#1
So I was watching the making of a "Night at The Opera" by Queen from Classic Albums
and in the last part, Brian May explains shortly how he created the solo for Bohemian Rhapsody.
He mentioned he used both his middle and neck pickups "out of phase" to get that screaming sound, those big harmonics from the solo.

What exactly does having your pickups "out of phase" mean?
Are those screaming harmonics the only effect?
How do I get my pickups "out of phase"?
Is it really a good idea?
Does it matter what kind of pickups I have(or if I use only one pickup instead of 2)?

Thanks

Video of May explaining this, after the 4:00 mark
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0qYK4BmQdrE&feature=fvwrel
#2
When 2 pickups are in phase, they work together and reinforce each other. When they are out of phase the 2 pickups are working against one another and the resulting sound is the "leftovers" from these cancelations. The closer the 2 pickups are, the greater the cancelations, the thinner the sound and the lesser the volume. Therefore, the neck and bridge pickups out of phase is the best choice for this type of sound.

So no you can't If you have only one pickup. There are plenty of wiring diagrams on how to do this though
Edit!: I was thinking of Brian May so I didn't think about humbuckers. If you're using only a humbucker which I suppose is more likely, the humbucker can be out of phase with itself as well.
Quote by barden1069
A "tubescreamer" is a person paid by a guitarist to stand behind the amp and scream at the tubes. This terrifies the tubes into overdriving and delivers a thick, harmonic-rich tone.
Last edited by RealGuitarHero at Dec 31, 2011,
#3
^You can do it with 1 pickup, the pickup just needs 2 coils. Its not possible with 1 single coil, but with rail pickups and humbuckers you can wire the coils out of phase with each other, but it doesn't sound that great really.
#4
Yep I realized that after I said it, and ninja edited you to that point. I really don't like the sound of Out of Phase pickups in general, TS I would only do it if you were a die hard Queen fan tbh
Quote by barden1069
A "tubescreamer" is a person paid by a guitarist to stand behind the amp and scream at the tubes. This terrifies the tubes into overdriving and delivers a thick, harmonic-rich tone.
#5
Has anybody ever heard how a humbucker in bridge position sounds out of phase?
#7
Quote by Brandeis
Has anybody ever heard how a humbucker in bridge position sounds out of phase?

if you mean the two coils within the humbucker out of phase then yes, i played an old ibanez that did something like this to the coils, it sounds really really brittle, scratchy, nasal, honky and thin - not really characteristics you'd want for anything. although maybe it was just that guitar - it was nicely built but really quite dreadful all-round nonetheless...

with a bit of careful pickup blending having your pickups out of phase can get some interesting and expressive tones that aren't too thin, but this only happens if you have a way of blending between pickups like separate volumes for each pickup etc..
I like analogue Solid State amps that make no effort to be "tube-like", and I'm proud of it...

...A little too proud, to be honest.
#8
I can put the pick-ups out of phase on my mustang, it results in a thinner, almost nasally tone - I use it alot for cleans but its quite weak with distortion.
#9
Quote by irnmadn88
Peter Green.

/thread.

pretty much this.
I wondered why the frisbee was getting bigger, then it hit me.
#10
I just modified an old Ibanez RX170. I have a mini-toggle on it that splits the bridge and neck humbuckers and another mini-toggle that swaps the phase on the center single. I can get a wide array of tones this way and have the ability to swap the phase at will instead of wiring it that way permanently. It isn't my guitar but the owner does use the phase switch occasionally. He doesn't use it much though. I don't think he's found that particular tone nearly as useful as he thought it would be.
#11
the pickups being out of phase should be in series and further away from each other. brian's guitar is special because the pickups are wired in series instead of parallel. a parallel out-of-phase pair sounds quite different from a series out-of-phase pair.

i wouldn't do it with one humbucker. one humbucker has two coils too close to each other, so it cancels out more of the sound. two humbuckers work, but in parallel, it's not the best. this is the peter green mod.

brian may has his pickups able to be configured in series or parallel, and in or out of phase from each other. it's pretty cool when u get it to work.
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