One of the main reasons players add switches to their guitars is to explore the tonal versatility offered by four-conductor humbuckers. First let’s take a quick look at a single-coil pickup.
Humbuckers have been immensely popular ever since they hit the market. Their fat, juicy tone allows for easier playing, their higher output makes amps crank out more dirt and with all the various humbuckers around you can easily season your guitar to taste. But some players feel the need to go a bit further.
The original humbucking pickups designed by Seth Lover for Gibson in the 1950s were elegantly simple. By combining two pickup coils instead of simply using one (with pole piece magnets of one coil oriented in the opposite direction to the other), Lover’s design cancelled out the buzz and hum that plagued existing single coil designs, leaving in its place a fuller, rounder tone which changed the future of guitar.
I recently built myself a Tele-style guitar from parts. I used a vintage white Swamp Ash body from Warmoth, the neck from my 10-year-old USA Fender Telecaster and hardware from… well, mostly from eBay actually. I already have a Telecaster with an STR-1 Vintage Rhythm pickup in the neck position and an APTL-3JD Jerry Donahue…
If you’ve read the other two articles in the series, hopefully by now you’ve got a good understanding of the different ways we can wire P-Rails pickups. Let’s take a look at some of the more common configurations.