I have a Telecaster which has a phase issue in the middle position, because the bridge pickup is wired backwards (the hot output to the ground). This hot grounded output is also used to ground the bridge and strings.

To fix that phase issue, I can:

  1. Reverse the polarity of the bridge pickup, and disconnect the bridge ground from the hot output and connect it to the guitar ground. Both pickups will be wired "forward", with the hot to the output.
  2. Reverse the polarity of the neck pickup, so that both are "backwards" (hot to ground).

The base of my question (to pickups specialists) is: if two pickups are both wired backwards, does is sound the same as if they were both wired forward ? The ear is not sensitive to absolute phase, but devices in the path might be ?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Do you have line hum when you touch the strings or pickups? \$\endgroup\$ – Optionparty Feb 14 '15 at 15:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ There is a light buzz when I don't touch the strings, that disappears when I touch them, so I suspect the bad grounding (I noticed several ground loops) to be a cause. \$\endgroup\$ – François Best Feb 14 '15 at 19:02

Nice to see some guitar related questions. If you want the two pickups in phase I would do as you suggest in point number 1. Both ways will sound the same but personally I find it more convenient to wire it as intended. For me it becomes easier to revisit a circuit at a later stage if it is wired as intended. But perhaps that's just me :-)

If you like the sound of the pickups out of phase but also want the wiring in phase it is possible to have both using a switch. See this wiring schematic, http://www.seymourduncan.com/support/wiring-diagrams/schematics.php?schematic=phase_reversal_singlecoils, or for the whole picture this, http://www.seymourduncan.com/support/wiring-diagrams/schematics.php?schematic=tele_phase.

Seymoure Duncan has a lot of wiring diagrams, http://www.seymourduncan.com/support/wiring-diagrams/, that can be applied to all brands of pickups not only Seymoure Duncan pickups. Just be aware of that the color of the wire insulation may be different on other pickup brands compared to Seymour Duncan pickups.


No, in general, absolute phase doesn't matter.


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