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Out of Phase by reversing polarity on the pots..

woody-89

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Joined
Sep 16, 2007
Messages
855
Hi guys,

Just a quickie, obviously Ive heard all about flipping the magnet in the pickup to get the out of phase tone, but I've also heard about putting the neck (or bridge obviously) pickup hot lead onto the opposite lug on the pot. I've just got myself two nice new CTS 500ks, so thought I'd give it a go! Just a couple of questions though..

Does this way actually work?! Is it just a case of moving it from the lug on the far left (if the lugs are facing you) to the lug on the right?

If it does work, why isn't it more commonly done? I've taken a couple of minutes to shield the braided wire from the neck pickup to stop it shorting out, but if this way works just as well, it seems much less hassle to go through than taking the pickup out and taking it apart..

Cheers in advance!

Woody
 

Don

Well-known member
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Dec 1, 2001
Messages
5,720
If you swap the hot lead and the ground at the pot it will reverse polarity, however, it does not sound exactly the same and messes with the grounding of the pickup that you swapped the lead on. You can insulate the wire's shield to prevent it from cutting out. This does not prevent the pickup's cover and poles from being hot and un-insulated and they'll make noise when you touch them.

I added a lead and separated the ground on one of my pickups and left the shield connected to the pot and the leads to a switch.

As I said above, it doesn't sound exactly the same as filpping the magnet but I like the normal middle position sound as well and have found it to be a good compromise.
 

GlassSnuff

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Jan 30, 2002
Messages
3,567
It says that it's for single coils, but it ought to work with the humbucker.
Ouch. If you swap the lead and the ground on a humbucker, you now have a tonebucker. Not at all the same as a single coil.

Somewhere in that thread, someone mentioned swapping the bobbin leads, which would be the right way to do it so as to keep the signal off the exterior braid. At this point, it's much easier to flip the magnet. :)
 

RickN

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Feb 12, 2002
Messages
7,143
As I said above, it doesn't sound exactly the same as filpping the magnet but I like the normal middle position sound as well and have found it to be a good compromise.

More needs to be said about this...

Here's the thing: Out of phase is out of phase. If two AC signals are 180 degrees out of phase, that's all there is to it. They don't know HOW they got out of phase. Both methods accomplish EXACTLY the same thing.

The better thing to say about one method sounding different than the other is that it's POSSIBLE that the magnet flip CAN sound different than rewiring (which should be done with multi-conductor wiring, for the reason everyone is referring to). It's not DEFINITE that it will sound different. The actual results will vary from one pair of pickups to another.

IF the magnet flip were to sound different than rewiring one of the pickups, on ANY PARTICULAR GUITAR, it's because of the characteristics of the individual magnet itself. Seldom are North and South poles of a pickup magnet exactly the same strength. Flipping the magnet so that the stronger pole is now on the other bobbin CHANGES THE SOUND OF THAT PICKUP... sometimes minutely, sometimes very noticeably. Since that pickup itself sounds different, then its contribution to the phase cancelations in the middle position changes too. THAT'S why a magnet flip 'sounds different' than rewiring one pickup - you've literally changed the sonic response of the pickup you messed with. Will you be happy with the sound of the 'revised' pickup when it's used by itself? Only you can decide.

Rewiring leaves the original response of the pickup alone. That means it will sound the same when used by itself, it will sound the same in the normal middle position, and the out of phase option is available when you want it (assuming you install a push/pull pot).

I've been doing out of phase with push pulls since the very early 1980s. There are situations where that tonal option can make all the difference in the passage you're playing. But I also LOVE the normal middle position sounds too, so a push/pull is the only way to go for me. Almost every two-pickup guitar I own has been converted to have OOP capability, even my Tele.

Oh, and follow the advice by the others here - don't just swap the hot lead and the shield. That's bad news. Do it right and install a multi-conductor lead. :salude
 

woody-89

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Joined
Sep 16, 2007
Messages
855
Thanks guys! I didn't figure I'd get so many responses so quickly!

So essentially what I have to do is;

1) Attach the hot wire to the TOP of the pot (ground)
2) Attach the braided wire to the lug of the pot that the hot wire was on
3) Get a small length of insulated wire and run that from the braided wire to ground also.

Is that correct??
 

RickN

New member
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Feb 12, 2002
Messages
7,143
Thanks guys! I didn't figure I'd get so many responses so quickly!

So essentially what I have to do is;

1) Attach the hot wire to the TOP of the pot (ground)
2) Attach the braided wire to the lug of the pot that the hot wire was on
3) Get a small length of insulated wire and run that from the braided wire to ground also.

Is that correct??

No. Doing steps 2) and 3) shorts out the pickup. You'll have BOTH conductors of the pickup grounded. The hot lead is grounded, via step 1), and the braided shield is grounded via step 3). Result? NO SOUND.
 

woody-89

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Sep 16, 2007
Messages
855
Ok, so what would be the problem with just swapping the hot and ground leads? Would it just be that if I touched the pickup cover I'd get static?
 

GlassSnuff

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Jan 30, 2002
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3,567
Right. I was a bit (pardon the pun) flip in my earlier response. The pickup will still be humbucking, but it will be an unshielded humbucker. Because of the extra wire, unshielded humbuckers tend to be noisier than Fender single coils. Most people find them too noisy.
 

woody-89

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Joined
Sep 16, 2007
Messages
855
Ahh right. Thank you for that! I think I'll give it a go and just see how I get on with it. If I don't like it, I'll simply change it back. If I do like it, but it's too noisy I'll look into flipping the magnet or putting in a push/pull switch.

Thanks again for all your help guys!
 

woody-89

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Joined
Sep 16, 2007
Messages
855
Well guys I went for it, and I do love it! There is quite a lot of noise from the neck pickup, but not absolutely huge amounts if I dont touch the pickup (which I will rarely do anyway), and keep my hands on the guitar (which again, I do). I may well find it gets on my nerves too much after a while, but for now it's fine!

Onto the sound itself - it is just brilliant! Peter Greeny/Jimmy Page-y in spoonfuls, I'm chuffed! Thanks for all you help and advice guys, it's been much appreciated!
 
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