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Thread: Rotating pickups 180 degrees

  1. #1
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    Default Rotating pickups 180 degrees

    Originally posted by Jim Collins:

    The orientation of the pickup has no effect on its phase relationship to the other pickup. I recall from physics class -- I think I took physics when Newton was still nursing a bruise from that apple -- something called the "right hand rule."

    Make a fist with your right hand, but leave the thumb pointing out. Your thumb points to magnetic north, and your fingers point in the direction of current flow. You can move your right hand any way you want, but the fingers and thumb maintain their relationship. (This is, of course, obvious, or else there were would be fingers and thumbs lying all over the ground, from people moving their hands.) So it is with pickups and their phase relationship. Your right hand is a representation of a pickup. By simply rotating the pickup 180 degrees, you haven't changed the phase relationship, because the coil and magnet have not moved, relative to each other.

    The right hand rule governs how pickups should be connected to maintain a proper phase relationship to each other. To create an out of phase condition between two pickups, one -- and only one -- of the following must be changed. You either reverse the magnetic polarity of ONE pickup (for a humbucker, this means flipping the magnet), OR you reverse the positive and negative leads of ONE pickup.

    The Peter Green sound has two components, and these components are not related to each other. The first is the rotated neck pickup. All this does is put the adjustable pole pieces under a different part of the strings. If the adjustable pole pieces are raised a bit higher than the slugs in the other coil, the resulting sound will be a bit different, even when the pickup is used alone.

    The second component is phase. You have two choices, here. You can either flip the magnet of the neck pickup, or you can reverse the positive and ground leads of the neck pickup. Actually, you can do this to either pickup, and it won't make any difference. If you choose to reverse the positive and ground leads, make sure your pickup does not have vintage style wiring, in which the coil ground is integrated into the base ground. The metal base of the pickup must always be grounded, regardless of the phasing.

    Two pickups can have opposing magnetic polarity, yet still be in phase. As long as each pickup is wired in accordance with current flow for that pickup, the pickups will be in phase. By the same token, two pickups can have the same magnetic polarity, yet be out of phase, if one of them is wired "backwards." You wouldn't be able to tell if pickup was wired "backwards" if that pickup were the only one in the circuit.

  2. #2
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    Turn your pickups to face away from the strings!
    Post-capitalist, non-theist, neo-humanist!

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by MykeWright View Post
    Turn your pickups to face away from the strings!
    By public demand, this is how Tony Close's guitar tech sets up Tony's guitars!
    Bogner enthusiast...

    Brought to you in the key of G 'demolished'.

    I am the tangerine of tonal terrorism...

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