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Thread: Just How Important is 4 Conductor?

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    X-Files Duckbucker ExplorersRock's Avatar
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    Default Just How Important is 4 Conductor?

    Sorry for the noob questions, but the folks here really their stuff. I know you can't split the coils of a humbucker without 4 conductor wiring , but what about in/out of phase or parallel/series wiring? just checking my options. I'm asking because I want to buy a slash model neck pickup but I know it only comes in single coductor.

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    Administrator Simon_F's Avatar
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    Default Re: Just How Important is 4 Conductor?

    With single conductor wiring you can't do phase reversal or series/parallel or coil splitting. The pickup is wired in series and you just have a single hot wire and the braided shield which goes to ground. It's vintage correct!
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    Default Re: Just How Important is 4 Conductor?

    4-conductor is all about "options". But, if you find the right pup, those options become less important. For example, I just "discovered" the PATB-3 for my LP Custom.
    I don't need no stinkin' split/parallel/oop crap.

    It's perfect. Out of the box.

    Artie

    (Mind you, I make part of my living off of that other "crap".)

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    Default Re: Just How Important is 4 Conductor?

    Quote Originally Posted by ExplorersRock View Post
    Sorry for the noob questions, but the folks here really their stuff. I know you can't split the coils of a humbucker without 4 conductor wiring , but what about in/out of phase or parallel/series wiring? just checking my options. I'm asking because I want to buy a slash model neck pickup but I know it only comes in single coductor.
    I would wager that you get get that neck pup in 4-con if you asked. call the Custom Shop.

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    Mojo's Minions DrNewcenstein's Avatar
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    Default Re: Just How Important is 4 Conductor?

    Can't you wire it out of phase with the other pickup by reversing the ground and hot?
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    Default Re: Just How Important is 4 Conductor?

    Quote Originally Posted by darthphineas View Post
    I would wager that you get get that neck pup in 4-con if you asked. call the Custom Shop.
    I asked about getting a "floor Custom" where they could do the 4-con, but they said at this time they can't make any changes to the Slash pickups... though they are working on it. I bet, for $160, that the Custom Shop could absolutely do it. But still, if it saves me $60, I'll live with single-conductor.

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    Default Re: Just How Important is 4 Conductor?

    Quote Originally Posted by ExplorersRock View Post
    I asked about getting a "floor Custom" where they could do the 4-con, but they said at this time they can't make any changes to the Slash pickups... though they are working on it. I bet, for $160, that the Custom Shop could absolutely do it. But still, if it saves me $60, I'll live with single-conductor.
    I think Evan was just on here a week or so ago saying the Slash has approved 4-con wiring on his pups. still, I bet if you ask the CS for a A2P neck with 4-con and boosted output and wooden spacer "to mimic the Slash model", I'd imagine they would get the idea.

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    Default Re: Just How Important is 4 Conductor?

    Quote Originally Posted by Simon_F View Post
    With single conductor wiring you can't do phase reversal or series/parallel or coil splitting. The pickup is wired in series and you just have a single hot wire and the braided shield which goes to ground. It's vintage correct!
    Actually you can do phase with a single lead PU; but like you said, you can't do coil cut. PU's are normally linked in parallel, and you can link them in series with a single lead; but you can't link the two coils in parallel in a HB with a single lead.

    I've wired P-90 guitars for phase and for linking the two PU's in series. You can do half the Jimmy Page system with single lead PU's, just not the coil cut part.
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    Default Re: Just How Important is 4 Conductor?

    you can't do any of the stuff in the OP without 4-conductor wiring.
    i'm not really interested in coil-splitting and switchable phasing, but it's worth it for parallel.
    i fcking love parallel.

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    Default Re: Just How Important is 4 Conductor?

    Quote Originally Posted by blueman335 View Post
    Actually you can do phase with a single lead PU...
    Not with a humbucker (as per OP). Strat pickup yes.


    Quote Originally Posted by DrNewcenstein View Post
    Can't you wire it out of phase with the other pickup by reversing the ground and hot?
    No, because you've then connected the braid and pickup base (and cover if there is one) to the hot side. BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ


    Anyway original question, when I first wired up a guitar in my teens I put on switches for every conceivable option. I found that 95% of the time I only used the bridge humbucker both coils in phase in series. So for me now, 4 conductor is not important. Nice if it's there, don't mind at all if it's not.
    Last edited by Multi Angle Vise; 06-11-2012 at 12:39 PM.

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    Default Re: Just How Important is 4 Conductor?

    Quote Originally Posted by Multi Angle Vise View Post
    Not with a humbucker (as per OP). Strat pickup yes.

    No, because you've then connected the braid and pickup base (and cover if there is one) to the hot side. BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ
    Yes, you can wire 2 HB's out of phase with each other. It's done often enough here, it's also part of the Jimmy Page system which a number of guys have done these days. When you're connecting to a push-pull, what's the difference between a single lead HB and a single lead single coil?
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    Default Re: Just How Important is 4 Conductor?

    Quote Originally Posted by blueman335 View Post
    Yes, you can wire 2 HB's out of phase with each other...
    I haven't said otherwise. I'm saying you can't do it with a single conductor + braid humbucker, you need at least one more conductor, and I explained why in the text you quoted.


    Quote Originally Posted by blueman335 View Post
    what's the difference between a single lead HB and a single lead single coil?
    Good question.

    One is unshielded twisted pair that is connected only to a coil, the other is a coaxial cable cable connected to a coil, but with the braid also connected to a large metal mass.

    If you try reversing the braid and centre conductor on such a humbucker, you'll understand.

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    Default Re: Just How Important is 4 Conductor?

    IMO, kind of nice to have on a heavily wound pickup, but not important at all on moderately wound pickups. Splitting a 16K pickup to get one coil can be great. But splitting an 8K pickup to get one coil has never sounded good to me.

    4 wire vs. 2 wire would never be an issue to me in deciding whether or not to buy a pickup, as any 2 wire can easily be converted. However, if I was buying new and had the choice of options, I'd go for the 4 wire option just for the sake of versatility.
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