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Thread: First Build - PSH-1 Hollowbody

  1. #1

    First Build - PSH-1 Hollowbody

    Hi

    Mike here in Perth about to start my first build. I am waiting to recieve my PSH-1 kit which is hopefully only a few weeks away but I thought I would get started planning my wiring. Taking inspiration from Bakers Dozen's build I plan to add a couple of DPDT on/on/on switches to run the humbuckers in series, parallel and full split. If anyone has any feedback on the proposed routing around the F-hole I would be grateful. (see attached picture)

    I am also debating whether to run a 0.47 Tone Cap or 0.22 Cap. I am looking for a fuller mellow sound hence the 0.47 Cap. Does anyone have experience with Cap sizes running teh Toneride AC2 pickups?


    Click image for larger version. 

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  2. #2
    GAStronomist Simon Barden's Avatar
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    Hi.

    You cana fair bit of the wiring separate from the body using a cardboard template, but the final connections between the pickups and the Series/Parallel/Split switches will need to be done with the pickup wires poking through the F-hole and the switches on top of the body.

    This makes it difficult to make a harness that will keep the wiring all together using tape or cable ties. Without anything to hold the pickup wires up, gravity will take over and they will fall down and be seen through the F-hole. So I'd think about either running the pickup wires around the front of the F-hole or using the cardboard template propped on top of the guitar to wire basically as you've shown, but using cable ties or tape to keep the wires in a stiff bunch that runs around the outside of the F-hole.

    It really will be much easier to run the bridge ground wire out into the control cavity and to the back of a pot than to try and connect it to the bridge pickup base plate. There should already be a hole between the post hole and the control cavity (though the factory sometimes miss these).

    Unless you've already got the Switchcraft socket already, I'd suggest looking at using a Pure Tone output jack. These cost only slightly more than a Switchcraft but hold the jack much more firmly due to the extra contacts. On a semi where removing and fitting parts is harder than on a solid body, I'd always recommend fitting the most reliable parts you can. I came across them a few years ago and now use them all the time, and others here have done the same and really like them. I did a write-up on them here https://www.buildyourownguitar.com.a...ad.php?t=10122

    Tone pots are a personal choice. The 'standard' humbucker selection is 0.022uF compared to the single coil 'standard' of 0.047uF.

    My own experiments with cap values indicate to me that with the tone knob full up, the value doesn't really matter as so little signal leaks through the tone pot resistance that you can't hear the difference. It's only when the tone pot is rolled down so that there's less resistance and more high frequency signal flows through the cap to ground that the differences become more apparent.

    The tone capacitor forms part of a first-order high-pass RC (resistor in series with the signal, then a capacitor between the signal and ground) filter with a 6dB/octave roll off above the filter 'knee' frequency. The R(resistor) in this instance is the pickup coil's resistance. The bigger the capacitor value, the lower the filter 'knee' frequency and the more high frequencies are rolled off to ground by it.

    The tone pot is used as a variable resistor (which doesn't form part of that RC circuit but is there simply to limit the signal flow down to the capacitor). With the tone on 10, you've got 500k or 250k (depending on pot selection) resistance in between it and the capacitor, meaning that most of the high frequency signal passes through to the output jack.

    With a tone control, some HF will always pass down to ground. Take away the tone control and the sound will be brighter and slightly louder as a result (this is what 'no-load' tone pots do with a break in the resistance track in the 10 position). But my experience is that the resistance really needs to drop down to nearer 120k befor3 you really start to notice the tone roll off properly.

    Which is where pot value and the taper selection comes in.

    Audio taper gives a quicker response to turning down the tone control than a linear taper. As the tone pot is used as a variable resistor, a 500k pot will take more turning down to get the same tone roll-off than 250k pot e.g. with a linear pot, a 500k pot on 5 is the same as a 250k pot on 10, so you should be able to see how all the tone action bunches up to be within the very bottom end of the pot's movement with a 500k linear pot.

    So these days I prefer to use 250k audio taper pots for tone, for both single coils and humbuckers. You'll lose a very small amount of top end using a 250k tone pot on a humbucker, but it is barely noticeable to me (YMMV). I normally fit 0.015uF caps, as I never want the full mud sound that a bigger cap value can give, which helps give a more controllable and useable tone roll off over 90% of the pot travel. You'll always get more of the tone roll off happening right at the bottom end of the pot's travel, but without a custom taper, there's not a lot you can do about that.

    But apart from tone pot and capacitor values, you can always swap from the standard 500k volume pot choice for humbuckers to 250k, which will roll off some highs, move the pickup's resonant peak down a bit and generally make the pickup sound softer

    The pickup's impedance, inductance and capacitance combine with the volume pot resistance and the amp's input impedance and the guitar cable capacitance to form a low pass filter with a resonant peak. Changing the volume pot resistance can make noticeable changes to the pickup tone. Even within the normal ±20% tolerance range of an average potentiometer's nominal resistance (±10% for the better pots), you can tune the guitar's sound by measuring from a selection and choosing a lower or higher value than nominal. People generally tend to prefer the pots on the higher side of the nominal value on humbuckers (around 520k) to get them sounding brighter with a touch more sparkle. You can of course chose a pot with a lower measured resistance value to lose that sparkle and edge.

    None of these selections are permanent and you can always play around with changing pots and caps as time goes by, though the semi-hollow nature of the guitar does make it more of an effort to do so. You may want the guitar to sound quite standard at times, so using the tone control is probably the easiest thing to do here, though altering the volume pot's resistance has a slightly different effect as you are moving that resonant peak frequency too, not just the filter knee frequency, so boosting a slightly different range of frequencies as well as just rolling off high frequencies.

  3. Liked by: mrpearson

  4. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Simon Barden View Post
    Hi.

    You cana fair bit of the wiring separate from the body using a cardboard template, but the final connections between the pickups and the Series/Parallel/Split switches will need to be done with the pickup wires poking through the F-hole and the switches on top of the body.

    This makes it difficult to make a harness that will keep the wiring all together using tape or cable ties. Without anything to hold the pickup wires up, gravity will take over and they will fall down and be seen through the F-hole. So I'd think about either running the pickup wires around the front of the F-hole or using the cardboard template propped on top of the guitar to wire basically as you've shown, but using cable ties or tape to keep the wires in a stiff bunch that runs around the outside of the F-hole.

    It really will be much easier to run the bridge ground wire out into the control cavity and to the back of a pot than to try and connect it to the bridge pickup base plate. There should already be a hole between the post hole and the control cavity (though the factory sometimes miss these).

    Unless you've already got the Switchcraft socket already, I'd suggest looking at using a Pure Tone output jack. These cost only slightly more than a Switchcraft but hold the jack much more firmly due to the extra contacts. On a semi where removing and fitting parts is harder than on a solid body, I'd always recommend fitting the most reliable parts you can. I came across them a few years ago and now use them all the time, and others here have done the same and really like them. I did a write-up on them here https://www.buildyourownguitar.com.a...ad.php?t=10122

    Tone pots are a personal choice. The 'standard' humbucker selection is 0.022uF compared to the single coil 'standard' of 0.047uF.

    My own experiments with cap values indicate to me that with the tone knob full up, the value doesn't really matter as so little signal leaks through the tone pot resistance that you can't hear the difference. It's only when the tone pot is rolled down so that there's less resistance and more high frequency signal flows through the cap to ground that the differences become more apparent.

    The tone capacitor forms part of a first-order high-pass RC (resistor in series with the signal, then a capacitor between the signal and ground) filter with a 6dB/octave roll off above the filter 'knee' frequency. The R(resistor) in this instance is the pickup coil's resistance. The bigger the capacitor value, the lower the filter 'knee' frequency and the more high frequencies are rolled off to ground by it.

    The tone pot is used as a variable resistor (which doesn't form part of that RC circuit but is there simply to limit the signal flow down to the capacitor). With the tone on 10, you've got 500k or 250k (depending on pot selection) resistance in between it and the capacitor, meaning that most of the high frequency signal passes through to the output jack.

    With a tone control, some HF will always pass down to ground. Take away the tone control and the sound will be brighter and slightly louder as a result (this is what 'no-load' tone pots do with a break in the resistance track in the 10 position). But my experience is that the resistance really needs to drop down to nearer 120k befor3 you really start to notice the tone roll off properly.

    Which is where pot value and the taper selection comes in.

    Audio taper gives a quicker response to turning down the tone control than a linear taper. As the tone pot is used as a variable resistor, a 500k pot will take more turning down to get the same tone roll-off than 250k pot e.g. with a linear pot, a 500k pot on 5 is the same as a 250k pot on 10, so you should be able to see how all the tone action bunches up to be within the very bottom end of the pot's movement with a 500k linear pot.

    So these days I prefer to use 250k audio taper pots for tone, for both single coils and humbuckers. You'll lose a very small amount of top end using a 250k tone pot on a humbucker, but it is barely noticeable to me (YMMV). I normally fit 0.015uF caps, as I never want the full mud sound that a bigger cap value can give, which helps give a more controllable and useable tone roll off over 90% of the pot travel. You'll always get more of the tone roll off happening right at the bottom end of the pot's travel, but without a custom taper, there's not a lot you can do about that.

    But apart from tone pot and capacitor values, you can always swap from the standard 500k volume pot choice for humbuckers to 250k, which will roll off some highs, move the pickup's resonant peak down a bit and generally make the pickup sound softer

    The pickup's impedance, inductance and capacitance combine with the volume pot resistance and the amp's input impedance and the guitar cable capacitance to form a low pass filter with a resonant peak. Changing the volume pot resistance can make noticeable changes to the pickup tone. Even within the normal ±20% tolerance range of an average potentiometer's nominal resistance (±10% for the better pots), you can tune the guitar's sound by measuring from a selection and choosing a lower or higher value than nominal. People generally tend to prefer the pots on the higher side of the nominal value on humbuckers (around 520k) to get them sounding brighter with a touch more sparkle. You can of course chose a pot with a lower measured resistance value to lose that sparkle and edge.

    None of these selections are permanent and you can always play around with changing pots and caps as time goes by, though the semi-hollow nature of the guitar does make it more of an effort to do so. You may want the guitar to sound quite standard at times, so using the tone control is probably the easiest thing to do here, though altering the volume pot's resistance has a slightly different effect as you are moving that resonant peak frequency too, not just the filter knee frequency, so boosting a slightly different range of frequencies as well as just rolling off high frequencies.
    Thanks for the advice Simon. I will make a few modification to my wiring design and try to find the jack you suggest although they don’t seem to easy to find here in Australia.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  5. #4
    GAStronomist Simon Barden's Avatar
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    I know I've seen an Australian supplier of the Pure Tone jack sockets mentioned on this forum, but I can't remember who it was. I thought it was Realparts, but they don't show up on the site.

  6. #5
    Mentor dozymuppet's Avatar
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    This would be the one: https://kronigmusic.com.au/

    Edit: Looks like they're no longer stocking pure tone (or they can't get stock).
    Last edited by dozymuppet; 02-11-2021 at 10:10 PM.

  7. Liked by: mrpearson

  8. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by dozymuppet View Post
    This would be the one: https://kronigmusic.com.au/

    Edit: Looks like they're no longer stocking pure tone (or they can't get stock).
    Just found some on eBay in Canberra. Should be here in a week or so.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  9. Liked by: dozymuppet, mrpearson

  10. #7
    I was hoping one of the electronic gurus can help clarify my understanding of the following wiring diagram in regards to why the bridge DPDT wiring splits the coil differently from the neck dpdt switch.

    https://guitarelectronics.com/2-humb...plit-parallel/

    On the neck pickup when the switch is the centre position for split coils, it appears that North Start Wire is HOT and all other wires are sent to ground that would resut in the Slug coil being isolated / live

    On the bridge pickup dpdt setup the wiring diagram seems to show the South Start Wire going to Ground and all wires being send to HOT and to the pickup selector switch. The diagram indicates that this will make the South Coil (Screw) isolated / live. This version does not make sense as I would have thought the South (Screw Coil) finish wire should be going to Hot and all other wires to ground following pattern from above. Or is it posible that this schema is shorting out the SLUG?

    the reason I am trying to work this out is that for my build I am looking to use 2x on on on DPDT switches to select between series, parallel and split configs, however for the Bridge Pickup i understand the recommendation is for the SLUG coil to be isolated and live and for the next pick the Screw coil is isoloated and live. If the link to the diagram is correct then I can acheive my objective by swapping the neck and bridget pickips and switches around.
    Last edited by mrpearson; 04-11-2021 at 09:54 PM.

  11. #8
    GAStronomist Simon Barden's Avatar
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    Whilst I would agree that it would probably be better to have the bridge north start and finish wires taken to ground instead of commoned up to the hot output, practically it is impossible to arrange (as far as I can see) with that particular on/on/on DPDT switch selection and still have the parallel wiring option. Practically, it works just as well, as the two ends of the north coil are shorted together (albeit connected to signal hot), so no output can be developed by that coil, so you only get the other coil's output signal.

    I can say from experience that it's certainly a good thing to have the slug coil of the bridge pickup selected as the coil split (provided the humbuckers are in 'standard' arrangement with the screws facing outwards and the slugs towards each other). Mainly because it's that bit further away from the bridge itself so the sound is fuller and has less of a thin sound to it than the screw coil. The screw coil normally ends up slightly closer to the bridge than you'd normally position a single coil bridge pickup. Even a few mm can make a big difference to the sound in that area. The nearer the bridge, the smaller the amplitude of the fundamental and first few harmonic string vibrations, so almost no bass end to the sound and you just get all the higher pitched harmonics.

    Sound-wise, it's personal preference as to which coil you have split for the neck position, but if you want the mixed split position to be hum cancelling, then the selected coil has to be RWRP with respect to the bridge coil, which (as long as the pickups are from the same manufacturer) means that if the bridge is the slug coil, then the neck needs to be the screw coil.

    Despite everyone showing similar north/south start/finish diagrams and telling you which of the signal wires should be connected to ground, I've found that there's about a 50/50 split between manufacturers as to the signal output polarity if you follow their recommendations.

    So if you want to be sure that you select the slug coil or screw coil of a pickup, you really need to do a temporary connection to an amp of the wire pairs of the pickup.

    Use a multimeter to work out what the pairs are. The wiring diagram should indicate the suggested ground and hot wires ('suggested' as you can happily swap them over if necessary) indicating the wires at one end of each coil, so it's just a question of finding out which of the other two wires is the other end of each coil. Then write it down!

    Having a 'test' guitar lead with crocodile clips on the end is always a good idea if you do a lot of guitar & bass pickup work, but if not, I'd cut a jack off one end of the (really poor quality) kit lead, bare the wires and use a bit of 'chocolate block' terminal (or similar) to connect pairs of pickup wires to the amp set to a quiet volume. Tap the slug and the screw poles with a screwdriver and you should hear a big difference in the resulting 'click' sound for the connected coil. Again, write it down as a reference as to which are the slug and which are the screw coil pairs.

  12. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Simon Barden View Post
    Whilst I would agree that it would probably be better to have the bridge north start and finish wires taken to ground instead of commoned up to the hot output, practically it is impossible to arrange (as far as I can see) with that particular on/on/on DPDT switch selection and still have the parallel wiring option. Practically, it works just as well, as the two ends of the north coil are shorted together (albeit connected to signal hot), so no output can be developed by that coil, so you only get the other coil's output signal.

    I can say from experience that it's certainly a good thing to have the slug coil of the bridge pickup selected as the coil split (provided the humbuckers are in 'standard' arrangement with the screws facing outwards and the slugs towards each other). Mainly because it's that bit further away from the bridge itself so the sound is fuller and has less of a thin sound to it than the screw coil. The screw coil normally ends up slightly closer to the bridge than you'd normally position a single coil bridge pickup. Even a few mm can make a big difference to the sound in that area. The nearer the bridge, the smaller the amplitude of the fundamental and first few harmonic string vibrations, so almost no bass end to the sound and you just get all the higher pitched harmonics.

    Sound-wise, it's personal preference as to which coil you have split for the neck position, but if you want the mixed split position to be hum cancelling, then the selected coil has to be RWRP with respect to the bridge coil, which (as long as the pickups are from the same manufacturer) means that if the bridge is the slug coil, then the neck needs to be the screw coil.

    Despite everyone showing similar north/south start/finish diagrams and telling you which of the signal wires should be connected to ground, I've found that there's about a 50/50 split between manufacturers as to the signal output polarity if you follow their recommendations.

    So if you want to be sure that you select the slug coil or screw coil of a pickup, you really need to do a temporary connection to an amp of the wire pairs of the pickup.

    Use a multimeter to work out what the pairs are. The wiring diagram should indicate the suggested ground and hot wires ('suggested' as you can happily swap them over if necessary) indicating the wires at one end of each coil, so it's just a question of finding out which of the other two wires is the other end of each coil. Then write it down!

    Having a 'test' guitar lead with crocodile clips on the end is always a good idea if you do a lot of guitar & bass pickup work, but if not, I'd cut a jack off one end of the (really poor quality) kit lead, bare the wires and use a bit of 'chocolate block' terminal (or similar) to connect pairs of pickup wires to the amp set to a quiet volume. Tap the slug and the screw poles with a screwdriver and you should hear a big difference in the resulting 'click' sound for the connected coil. Again, write it down as a reference as to which are the slug and which are the screw coil pairs.
    Thanks Simon for the amazing advice. Good to know I am learning something through my research and not going crazy. In regards to testing polarity tonerider provides a wiring guide indicating north and south and wiring instructions on how to split to coil or slug. Ie. red to hot for slug and white for coil which aligns with the wiring schematic I linked to. Are you indicating that sometimes that may not be correct ? I will take your advice and create a test cable sound like i will need it to test my harness anyway.


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  13. #10
    GAStronomist Simon Barden's Avatar
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    I'm sure the Tonerider slug /screw wire connection details are right, but the signal polarities from pickups (both humbuckers and single coils), when connected as per the manufacturer's instructions, do vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. E.g on my recent GST-1 build, I first installed a Gibson humbucker in the bridge which worked as expected with the two Bare Knuckle single coils. But I then replaced the Gibson with a Tonerider to get a better sonic match and the humbucker/single coil signal polarities were now different and position 2 gave a very hollow 'out of phase' sound, so I had to rewire it.

    Which means that either manufacturers' north/south definitions can be different, or their coil start/end definitions can be different. Or both! Worst case scenario is probably if you have two different makes of humbucker with single conductor braided screen leads, and then find they have opposite polarity signals. You can't simply swap the wires over like on a 4-conductor connection, because the braid needs to be connected to ground otherwise you'll get a lot of noise pick-up. So you either live with a 180° out-of-phase 'Peter Green' sound as your middle position, or else you have to take one pickup apart so you can flip the magnet. The latter is doable, but quite fiddly, especially if it has a metal cover. You could swap wire connections over inside the pickup, but as you are then re-soldering the ends of the very fine coil wires, you are much more likely to end up with a non-working pickup.

    It's certainly not the end of the world, but for an easy life, it's best to stick to the same make of pickups on one guitar, otherwise you may end up having to swap wires round.

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