Ibanez RG421EX Wiring - Help Needed

Discussion in 'Pickups, Electronics & General Tech' started by chuggiewuggies, Feb 23, 2021.

  1. chuggiewuggies

    chuggiewuggies SS.org Regular

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    Hi,

    This will be my first time changing pickups so please excuse any stupidity. I had been gathering information and diagrams online, prepared for when I got home to my guitar only to realise the wiring looked nothing like any diagram or tutorial I had seen. My RG421EX (2018 model) has a 5-way selector, 1 volume and 1 tone knob. I have bought the SD Nazgul/Sentient set to put in it.

    The first thing I noticed when first going to add the pickups was that there were 5 wires on the Nazgul whereas there were only 3 on my stock Ibanez bridge pickup. Also the selector is an Ibanez 3SWLSC, which looks different to any I had seen online before.

    I have made a diagram of the current wiring below, please excuse that it looks like a child drew it:

    [​IMG]

    The dotted lines are the other wires that do not come from the pickups.

    I found this diagram below online from another forum (for installing the same SD pickups) which almost helps me understand it, I just have some questions:

    [​IMG]

    (Credit to Grendel2000 on TheGearPage, I would link but I only registered today)

    Firstly, it looks like two pairs of wires are joined together at the solder points on the bridge side of the selector along with the red, but then there is a bridge ground wire going to the volume knob. I'm sure I am misunderstanding this since that would require 6 wires.

    Also, this diagram doesn't seem to show the neck pickup being wired to the volume knob at all, whereas there are two wires from the neck to the volume in my stock wiring setup. How could all 5 wires be connected to the selector when there needs to be some going to volume?

    Maybe this diagram is not suitable for my guitar since at the top-left side of the image it shows the 4th switch option being parallel connected (blue) whereas mine are coloured red on Ibanez' website for that option? Being the same selector I thought it would be.

    Here is the colour coding for Seymour Duncan humbuckers, which I am confident is the same as mine:
    [​IMG]

    I did notice there isn't a fifth wire in this diagram, but I am guessing that is because it's a bare wire?

    I am also unsure of the Ibanez pickups' colour code compared to this SD diagram, so if someone could figure this out from my diagram I'd appreciate it very much. I have looked it up and found nothing yet.

    Again, please excuse me if these are ridiculous questions. Sorry if this is an information and question overload. I'd be really grateful if anyone could explain this for me, thanks in advance!
     
  2. chuggiewuggies

    chuggiewuggies SS.org Regular

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    One more question which might actually solve all this confusion:

    Do the new pickups not need to be wired to the volume knob at all? It's throwing me off that in some diagrams and images online show all 5 wires going to the selector board, and also some original wiring I've seen doesn't connect the pickups directly to the volume knob. Are the two existing connections from the Ground and Out ports to the Volume knob enough? But since the original wiring in my guitar connect to the volume knob, does that mean my new ones have to as well? Thanks
     
  3. odibrom

    odibrom .

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    First thing first: WELCOME to the SSO, a place where one can speak about guitars and stuff and LEARN a lot with the shared knowledge.

    You are excused, no one is born acknowledged about everything. Gathering info is the first part, now let's analise it. Cool guitar by the way.


    Factory guitars need to save money where possible and Ibanez is no different to that, so pickups have only what is needed. As for Seymour Duncan, since they sell after market / replacement pickups, they don't know how they'll be used, so they make them open to all possibilities. A regular passive humbucker pickup has 5 wires: a start and return for each coil and a plate ground (always the bare one). Each brand will then have their own color code for what is the start and end of each coil.


    Cool drawing, but there are a few things missing there: at least the tone capacitor (I'm not sure that there is a treble bleed cap at the volume pot for that guitar price range) and you're also missing the bridge grounding wire (bridge as where the strings are attached, not the bridge pickup) that should be connected to the back of the volume pot.


    This diagram is fine, FOLLOW IT.


    The main difference on your drawing and this diagram is where the pickups' grounds are connected to. On your drawing, they were soldered to the back of the pots, on this schematic, they are gathered at the switch and then connected to the the back of the pot. I personally prefer this way, but both are fine if done well.


    This is answered in the previous question. Again, the switch has connections that gather the ground signals from the pickups and then connects them to general ground (back of the volume pot). I prefer it this way because when soldering too many wires in the back of the pots, it may overheat them and melt their plastic inside parts, causing mailfunction of the pots or even rendering them useless. In my opinion, the less wires soldered to the back of the pot, the better. There are several alternatives, but since the switch has a pickup ground gathering functionality, let's use it. It simplifies the wiring by organizing it modules: Pickups are wired ONLY to the switch, then switch is wired to the volume pot and then volume pot is wired to jack, with tone in parallel and also bridge ground. Simple, star like approach. Easier to build and easier to troubleshoot. If int hte foreseable future you decide to swap those pickups out with others, you'll work ONLY at the switch, leaving the volume pot alone, so less risk to overheat it and cause problematic preformance.


    Are you talking about THIS guitar and selector switch functions...? - https://www.ibanez.com/eu/products/detail/rg421ex_1p_03.html with this image / diagram?

    [​IMG]

    Ibanez diagrams aren't that precise, for example, in position 3, you'll have both humbuckers ON at the same time, but it is not stated anywhere how this mix is, either series (which is not, but could be) or parallel (the right mix). However, both humbuckers in position 3 will have their single coils in series with each other, this means that each humbucker is in series within it self, but in parallel with the other. It's not very easy to explain it with an image (not difficult either) and harder yet to make anyone understand the concept of how electricity flows inside each coil at that position. So this to say that positions 2 and 4 are parallel wiring, which means that the designer who drawn this schematic cold have done a better job. The diagram you found is a better one.


    That is the correct and expectable color code from Seymour Duncan. I don't think you'll need to make a match with those from the Ibanez pickups, unless you are using them somewhere else. In this present problem, just follow the wiring diagram you found. Again, on all brands, the BARE wire is ALLWAYS the pickup's baseplate ground and should be connected to ground, either on the back of a pot (volume, most likely) or to a ground gathering point (which in this case is the switch).



    I think you can already answer this question... :yesway:

    Last but not least, please understand that there are many ways to get the exact same results...
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2021
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  4. chuggiewuggies

    chuggiewuggies SS.org Regular

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    Thank you so much for all the info! You've really helped me understand the process.

    One last thing, I just noticed the diagram I showed was from someone who wasn't installing the same pickups as me after all. I misread something he linked to the Nazgul/Sentient as the ones he was installing, but he was using Bootstrap pickups. Luckily I found another page on this forum which shows the correct wiring for my pickups with the same Ibanez switch:

    [​IMG]

    (Credit DudeManBrother, oversteve, Sentient)

    I would still have not understood that the pickups don't need to be directly wired to the volume pot without your help though, so I really appreciate that.

    Yes! Thanks for the extra info.

    I just looked in the guitar again and the only thing I missed was the tone capacitor from what I can see! The bridge ground wire is there I think (if it is a black wire which exits in a hole near the bridge, I showed it as a black dotted line) I just didn't show where it was exiting towards the bridge very well.

    Thanks again for the info, I feel confident that I can do it now.
     
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  5. odibrom

    odibrom .

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    Yeah, now that you mention it, that first diagram really says Bootstrap, so sorry for pointing you into error, but I'm glad you managed to get further info and that it should work. nevertheless, have you tried to contact Seymour Duncan? They could be helpful in getting things clear. I know that when I was starting these things I went for DiMarzio's help desk and they here indeed helpful, no reason why SD wouldn't.

    Nevertheless, go forward and please report back your experience.
     
  6. chuggiewuggies

    chuggiewuggies SS.org Regular

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    Here she is!
    [​IMG]

    The pickup wiring went great and sounds perfect. Also I recently dyed my fretboard black with Fiebing's Leather Dye which I am thrilled with. Really feels like a custom guitar now.

    One slight issue, I can't really notice it when playing but the neck pickup is very slightly sloping towards the neck. I had to use the same screws and springs that came with the stock pickups as the SD spring was ridiculously big compared to the screw they supplied and I just could not get it in, so I think somehow this is the problem.
    [​IMG]

    Is this going to affect the sound much? It doesn't sound noticeably quieter than my bridge but maybe this would affect the sound somehow?

    Thanks again for the help, so pleased with the result.
     
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  7. odibrom

    odibrom .

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    @chuggiewuggies - that was fast. Good work having it done and working fine. I'm glad I could be of help. Regarding the neck pickup tilt, that is really negligible. Will it affect the pickup's tone? Sure, but by what amount? 1% maybe less? If it makes you tick inside, you can always try to level it with foam underneath it or compensate messing with the polepieces. However, since you cannot compare each single coil from that pickup individually, how can you know if it doesn't sound at its best already? Let it be and enjoy the show. Good work!
     
  8. chuggiewuggies

    chuggiewuggies SS.org Regular

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    Thanks! Yeah looking at it again its so miniscule. I'm just going to leave it be - I mainly use the bridge anyway.
     
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  9. odibrom

    odibrom .

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    Just a side note, when I previously said that you couldn't test side by side each coils' tone/level, I meant IN THIS SITUATION, it is obviously possible to do that, but it would require other wiring solutions.

    Have fun with your new babe!
     
  10. Vivin

    Vivin SS.org Regular

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