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Thread: Question about old pup installation, 3 wires??

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    Banned BigAlTheBird's Avatar
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    Default Question about old pup installation, 3 wires??

    I'm hooking up my pups in my green buddy up to some electrics (pots, etc.). The pups have 3 wires, a yellow-ish one and a red wire/white wire intertwined. The pup is a single coil in a mini-humbucker cover from the early 60's. Which wires go where?


    Thanks! If you need pics, I can get some.

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    Ultimate Tone Slacker Low_fidelity2100's Avatar
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    Default Re: Question about old pup installation, 3 wires??

    I can't be 100% possitive on this. But My Guess would be that the Red/white wire are Probably Ground, and the other is hot. Just a guess though.

    I'm figureing One of those wires (either red or white) is the finish Of the coil, While the Other is Probably the Ground wire thats connected to the Pickup caseing (cover, baseplate, etc..). I could be totally wrong though. Who knows? haha.

    Try it out an if it doesn't work, Reverse em. Trial and error is the best way to figure this out without any sort of deffinative wireing diagram or anything. You could always pull the cover of one of the pickups and see whats connected to what. But really, its way easyer (and faster really) to just try wireing em different ways and seeing what happens. Just check the Ohms reading with a multimeter, an if it appears to Be working correctly, Plug it in Tap on the pickups (or play it if theres strings on it) an see what it does.
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    Banned BigAlTheBird's Avatar
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    Default Re: Question about old pup installation, 3 wires??

    Thanks for the tips dude. I've tried tons of configurations now, and nothing was really working. On one config, when you touch the pup you can hear feedback (or touch the string to the pup). But no noise when the string vibrates. So I don't know.

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    Tone Member bert123's Avatar
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    Default Re: Question about old pup installation, 3 wires??

    I was gonna second the guess about ground for coil end and cover being twisted together.

    Can you separate them and use a meter to determine which two of the three are connected to coil ends. Then see if the cover is connected to the 3rd wire.

    I've read of people opening some of those odd 60s PUPs and the bobbins being attached to the cover so you get a pile of magnet wire in your lap. So be very careful if you decide to open it.
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    Ultimate Tone Slacker Low_fidelity2100's Avatar
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    Default Re: Question about old pup installation, 3 wires??

    Quote Originally Posted by bigalthethird View Post
    Thanks for the tips dude. I've tried tons of configurations now, and nothing was really working. On one config, when you touch the pup you can hear feedback (or touch the string to the pup). But no noise when the string vibrates. So I don't know.
    Feedback when you touch the cover, But no noise otherwise? thats really weird, I have No idea what might cause that, haha.

    Have ya tried Checking all the wire combinations with a multimeter? Just to see if you can find out which wires are actually connected to the coils and which are Connected to the caseing? It might turn out that the two wires that are twisted together are actually the hot and ground wires twisted together and the Other one is the actual ground to the caseing. Or the pickups might jsut be totally dead.

    But if the pickups are totally dead, Odds are (with that being the old guitar that it is) that the pickups are infact just single coils under a mini bucker cover. So if it is dead, it wouldn't be that hard to Open it up, unwind the coil find the problem and either Fix it, Or just rewind the pickup entirely. Be really time consumeing, but not too difficult really.

    I'de suggest checking the pickup with a meter first though. Just try all the combinations and see whats what. I'de actually probably check the Red and white wires first if it was me, Cause I could totally see someone twisting them together so they KNOW those are the Hot wires, But if yer not the one that did it, I'll probably seem obvious that they're the ground wires. Ya know?

    (I assume ya know how to check with a meter, but just incase. Set the meter to the 20k ohms possition, and connect One wire to the red test point and the other to the black test point. If those are the hot wires, you should get a reading of some sort (like 4.05K or whatever for example) if not you'll get Nothing or Possible. Just try that with all the differnt combos, If ya get no reading with all the combinations the pickup is most likely shorted/dead. Although I have had pickups that will give no reading yet still work, But odds are if theres no reading, its probably dead.)

    Also if ya don't have a multimeter, ya should deffinately buy one. Makes this sorta stuff way easyer to figure out. They sell em at Lowes, homedepot, radio shack, even some walmarts have em. Ya can get a decent on pretty cheap (less than $20), an all the trouble ya save by haveing one Makes it WAY worth it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aceman View Post
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    Banned BigAlTheBird's Avatar
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    Default Re: Question about old pup installation, 3 wires??

    Yeah I don't have a multimeter. I might pick one up. I was trying to connect the bridge pup. I know the neck one works, don't know about the bridge one (the neck pup worked the day I got the guitar, although it was weak). I opened one of them up a while ago, and it's definitely a single coil in a mini-bucker case. Nothing uncoiled though, it was still fine.

    The wires were wrapped around eachother since the beginning. I didn't do that. Thanks for the help guys! I'll keep working on it.

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    RiffRaffologist ArtieToo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Question about old pup installation, 3 wires??

    Quote Originally Posted by Low_fidelity2100 View Post
    Feedback when you touch the cover, But no noise otherwise? I have No idea what might cause that.
    Yes you do.

    Quote Originally Posted by Low_fidelity2100
    It might turn out that the two wires that are twisted together are actually the hot and ground wires twisted together and the Other one is the actual ground to the caseing.
    See . . . told ya so.

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    Banned BigAlTheBird's Avatar
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    Default Re: Question about old pup installation, 3 wires??

    Well I have some answers. I found the electronics from when I first got the guitar. They were all hooked up inside, but some wires were loose and everything is complete garbage (pots busted, etc.). But the neck pup worked when I plugged it in, just not well. But there was noise. Long story short I kept all of the wiring intact, except I disconnected the pups from the rest of the rig (the pups I kept in the guitar, just so it didn't look too weird, everything else I put in my closet). I looked to see where the pup wires went, and the red one is the hot wire (the one which supplies sound). The other two yellow/white ones are the ground wires. So I'll hook this up, and I'll tell you all what happens!

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    Default Re: Question about old pup installation, 3 wires??

    Thank you all very much! I got noise out of my guitar for the first time. Expect a topic soon in the guitar room.

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