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Series Parallel switch

There are numerous ways to wire a humbucker but for me the most versatile is with a Series Parallel switch.

So what is series/parallel all about?

The standard way of wiring a humbucker is in series. PAF’s are wired this way and it gives the traditional full sound with plenty of mids and bottom end. Its simply one coil following the other, the end of one coil connected to the beginning of the next.

Wiring a humbucker in parallel is quite a different sound. It’s much more similar to a single coil sound but the pickups is still hum cancelling. There is a drop in volume though not as much as with a coil tap (switching one coil off).

This series parallel humbucker wiring diagram shows how to do it with a push/pull switch. With the switch down and the humbucker is wired in series (normal), pull it up and it’s in parallel. The wiring colour code is for Mr Glyn’s Pickups ( I use the same colours as Seymour Duncan).

Series parallel humbucker wiring diagram

I’m not sure why series/parallel isn’t more popular. Maybe it’s a little harder to understand than coil tapping, maybe it’s because its a little more complicated to wire up. I certainly prefer it.

I’m going to be posting a few more wiring diagrams in the near future. Keep an eye on this blog or my social media:

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Mr Glyns pickups are individually made near Auckland, New Zealand. From low powered Vintage to powerful ROCK pickups. Designed combining experience, intuition and science. Road-tested by players on stage and in studios. Packaged with care for you and the planet. Food for amplifiers.

Mr Glyns Pickups is a small business which means I can communicate with my customers one to one. I’m always happy to discuss your requirements, answer questions and give advice. I want to know about the guitars my pickups are going in, send me pictures, send me recordings.

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Series Parallel switch

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Treble Bleed, an explanation.

A brief explanation of how treble bleed circuits work and why you might need one.

With some help from Sammy the dog.

Here’s a more wordy explanation of a Treble Bleed: http://mrglyn.blogspot.com/2016/10/treble-bleed-capacitors.html

Treble bleed capacitors

You may have noticed that when you turn the volume control down on an electric guitar it not only gets quieter but also more muddy. As the volume goes down so does the clarity. This can, of course, be useful. Quite often you’ll want to be able to take some sparkle off the sound of single coil pickups. But with humbuckers I think they just get too wooly and undefined as the volume goes down.
So here’s the solution, it’s cheap and simple, easy to fit and makes humbuckers so much more versatile without taking anything away from the full volume sound. I’m talking about treble bleed capacitors.
 For our purposes all you need to know about capacitors (caps for short) is they allow treble frequencies to pass through them but block bass. The frequencies involved depend on the value of the cap.
 The volume control (potentiometer or pot) on an electric guitar looks like this:

It’s a fairly simple device, As you turn the volume down the resistance between the ‘in’ and ‘out’ leg increases. This makes it increasingly harder for the signal from your pickups to get through. Less signal means quieter.
 Here’s the same thing with our cunning treble bleed:

This one has the ‘Orange Drop’ treble bleed which has a resistor added to it. This resistor softens the treble as you turn down making the effect more subtle. My preference is for the cap on its own.
So as you turn down and the the resistance increases there’s an alternative path for the signal  – through the cap. But the cap will only let treble through. As you turn the volume down you’re also turning the bass down. As a result you have a usable single coil (ish) sound when the volume is low. If you’re overdriving an amp the result is cleaning your sound up. So with a high gain amp and your volume at about 1/4 you get a bluesy breaking up sound , crank the volume on the guitar and you’re rocking.
Here’s a picture of me rocking.

 As you can see, it’s very effective.
On my guitars I prefer a simple treble bleed (0.001uf), no coil taps or series parallel. Just the volume control.