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Can pickups be upside down?

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(@vers1on)
Active Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 12
Topic starter  

That's a picture of my old pickup on my Yamaha EG112, and I'm going to be putting it in a Squier (I finally learned how to solder from a friend's uncle :D). Anyway, if you look closely, which is hard to btw, you see two little square slots on the top of the pickup (the area where the green wire is coming out) above the circle.

Well I'm wondering if a guitar sound will differ from the way the pickup is inserted. Those square slots are my markers to whether or not it's on its right side up. Will they?


   
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(@dogbite)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 6348
 

maybe upside down isnt the word you are searching for.
facing north or south would be more accurate.

in humbuckers the current flows in one direction. depending on which way the pup is facing it flows south or north.
when two are put into a guitar some people play with that polarity.

the circles you see are the magnets. they always face upwards towards the strings.
however, you have the choice of how to insert that pup.
using your description the green wire side could be either pointing towards the upper bout or lower bout of the guitar.
and ,yes, it could make a difference in sound.

take what I say with a ton of salt as I am not a tech.

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandID=644552
http://www.soundclick.com/couleerockinvaders


   
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(@vers1on)
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Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 12
Topic starter  

Yeah, I'm aware of the fact that they should be facing the strings :). So either way the pickup will sound fairly good either way, right?


   
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(@dogbite)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 6348
 

well, not necessarily.
if you have two pickups like that and they are installed in exactly the same direction you might introduce hum.
from what Ive read one humbucker faces one way and the second faces the opposite.

again, Im not an expert.

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandID=644552
http://www.soundclick.com/couleerockinvaders


   
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(@guitar4k)
Eminent Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 24
 

I'm gonna agree with dogbite on this one. I have two guitars with humbuckers, both have opposite facing pickups (and sure enough, no hum). And to me this makes sense, if I haven't forgotten what I've learned in college electrical engineering classes.

I have also read that even fender has its three single coil pickups positioned so that the middle one has the reverse direction as the neck and bridge to cancel hum.


   
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(@gnease)
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Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 5038
 

I'm assuming "upside down" really means rotated 180 degrees in the plane of the guitar body, as flipping it on its face and installing truly upside down makes no sense:

"Opposite facing" humbuckers only determines the side (neck or bridge) on which the adjustable pole pieces are located. There is always a second row of pole pieces (or bar) in the second humbucker coil, whether or not it is visible.

Rotating the pups 180 degrees does NOT change electrical or magnetic polarities, as neither the wire turns direction (CW or CCW) nor magnetic orientation (north up or south up) changes. Signal polarity is unaffected. The order of the coils, front-to-back does not change signal polarity either. Humbucking operation is not affected. Timbre may be affected slightly because of differences in coil balance versus positioning along the string (different pole pieces affects this), but that's it. Check out a lot of different dual humbucker guitars. You will find all combinations adjustable polepiece locations -- some are just more common.

-=tension & release=-


   
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(@drewsdad)
Estimable Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 192
 

A number of humbucker manufacturers orient the south pole of the neck pickup toward the neck and the south pole of the bridge pickup towards the bridge. A quick way to check this is with a compass, even a cheap one will work, just hold it to the side of each set of poles and watch the compass needle. I used my son's old combination plastic whistle and compass to check the magnetic polarity of the pickups in my SX lp copy last weekend when I changed the ceramic magnets out for some alnico V's I got from Wymore Guitar. I think it sounds better, but it's probably just me. :D

Life's journey can be hard at times, but you have to realize that you are the only one with the power make it a worthwhile experience.


   
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(@dogbite)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 6348
 

I'm assuming "upside down" really means rotated 180 degrees in the plane of the guitar body, as flipping it on its face and installing truly upside down makes no sense:

"Opposite facing" humbuckers only determines the side (neck or bridge) on which the adjustable pole pieces are located. There is always a second row of pole pieces (or bar) in the second humbucker coil, whether or not it is visible.

Rotating the pups 180 degrees does NOT change electrical or magnetic polarities, as neither the wire turns direction (CW or CCW) nor magnetic orientation (north up or south up) changes. Signal polarity is unaffected. The order of the coils, front-to-back does not change signal polarity either. Humbucking operation is not affected. Timbre may be affected slightly because of differences in coil balance versus positioning along the string (different pole pieces affects this), but that's it. Check out a lot of different dual humbucker guitars. You will find all combinations adjustable polepiece locations -- some are just more common.

thanks gnease. we really needed you on this one.

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandID=644552
http://www.soundclick.com/couleerockinvaders


   
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