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Two P pickups wired with a 4-way switch

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by AlarmClock314, Oct 31, 2013.

  1. AlarmClock314


    Mar 26, 2007
    Southern WI
    Okay, here it goes! I have another bass I'm currently modding which has two P bass pickups.

    Both of the P pickups have 6 wires:
    white (hot), black/blue/blue (ground), red/green (twist together for humbucking/other configurations)

    I'd like to install a 4-way pickup selector lever switch in the following configuration:

    1. Neck pickup - in series (up position)
    2. Neck+bridge - in series
    3. Bridge pickup - in series
    4. Neck+bridge - in parallel (down position)

    Q1: What kind of lever switch do I need for this setup? Would this work?

    Q2: Is there any way to boost the volume of the parallel position so that it matches the series positions?

    Q3: How do I wire this? Can someone help me with a diagram? I'm using a 4-way switch, a master volume pot, and a ToneStyler Bass Ten for the tone pot.

  2. AlarmClock314


    Mar 26, 2007
    Southern WI
  3. Teacher


    May 3, 2012
    I'm interested in this as well. I hope someone has a good diagram.
  4. AlarmClock314


    Mar 26, 2007
    Southern WI
    How do I do this without changing the tone?

    The positions for that diagram are different from the ones in the original post, I don't think it would work. I'm also not sure if it would stay in series when soloing the neck and bridge pickups.

  5. I'm not sure what the switching pattern for the 4 ways are, to say whether or not the positions can be changed. Blade style switches usually have a physical configuration for certain positions that cannot be changed.

    Series and parallel refer to the connection of two pickups relative to each other. If you solo a pickup, it is neither series nor parallel to the other. Unless you meant that you wanted the pickups in parallel, with their individual coils also parallel, in position 4? That will take six poles of switching.

    Cutting the series volume requires two poles of switching, and one or two resistors, or a trimmer pot. The resistor(s) or trimmer is wired like a volume pot, and switched into the circuit for series mode. You might consider the 4P5T blade switch, with the fifth position used for something else, like a killswitch.
  6. There is no way to do it without changing the tone. That goes with the territory.
  7. AlarmClock314


    Mar 26, 2007
    Southern WI
    I don't want to effect the tone, so I'll keep the natural volume level differences.

    These are P bass pickups, which can be wired in series when soloed (see the original post). I'm looking for a diagram where three out of the four positions are wired in series.
  8. You will need six poles then. That's more than any blade switch will have, and more than most rotary toggle switches will have.

    Are you sure you want all coils parallel in one of the positions? It will probably be very weak and sound terrible. There is a reason that P bass pickups are almost always wired with the coils in series. And having two parallel-wired pickups parallel to each other is only going to make things worse.

    Another option is a four position switch, plus series/parallel push/pulls for each pickup.
  9. AlarmClock314


    Mar 26, 2007
    Southern WI
    Wow, six poles. It's unfortunate that this configuration in parallel would make things sound worse too =(

    What about something more simple with a 3-way switch:
    1. Neck pickup - in series
    2. Neck and bridge pickups - in series
    3. Bridge - in series
  10. That can be done with one pole if the pickups are in series, in the second position, or two poles, if they are in parallel.
  11. AlarmClock314


    Mar 26, 2007
    Southern WI
    All in series would be fine. Do you know of any diagrams for this?

    Thanks a lot for your help so far.
  12. I'll draw one later.
  13. As a side note, putting all of the coils in series will probably result in a very loud and very midrangey mess. Most people would prefer the pickups in parallel, relative to each other, and there would be less of a difference in output between each switch position, that way.
  14. AlarmClock314


    Mar 26, 2007
    Southern WI
    Wait, how do series/parallel configurations work with 2 pairs of split pickups? Are there combinations like:
    both pickups in series connected together in parallel,
    both pickups in parallel connected together in series,
    both pickups in series connected together in series,
    both pickups in parallel connected together in parallel?

    Any ideas for a practical setup that sounds good and allows for flexibility in tone? I'd like to at least have the P pickups remain in series when soloed. Having both of the pickups combined in (what sounds like) series would be great too. I'm open to any configurations (I'd prefer not to have a kill switch though).
  15. Angel LaHash

    Angel LaHash

    Aug 24, 2012
    Just want to watch this post. More than any thing.

    P-Pickups (Two small pickups, that are linked in series by default)

    Neck and Bridge

    Neck & Bridge Parallel

    also wanting Neck then linked up to the Bridge in Series, ie one after the other. 4P5T switch of a Strat.
    1) Bridge +
    2) ----
    3) ---
    4) Output & Neck +
    5) Neck -
    6) ---
    7) Ground
    8) Bridge +
    That should give you 1) Bridge 2)Bridge&Neck 3)Neck 4)Neck 5)Neck2Bridge
    1) Bridge+ 1) --- 1) ---
    2) Bridge + 2)Neck + 2)Ground
    3) Neck+ 3) --- 3) Gound
    4) --- 4) --- 4) ---
    5) Neck+ 5) --- 5) Bridge+
    O) Output O) Output O) Neck-
  16. AlarmClock314


    Mar 26, 2007
    Southern WI

    I took my bass to a luthier and he expressed that this diagram may not work. He thinks I should use a 3-way switch instead, but I'd like to keep the series/parallel option for both pups. Does the diagram look right to you? :help:

    I'm using two P bass pups (6 wires each, see OP), a 4-way switch, a volume pot, and a ToneStyler Bass Ten for the tone. I think the configuration is:
    1. Both pups, in Series to each other
    2. Neck only, in Series
    3. Both pups, in Parallel to each other
    4. Bridge pup, in Series


    It seems simular to this Seymour Duncan diagram.

    Thanks line6man for the wiring knowledge and helping me make my own diagram. I'll post in link below.
  17. Why not just use the 4-way tele switch that gives a series option?

    You'll have:

    1 bridge pup solo, in series.
    2 both pups in series, but in parallel with each other.
    3 neck pup solo, in series.
    4 all four coils in series.

    If you really must have all four in parallel (I've heard this and it's a very thin sound, tbh), then add a 4PDT toggle or rotary that switches both pickups into parallel, individually. This way you'd have 8 sounds. There were a few basses back in the 80's that came stock with a 4PDT switch that put both pickups into parallel individually. I have a Maton JB4 that has this switch and it's pretty much useless. I've seen a few ibanezes that had it too...
  18. PS: if you don't want to add extra holes to your bass, you can use a rotary switch where the tone pot is, and go stacked vol/tone where the vol is.
  19. oops, I just looked at your diagram, and that's exactly what I just recommended - the 4-way tele switch...

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