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Throwing a HB in my strat ( orientation ?)


Power User
Headed for Fla Monday , with the whole fam damnly. I'm a LP player , but I'm not throwing one in with the luggage under the plane , and don't want to deal with bringing it with me on top , SO , I'm going to pop a humbucker in at the bridge of a strat.
I know this is considered disgraceful to the strat community , but I know the strat will take the abuse of a plane trip , ( At least it did last year , with single coils ) , and I want my humbucker this time.

I've got a pile of pickups kicking around , and I might put my lowest output neck pickup in the strat bridge pos. Ordered a single humbucker pickguard , due to arrive Friday.

AX8 will be with me. I'll be traveling with my new FAS shirt and FAS hat , spreading the word about Fractal Audio.
I've helped sell a few units in the past year and a half , but I think that's pretty common amongst users. ;)

Question : orientation of the pickup mean anything to you guys ? Screws towards the bridge or opposite ?
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Power User
That depends on the polarity of the pickup itself and the one of the middle pickup. Dimarzios and SDs have different polarity on the "screw" and "stub" parts of the pickup.

You can check the polarity by tapping the poles and then reading the output current with an analog multimeter, or just put it in, listen and then change orientation. The "wrong" one will sound hollow when using two pickups at once.

Or you can just swap the conductors on the selector and potentiometers.


Power User
Typically screws toward bridge. Having the screws on the neck side may help mellow the pickup slightly if it's overly bright. Either way will work fine.


Fractal Fanatic
Have you checked to see if your Strat is routed for a humbucker?
If not, and you don't want to get the router out, I would recommend a Duncan Hot Rails. Makes my Tele sound like a Les Paul.
That being said, I have a few Super Strats (Dual Hum) and I love them like that.

Great thing about traveling with a strat....you can pop the neck off an put the entire guitar in a large suitcase with your clothes....all it costs is a set of strings.


Fractal Fanatic
If I was doing such sacrilege, I would use a stacked HB. I've got one in the SC neck position of an old guitar and it sounds pretty close to what you'd spect.


As far as orientation, isn't it pretty standard that the pickup leads are at the "bottom"? That's been my experience, although I haven't dealt with many brands... Dimarzio, Duncan, GFS, Ibanez are all this way.


Power User
As far as orientation, isn't it pretty standard that the pickup leads are at the "bottom"? That's been my experience, although I haven't dealt with many brands... Dimarzio, Duncan, GFS, Ibanez are all this way.
If you mix different brands, it's better to verify the polarity.


Fractal Fanatic
If I'm not sure and the documentation isn't clear I'll mount it so that the leads coming off the pickup are closest to the knobs and go from there & try it out. If the pickup has some kind of logo on it I'll mount it so that the logo is right side up when the guitar is standing up in a stand.


Power User
Thanks guys.
My Credit card got hacked yesterday for an iTunes purchase. Actually 3-$15 purchases. Card - shut down. We ( wife and 2 boys ) leave for vacation Monday morning , new card arrives at my house Monday afternoon. :(
Blew most all my cash on new kitchen cabinets 2 days ago , and lost the CC I use to make most all my purchases. Woohoo.

Probably leave the strat home and bring an acoustic instead , so I can sit on the sidewalk and play it with the case open...... Fkn scumbags in the world. Grrrrr.

GM Arts

Power User
ok, a few things ...

I doubt you'll be able to hear any difference between screws towards neck or bridge orientation, both coils make almost equal contribution. Screws towards bridge looks traditional.

Also, turning it around doesn't change the phase of the pickup.

Also, the 2 coils of a humbucker are IN PHASE with each other for your guitar signal, they are only our of phase for interference.

Also (correctly posted above), strat pickups generally have opposite phase to humbuckers, so when using both, you'll need to swap wires on either the 2 single coils or the humbucker.

Facts above, now my opinion:

I think you have 2 choices with a humbucker on a strat

(1) Choose a vintage PAF style humbucker to keep the bridge tone and volume level in context with the other pickup selections on the guitar. You'll have a usable tone in position 2 (middle + bridge) but it won't be the same as with a bridge single coil.

(2) Or choose a really hot bridge pickup and don't worry about how it mixes with other pickups. This is good for players who want to switch between neck and middle pickups for rhythm tones and bridge for solos.

GM Arts

Power User
HB pickups have the two poles with opposite orientation (N-S/S-N). This plays a role when splitting and combining the bridge pickup with the middle one.
Can you elaborate? What role are you referring to?

There are 3 things that affect pickup phase: Coil wind direction, magnetic polarity and "electrical connection".
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