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Old 10-19-2005, 09:03 PM   #1
That_Pink_Queen
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Splitting 2 conductor p'up+wax potting tutorial---WITH LIKE 50 PICTURES!!!

Alrighty, hello all my fellow UGers. This is my tutorial on splitting a two conductor humbucker. Plus the wax potting of the pickup too.

For all you modding noobies out there, a humbucker is basically two single coils wired together, with one of them wound the opposite direction. This cancels out any 60 hertz hum from powerlines, radio, and all that junk. It also changes the tone though, giving you a much fatter higher output pickup. You may not want a humbucker pickup all the time though, so many companies sell pickups with 4 wires coming out, so you can choose what wires(coils) you are going to send to the output of the guitar. Some pickups don't come with 4 conductor wiring though, so you need to make it have 4 wires instead of 2 wires. This is what this tutorial is for, adding on 2 more wires.


As I go through this I will refer to the pickup without the screw polepeices as coil 1. The coil with the screw polepeics will be called coil 2. My origional hot wire is white, and the origional ground wire is a bare silver one. The origional wire coming out of the other end of coil 1 is a white wire. The other wire coming out of coil 2 is black. Keep this in mind.




The stuff you will need, a soldering iron, small phillips head screwdriver, solder, and a small flathead screwdriver is nice for scraping off the old wax. Plus of course the old 2 conductor pickup. You will also need pliers/wirecutters(not pictured), and some wire approximatly 22 guage(I'm using 20, no 22 at Radioshack)

PART ONE: DISSASEMBLY

Step 1

If you have a cover on your pickup, it will most need to be soldered off. If your soldering iron isnt hot enough to melt the commercial grade solder you can pry it off with a screwdriver and then straighten out the metal casing with some pliers. As you can see I have already taken it off in the picture. You will have to wiggle off the metal casing, it can be stuck on there pretty securely. It also helps to push downward on the screw polepeices from the top.

One more thing is if you have never done anything to your humbucker before, the area inside the cover will most likely be filled with microphonic wax. (No pic as I took off the cover of mine a while ago.) You will need to scratch this stuff off before you can continue. Make sure not to knock up any wires though, or scrap through the black tape. This will completedly fook you up. LEAVE THE BLACK TAPE INTACT!!!


Step 2

Once the cover is off the pickup, unscrew the small screws on the bottom of the metal plate.


Step 3
Pry the metal bottom off of the pickup.



Step 4

Disconnect the black wire from coil two from the origional ground wire. Disconnect the ground wire from the metal casing solder joint.


Step 5

Take out the bar magnet from the bottom of the pickup, just pry it out with a flathead screwdriver. Should come out easily. Then if you have plastic spacers along the edge of the pickup, take those out too(the black rod looking things in the pic.)


Step 6

Pry the two coils of the pickup apart, being carefull not to rip out the various wires. Instead of pulling them straight away in opposite directions, bend them downward on each end of the pickup. Should come apart pretty easily.

At the top of the pickup in this picture you can see the two wires coming out of the top of each coil. These are the wires that will become the 2 extra wires of your 4 conductor pickup
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Old 10-19-2005, 09:08 PM   #2
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PART TWO: CHANGING TH GUTS

Step 7

Disconnect those two wires and tin them with the soldering iron.


Step 8

Figure out how long you want your wire to be(~22 guage), then cut it off and strip it on both ends, and tin the ends. If your wire is gonna be the same color for both new leads, make it possible to see what wire is which on the end. I stripped mine a little longer on one.


Step 9



Solder the new wires onto the old wires. Cover at least one in shrink wrap or electricians tape. Keep in mind which wire goes to which coil.
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Old 10-19-2005, 09:18 PM   #3
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PART THREE: REASSEMBLY


Step 10

In between the two coils there should be some space. If there isnt enough to put the two new wires in the hole between the two coils, just scrape out some of the wax in there. If you still can't fit the two new wires in that crack(overwound p'ups or something) just ignore the following steps until step 12, and leave your wires hanging out the end of the pickup. If you do this MAKE SURE NOT TO PULL ON THOSE WIRES HARD AT ALL THOUGH!



Step 11


Put the new wires through the space in between the two pickups and squeeze them together. The new wires should now come out of the pickup at the same side of the old 2 conductor wiring.


Step 12

Solder the origional ground wire(bare silver for me) back onto the backplate of the pickup. Solder the small black wire from coil 2 on also. Replace the magnet, plastic spacers, and screw the backplate back on. IF YOU ARE GOING TO PUT THE CHROME COVER BACK ON, PUT THE WIRES THROUGH THE WIRE HOLE (upper right hand side of the cover in the picture) OTHERWISE THE COVER WON'T FIT ON!


Step 13

It should now look like that. Now push any wires hanging out(small white, small black) into the crack between the pickups with the tip of a screwdriver. Don't be too forcefull though, don't want to break them or rip them out.



All done. Unless you want to pot it of course, and you should. Time to go up to the *******
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Last edited by That_Pink_Queen : 10-19-2005 at 09:44 PM.
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Old 10-19-2005, 09:42 PM   #4
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PART FOUR: WAX POTTING


WARNING ABOUT WAX: WAX IS A BITCH TO CLEAN UP. DON'T GET WAX ALL OVER EVERYTHING!
If you do spill some wax, don't try to wipe it up if its just crumbly stuff. If you put any pressure onto it is incredibly hard to take off. A vacume cleaner is the best way. Another thing is that when you are melting it, it can bubble pretty violently. Watch out for this, as it is quite capable of knocking itself over with the force of the popping bubbles. Holding it with pliers helps.





Step 14

I have a tin can full of melted candles laying around. It's paraffin wax. Anyways you will want to melt enough wax in a can or some container you dont care about. Idealy you would use some beeswax too, but I have none. Melt it.



Step 15


I add vanilla extract to my wax so it doesn't smell like parrafin. It smells really good.


Step 16

Turn off the heat then let the wax sit for maybe 5 minutes. Dip the pickup in the wax USING PLIERS. If you just dangle it in, it will magnetically snap onto the side of the can, quite possible knocking it over. Also, don't hold it in there long, maybe at max a second or two. If you hold it in too long it will just melt the wax already on there and you won't put on as much wax per dipping. The metal parts will heat up too and it will harden slower.


Step 17


One thing that can get a little tricky is that if the wax doesn't cool fast enough it drips off and doesn't stick well on the pickup. So use a hairdryer on the cool setting to get it to harden fast enough to get it to stick.


Repeat the dipping steps until you have about a millimeter and a half of wax built up on the front and back. If you are putting a cover back on, now solder on the cover. Keep dipping some more, filling up the cavites inside the metal casing. For this, as soon as you take it out of the wax you will need to hold it on its back so it won't leak out.



Finished product:



Now just wire it in.






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Old 10-19-2005, 09:45 PM   #5
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Comments, questions, are welcome. Especially comments about how gratefull you are and how I am just the ultimate being. This was a pain in the ass to put together.
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Old 10-19-2005, 09:59 PM   #6
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Alright, here are the main cominations of wiring you might want to get the different sounds:

OH=origional hot
OG=origional ground
C1=coil one(non screw poles)
C2=coil two(screw poles)

-stock humbucker sound-
OH-tab on pot or switch
C1+C2 joined
OG-ground

-only coil 1-
OH-tab on pot or switch
C1-ground

-only coil 2(typically higher output than above^)-
C2-tab on pot or switch
OG-grounded

-coil 1 PLUS NOISE CANCELING-*
OH-tab on pot or switch
C1-ground
OG-ground

-only coil 2 PLUS NOISE CANCELLING(typically higher output than above^)-*
C2-tab on pot or switch
OG-grounded
OH-grounded

*Both coils will work somewhat, but the second coil will be wayyyy quieter than the coil with the complete circuit. I tested this out and it seems to cut down on noise quite alot.

Want me to explain how to wire this stuff up to a DPDT or SPDT switch?
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Old 10-19-2005, 10:08 PM   #7
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damn dude thats awesome

yes please do explain
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Old 10-19-2005, 10:15 PM   #8
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God ****ing damn you. So much typing. Alright, I'll draw some diagrams. One sec.
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Old 10-19-2005, 10:48 PM   #9
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Old 10-20-2005, 02:47 PM   #10
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Sweet!

Just to clarify, you'd want to mix a little beeswax in because it doesn't crack as easily as parafin wax does. It doesn't really have an effect on the sonic properties.
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Old 10-20-2005, 05:45 PM   #11
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^yep, that parrafin can get everywhere.
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Old 10-20-2005, 06:11 PM   #12
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Very nice read. Good job.
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Old 10-20-2005, 06:27 PM   #13
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Why thank you.
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Old 10-21-2005, 07:45 AM   #14
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this is amazing best thing on pickups since i wrote the FAQ which reminds me i need to get off my fat ass and add more reviews at some point
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Old 10-21-2005, 02:05 PM   #15
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wow man that is awesome now if only i had the guts to rip apart my sweet '59

and just so you know when you melt wax your supposed to use a double boiler because wax is extremely flammable some people say its not safe to heat it with a open falme even if you are using a double boiler

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Old 10-21-2005, 04:18 PM   #16
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excellent- i only read the first little bit, since i'm just home from uni, and am shattered (45 mile drive!), but it seems excellent, and lots of good pics!
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Old 10-22-2005, 12:54 AM   #17
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Thanks everyone.

And wax isnt THAT flammable. I have brought it to boiling point(huge bubbles) and tried to light it, didn't work.
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Old 10-22-2005, 01:17 AM   #18
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And... and ... maybe it'll be stickied? /big watery eyes
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Old 10-22-2005, 01:18 AM   #19
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^wait what are the watery eyes for again?
Btw if this thread gets pruned I will get really pissed and kill all of you. So if you could bump it if it comes close to extinction, that would be nice.
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Old 10-22-2005, 05:12 AM   #20
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hmm, I'm getting an urge to do this to my guitar and adding some various switching arrangments.

Only problem is that I dont have anywhere to find push/pull pots......but I do have a DPDT switch and a 2x6 rotary switch..think I'll need some more to be able to split up both pickups and run the coils out of phase....

*starts thinking about it*
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