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question on Strat pickups and phase

 
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Old Black



Joined: 18 Jan 2006
Posts: 1975
Location: Minneapolis

PostPosted: Mon Nov 30, 2015 9:30 am    Post subject: question on Strat pickups and phase Reply with quote

A while back, I wound pickups for a Strat I have. It has a 5-position switch. When it's in positions 2 and 4 it sounds like the middle pickup and (either) the neck or bridge pickup are out of phase with each other (sort of cutting in volume a bit and just not ... right). If I switch the white and black wires on middle pickup, will I be changing the phase? Obviously, this is easy to do but am I barking up the right tree?
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tangelolemon



Joined: 26 Jan 2009
Posts: 2691
Location: Brooklyn, NY

PostPosted: Mon Nov 30, 2015 9:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

winding direction and magnetic orientation both impact the polarity ("phase") of a pickup.

If you change one or the other, you reverse the pickup's "polarity." If you change both, then you reverse it twice (in other words, "back to original."

This is the logic behind RWRP hum cancelling. Hum is induced in the coils themselves; it doesn't notice the magnets at all. So if you reverse BOTH the magnets and the coil direction, you have coils that are out of phase when picking up the hum (thus hum cancelling), but pickups that are IN phase when acting on the strings (if that makes sense).

However, if you reverse only one or the other, you get what you're talking about-- thin, "true polarity reverse 'out of phase'" sound. Major loss of volume and thin plinky sound.

If reversing the pickup leads makes it 'right,' then it's likely you have reversed magnet polarity on that middle pickup. And if so, you've solved it by reversing the leads.
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Old Black



Joined: 18 Jan 2006
Posts: 1975
Location: Minneapolis

PostPosted: Mon Nov 30, 2015 12:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

tangelolemon wrote:
winding direction and magnetic orientation both impact the polarity ("phase") of a pickup.

If you change one or the other, you reverse the pickup's "polarity." If you change both, then you reverse it twice (in other words, "back to original."

This is the logic behind RWRP hum cancelling. Hum is induced in the coils themselves; it doesn't notice the magnets at all. So if you reverse BOTH the magnets and the coil direction, you have coils that are out of phase when picking up the hum (thus hum cancelling), but pickups that are IN phase when acting on the strings (if that makes sense).

However, if you reverse only one or the other, you get what you're talking about-- thin, "true polarity reverse 'out of phase'" sound. Major loss of volume and thin plinky sound.

If reversing the pickup leads makes it 'right,' then it's likely you have reversed magnet polarity on that middle pickup. And if so, you've solved it by reversing the leads.


Thanks - this makes sense to me. I did reverse-wind the middle pickup but I may have not correctly oriented the poles when I magnetized them.
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tangelolemon



Joined: 26 Jan 2009
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Location: Brooklyn, NY

PostPosted: Mon Nov 30, 2015 2:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

if you have a refrigerator magnet, you can put a dot of paint on one side, and see if it's attracted/repelled the same way as the other two pickups!
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Old Black



Joined: 18 Jan 2006
Posts: 1975
Location: Minneapolis

PostPosted: Tue Dec 01, 2015 9:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

tangelolemon wrote:
if you have a refrigerator magnet, you can put a dot of paint on one side, and see if it's attracted/repelled the same way as the other two pickups!


Good idea! Thanks.
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