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Thread: Custom 3-pickup Tele isn't behaving as hoped - anyone curious enough to offer ideas?

  1. #1
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    Default Custom 3-pickup Tele isn't behaving as hoped - anyone curious enough to offer ideas?

    Hi people,
    Apologies for the length of this post, I’m hoping this will reach someone with better pickup tech skills than me and a curiosity in pickup wiring, as I think I’m about to give up – because this is giving me a lot of grief!
    So I have a 3-pickup telecaster and the pickups are:
    S/D Quarter pounder (Neck);
    S/D JB jr strat (Middle);
    Dimarzio Tone Zone tele (Bridge).
    I’m using a custom wiring harness with a 5-way switch & single volume & tone - both push-push. The volume push gives me the bridge pickup ‘on’ in all 5 positions. The tone push is a coil split on the middle JB jr. So, there’s potentially quite a range of tones. As you might guess, I’ve been unable to find anything like this arrangement in the SD wiring schematics.
    When using position 1,3 & 5 the individual pickups sound perfect. I didn’t think I’d like the Quarter P in the neck but it’s become the go-to pickup on this rig. Furthermore, I actually prefer what the JB jr does in the middle position here to what it does in my ‘Everything’ axe arrangement, its sound is ‘fuller’ and more dynamic. However, when in position 2 & 4, it’s the opposite – the sound is thin, lacks projection and is basically useless.
    So my wiring is this:
    Neck – white to ‘hot’, black to ‘ground’;
    Middle – black to ‘hot’, green + bare to ‘ground’, red + white to coil split;
    Bridge – red to ‘hot’, green + bare to ‘ground’, black + white series linked together (this is the Dimarzio, don’t forget!).
    I expected position 2 to be a humbucker mix, but it isn’t – its worse than the cheapest single coil pickups you could imagine. Added to that, coil splitting with the tone pot push, becomes embarrassing/unuseable with the (second) drop in volume & tone! I suspect the JB jr. may be the culprit as there is a similar effect in position 4. Would that mean that its not suited to combining from the middle position in this setup? Or would it require a different wiring combination than I’m using? ‘On paper’ this pickup arrangement should work, so it’s got me stumped.
    Any thoughts about this are very welcome and greatly appreciated. And if you’ve read this far, thanks for your patience!
    Last edited by Kev1000gerb; 06-13-2019 at 07:13 PM.

  2. #2
    Super Toneologist DavidRavenMoon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Custom 3-pickup Tele isn't behaving as hoped - anyone curious enough to offer ide

    The thin sound means your pickups are out of phase. Reverse the hot and ground leads on the middle pickup.


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  3. #3
    Slutbucker Pimpologist ArtieToo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Custom 3-pickup Tele isn't behaving as hoped - anyone curious enough to offer ide

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidRavenMoon View Post
    The thin sound means your pickups are out of phase. Reverse the hot and ground leads on the middle pickup.
    I agree with the out-of-phase, but wouldn't it be the DMZ that needs reversed? The neck & middle are both Duncans and should be in phase.

  4. #4
    Administrator Mincer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Custom 3-pickup Tele isn't behaving as hoped - anyone curious enough to offer ide

    If there is 'a similar effect' in position 4, it could mean something else is going on.
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  5. #5
    Junior Member
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    Default Re: Custom 3-pickup Tele isn't behaving as hoped - anyone curious enough to offer ide

    Hi people, many thanks for the input, much appreciated. I think I may have made some progress!
    The 'out of phase' issue was something I looked at early on. I swapped the JB jr wires first - no improvement. Then the Dimarzio - again, no improvement! I started thinking about the coil cut; on all the guitars I use with a coil cut switch, it seems to be the bridge pickup only. So I moved the pickup position on the 5-way switch, leaving the actual pickups alone. The SD is effectively now 'bridge', with coil cut; the Dimarzio is 'middle' and the quarter pounder is still 'neck' position. Instant improvement - the sounds are HUGE!
    However, the headache is that the 'physical' position of the pickups don't match the switch position and I can't swap the JB jr and Dimarzio around. Not that I would, the SD combination sounds awesome in positions 2, 3 & 4 as the middle pickup. The coil cut is giving me 'strat' and 'tele' in all the right places. So I have a dilemma; leave the switch arrangement as is, and live with the mindf**k of working out what pickup is engaged (trust me, it isn't so simple, with the push-push switches!) or move the coil-cut onto the Dimarzio?
    So at some point this weekend I'm going to try the coil-cut on the Dimarzio. However, as its a 'rails' type pickup, I'm not expecting as good a result. We shall see. Thanks again for the input, much appreciated. I'm none the wiser as to why the coil-cut seems to work only in the bridge position ( and possibly the neck?) but not the middle? Oh well!

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