Megalottacombo - So Many Choices

This section is about the electronics and wiring of the guitar. Megalottacombo is just a name I made up for the wiring scheme. There is a good bit of information about the wiring, so I split it across several pages.

Let me say up at the top that I am not an expert in guitar wiring, so don’t take any of this as the final word. I have a “let’s see if this works” attitude towards it. I may have some mistakes or bad decisions here and there.

Two Humbuckers

The donor guitar originally had one humbucker pickup. When I first started the project, I decided to add a second humbucker. I think my 1996 logic was something smart like, “two is better than one because it is more”.

Fast forward many years, and this project is still going have two humbuckers because the body is carved that way. But now I’m also considering how many different ways these can be connected, especially if you consider using each coil separately.

Many Sound Possibilities

On the internet you can find lots of talk of the different sound possibilities you can achieve when treating a humbucker as two separate pickups. You can connect them in series for a loud sound. Connect them in parallel for a quieter, brighter sound. Connect them out of phase for a weird, thin sound. And connect just one of the coils for a pure sound.

All of the different ways of connecting the two coils of a humbucker also apply to connecting two humbuckers to each other. Here you can do interesting things, like create a “wide wingspan” humbucker by turning on just the north coil of the neck pickup and the south coil of the bridge pickup.

My goal became to fit as many of these interesting connection ideas into the guitar as possible. I tried a lot of different ideas for achieving all of the connections in a clean and neat way. The result is Megalottacombo wiring.

Ways To Connect A Single Humbucker

Okay, let’s first look at how many ways there are to connect the two coils of a single humbucker pickup. In this table I tried to make an exhaustive list of possibilities, and note which are interesting and which are not.

The guitar icon in the table below indicates that this combination made it into my project.

ID Diagram # Coils Coil Cnxn Phase Notes
0-1
0 none off Not connected at all. This is one of the fundamental ways to connect a pickup!
1-1
1 south only normal One of the essential ways to wire a humbucker. Sound is like a single coil pickup, simple and bright. Susceptible to environmental hum.
1-2
1 north only normal One of the essential ways to wire a humbucker. Sound is like a single coil pickup. Susceptible to environmental hum.
1-3
1 south only reverse phase There’s no reason to reverse the phase of a coil when it is used by itself. This would sound the same as 1-1.
1-4
1 north only reverse phase There’s no reason to reverse the phase of a coil when it is used by itself. This would sound the same as 1-2.
2-1
2 series normal The classic way to wire a humbucker, also the loudest. Environmental hum is cancelled out. The sound is said to be a little dark.
2-2
2 series south coil reverse phase Sound is described as hollow, squawk, thin, inside-out, etc. To me it sounds far away or down a hallway. Not hum cancelling. Gotta love weird sounds.
2-3
2 series north coil reverse phase Probably sounds similar to 2-2, maybe minutely different.
2-4
2 series both coils reverse phase Don’t do this. Why would you make both coils reverse phase? It will sound the same as 2-1, but just be “wronger”. Shown for completeness.
2-5
2 parallel normal The second most common way to wire a humbucker. Environmental hum is cancelled out. Compared to 2-1, the sound is said to be quieter but brighter.
2-6
2 parallel south coil reverse phase Sound is described as hollow, squawk, thin, inside-out, etc. To me it sounds far away or down a hallway. Not hum cancelling. Gotta love weird sounds.
2-7
2 parallel north coil reverse phase Probably sounds similar to 2-6, maybe minutely different.
2-8
2 parallel both coils reverse phase Don’t do this. Why make both coils reverse phase? This will just sound the same as 2-5, but be “wronger”. Shown for completeness.

The table above shows all the possible ways to wire a single humbucker. For my project, I picked out six that were the most important. On the next page, I discuss how each of these six positions can be achieved with a single switch.

Part 3 Contents