Unlike the humble acoustic guitar which is only influenced by a couple of factors like body design and material used in the build, the electric guitar is affected by many different factors. There’s the string gauge- which also influences the tone of an acoustic, and the huge variety of effects and accessories that promise to spice up your tone.
But as far as tone is concerned, the single most important thing that will decide how your electric guitar sounds is the quality of the pickups. The way you wire them up can also cause significant differences in tone and sound quality.
Wiring Diagram for 1 Humbucker/ 1 Volume/ North Coil Humbucker South Coil Configuration
A Cheap Guitar To Mod Saves The Day!
If you would like to mod your ax to figure out what pickup configuration sounds best, a good place to start is by deciding on a cheap electric. Most guitarists have to budget guitars for practice, and high-end guitars for performance.
You wouldn’t want to damage your precious guitar while playing around with the circuitry, would you?
The one I would suggest getting is the Ibanez 3/4 Mikro but as long as it’s cheap and will give you easy access to the electronics, it’s all good. That way, even if you end up making it unplayable while modding, it won’t be much of a consequence. A trip to the local guitar center will help you fix any grave mistakes you may’ve made during soldering.
That out of the way, let’s get on to actual soldering and stuff. The diagram above shows how each component should be wired, and for your convenience, the Seymour Duncan standard is followed.
Hopefully, this post helps you mod your electric guitar the way you want in 1 humbucker/ 1 volume/ north coil humbucker south coil configuration.
Do Pickups Matter?
Absolutely, guitar pickups are the soul of any electric guitar. Since a guitar pickup picks up string vibrations and passes that signal on to an amplifier so it passes that on to a speaker, the quality of pickup is the key thing that affects how the guitar sounds in the mix
The pickup also has types- active and passive; and single coils and humbucker pickups.
I find that single-coil pickups produce more noise and tend to pick up nearby interferences. You can also get noiseless single-coils but I tend to favor humbuckers in general for their fat tone that fits any genre perfectly.
Can you improve your tone without actually changing the pickups?
There are thousands of guitar players across the world are there are very few who have a personal voice on the six-stringed instrument. The rest are too fixated on gears and effects units and not paying too much attention to actually improving.
If you want to change the tone without swapping pickups, you can try changing the gauge of strings, make sure the neck is well intonated, experiment with right-hand techniques, and even try changing the screws and cover of the guitar pickups.