The Guitar Wiring Blog – Diagrams and Tips: 4-Wire Humbucker Connections from The Guitar Wiring Blog

The Guitar Wiring Blog is an old established site where I picked lots of diagram when I started modifying guitars.


I’ve made a diagram that shows how 4-wire guitar pickup (Humbuckers) are configured. It can help you understand how many types of Guitar P-Up Wiring (like coil split, series, parallel) works.

As you can see, a humbucker is a guitar pickup made up of two coils. It’s basically like two single-coil P-ups on a plate in series, out of phase with reverse polarity (north / south). Sometimes they share a magnetic bar, sometimes they have independent magnets.

All guitar pickup wire fun is based on changing their relationships. The examples in the illustration show two basic, popular methods of wiring 4-wire humbuckers. The first example shows typical HB cabling. The second shows the split-coil system.

As you can see, the split humbucker configuration is based on a work coil with the hot wire. The second is connected to earth via both wires. This coil doesn’t work like a pickup, but is part of the guitar wiring ground. So a humbucker can work like a single coil guitar pup.

Coils for HB usually differ from coils for classic SCs. Because of this, you likely won’t get the true Strat guitar tone with a split humb. It doesn’t mean you’re getting the worst of sounds. It means that I am writing over two, slightly different types of tones.



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