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#1
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
I'm not very active here on UG currently.
I'm a retired Supermod off to the greener pastures of the real world.
#2
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.
I'm not very active here on UG currently.
I'm a retired Supermod off to the greener pastures of the real world.
#3
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 kitchen
I'm not very active here on UG currently.
I'm a retired Supermod off to the greener pastures of the real world.
Last edited by That_Pink_Queen at Oct 19, 2005,
#4
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.




I'm not very active here on UG currently.
I'm a retired Supermod off to the greener pastures of the real world.
#5
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.
I'm not very active here on UG currently.
I'm a retired Supermod off to the greener pastures of the real world.
#6
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?
I'm not very active here on UG currently.
I'm a retired Supermod off to the greener pastures of the real world.
#8
God ****ing damn you. So much typing. Alright, I'll draw some diagrams. One sec.
I'm not very active here on UG currently.
I'm a retired Supermod off to the greener pastures of the real world.
#9
I'm not very active here on UG currently.
I'm a retired Supermod off to the greener pastures of the real world.
#10
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.
"The most important thing is to learn how to play the guitar before you get 50,000 dollars worth of complicated gear" -Slash

Not a member of any clubs. Don't PM me.
#11
^yep, that parrafin can get everywhere.
I'm not very active here on UG currently.
I'm a retired Supermod off to the greener pastures of the real world.
#13
Why thank you.
I'm not very active here on UG currently.
I'm a retired Supermod off to the greener pastures of the real world.
#14
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
#15
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
Last edited by die_republicans at Oct 21, 2005,
#16
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!
Quote by crownegamers
I saw in a couple of pictures that on Bucketheads Les Paul (only some pictures) that his neck pickup is painted in white. Can anyone explain to me why he would do this, and if there are any pros and cons.

Quote by dspellman
The guy wears a KFC Bucket and a white mask during performances, and you're interested in the color of his pickup covers?

#17
Thanks everyone.

And wax isnt THAT flammable. I have brought it to boiling point(huge bubbles) and tried to light it, didn't work.
I'm not very active here on UG currently.
I'm a retired Supermod off to the greener pastures of the real world.
#19
^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.
I'm not very active here on UG currently.
I'm a retired Supermod off to the greener pastures of the real world.
#20
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*
#21
This should be put in the unoficail UG GB+C archives if it still exists, maybe Algee will put it on his site for you if you ask very nicely and he is in a good mood
Originally posted by Generalpwnt
It would be so cool if u drilled a hole right thru the center of ur guitar.




Looking for people to record sound clips for UG, click here if interested...
#22
Push pull pots you can order from lots of places online. Even amazon.com.
I'm not very active here on UG currently.
I'm a retired Supermod off to the greener pastures of the real world.
#23
Quote by That_Pink_Queen
Push pull pots you can order from lots of places online. Even amazon.com.


I think i've figured out a way to do everything with 4 switches (2 push pull since I only have 2 knobs and 2 other switches I guess I can jam somewhere)

Being able to do coil tap and running the 2 coils out of phase on each pickup, which alltogether ends up being 19 or so combinations which is enough for me

Just need to get all the things....and might as well get a new pickguard since my own is "warped" in a wierd way (and a chrome one would look cooler)

Just wondering: whats anyones opinion on running the 2 coils of a humbucker in paralell, apparently it gives a singlecoily type sound (like the strat humbucking positions I believe)?
#24
^sounds logical
I'm not very active here on UG currently.
I'm a retired Supermod off to the greener pastures of the real world.
#26
Quote by That_Pink_Queen
^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.


Quote your posts and copy them into a txt file.
"A wise man once said, never discuss philosophy or politics in a disco environment." - Frank Zappa
Quote by Jinskee
Don't question the X.
<Frenchy> I'm such a failure
#27
^I actually saved the whole HTML page, replies and all.
I'm not very active here on UG currently.
I'm a retired Supermod off to the greener pastures of the real world.
#28
Wow, Hi la bamba I haven't seen you around here in a while... Nice to see you again...
#29
Quote by That_Pink_Queen
^I actually saved the whole HTML page, replies and all.


You should quote yourself aswell, then you can just copy and paste it into a new topic.

But your idea works aswell, makes for good posting on another site.
"A wise man once said, never discuss philosophy or politics in a disco environment." - Frank Zappa
Quote by Jinskee
Don't question the X.
<Frenchy> I'm such a failure
#30
If anyone has a web site and would like to host it, I would be very gratefull.
I'm not very active here on UG currently.
I'm a retired Supermod off to the greener pastures of the real world.
#31
Quote by That_Pink_Queen
If anyone has a web site and would like to host it, I would be very gratefull.

I'll host it if you wan't.
'Aim at perfection in everything, though in most things it is unattainable. However, they who aim at it, and persevere, will come much nearer to it than those whose despondency and laziness make them give it up as unattainable.'
#32
That would be awsome, thanks dude.
I'm not very active here on UG currently.
I'm a retired Supermod off to the greener pastures of the real world.
#33
Quote by That_Pink_Queen
That would be awsome, thanks dude.

Sure thing. I'll give you the link when I'm done.
'Aim at perfection in everything, though in most things it is unattainable. However, they who aim at it, and persevere, will come much nearer to it than those whose despondency and laziness make them give it up as unattainable.'
#34
Sweet
I'm not very active here on UG currently.
I'm a retired Supermod off to the greener pastures of the real world.
#35
http://www.freewebs.com/ugtutorials/splittinga2conductor.htm

I'll switch all the pics once I get time. I have to resave them and re-upload them. I ****ed up the numbering and when I first went to do it all the pictures werent in order..lol
'Aim at perfection in everything, though in most things it is unattainable. However, they who aim at it, and persevere, will come much nearer to it than those whose despondency and laziness make them give it up as unattainable.'
#36
Nice, pretty cool. Though if you could credit me somewhat that would be cool.

I'm not very active here on UG currently.
I'm a retired Supermod off to the greener pastures of the real world.
#37
Quote:
Originally Posted by <((__SGyola__()
Hi. I'm the guy that made the thread asking for the website for coil tapping but coincidentally, you made a tutoria. This may sound like a stupid question, but on the last step of part 1 you had a humbucker with two wires coming out of the top of each coil that would become the extra wires of your 4 conductor pickup, but I have a brown one that is in one piece coming out of both coils where the ground and hot are going; is this the same thing as the "two wires coming out of the top" ? Here is a website to my pictures. http://l-po.dmusic.com/pictures


Got AIM or MSN or Yahoo instant messenger? Its just easier.

Anyways, i is the same basic idea. you just need to split that wire into two leads. Cut it in the middle, then solder on your two new wires.

And the place where the wires come out from the individual coils don't matter, it is still the wire connecting the two coils together. Cut it, and the coils arent connected.

Nice to see my tut being used


*****************************************************************

Just a bit more info. It was an answer to a PM.
I'm not very active here on UG currently.
I'm a retired Supermod off to the greener pastures of the real world.
Last edited by That_Pink_Queen at Oct 29, 2005,
#38
Don't wanna lose this.

I think we should put a sticky up at the top, and whenever someone makes a tutorial we shoul put it into the big tutorial thread. Like so far we could put in AlGee's painting thread, and this thread. I'm also thinking of making a pickup winder construction tutorial, we should compile them all so that they dont get lost.
I'm not very active here on UG currently.
I'm a retired Supermod off to the greener pastures of the real world.
#39
^if you want

(i think i've been made a mod of this forum again- i assume the reasoning is "i know nothing about modding, so i can do less harm with advice if i mod it and don't have time to give advice")

Quote by crownegamers
I saw in a couple of pictures that on Bucketheads Les Paul (only some pictures) that his neck pickup is painted in white. Can anyone explain to me why he would do this, and if there are any pros and cons.

Quote by dspellman
The guy wears a KFC Bucket and a white mask during performances, and you're interested in the color of his pickup covers?

#40
Could you do that? Just make a thread and sticky it, and then I will repost all this info back in there. Like the main tutorial, possible wiring combos, and whatnot.

I'm not very active here on UG currently.
I'm a retired Supermod off to the greener pastures of the real world.
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