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Pickup Switching Trick

(Steve Morrison plays in one of Salt Lake City's only punk/new wave bands, "The Boards". His novel pickup switching circuit is pretty clever - check it out.)

If you happen to have one of those economy type guitars with two pickups feeding on a single set of volume and tone controls (like a Telecaster) or no controls at all (which is the case with my Danelectro "Longhorn" 6 string bass), here's a neat way to add a new sound without routing out a space for more controls.

Out-of-phase pickup polarity reversal switches are becoming commonplace on guitars, but they have two major drawbacks: first, there's decreased output in the out-of-phase position, and second, the switch does absolutely nothing when only one pickup is selected (this really annoys me!). The switching circuit shown in figure 1 solves both these problems.

To implement this circuit, you'll have to give up your standard 3 way toggle pickup selector, and install one SPDT and one DPDT switch in its place. S1 is a "one-or-both pickup" pickup selector. In the "both" position, S2 acts as a phase switch with the nifty feature of connecting the pickups in series when they're out of phase, thus providing a remedy for the low output problem mentioned earlier. In S1's "one" position, S2 acts as a "which one" selector so that you can choose between the treble and bass pickup. This eliminates the "switch that does nothing half the time" problem that annoys me so much about standard phase switches (gee, I feel better now...).

Now, for those of you who don't have any volume or tone controls on you stick (that's punk talk for axe), I'll bet you need a way to turn it on and off between songs, right? Figure 2 shows my solution: S1 is the master on/off switch, and S2 is a sneaky momentary pushbutton. When S1 is on, pushing S2 momentarily turns off the output signal; when S1 is off, pushing S2 momentarily turns the outout signal on. Does this sound confusing? Well, if you put one of these in your guitar (or listen to early Who records) you'll see what I mean.

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Build a Quad Sequential Switch

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Dod Mod I: Envelope Follower

Polyphony - Copyright: Polyphony Publishing Company


Polyphony - Jan/Feb 1981

Donated & scanned by: Mike Gorman

Feature by Steve Morrison

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> Build a Quad Sequential Swit...

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