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 Thoughts about Wiring in Parallel vs Series 
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is evil...Evil Joe
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Joined: Mon Mar 10, 2003 1:47 am
Posts: 76
Location: Needham, MA
Post Thoughts about Wiring in Parallel vs Series
At some point there was a thread about X tone and how Bruce and Paul used to wire their pickups in parallel rather than in series (or vice versa?). The person said that it really didn't make that big a difference in your tone and was just a little thing on the side for the most part. Well, I was thinking back to some old physics classes and while I don't have the full pledge set of facts about how electricity works in the forfront of my mind right now I know this: wiring in parallel vs series has a HUGE HUGE effect on what goes through any resistor. Not only that, but the way it breaks up Volts and Amps is not a directly porportioned division, Soooooo this means that wiring in series versus parallel will have a MAJOR effect on what is going through your pickups and thus a major effect on your sound. Think of it this way. Your entire rack gear of tone, and massivly complex variations on the electricity in all their complexity hit your pickup. Series and Parallel determine how the ENTIRE distribution of your tone goes through your pickups. So if you want that racer X tone, or just want to experiment, I say go for it man and see what happens. Definintly a worthwhile idea to try out, and will probably have more effect on your sound than you would think.

Sat Sep 06, 2003 9:17 pm
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Joined: Sun Nov 24, 2002 8:51 pm
Posts: 1360
Location: away from here
i agree, listen to * LIVE EXTREME VOLUME 1 * or 2:
guitars sound like strats (Yngwie anyone?) and the info leaflets with pickups says parallel is "single coil type sound without the noise" , ie NOT a single coil but very like it..
thus it must be an important ingrediant (along with an ADA MP1 ) for that old Racer X tone *
still, i've never noticed this sound on any other album though...
imo "2nd heat" is fuzzy as hell!
what do you guys think...

oh yeah, on a video i have PG is going thru a Marshall with a boost pedal, and thats it! he still rocks hard!!

i am the thread killer.

old fan since 1986.
see ya

Sun Sep 07, 2003 9:47 am
Dr. X
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Joined: Mon Nov 18, 2002 11:56 am
Posts: 177
Location: Hope,Maine 04847
I often have my neck pick up wired in parallel. I think it makes a big difference. To me it really gets rid of the mud and cleans up the overall tone.


Sun Sep 07, 2003 4:18 pm
King Of The Monsters
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Joined: Wed Mar 26, 2003 3:53 am
Posts: 24189
Location: Santiago, Chile
Now that I´m gonna buy some pickups, this really "turns my mind on" 8)

Viva Chile Mierda!

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Sun Sep 07, 2003 4:57 pm
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Dr. X
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Joined: Sun Nov 17, 2002 8:11 pm
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Location: Anaheim, CA.
Racerxified, say it ain't so.

You really could have searched for this thread before you started a new thread based on misquoting something I said. It took me all of 10 seconds to find the thread, so I'll paste what I said about how they wired their pickups.

"...What they did that was somewhat unique, was that they wired their pickups in parallel, NOT in series as is the standard wiring. This was to clean up the tone a tad while using the gain they had using in their rigs. Also keep in mind, they DO NOT do that anymore, so don't go nuts over it. You're really going out of your way, to do something somewhat insignificant nowadays..."

Here's the thread:

You'll find I never did say " it really didn't make that big a difference in your tone" as you quoted!

It does make a difference. It cuts the output volume from the pickups. I take it you glanced past why they did this. It was based on a preference Paul had with the combination of the gain on the MP-1, and the cleaner, slightly lower output of the parallel wiring.

The *point* I did try to make is that if you choose to do this, you're going WAY WAY WAY out of your way to try and sound more like Bruce and Paul, when this is only a *very small* part of how they sounded. Paul and Bruce stopped doing this as soon as Racer X broke up. This is why I said it's insignificant. All the latest Racer X is standard series wiring.

If I told you that Paul did not use Ernie ball strings on the earlier albums, but he used D'Angelico strings instead, does it really matter what you buy? If I said it was insignificant to change strings to that brand to try and sound more like Paul, would you think I meant it makes little difference?

It truly amazes me how fixated some of us can get on this. Free yourselves, forget trying so hard to sound like Paul. Start your own tone. Use what *you* want.

However, *if* you were in a Racer X tribute band, and you really needed to duplicate what they did, then I'd say *yes*, go buy some Ampeg amps, run them clean, get an MP-1 preamp, get an Ibanez Epiphone style guitar with pickups wired in parallel, go to M.I., get some skills comparable to Paul or Bruce, and go rip it up. But short of all those exact pieces of the puzzle, you're not going to sound exactly like them, and you'll have wasted your time!

You want my tips on how to sound more like Paul?

1. Get formal music training, and learn your theory.

2. Discipline yourself on technique. Bruce once described to me his practice regiment with Paul, and he said to me "when it comes to practice, Paul is disciplined beyond disciplined!" And that's coming from Bruce. Learn how to pick faster by learning how to pick SLOW and CLEANLY first. If you can't pick fast cleanly, then you need to take a step back and FORCE yourself to slow down first.

3. PRACTICE ALL THE TIME! PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE!! If you spend more time reading message boards than playing your guitar, you're already wasting time that could be better spent.

4. Stop chasing bandwagons when it comes to copying artist's gear. As you get older, you'll realize this.

This here is why I'm telling you it is insignificant, because we're talking physically re-wiring the functionality of how your guitar is going to sound everytime you plug it in. If you do, do it to one guitar and see how you like it first. I'll bet you won't.

Sorry fellas for the rant. If I wasn't mis-quoted, I wouldn't have felt the need to respond.



p.s. Racerxified, did you just register over at the Jackson/Charvel Forum? If you're the same guy, let me WELCOME you!!

Sun Sep 07, 2003 6:47 pm
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Joined: Sun Jun 01, 2003 6:38 am
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john, your oppinion is always appreciated. i agree with you 100%

Mon Sep 08, 2003 1:53 am
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