blade switch)...


    ... and some sound samples (in order: series, filtered series, parallel, neckside single, bridgeside single).
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2018
    ex-tension likes this.
  14. Primary

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    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

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