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PRS pickup swap weirdness!

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  • PRS pickup swap weirdness!

    Hi guys

    I spent a happy morning swapping the bridge pickup in my PRS McCarty out for a Duncan Alnico Pro 2.

    The first time I plugged it in, it sounded great! It was a huge improvement over the stock PRS one. But it was out of phase with the neck pickup. So I swapped the black and green wires in Duncan's four-conductor cable.

    That fixed the phase issue, but now it seems to me the bridge pickup doesn't sound nearly as good! I guess that's possible, since the internal capacitances might be a little different, and it's now using the other coil in coil tap mode.

    So what should I do? I can't swap the neck pickup wires because it has a single conductor shielded cable, and the shield would become hot and pick up hum. Should I swap the wiring back and turn the neck pickup round in its hole, or what? Does turning a pickup round even change the phase?

    Or am I just imagining things?
    "Enzo, I see that you replied parasitic oscillations. Is that a hypothesis? Or is that your amazing metal band I should check out?"

  • #2
    I'll assume when you switched the black and green that you left the bare wire on ground, and not with the green?

    I can't imagine why it would sound different.

    You can change the phase of a humbucker by switching the magnet around. Generally all you have to do is loosen the bottom screws on the baseplate to get the bobbins a little lose, slide the magnet out, flip it over and slide it back in, tighten the screws, and you are done.

    That swaps the north and sound coils. Turning a pickup around does not change the phase because the coil's turns are still going in the same direction.
    It would be possible to describe everything scientifically, but it would make no sense; it would be without meaning, as if you described a Beethoven symphony as a variation of wave pressure. Albert Einstein


    http://coneyislandguitars.com
    www.soundcloud.com/davidravenmoon

    Comment


    • #3
      Yes, I left the bare wire on ground.

      I rigged up a temporary switch so I could A/B the two connections, and I swear I could tell a slight difference! It was as if the mids were slightly scooped in the original phase, and slightly boosted with reversed phase. It wasn't that much of a deal, though.

      With the coil tap turned on, there was a huge difference, because I was hearing different coils. I definitely preferred the slug one, probably because it's sensing the strings further away from the bridge.

      Maybe that explains what happens in humbucker mode... the coils are in series, sure, but there are self-capacitances and suchlike, so maybe the tone of the coil furthest from ground dominates slightly.

      I ended up reversing each coil individually but keeping them in the same order, so red to ground, green and black as the coil tap, and output from white, and it sounds just fine.

      Thanks to whoever recommended the Alnico 2 Pro, because it really does kick the butt of the original PRS bridge pickup. It sounded nasty and scratchy, like I had a wah pedal stuck on all the time, but it still managed to be dull.
      "Enzo, I see that you replied parasitic oscillations. Is that a hypothesis? Or is that your amazing metal band I should check out?"

      Comment


      • #4
        I never understood why people like PRS pickups. They sound constipated to me.

        I have heard differences in phase in pickups before, but it has never been dramatic. When I hear it, it usually is most evident on the low strings, how tight they sound. I'm sure that changes depending on the pickup though.

        I agree with your guess, I don't see how you could have two coils in series and the order in which they are placed not make a difference...

        Here's a test I haven't tried (yet) - you can reverse phase of the pickup without reversing which coil goes first, just reverse the phase of each coil rather than both coils. So (if memory of duncan wiring serves me right) reverse the black and white and the red and green. This way you effectively have four ways of wiring the two coils in series in phase (with itself, anyway).

        And, you probably know this already, but you can change the phase of the neck pickup.... it just requires more work.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Steve Conner View Post
          Yes, I left the bare wire on ground.

          I rigged up a temporary switch so I could A/B the two connections, and I swear I could tell a slight difference! It was as if the mids were slightly scooped in the original phase, and slightly boosted with reversed phase. It wasn't that much of a deal, though.
          I might be possible it sounds different. I used to use a lot of phase switches on my instruments. I could hear a slight difference, but not as drastic as what you mention. I have read that some people can hear phase reversals, so I assumed that's what it was.

          I ended up reversing each coil individually but keeping them in the same order, so red to ground, green and black as the coil tap, and output from white, and it sounds just fine.
          That was the other way to do it, which I hadn't thought about at the time. I've done that a few times in the past.

          Thanks to whoever recommended the Alnico 2 Pro, because it really does kick the butt of the original PRS bridge pickup. It sounded nasty and scratchy, like I had a wah pedal stuck on all the time, but it still managed to be dull.
          That was me. You really should get two. The A2Pro neck pickup is very nice as well. The PRS neck pickups are muddy. I think the A2Pro is my favorite Duncan pickup.
          It would be possible to describe everything scientifically, but it would make no sense; it would be without meaning, as if you described a Beethoven symphony as a variation of wave pressure. Albert Einstein


          http://coneyislandguitars.com
          www.soundcloud.com/davidravenmoon

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by David Schwab View Post
            That was me. You really should get two. The A2Pro neck pickup is very nice as well. The PRS neck pickups are muddy. I think the A2Pro is my favorite Duncan pickup.
            Well, that would be one nice way of solving the phase issue..
            "Enzo, I see that you replied parasitic oscillations. Is that a hypothesis? Or is that your amazing metal band I should check out?"

            Comment

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