Pickup Wiring Options

In this article, Pete Biltoft at Vintage Vibe Guitars gives an in-depth explanation of pickup coil wiring options.   Note this information is provided in the context of humbuckers, but applies just as well to a pair of single coil pickups that are RWRP relative to each other.     You may also find my earlier posts useful:  Humbucker Wiring and Coil Splitting, and Pete’s previous article on Coil Splitting/Tapping.

Thanks again to Pete for the permission to post this here!

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January 2013

Howdy!

In this Tech Tips newsletter I would like to discuss the wiring options possible with a single humbucking pickup which has a four conductor output cable with an independent ground lead.

The following information applies not only to conventional humbucking pickups with side by side coils, but also to stacked humbuckers and humbuckers in other size formats or configurations.

In this newsletter I do not plan to cover the details of wiring one or more switches to accomplish the possible coil configurations described below. A great deal of useful information on this topic is provided on the Stewart MacDonald website, the Guitar Nuts website and on www.deaf-eddie.net

First, let’s start with the basics:

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Waterslide Decals

Here’s the table of contents for the whole DIY pedal building series:

  1. Intro to DIY Pedal Building
  2. Beginner’s Course in Sketchup, Modeling a 125B Guitar Pedal Enclosure
  3. Drilling a 125B Guitar Effects Pedal Enclosure
  4. Pedal Enclosure Finishing: Surface Prep, Priming and Painting
  5. Using GIMP to Create Pedal Artwork
  6. Printing and Applying Waterslide Decal to Pedal Enclosure

In this final installment on finishing your own guitar effects pedals, I demonstrate how to print and apply the waterslide decal to the pedal, and apply a durable clear finish.   In previous videos, I showed how to model, drill, and paint the enclosure, and design and prepare the artwork and labels in GIMP.

I use clear waterslide decal paper, and print on my inkjet Canon Pro9000mkII.  After printing, and waiting a while to ensure the ink is dry, I spray on a few coats of Krylon Acrylic Crystal Clear acrylic to protect the ink during the soak.  Then, after the clearcoat dries for 30 minutes or so, I trim the paper to final dimensions and soak the paper in warm water.  When the decal starts to move freely from its backing, I wet the surface of the enclosure and slide the decal directly onto it.   I iron out the bubbles with wet fingers, and adjust the decal into its final position, being careful not to stretch the decal.

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Coil Splitting and Coil Tapping

In this article, Pete Biltoft at Vintage Vibe Guitars gives an in-depth explanation of humbucker coil splitting and tapping.    You may also find my earlier posts useful:  Humbucker Wiring and Coil Splitting.

Thanks again to Pete for the permission to post this here!

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October 2012

Howdy!

The topic for this tech tips newsletter will be Coil Splitting and Coil Tapping.

Coil Splitting and Coil Tapping are two methods which can be used to extend the range of tones on can get from a magnetic pickup.

First, a few definitions:

Coil splitting refers to disabling one of the two coils of a humbucking pickup by shunting that coil’s output to electrical ground.

Coil tapping is most often used to describe a single coil pickup which has a coil start and more than one coil end (output tap).

Because I intend to devote most of this article to Coil Tapping, let me start with Coil Splitting.

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Using GIMP to Create Pedal Artwork

Completed Under Pressure Compressor Artwork

Here’s the table of contents for the whole DIY pedal building series:

  1. Intro to DIY Pedal Building
  2. Beginner’s Course in Sketchup, Modeling a 125B Guitar Pedal Enclosure
  3. Drilling a 125B Guitar Effects Pedal Enclosure
  4. Pedal Enclosure Finishing: Surface Prep, Priming and Painting
  5. Using GIMP to Create Pedal Artwork
  6. Printing and Applying Waterslide Decal to Pedal Enclosure

The next step in finishing up the pedal that we’ve modeled, drilled and painted previously, is to prepare the artwork and labels.

In this tutorial, I will demonstrate how to compose your pedal artwork in GIMP, the free GNU Image Manipulation Program.  I’m using GIMP 2.8.2 on Windows, but it also runs on Mac and Linux.

I start with an overview of my Under Pressure compressor and Speed Racer Overdrive artwork, and then show how to compose your own pedal artwork from scratch.

I cover the basics of project setup, layout, working with the rulers and guidelines, the graphics and text editing and selection tools, sourcing artwork and fonts, retouching and removing blemishes, extracting components from a larger image, layer compositing with masks, and more.

Here are some of the resources shown in this video:

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All my YouTube comments have disappeared!

Comments Deleted

[Update 10/11/2012:  What a relief!  All my old YouTube comments appear to have been restored successfully.  Thanks to the YouTube team for correcting the situation so promptly.]

[Update 10/10/2012: Some news: I received an email from the youtube team saying "A small number of YouTube users may have had their comments deleted as a result of an error on our part". They sent a link to a reinstatement form, which I submitted, and I now wait with fingers crossed for a speedy and successful recovery. Here’s a link to that form, if you feel you’ve also been affected by this issue!]

Today I noticed something completely depressing!  I was looking back at some older comments on one of my videos and I noticed that none of my comments were there. When I clicked on someone’s reply to one of my comments “in reply to John Cooper (Show the comment)”, it popped up a dialog saying “The comment no longer exists”.

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Finishing the Enclosure

Spraying Pedal EnclosureHere’s the table of contents for the whole DIY pedal building series:

  1. Intro to DIY Pedal Building
  2. Beginner’s Course in Sketchup, Modeling a 125B Guitar Pedal Enclosure
  3. Drilling a 125B Guitar Effects Pedal Enclosure
  4. Pedal Enclosure Finishing: Surface Prep, Priming and Painting
  5. Using GIMP to Create Pedal Artwork
  6. Printing and Applying Waterslide Decal to Pedal Enclosure

In previous posts, we modeled the enclosure in Sketchup, drilled it, and now we’re ready for paint and artwork.  In this video, I talk about options for finishing the enclosure, and choices for art and labels.  Then I demonstrate surface prep, priming and painting, in preparation for the waterslide decals.


Some of the resources shown in this video:

Drilling the Enclosure

Drilled 125B EnclosureHere’s the table of contents for the whole DIY pedal building series:

  1. Intro to DIY Pedal Building
  2. Beginner’s Course in Sketchup, Modeling a 125B Guitar Pedal Enclosure
  3. Drilling a 125B Guitar Effects Pedal Enclosure
  4. Pedal Enclosure Finishing: Surface Prep, Priming and Painting
  5. Using GIMP to Create Pedal Artwork
  6. Printing and Applying Waterslide Decal to Pedal Enclosure

Now that we’ve modeled the enclosure and printed a drilling template, we’re ready to jump out of Sketchup and into the real world.

In this video, I’ll be demonstrating how to accurately drill the holes in a diecast aluminum 125B guitar pedal enclosure, preparing to install the electronics.  I’m using the drilling template we printed in part 2.  The pedal I’m building is a modified Ross compressor, using a printed circuit board purchased from GuitarPCB.

Funny, I just noticed while reviewing the final video edit that I was saying “barrel” instead of “bezel” for the LED bezel.  I guess I was channeling my inner Cooper.

Some of the resources used in this video:

Sketch Me Up- Melodies

Sketchup Tutorial- Vegas Project ViewDead air.  Not good!   As I was nearing completion of my epically long video for part 2 in my guitar pedal building series, one of the big items left on my to-do list was to find some appropriate thematic music for the section interludes.  Each of the 5 tutorial sections has a table of contents image that sits on the screen for about 16 seconds.   At that point in the project, each of these brief interludes was dead-silent. 

I had this vague idea that I would compose some short piece of music, and then make five increasingly complex variations to play for each of the five increasingly advanced sections of the tutorial.   16 seconds is not very long- not long enough for a big composition, but maybe long enough for a short melody.  This idea lurked in the back of my mind for a few weeks.   A couple of aborted attempts just didn’t seem to fit the tone of the video- too perky, too funky, etc.

Inspiration arrived, as it sometimes does, with a new piece of gear.  So with brand new Les Paul in hand, and Jamman Delay looper and Vox Ice 9 under foot, I recorded the following series of melodies.  Each loop starts with a copy of a previous variation, and adds a little something.

I’m particularly fond of that last clip, even though it ended up on the cutting room floor.  It’s got this crazy riff in it – which may be just a little too complex. Smile

Sketch Me Up!

125 Enclosure Model

Here’s the table of contents for the whole DIY pedal building series:

  1. Intro to DIY Pedal Building
  2. Beginner’s Course in Sketchup
  3. Drilling a 125B Guitar Effects Pedal Enclosure
  4. Pedal Enclosure Finishing: Surface Prep, Priming, Painting
  5. Using GIMP to Create Pedal Artwork
  6. Printing and Applying Waterslide Decal to Pedal Enclosure

This is part 2 of my new series on building guitar effects pedals.

This part of the project ended up being far more grandiose than I originally intended.  I started out planning to just show how to model this diecast aluminum 125B guitar pedal enclosure, to make sure my PCB and components would fit properly inside.   But by the time I was done with it, it was essentially a complete beginner’s how-to course for Google Sketchup.  (Note, Sketchup is now part of Trimble instead of Google).

To give you an idea of how long this took for me to complete, I started filming the intro and the Sketchup tutorial videos in June of 2011.  Over the last year, in the time-spaces between the rest of life, I’ve been gradually editing, revising, extending, and composing music for the project.

In this tutorial, I start out with the absolute basics, and gradually pick up the pace, progressing to more and more advanced topics.  I divided the video up into 5 sections, but kept them all together in one 55-minute video.  In my previous multi-part videos, I had to split them into multiple YouTube clips, due to the YouTube length restrictions, but now that they’ve relaxed those for my account- I hope it’ll be better having it all in one video.

Here is the Sketchup file that I used in the tutorial if you’re interested: Download sketchup file.

Each section assumes a familiarity with the previous section topics.  Here’s the table of contents:

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Intro to DIY Pedal Building

Speed Racer Overdrive InternalsThis is the first post in a series on building guitar effects pedals.  It’s going to be a bit out of order- I’ll be starting with what is usually considered the finishing touches- putting the pedal in an enclosure,  modeling and laying out an enclosure in Google/Trimble Sketchup, drilling the enclosure, painting and finishing it.

Then hopefully later, I’ll go back and do a project showing how to build a simple boost pedal from scratch.

Here’s the table of contents for the whole DIY pedal building series:

  1. Intro to DIY Pedal Building
  2. Beginner’s Course in Sketchup, Modeling a 125B Guitar Pedal Enclosure
  3. Drilling a 125B Guitar Effects Pedal Enclosure
  4. Pedal Enclosure Finishing: Surface Prep, Priming and Painting
  5. Using GIMP to Create Pedal Artwork
  6. Printing and Applying Waterslide Decal to Pedal Enclosure

This first video is the motivational intro: here are some of the things I’ve done, and yes, you can too!   If you have some interest in electronics and guitars, what better way to improve your knowledge?  You can get started with little or no electronics experience, and you’ll learn a bunch along the way.

Here are some useful links for pedal building:

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