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wiring a third pickup and then some...

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by fender_mod, Jun 23, 2005.

  1. fender_mod


    Jun 23, 2005
    hey all, im kind of a newbie when it comes to wiring stuff so i wanted to know how to wire a 3 way pickup selector with the following settings: position 1- neck/middle, position 2- neck/middle/bridge, position 3- middle/bridge. basically this is for an extra single coil im putting into the neck position of a P/J configured fender and i was wondering anyone knew a digaram that would explain this.

    all of this is pretty much the culmination of a custom fender p-bass ive been builing over the past few moths. its got dimarzio P/J pickups wired volume/volume/tone with 100k pots. like i said im gonna put a single coil at the neck to give me some more versatility so i figured id throw in a selector switch to make changing my sound as easy as flipping a swith instead of having to dial my volume pots up and down in order to activate or deactivate specific pickups.

    any description or diagram of how to wire the pickups to the selector switch would be a big help. i know how to wire a brand new pickup and pot into a bass i just dont know how to wire the pickups into the selector. like i said any help would be awesome and it would be helping me get one step closer to the 'perfect' bass ive been dreaming up in my head.
  2. If you plan to use all three at once, then you may want to get a matched set of J-bass pickups so that you'll get the hum canceling effect (they do do that, don't they? I have a P-J configuration, so I'm not sure). You might go with a strat style 5 way switch and single volume knob, or you could use 3 push button toggles.

    Here's how I'd do the three way switch. I'd wire up the middle pickup, with its volume knob, directly to the leads from the jack. Then my three way switch would select the neck when I set it to the neck side position, the bridge when I put it on the bridge side, and both when I selected the middle position. I'd have a volumne knob connected to control the output of this group as a whol. The output from that segment would then go in parallel with the output of the middle PU and the tone pot (if you want one).

    EDIT: Not a bad plan. It may be time for me to break out the soldering iron.
    This is a lot like a Tele setup in parallel with another switch. A Les Paul style 3-way switch is the easiest 3-way switch I know of to use, followed by a Tele style switch. Both of those have exposed workings so you can see what will connect to what in each position. A Tele switch (assuming that's what I'm looking at) will need a jumper wire between two of its contacts.
  3. Just an idea, but you've got 3 dial holes in your bass right?

    you could have 3 stacked pots which are Volume/Tone, Volume/Tone, Volume/Tone

    this would give you a huge amount of control, but wouldnt be as good for quick changes

    just an idea
  4. would it work with a les paul style switch?

    because thats one on, both on, one on, just by the nature of the switch itself, i dont know how you would wire it so the middle pickup is always on?
  5. I was hung up on running them all through the switch at first too. Then I realized that the third pickup, since it's always on, doesn't need to go through the switch. Since it has its own volume knob, you could cut it out if you liked. All you need to do is add a way to select between neck, bridge, and both.

    Attached is a sloppy diagram of what I am talking about. It uses a Tele style switch. It's a little simpler with a LP switch. Hot from the neck (red) would go to one lug, hot from the bridge (yellow) would go to the other, and the output (green) would attach to the third "middle" lug. No jumpers required.

    Attached Files:

  6. Yeah, that actually occured to me last night when i was lyign in bed, my bad!
  7. By the way, you'll want another wire going from the ground bus (that long black wire in my diagram that runs to the jack) from any shielding you have. And I guess I'd better add a disclaimer. I'm not responsible for any damage to you or your bass which results from attempting to follow my plan, nor for any errors in the diagram. It is meant for explanatory purposes only, and not meant to be taken literally. Perform a sanity check on it before wiring.

    That said, I'm pretty sure it should work if you want to use it.

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