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FDP Forum / The 'Pup' Tent / Out of phase tone with P90 pickups?


North of Philly

Sep 12th, 2014 04:53 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

A couple of years ago I bought a set of Vintage Vibe P90s (HB size) for a project I am just getting around to. One of the PUs is reverse wound (neck) to create a humbucker when both PUs are engaged. They also came with a set of Alinco magents if I want to replace the ceramics installed.

I always liked the tone of out of phase pickups. I had a push/pull pot installed in one of my HB guitars in the past. However I'm not sure I can do that with these P90s since one of them is reverse wound.

Would that knock out the humbucker effect and create hum?

Another option would be to flip the magnets in one of the PUs. Of course then when both PUs are used I would get only the out of phase sound, and again, would that knock out the humbucker effect and create hum?

Can anyone answer these questions?



Sep 16th, 2014 04:20 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

The Reverse wound, reverse polarity neck pickup, is intended to be humbucking when both pickups are normally used together.Just like the 2 and 4 positions of a Stratocaster. If you wire one of the pickups backwards to get the mouth harp, out of phase sound, when using both pickups, this combo will not be humbucking.

If you want the weak, funky, out of phase sound and also want it to be humbucking, both pickups would have to be the same magnet polarity. So yes a magnet would have to be flipped.

A reverse wound, reverse polarity pickup is intended to be humbucking and have the pickup combo in phase. Is out of phase something you really want?

(This message was last edited by mrfix at 06:38 PM, Sep 16th, 2014)


Atlanta, GA USA

"Life is good when you love your tone."
Oct 4th, 2014 01:05 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I find the typical full-on out-of-phase tones pretty useless. But I have seen wiring schemes on the web that describe "partially" or perhaps "half" out-of-phase tones that are actually kind of cool. One that I have tried myself is the GuitarNutz Strat Lover's Strat.

The link below is a recording I made awhile back with a project Strat using the GuitarNutz wiring along with a set of Lace AlumiTone singles. There are 2 different out-of-phase selections available, and those 2 tones are used near the end of the recording...

GuitarNutz Strat Lover's Strat - MP3

Steve Dallman
Contributing Member

Merrill, Wisconsin

Age is just a number...mine is big
Oct 4th, 2014 03:43 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Over the years, I put phase switches in many customer's guitars. Not one ended up using them, and would often have me wire something else in place of the phase switch.

I have done the 1/2 out of phase, which is basically the Jerry Donahue wiring. Adding a cap to the phase switch, which takes some bass from the neck pickup, allows the volume to not drop, the low end to remain full, but still get the out of phase tone from the mids and highs. I find it very useful for getting position 2 or 4 type Strat tones from a two pickup guitar. I have this in all my two pickup guitars, be they humbuckers or P90's.

Contributing Member

Orlando, FL

My brain hurts!
Oct 5th, 2014 06:52 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

The trick to making out of phase pickups useful is to use the Gibson wiring method where the volume controls function independently of each other, I.e. turning either pickup all the way down by itself does not turn the guitar off, you need to turn them both down in order to do so. That way you keep one volume on 10 and roll the other back to, say, 8. This actually fattens up the tone and makes it louder, since fewer frequencies cancel each other out.

The reason for the "halfway" out of phase in the JD Tele is that a Tele only has one master volume - no independent volume controls. Without some sort of compromise the full on out of phase would be so thin as to be useless.

I have had phase switches in all of my P90 guitars for years now. Unfortunately though I have no experience with RWRP in that application.



Aug 15th, 2015 01:10 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

You could use an out of phase switch if you do a lot of effects stuff and the like. But even then yup usually just goes unused.

They are truly excellent fantastic for quelling curiosity, esp if you're a heavy modder tinkerer type.

Once a year you flip the switch, baffle over it a while; get it out of your system. Saves soldering and unsoldering things in and out and much frustration each time when dissatisfied.



Aug 15th, 2015 01:31 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Those sound interesting, think I'll try 'em out even if just to see what happens.

I kept off and on falling for out of phase add ons. Partly it's just there and easy, but also having added stuff think that something changed and may work with it.
My mistake was not considering cancellation further, just laziness, discouraged after listening to it.

Contributing Member

C-C-R is one letter

better than B-B-Q. Tastier too!
Aug 16th, 2015 05:02 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Your question, "will it add hum?" perhaps is leading you down the wrong logic path.

The physical separation of the pickups causes the circuit to be only partially humbucking. The closer the coils are to each other--the better the humbucking operation.

When two single coil pickups are in series or parallel, and not in humbucking mode, it does not add noise. It simply removes the circuit's ability to cancel stray RF and some EMI noise.

It's always good to shield and ground the cavities, and use shielded wire where it passes through an unshielded wire run.

Noise rejection (shielding) and noise cancellation (humbucking operation) can be used together to keep things nice and quiet.

Te 52

Laws of Physics

strictly enforced
Aug 16th, 2015 10:33 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I concur that out of phase in parallel is not too useful -- big volume drop, very weak and tinny.

Out of phase in *series*, though, is another story. The increased output given by the series connection compensates for the loss of volume caused by being out of phase. This is a biting, quacky, honky sound I find very useful.

If one wanted to stick with the standard 3-way selector switch, best way to accomplish this is by using a Fender S-1 switch for the volume or tone pot, or by adding a 4PDT mini-toggle. This would give the option of out of phase in series in the middle position of the selector switch. Other positions would not be affected.

Martin G
Contributing Member


Sep 11th, 2015 02:40 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

"But out of phase in *series*, though, is another story."

I used to have a guitar that was a copy of an LP junior that someone put a dimarzio humbucker in with ther 4 wires.

I added a switch so I could reverse one of the coils and that sounded great, especially with some of the tone rolled off and some distortion. Wish I still had that guitar. I do still have the pickup.

FDP Forum / The 'Pup' Tent / Out of phase tone with P90 pickups?

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