Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

 #85702  by jeffm725
 Wed Aug 25, 2010 11:13 am
I know we have talked which coil should be active in single coil mode (although I cant recall off the top of my head I can certainly use mr searchy) however there is another item I need some enlightenment on and that is which way the super 2 should be oriented in the tiger layout.
There is text stamped on the pickup stating "Dimarzio... something something something"....
which way should that text be readable?
Should the text on the back of the pickup be rightside up if you are reading it from the bottom of the guitar? Or should it be right side up if you are reading it from the neck of the guitar?

DId I even word that right? :?

The reason I ask is that in center pickup single coil mode, my guitar is sounding thin, like almost an out of phase type thin (but can a single pickup be out of phase anyway? I mean what would it be out of phase with if it is running alone?), so I have it in pieces right now and I noticed that my Bridge and Center pickups are facing in 2 different directions.

The bridge pickup is text right side up when reading from the neck side and the center pickup is text right side up when reading from the bridge side.

I think I initially got this orientation from one of Waldo's very old diagrams from the gearheads yahoo group where he mentioned to flip the center pickup for hum canceling in the 2 and 4 positions. However when I look at the wiring diagram at his site now it seems to have both pickups with text size up when reading from the bridge side of the guitar.

Obviously something has changed somewhere down the road, and I am not liking my sound right now either. I had to use a deluxe reverb at my last legion gig because I forgot the reverb pedal for my boogie, so I counted some of the thinness to that, but I should have gotten a decent tone out of it regardless, not perfect, but decent, and I did not get decent tone. I think it is in the guitar somewhere. I mean a deluxe is no premaped twin or anything but it shouldnt have been so plinky. There has to be a wiring flaw.

I am confused! And I guess I have to start with the pickup orientation and work my way back.
Unfortunately all the pickup wires were extended and shrinkwrapped so i cant even look at the originating dimarzio color codes, at least easily.

What else can cause a real thin sound besides phase issues? Or maybe better wording is what else could cause phase issues? Bad grounding? Things touching ground that shouldn't?
 #85726  by JonnyBoy
 Wed Aug 25, 2010 7:14 pm
Jeff, as for the direction of the pickup I am sure you've looked at the diagrams on waldo's site. I have mine set up like rosebuds and that is perfect for me.

If it is like that with all amps, then I guess it is between the pickups and the end of the cord to the amp. It could be the pickup is shot, which is rare, but possible. They can be tested for proper values with an ohm meter. Otherwise, I am not sure if waldo has old stuff still on his site or not, but the rosebud section after his inspection I believe was updated and you may want to go with that wiring set up. The humbucker in the neck split is much better than the single, IMO plus you can have a full humbucker if you choose, Great for Duane slide guitar.

I once had issues with my tone and it was the buffers. One in the guitar, a few in my effects, all added up to crap. I took the one in the guitar out and life was much better. Now that I have a GCX I could go back, but I am happy with the the systems buffer, its plenty bright.

 #85733  by jeffm725
 Thu Aug 26, 2010 5:57 am
Johnny, thanks...

I am just good enough with this stuff to be dangerous, meaning I can often follow good direction correctly, but don't truly understand all the inner workings of it.
I can handle a soldering iron, so many times I get myself into doing things I probably should pay to have done!

I really need some help here as I have a big gig Sunday co-headlining a bill with guys from Jazz is Dead and the Dickey Betts band. I cannot go into this gig with the same crappy tone I had last weekend.

interesting in that in the rosebud diagram you posted above this is EXACTLY how my pickups are oriented. The bridge pickup facing up and and middle facing down (I have an sds-1 single coil in my neck though like tiger).

That was the exact diagram I was talking about when it discussed flipping the center to stay in phase..

Now here is where I get confused:
Here is Waldos Tiger diagram: (see bottom of post)
Notice that the center and bridge both face the same direction. facing down.

Also one other big glaring item re: pickups
On the Tiger diagram to split the coil it is the the Black and White pickup wires going to the DPDT switches for BOTH the center and Bridge super 2's.
Notice on the Rosebud that the Bridge has the Black and White, but the Center pickup is using the Green and Red wires to go to the DPDT switch.

This is where I am getting confused and that I absolutely think I am having wiring/ and or phase issues.

On my guitar the center and bridge pickups are orientated like Rosebuds diagram, but the wires going to BOTH DPDT switches are Black and White like Tigers diagram.

So it is like I have bits of both diagrams applied to my guitar. Rosebuds Pickup orientation (remember that I have a tiger like sds-1 in the neck though) and Tigers coil cut wiring.

last night after posting my initial post I simply just played with pickup orientation. (remember my center and bridge are orientated like rosebud diagram with the bridge pickup text Upside down (or readable from the neck point of view) and the center pickup readable from the bottom of the guitar).
Anyway, I simply flipped the center pickup so that the text was facing the same direction as the bridge pickup (meaning they were both now "upside down" text wise) ....In center single coil mode it sounded pretty much the same, maybe just a touch different but not by much, but I did notice that the output difference between single coil and humbucker was not as pronounced as when it was facing the other way.
Now here is the part that really made my head spin: Remember that I only flipped the center pickup. after flipping the center pickup, if I turned on the bridge pickup ONLY, single coil mode sounded more or less normal, but when I flipped the DPDT into Humbucker, there was almost NO OUTPUT whatsoever!
I obviously need help! :?

 #85736  by bdhact1
 Thu Aug 26, 2010 6:44 am
It's all about the wireing and which side of the pickup the wires come out of. The passthrough for the wires on the Super II should be on the same side as all your pots and controls. When the hole is away from the controls, the pickup will then be flipped. Wireing in reverse order will effect the phasing. The order of the output wires on the 5 way switch can also cause phase problems if they are not in correct order.
Also, I have found that the active coil on the bridge pickup will sound a little thinner when its closest to the bridge; But this is probably related to my guitar make and model.
 #85738  by waldo041
 Thu Aug 26, 2010 7:00 am
we do not know for sure if dimarzio pickups are orientated exactly the same for each. that said, jerry used the coil closest to the neck when in single coil operation. the schem/layout is drawn to show this operation when pickups are placed according to dimarzio's stated orientation. that said, if jerry's placement is what your after, one should ensure that the coil closest to the neck is in operation when in single coil mode by tapping on the coils with a small screw driver or metallic object to see exactly which is active. if the opposite coil is found to be the active one with the schem/layout i have drawn, then a reversal of the pickups orientation and wiring "should" correct the matter.

jeff, if the bridge is not working when in humbucker then my guess is there is something possibly gone awry with the pickup. possibly a broken coil wire. this could explain why single coil works and not humbucker.

if you have the middle flipped but not the wires then you are not hum cancelling and possibly out of phase when in the "inbetween" positions in single coil mode only. the middle should still operate as a humbucker or single coil normally when used alone. same for the other 2 pickups. if not, then the possiblities are a bad ground, pickup coil wire, OR toggle or maybe even 5way.

jb, the rosebud schem IS unconfirmed visually only, but definately confirmed by gary brawer who wired it up. when i got the opportunity to look over the guitars at the HOF, i was denied access inside of them at the last minute.

 #85739  by JonnyBoy
 Thu Aug 26, 2010 7:34 am
what he said :lol: . I had a DPDT switch go bad Before, but it was just Off not 1/2 way working. a cold solder joint or broken solder joint can give you that 1/2 signal thing too.

Good luck Jeff, I can feel the tension from here! You will do great and play fine, i am sure. Until then, test out that p'up and make sure you are getting the correct readings. The diamarzzio site has the values in the p'up descriptions.
 #85752  by jeffm725
 Thu Aug 26, 2010 9:29 am
bdhact1 wrote:It's all about the wireing and which side of the pickup the wires come out of. The passthrough for the wires on the Super II should be on the same side as all your pots and controls.
That is good information...I did not know this case to have both pickup wires on the bridge and center pups on the same side as the pots puts both pickups "upside down" text wise. Is this standard knowledge in pickup replacement? Always keep the wire on the control side?

Thanks Waldo and Jonny as well.......

Waldo, I am not really concerned with Jer's true orientation in the different guitars. I am only concerned with getting the sound back and right. I would be happy this weekend if I could simply get the center super 2 single coil sounding "right", does not matter which way it is flipped and/or wired. Don't care about the 2 and 4 positions being hum canceling when in single coil or anything else (at this point at least).

I still find it very interesting that ever since I flipped the middle pickup last night, that the bridge pickup performance changed!
If I select ONLY the bridge pickup and switch it into humbucker there is almost no sound (there is sound but very, very weak). That makes me think that there has to be a phase issue somewhere that was made more apparent simply by flipping the center.
It boggles my mind because in my feeble mind, if only the bridge pickup is selected then it should not be affected by whatever way the center pickup is orientated at least under my rudimentary understanding of how this all works.

I am really trying to avoid ripping out the pickups and rewiring from scratch because I know that something else will get messed up in the process before Sunday and that I will wish I didn't.

Also, does the "screwdriver test" really work for other people in indentifying the active coil in single coil mode? I find that these pickups are so hot that even the supposedly off coil responds to tapping it with a screwdriver.
 #85755  by waldo041
 Thu Aug 26, 2010 9:44 am
jeff pm me your phone number.

 #85763  by jeffm725
 Thu Aug 26, 2010 10:55 am
Thanks to Both you guys! (Mike and Ray)......

Thats why this board is fnatastic, such cool people...
 #85845  by jeffm725
 Fri Aug 27, 2010 11:28 am
Waldo gave me a call with a bunch of stuff to look at. Im going to try it tonight when I get home and post results of efforts in hope this helps someone down the line.
 #85880  by jeffm725
 Fri Aug 27, 2010 7:43 pm

2 separate issues.

1) Center pickup
the DPDT switch for the center single coil was flaky and not completly sending a coil to ground when thrown. Replaced switch and cleaned up wiring (along with flipping the pickup so north coil was active using the balck and white wires were used to cut coil. Before it was the green and red wires were cutting coil and the pickup was flipped to keep the coil north in that wiring.

Now both the bridge and center super 2's are same orientation (text upside down wire on the control side)

2) Bridge pickup
This one was a bitch. The problem as stated above is that when the bridge pickup was selected alone, it had ok output in single coil but in humbucker it had practically no output.
1st thing I did was change the switch like on the Center. No dice, still same problem. Took the Black and white wires used for coil cut and took them off the DPDT and just taped it off to put the pickup in pure humbucker, still no dice. Checked the ground and on first glance it looked OK. I followed the wire coming from the cavity and checked the solder joint ontop of the pot it is grounded on. Looked and felt solid as heck. Scratched my head for a few hours going through everything and then peeled back the shrink tubing over the 4 conductors. The green conductor which is supposed to be tied to the shield for grounding had come off the "braid" that was grounded to the back of the pot, but you couldnt see it unless you peeled back 3/4 of an inch of the tube the 4 conductors travel in.
Tied that back into the ground and BINGO.

Guitar sounds frickin' sweet right now!

Thanks everyone for all the help! And thanks so much Waldo for the calls!

And by the way Waldo, I just tried that "new information" you talked about today. It DOES make a difference. Incremental to be sure depending on how close everything else is in a person's rig, but a difference nevertheless. Just wanted to give my feedback.
(sorry everyone, not trying to be coy, just dont want to steal Waldo's thunder. It is nothing earth shattering, just simple basic stuff that is just another piece of the puzzle)