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SteveXFR

Four wire humbucker

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I've got a old Peavey Zephyr which had a pair of 4 wire humbuckers. 

I've been told by someone that I could wire the wire a switch to switch between single coil and humbucker. 

Is that correct and what could I expect it to sound like as a single coil? Would it sound a bit crap or would I get a jazz bads type sound. 

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This 4 wire option brings you single / parallel / series. Even the choice of one or another single coil. I do suggest that you buy a push/pull pot (tone or volume) and try series/parallel or series/single. No extra holes, just some tinkering. 

Series, when the pot is pushed down and parallel pulled up. All options are there, yes, but useful are just two of them. Been there, seen that.

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Posted (edited)

Series / parallel on a push/pull as suggested by @itu is a good option. Unless it's a quad coil humbucker (like two split coils together) single is the one that will give the hum, so series/parallel means both will still be humbuckingh. Series / single is an option as well and gives the most difference between the two sounds, but also the most difference in volume, and maybe hum on the single.

Edited by adamg67
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All the options apart from series humbucking wiring will be significantly lower in output.

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Posted (edited)

Sometimes single, though quieter can sound good - thinner and edgier- depends what you’re  after! Shielding can help with hum. If you have a dpdt on-on-on switch you can wire it up and try it out see what sounds good.

Edited by bloke_zero
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I accidently wired my PJ with both pups in parallel(J pup was a humbucker). It sounded like a Telecaster (guitar not bass).

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On 22/03/2021 at 13:05, BigRedX said:

All the options apart from series humbucking wiring will be significantly lower in output.

Parallel is almost as loud as series in the upper frequencies, but much less thick in the middle and noticeably thinner in the lows to my ears. Both can sound great, just don't expect to be able to switch between them without tweaking EQ or volume and get the same level,  unless the SIMS volume adjusting circuitry or something similar is employed: https://www.sims.guitars/pickups/super-quad

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On 23/03/2021 at 22:26, PlungerModerno said:

Parallel is almost as loud as series in the upper frequencies, but much less thick in the middle and noticeably thinner in the lows to my ears. Both can sound great, just don't expect to be able to switch between them without tweaking EQ or volume and get the same level,  unless the SIMS volume adjusting circuitry or something similar is employed: https://www.sims.guitars/pickups/super-quad

Spot on.

I didn't realise the differences (detailed above) would be so pronounced on my Status Streamline , which I specced with Series/Parallel on both pickups.  There was no way to accurately compensate for the level change, so it made the custom order pointless.

The reality of the matter was that my previously owned Stingray 5 fretless had spoiled me; Musicman put a resistor in the signal path for Series and Parallel to bring the level down to match the single coil option. The Ray also had a phantom coil so the single coil mode was noiseless.

This could be done in your case with a trim pot/s (inside the cavity)  to adjust the hotter signals to match the lowest output option.

As you have TWO humbuckers, you could use the two opposing polarity coils in each unit as the S/C to hum-cancel each other...

Have a look at a schematic of how the Warwick $$ does it... that's quite instructive.

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4 hours ago, Lfalex v1.1 said:

Spot on.

I didn't realise the differences (detailed above) would be so pronounced on my Status Streamline , which I specced with Series/Parallel on both pickups.  There was no way to accurately compensate for the level change, so it made the custom order pointless.

I’ve had series / single / parallel in plenty of guitars and a few basses and obviously there is a level difference, but that doesn’t make it pointless. Yeah, you can’t switch between series / parallel live, but you can when recording and you can choose one or the other for a set / gig / session. I can’t see the point in having a ‘bucker and *not* having the option to choose between 3 different tones (well, 2 and a half, parallel and single are usually pretty similar).

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49 minutes ago, adamg67 said:

I’ve had series / single / parallel in plenty of guitars and a few basses and obviously there is a level difference, but that doesn’t make it pointless. Yeah, you can’t switch between series / parallel live, but you can when recording and you can choose one or the other for a set / gig / session. I can’t see the point in having a ‘bucker and *not* having the option to choose between 3 different tones (well, 2 and a half, parallel and single are usually pretty similar).

Re: recording, yes,  the options are useful. The Stingray 5's implementation of coil switching (plus the phantom coil) made it good enough to use live due to the built-in level matching. 

Come to think of it, my Warwick Infinty has a coil tap on the twin jazz that doesn't affect the level, and nor does the vintage sc / modern sc / attack coil switch on the Ibanez EDC715.

The Status version of events was so skewed that if you ran the bridge pickup in series and the neck in parallel, the blend pot could barely even the two out- Nor could the eq find a way to tame the series pickup's harshness. 

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9 minutes ago, Lfalex v1.1 said:

Re: recording, yes,  the options are useful. The Stingray 5's implementation of coil switching (plus the phantom coil) made it good enough to use live due to the built-in level matching. 

Come to think of it, my Warwick Infinty has a coil tap on the twin jazz that doesn't affect the level, and nor does the vintage sc / modern sc / attack coil switch on the Ibanez EDC715.

The Status version of events was so skewed that if you ran the bridge pickup in series and the neck in parallel, the blend pot could barely even the two out- Nor could the eq find a way to tame the series pickup's harshness. 

You’re making me want to try a trim pot on my last switchable humbucker (quad coil Nordy BigSplitMan), I’ll have to have a look at what values work.

Sorry,back to to the topic...

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11 hours ago, adamg67 said:

I can’t see the point in having a ‘bucker and *not* having the option to choose between 3 different tones (well, 2 and a half, parallel and single are usually pretty similar).

I'd not go that far but I love having the options - adding single coil is a win for me. As a quick fix you could always put a boost pedal in line for live.

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