How Useful are Humbuckers in Parallel Mode?

Discussion in 'Pickups, Electronics & General Tech' started by ElRay, May 10, 2020.

  1. ElRay

    ElRay Mostly Harmless

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    I have never owned a guitar that has the option to put a humbucker in parallel mode. How useful is it? What about having just the inner coils in parallel?

    The specifics I'm asking about: Agile Pendulum 92528 with the Cepheus Rail pick-ups. I have the option of running it into a balanced input. I like balanced signal cables/inputs. So the thought is to run the four coils into a 4-way selector that will give me: Neck|Outer|Inner|Bridge balanced-out. If I do, they're essentially fixed as series. I'm thinking that if I'm going to re-wire the guitar, maybe I should wire-in a series/parallel switch instead of going balanced.
     
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  2. astrocreep

    astrocreep SS.org Regular

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    I really like a neck humbucker in parallel as an option.
     
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  3. KnightBrolaire

    KnightBrolaire only the dead have seen the end of GAS

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    depends on the pickup tbh. I find it less useful for lower gain pickups. Higher output pickups benefit a lot more from it ime.
     
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  4. odibrom

    odibrom .

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    Parallel delivers an AVERAGE output from both coils, while Series sums them. If one pickup has coils with significant different output, the parallel wiring will sound weaker than the stronger single coil, but stronger than the weaker single coil. Most humbucker pickups have their coils leveled in output, so in this situation parallel is almost identical in output to any of the single coils.

    However, parallel delivers a different tone character than those that we ID as single coils. It has a more rounded tone to it, but brighter than a series humbucker and, obviously, way less output, which will hit the amp softer.

    In my opinion there are lots of tones to find in passive pickups unconventional wirings, specially when mixing 3 single coils, either in series or parallel from a 2x humbucker layout.

    @ElRay are into drilling holes into your guitar? If so, I'd suggest the Seymour Duncan Tripleshot wiring (adds 4 miniswitches to manage the humbucker's single coils with either of them, series anda parallel modes) and a Freeway Switch to mix the pickups, either the 3B3-01 for blade a blade switch or a 3X3-05 for a toggle type one. You can also achieve a "Neck, both parallel, both seres, bridge" with a regular 4 way tele switch. Those Freeway add the out of phase options to either parallel or series pickup mix.

    Personally, I prefer to use a Single Coil (as a coils split) to a parallel wired humbucker for it delivers a tone with more character contrast to a series humbucker.
     
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  5. diagrammatiks

    diagrammatiks SS.org Regular

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    if you have a guitar with a middle position then those 2 pickups are already in parallel.

    if you tap those pickups then those are usually inner or outer coils in parallel.

    If you are talking about within a single hum bucker...it really depends. More options is never a bad thing but some pickups won't sound that great in parallel.
     
  6. Legion

    Legion is a bloody army.

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    Lovely.
    They are lovely.
    :)
     
  7. bzhang9

    bzhang9 SS.org Regular

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    super useful for cleans, gives a nice soft warm tone almost jazzy
     
  8. Emperoff

    Emperoff Not using 5150s Contributor

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    That's up to the individual's taste. Try them and see if you like them.

    I hate them.
     
  9. TheWarAgainstTime

    TheWarAgainstTime "TWAT" for short

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    I really dig neck pickups in parallel for certain clean sounds, but it works best with warmer voiced and/or hotter pickups
     
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  10. ElRay

    ElRay Mostly Harmless

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    The guitar is an Agile Pendulum 92528. Unless those Tripleshots are available stand-alone, and not part of a pick-up ring, they won't work. If I were to go this way, I'd go with 3x 6-Way Rotary so I can get all series|parallel, in-phase|out-of-phase, inner|outer|both combinations.
     
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  11. ElRay

    ElRay Mostly Harmless

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    Im starting to reconsider 3x 6-Way Rotary so I can get all series|parallel, in-phase|out-of-phase, inner|outer|both combinations. BUT I do like the lower noise aspects of balanced outputs. :scratch:
     
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  12. odibrom

    odibrom .

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    The rotary switch is another option... or you could also use the 3X3-05 Freeway Switch to manage each humbukers' coils... However, for achieving reverse phase sounds (aka out of phase) within one humbucker I'd prefer to use dedicated switches, you see, there is a different tone quality to having 4 coils in series and one of them is in reverse phase. Having the neck pickup coils in phase with the bridge North coil and its south coil in reverse phase sounds different than having the neck in phase with the bridge's south coil and its north in reverse phase... With the rotary switch you can't achieve this because the reversed phase coil will always be the same.

    I'm to rewire my RG8 and am a bit undecided were to go on this... However, if my thinking is correct, with master phase switch between both humbuckers, one would only need to locally (per humbucker) get on coil out of phase. Once the master phase switch is engaged, it reverses the coils engaged... and so on... huuummm....

    So, if I have a 3x3-05 or a 3B3-01 switch to manage 2 humbuckers mix with Neck, both parallel in phase, both series in phase, bothe parallel out of phase, both series out of phase and bridge, having only one of each humbuckers' coil with a phase switch allows one to have all possible combos of out of phase tones within 2 hum guitar... Whenever the neck's dedicated phase switch is engaged in a mix with the bridge pickup, jumping from regular or reverse phase at the pickup selector will alternate on which of the neck's coil is in reverse phase and the same for the bridge... or am I thinking wrong?
     
  13. ElRay

    ElRay Mostly Harmless

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    That's why there are 3x 6-way rotary. The two connected to the two pick-ups give you (In order of approximate volume):
    1. Parallel Out-of Phase
    2. Series Out-of-Phase
    3. Inner Only
    4. Outer Only
    5. Parallel In-Phse
    6. Series In-Phase
    The third 6-way does:
    1. Neck & Bridge Parallel Out-of Phase
    2. Neck & Bridge Series Out-of-Phase
    3. Neck Only
    4. Bridge Only
    5. Neck & Bridge Parallel In-Phse
    6. Neck & Bridge Series In-Phase
    So you can set Neck-In-Phase (5 or 6), Bridge-Out-Of-Phase (1 or 2) and set them either In-Phase (5 or 6) or Out-of-Phse (1 or 2) with each other.

    You can also do things like Neck-North (4) and Bridge-North (3) and then put them Out-Of-Phase (1 or 2) so that they're still humbucking.

    EDIT: That said, I do like the Freeway switches and would go with the 6-position (toggle) or 10-position after I decide which of the 216 possibilities the 3x 6-way rotary enable.
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2020
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  14. diagrammatiks

    diagrammatiks SS.org Regular

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    You're going to find that like you'll forget about most of these options. Still cool to have though.

    When I do my warmups I force myself to change pickups option everyday or I forget I have them on my guitar which has the triple shots and the 10 way.

    If you are willing to drill holes you can absolutely get the triple shot type wiring on mini switches. It takes 2 for the full functionality + 1 if you want to do phase reverse. or 1 dpst and 1 for the phase reverse.

    Individual mini switches will give you more control over what the coils are actually doing then the rotaries.
     
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  15. odibrom

    odibrom .

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    Oh, right, somehow I misunderstood you before.

    I'd faster go with a 3X3-05 freeway (the toggle one) to control each humbucker's coils than with a rotary. It will be easier to see how each pickup is set. Then, for the pickup mix, it depends on the guitar, either the 3X3-05 again or the 3B3-01... this for a 2 hum guitar.

    If the guitar is an HSH, then for sure I'd go with a 5B5-01 (10 way blade switch) for the pickup mix and whatever I'd need for the humbuckers' control.

    Using mini toggle switches to manage each coil phase will deliver way more control, specially when mixing piezos in, which is what I have in my RG8... oh decisions, decisions.

    BTW, it's nice to know there are more freaks like me in these creative and out of the box guitar wiring... I wired a friend's 2x Hum guitar so to get 72 tones, made a thread about it recently: https://www.sevenstring.org/threads/covid-19-wiring-job.341899/.
     
  16. ElRay

    ElRay Mostly Harmless

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    :agreed: Did you ever see that old DGB Studios GeoCities site? That had the proverbial "enough wiring diagrams to last a lifetime".
    :bowdown:
     
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  17. odibrom

    odibrom .

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    Lol, thanks for the :bowdown:...

    ... and no, I don't think I remember that site, is it still up?
     
  18. wakjob

    wakjob SS.org Regular

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    Ironic...
    I just put my Dimarzio Norton back to parallel this past saturday :lol:

    It's in a Fernandes HSS strat.
    The Norton is a fantastic pickup, but I'm shootin' for a different thing lately.
    I like the brighter, cleaner, twangier sound in the bridge.

    I had my EVO neck pickup in another guitar wired parallel, and a good friend played it and said it sounded like a single coil...and it really does!
     
  19. odibrom

    odibrom .

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    No, it really doesn't but I understand why one might say that...
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2020
  20. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    I love having the option of my neck pickup being in parallel. It's a bit of a pain to wire it that way, but nothing extravagant.

    I don't think I would ever want any of my humbuckers stuck in parallel wiring, though.
     

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