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Thread: 5-way rotary wiring question

  1. #1
    Member TFC's Avatar
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    5-way rotary wiring question

    Both of my guitars are CE24s. One has a 5-way rotary and the other has a 3-way toggle with a push/pull tone knob for splitting the coils. I guess I'm in the minority in that I prefer the ergonomics of the rotary over the 3-way. Plus, I like the in between sounds (positions 7 & 9) on the 5-way. However, I do also like the split sounds of the neck and bridge pickups by themselves, which I can't get on the 5-way.

    Does anyone have any suggestions about how I might be able to wire the guitar with the 5-way rotary so that I can also get the bridge split by itself, as well as the neck split by itself? Would replacing the tone pot with a push/pull pot somehow make this possible? If it makes a difference, I use all of the positions on the rotary except for the middle one, so if that one had to go I'd be fine with it. I'd prefer not to do anything irreversible, but not completely opposed to it. I'm comfortable with a soldering iron, but never really grasped how the wiring actually works, so I'm a "solder-by-numbers" guy. Thanks for any help you guys can give.

    Here's a gratuitous shot of my guitars. On the left is a 2001 and on the right is my favorite, a 1997. Both currently have DiMarzio 36th Anniversary PAFs in them. Note the custom rubber band mod on the rotary for extra grip. The rubber band was specially selected to match the maple binding.



  2. #2
    Member Boogeyman's Avatar
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    I may be mistaken, but I think what you are asking is exactly how the 5 way works...position1 bridge pu, position 2 bridge pu split, position 3 bridge and neck pu, postion 4 neck pu split and position 5 neck pu.
    I also prefer the 5 way switch, but currently have my CU22 set up with a 3 way switch and no splitting option.

  3. #3
    Member TFC's Avatar
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    Thanks, but that's not quite correct. Here is how I believe they are wired:

    Position 10: Bridge pickup alone - full humbucker
    Position 9: Outside coils of both pickups in parallel
    Position 8: Outside coils of both pickups in series
    Position 7: Parallel single coils (inside coils? out of phase? I'm not sure.)
    Position 6: Neck pickup alone - full humbucker

    So, none of the positions give you just one of the pickups split. All of the split options include both pickups.

    Has anyone done something like what I am looking for?

  4. #4
    Junior Member Chitarrista scarso's Avatar
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    Hello TFC, nice guitars!
    On my Custom 22 1997 the 5 way rotary switching positions are:
    10 - bridge humbucker
    9 - outside coils parallel
    8 - inside coils series
    7 - inside coils parallel
    6 - neck humbucker
    Me too i'm looking for alternative wiring; on my guitar (and i think on your 1997) the rotary is soldered on a circuit board with fixed combinations, almost impossible (or not human!) to rewire...
    Maybe you could take off the factory rotary and put on an aftermarket rotary, to rewire it on your custom combinations (like single coil neck or bridge itself). Sorry, i've not wiring diagrams for that, i'm still looking for it.
    Last edited by Chitarrista scarso; 04-30-2013 at 05:31 AM. Reason: error

  5. #5
    Plank Spanker justmund's Avatar
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    Shouldn't be too hard to achieve this. You'll need some way of connecting the tap wire of each pickup to ground, this can be done through a mini toggle or a push/pull (or push/push) pot.

    Grab the wiring diagram for the Dimarzios, it should tell you how to wire them for coil tap (or coil split), and you might even want to have a think about which coil you want to remain "active". Might pay to look at your 3-way guitar so see how this is achieved.

    Actually that's the easy way, just copy what's going on in your 3-way guitar, there will be a wire (maybe red, black or white) going from each pickup to the push/pull. There is will also be a wire connecting part of the push/pull to ground, so when the push/pull is activated, the wire is shorted to ground and voila, you have your pickup tapped.

    You will need to join onto the wire e.g. by splicing another length of wire into it and running this to the push/pull. I would think this is easier that soldering to where it joins onto the 5-way. You may prefer the latter.

    Does this make sense?

  6. #6
    Member TFC's Avatar
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    Thanks! I think you are on the right track as far as getting an aftermarket switch. I posted my question on another forum and got a helpful response (here). You may want to follow along with that thread to see if he posts a wiring diagram.

  7. #7
    Member TFC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by justmund View Post
    Actually that's the easy way, just copy what's going on in your 3-way guitar, there will be a wire (maybe red, black or white) going from each pickup to the push/pull. There is will also be a wire connecting part of the push/pull to ground, so when the push/pull is activated, the wire is shorted to ground and voila, you have your pickup tapped.

    You will need to join onto the wire e.g. by splicing another length of wire into it and running this to the push/pull. I would think this is easier that soldering to where it joins onto the 5-way. You may prefer the latter.

    Does this make sense?
    Thanks, and yes it does make sense. I was originally thinking along the same lines. The push/pull pot I ordered just arrived a couple of days ago, so I'll probably start experimenting this weekend.

    BTW, since I made my original post, I lucked into getting a set of DGT pickups, which have replaced the DiMarzios. If I recall correctly, the DGTs have the standard PRS Red/White/Black wiring scheme, where the red is the "tap" wire.

  8. #8
    Plank Spanker justmund's Avatar
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    I'm not sure if DGTs are 5-way compatible or not? They might have braided outer (ground), hot centre and white coil tap. Open her up and have a gander!

  9. #9
    Member TFC's Avatar
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    I've had the DGTs wired up to the 5-way for a couple of weeks now and I'm getting all 5 sounds that I expect. Which is nice .

  10. #10
    Senior Member sergiodeblanc's Avatar
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    Let me know if you find a way to get those pup combos!

  11. #11
    Member bretwomack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TFC View Post


    I just wanted to say that I'm in love with your guitars. I want a CE so bad and yours are awesome! Love both of those colors!

  12. #12
    Member TFC's Avatar
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    Thanks, Bret! The CEs are great & I love 'em. The purple one may be on it's way out, though, since I just had a NGD (Seafoam Green NF3) and I don't think I'll be able to keep all 3.

  13. #13
    Member TFC's Avatar
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    Just an update - I got this to work. It took me a couple of hours, but it was well worth it. See the thread referenced in post #6 above for all the details. Thanks everyone!

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