Bolder than Axis

This guitar was never built.  It was something I had on the drawing board for a long time, but I ended up going different routes with the parts I bought for it.  However, it's a pretty good example of how to realize the "magical idea" application of rotary switches I mention on this page.


Body
  • VW body from Warmoth (based on the Van Halen signature model formerly manufactured by Ernie Ball Music Man, currently manufactured as the Axis; hence my play on the name).
  • Quilted Maple top (flat, not carved)
  • Cream Binding
  • Transparent red top, black back
Routing
  • Two humbuckers (mounting to body)
  • Recessed Floyd Rose
Neck
  • Birdseye maple from Warmoth
  • Custom headstock
  • Lacquered neck
  • Headstock with matching finish
Other Hardware
  • Floyd Rose
  • EVH D-Tuna (a sliding device attached to the trem which drops the low E string to D)
  • Schaller mini locking tuners
  • Pearloid tuner buttons (mini)
Electronics
  • Seymour Duncan Pearly Gates humbuckers (custom zebra layout)
  • 3 4P6T switches (4 pole, 6 position)
  • Concentric Pots
Features
This guitar gives you virtually every possible combination of pickups.  How?  Read on.

There are separate volume and tone controls for each pickup (the two knobs on the bottom row).  They are placed in concentric knobs to conserve space.

The three knobs on the top row are rotary switches for the selection of different combinations of pickups and wiring configurations.

The first one controls the neck pickup.  The combinations are:
1. Humbucker - Series - In Phase
2. Single Coil - In Phase (neck-most coil)
3. Humbucker - Parallel - In Phase
4. Humbucker - Series - Out of Phase
5. Single Coil - Out of Phase (neck-most coil)
6. Humbucker - Parallel - Out of Phase

The second rotary switch controls the bridge pickup.  The combinations are again:
1. Humbucker - Series - In Phase
2. Single Coil - In Phase (bridge-most coil)
3. Humbucker - Parallel - In Phase
4. Humbucker - Series - Out of Phase
5. Single Coil - Out of Phase (bridge-most coil)
6. Humbucker - Parallel - Out of Phase
Since the outermost coils are present when the pickups are tapped, when when they are combined, they will be hum canceling.

The last switch selects or combines the two pickups.
1. Neck only
2. Neck/Bridge in parallel
3. Bridge only
4. Neck/Bridge in series
5. Neck/Bridge in parallel (out of phase)
6. Neck/Bridge in series (out of phase)
(The first three selections are the standard on 3-position switches.)
This gives you 82 combinations.  How?  Well, each pickup has 6 possible outputs.  If they were combined in each of these forms, that would be 6 x 6 = 36 combinations.  Of course, you can combine them four different ways, so that is 36 x 4 = 144 combinations.  However, if you combine two pickups that are "out of phase," you have actually put them back into phase with one another, and you have to consider that it doesn't matter which of the two pickups is out of phase, so that you halve that to 144 / 2 = 72 combinations.

Now you can add to that subtotal the sounds from each pickup selected singly.  That should be 6 each, but the out of phase single coil sounds exactly the same by itself as when it was in phase (there isn't anything for the signal to be "out of phase" with).  So the total is:
(((6 x 6 x 4) - 6) / 2) + ((6 - 1) + (6 - 1)) = 82 combinations.

On top of this you could add still other options.  The even more surprising thing about this is that each new option further multiplies the possible combinations.  For example, if you added a piezo pickup that could be selected in parallel only, this brings the number of combinations to 165 (82 with piezo, 82 without, plus the piezo by itself).

Anyone attempting to perform a variation of this mod on a guitar with three pickups is encouraged to seek psychiatric assistance!



The schematic
Coming soon(er or later).
Components required:

Copyright Alexplorer.
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