Push-Pull Pot Power!

Push Pull Pots can add a load of versatility to your guitar. Push Pull pots are a great way to add a switch to your guitar without modifying your guitar. You can use it to reverse the phase, split a Humbucker, or trick your guitar out in a cool way. They can be a little tricky to wrap your head around, but once you get the basics, they are easy to understand. Push Pull Pot in its most basic definition is nothing more than a Pot, sitting on top of a Switch. We refer to the switch as a DPDT (Double Pole, Double Throw) Switch. This means the switch has two separate “poles”, or sides to it. If you’re not familiar with how pots work, we recommend going back to Part 1 and check out our article on pots here.

The Basics:

There are two components of a Push Pull Pot: the Potentiometer and the Switch. As described in our previous article, the Pot is a variable resistor. It has a resistance strip and a sweeper to choose the resistance. Lug 1 is the start of the resistance strip, and Lug 3 is the end. Lug 2, or the middle lug is the sweeper. Push-Pull pots come in values of 250K and 500K. The other part of the Push-Pull pot is the Switch.
 
The DPDT switch has two sides. Side 1 (A – B – C) is completely independent from Side 2 (D – E – F). We refer to the center lugs, Lugs B and E, as the “common” or inputs of the switch – they are always connected.

Lindy Fralin Push Pull Pot Basics


When pushed down, the Selector is selecting the bottom 4 lugs (B-C-E-F). B connects to C, and E connects to F. When pulled up, the Selector slides up and is now selecting the top 4 (A-B-D-E). B connects to A, E connects to D. As you can see, B and E are always connected. Keep in mind: there are still two sides to this switch – meaning, you can Coil Split two humbuckers with one switch.

Let’s break this down a little. Let’s say you have a signal that you want to “cancel out”, but you want to cancel it out by pulling up on the switch. You would wire the signal Input to Lug B, and a ground wire coming out of AWhen pushed down, B connects to C – nothing changes, as nothing is connected to C. Now, when you pull up, B is now connected to ground, sending the signal to ground and silencing it.

A perfect example of this is Coil Splitting – let’s take a look:


Coil Splitting:

Coil Splitting is just one of the many things you can do with a Push Pull Pot. You can use Coil Splitting to turn a Humbucker, with two coils, into a Single Coil by sending one of the coils to ground. For illustration, we drew this out for you below. We used both sides of the switch to illustrate two points: 1.) It shows how to wire up 3-Condutor and 4-Conductor, and 2.) it shows that you can tap two separate humbuckers with the same switch, by using both sides.

It’s actually really simple, how it works:

  1. When the Push Pull Pot is pushed down, The humbucker is working like normal.
  2. When the Push Pull Pot is pulled up, the “Tap” (Red on 3 Conductor, Red and Green Tied Together on 4-Conductor) is sent to ground, “Shorting out” the coil. The entire Casing of the pot should be grounded, so theoretically, you can ground any wire off of the switch by just running a jumper to the casing.


Partial Coil Splitting:

Coil Splitting can sound great on higher output humbuckers, like our Standard Humbucker, and our High Output Humbucker. But what if you have a low-output humbucker, like our Pure P.A.F.? Fear not. You can “Partially Split” the coil, with our Partial Tap Resistor.

Fralin Partial Tap Resistor

 

How it Works:

When you pull up on the push-pull pot, B is now connected to A, and your Slug Coil will be sent to ground, only this time, it goes through a resistor. This prevents the whole signal from being grounded by putting a partial short across the coil, instead of a full short. In turn, you’re getting a stronger single-coil sound from your humbucker when split.


Phase Reversing:

This is a cool little trick when you want to reverse the coil direction of your pickup. A lot of players find this sonically pleasing, especially when used with a Blender Pot, which will roll in the pickup’s phase – pretty cool! In order to do this, you need 2-Conductor Wire. Always remember the Shield (Bare) will ALWAYS be grounded. Here’s how to wire this up:

Lindy Fralin Phase Reverse

 

How it Works:

When the switch is pushed down, White is to White (Terminals E -F), Black is to Black on Terminals B & C. When pulled up, The phase is reversed!


Mods:

Oh yeah. This article wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t have any cool tricks to use. I’ve included a few of our favorites, and hopefully you’ll find them useful!

Mod 1: Two Tone Caps, One Push Pull Pot:

This mod is pretty cool! With this mod, you can use two different tone caps with one push pull pot. When pushed down, you can have say, a .02mfd Cap, and when pulled up, you can have a Fralin Magic Cap, or vice-versa! Make sure you bust out your soldering iron for this one – it gets a little cramped!

 

How it works:

  1. The Signal enters the Pot at Lug 2.
  2. The Sweeper, Lug 2, is connected to one side of the switch, at point E. (This whole thing can be reversed).
  3. When Pushed Down, the Signal is being sent through Terminal F. When Pulled Up, the Signal is being sent through Terminal D. 
  4. The other side of the switch is Grounded. When you roll the Tone Pot, more of your highs are being sent to Ground, via whichever cap value you choose.

Mod #2: Using a Push-Pull to Engage Treble Bleed

Our Fralin Volume Kit is a great Treble Bleed circuit. What it does, if you’re not familiar, is keep your high frequencies as you roll the volume down. Country, Blues and Rock guitarists love this as it keeps their crisp highs when they roll down the volume. But what if you need more versatility? Here’s how you can engage it by pulling up on the Push Pull Pot. When pushed down, your volume knob will act like normal – it will bleed treble into ground. However, pulling up on your Push Pull Pot sends your signal through the Volume Kit, making your guitar keep its’ shimmer!

How it works:

  1. When pushed down, your signal is entering through lug A, but it ends there, as it doesn’t have anywhere to go.
  2. Pulling up, A & B and E & D are now connected, connecting the Volume Kit to your circuit.

If you want to reverse this, simply move the Connector Wires (two cream wires in the photo above) to Lugs C & F. This will remove the Volume Kit when you pull up.


Mod #3: Bright Switch

The “Bright Switch” is a simple mod that adds a little extra Treble to your signal. It does this by removing your Volume Pot and Tone Pot from your signal path, which always “load” your signal. Essentially, it’s like connecting your guitar’s pickups direct to the output jack. It’s a pretty crazy difference – your guitar sounds bigger, brighter, and louder.

Lindy Fralin Bright Switch

How it works:

The Bright Switch has more parts involved, thus is a bit more complicated. When your Push Pull pot is down, all the wiring is the exact same as a Strat or a Tele. The Signal enters Lug 1 of the Volume Pot, and Lug 1 is also connected to the input of the Tone Pot.
 
When the Push Pull Pot is down, Lug 3 and the Cap are both connected to Ground. They connect to ground via connecting to terminals C & E of the Push Pull pot.
 
When the switch is up, the ground lifts off of the tone pot and the volume pot. This allows your signal to connect directly to the output jack, with no Load.

Note: Pickups and other electronics get grounded to the back of the volume pot, just like normal. The  3rd Lug just isn’t connected.


Mod #4: Series / Parallel Switching For Humbuckers:

Changing your humbucker from Series to Parallel works really well for some humbuckers, especially some higher output humbuckers. You can get some of that “Strat Quack” and it opens up a whole new dimension for your humbucker. To accomplish this mod, you’ll need a humbucker with a 4-conductor lead. Please note that the color codes are for Fralin Humbuckers only.

 

How it works: Red connects to green Green when the switch is down. This is a normal “series” humbucker operation. By pulling up on the switch, Red is now connected to White, and Green is now connected to Black. The “hots” connect, and the “starts” connect together – giving you your parallel.


Odds n’ Ends:

Before we wrap up, here’s a few things we want to clear up.

Notes On Grounding:

You can use anywhere on the Pot’s chassis to ground a signal. So, when grounding a wire, you can run it to the metal housing that houses the DPDT switch, or the side of the Pot itself. A cool little trick is to ground a wire on the bottom tab, at the very bottom of the Switch. (See the image at the top of the page to see what we’re talking about here).

CTS Pots:

CTS® has a new type of Push Pull pot, which can make wiring a little easier. CTS made these contact points easier to reach, so you can fit this pot in more guitars. However, if you’re not familiar how it’s all connected, it can be a little confusing. Here’s what it looks like:

CTS ® Push Pull Pots - Lindy Fralin Pickups

 

Instead of running your jumper wires to tiny little lugs, you can run them to full-size holes. The order is a little different, but all the concepts are the exact same.

Well, that’s all for now. I hope that this article has been helpful, and informative. We have Push Pull pots available on our website here. Now, grab some, and get to modding!

115 Comments

  1. Hi, really useful and well written article thank you!
    Need a bit of advice please! I just received, came as unused spares with a second hand guitar, a strange 5 pot wiring harness.
    Volume (B500k) and tone (A500k) pots are standard (no push-pull) but there’s a push-pull pot (A500k) between the 3 way pickup selector and the output jack. The signal cable coming from the pickup selector to the push-pull pot and the one going from there to the output jack are both soldered to the Lug 1 of the push-pull pot. Nothing else soldered there except the ground.
    Also I’ve seen that the signal cable between each volume pot and its tone pot (these ones have the usual 0.047uF cap) goes from lug 2 to lug 2.

    Please any advice what’s this all about would be appreciated!! I’ve seen something similar online but with a cap soldered on the push pull, one side to lug1, the other to the case and then to connector B, that cap is not present on my one

    Thanks!

  2. Hi,

    Great article! Very well written and explained!

    I’ve a push/pull that works fine, beside one thing: I’m left-handed and the volume curve result inverted (for me, of course) – i mean, 0% – 80% in the small first part and 20% on the rest.

    Is it possibile to invert, for example, lug 1 with lug 3 to have the correct behavior?

    Hope you can help me.

    1. Hey Stelvo,

      I haven’t heard of anyone successfully doing this. Maybe someone can chime in?

      Tyler

      1. Thank you for the answer Tyler,

        So, to get it work right I must change the pot and eventually use a separate switch?
        There aren’t any left handed push/pull switch?

  3. Great how to’s, I have a question about the dual cap tone push/pull. Where does this pot connect into the signal chain? Which lug is its input from the 5 way? Or Vol pot? and where does it send its signal?
    thanks

  4. I don’t see this question anywhere- If I want my DPDT pot switch to add the bridge pickup all the time, in my three pickup guitar, so that I can get the 1-3 combination when I have the 5-way blade selector on the neck pickup and pull the tone pot, or get the 1-2-3 combination when I have the blade selector in position 2 (neck/middle) and pull the pot, how do I wire the DPDT. I would assume that the bridge pickup lead goes to the the common, and in the down position, the signal routes to the 5 way switch like normal. But, in the up position, does the lead go directly to the single volume control? Or, instead of my assumptions, can you explain how to accomplish this?
    Thanks.

  5. I have a guitar with a 3 way toggle switch and a volume pot. Is it possible to use a single push-pull pot to wire the neck humbucker in series/parallel and the bridge humbucker in split coil?

    1. Hey Byron,

      As it turns out, you would need 2 push-pull pots to perform this operation. At very least, you would need to modify your guitar to have a SP/ST toggle switch for the Coil Split.

      Tyler

  6. Hey, so I have some humbuckers at home that only have one white lead and a bare wire and some 4 lead humbuckers coming in the mail, is there an easy way to get these out of phase to a push pull for my strat I’m building? also is there any way to have multiple mods like out of phase and coil splitting with using maybe a switch? I really want to build a guitar similar to Brian Mays red special, also I’m pretty new to modding pickups so any information or diagrams that are simple are appreciated. Thanks!

  7. Id like to say that a little over a year ago I didnt know the first thing about guitar electronics (or even soldering at all for that matter), but I took to learning about it for improving some of my instruments, especially ones that I was considering selling because I didnt like so much anymore. They are now at least interesting and worth keeping around. I can always re-modify them as I see fit later.

    This article was useful to help me learn about push-pull potentiometers. By far the most useful part is of course the beginning where one learns the basics about how the push or pull positions correspond to lug connections, and the rest of the article are just examples of possibilities that illustrate the original concept.

    I didnt use push-pull potentiometers on all the instruments I modified (2 guitars and 1 bass), but given the option I dont see the point of using a regular potentiometer anymore ever if I can use a push-pull to easily add versatility to an instrument. Once you know the fundamentals about the electronic parts available for your instrument then coming up with a circuit that brings to life the ideas in your head is not so hard. Designing the circuit always became the most fun part of the project actually.

    I especially want to share a specific example to provide maybe some inspiration to anyone looking to modify their instruments. I modified a 90’s Mexican Stratocaster that I’ve had since my teens. I had decided to change the stock pickups for the Fender Stratocaster Original 57/62 (which I find are very good by the way), and while I was at it also add some options to it. I replaced all 3 potentiometers for 500K push-pull potentiometers, and I replaced the conventional selector switch for a ‘5 position super switch’ to be able to achieve the following options:

    All standard Stratocaster positions are available on all push:
    B – (Single; bypasses tone and volume)
    BM – (Parallel)
    M – (Single)
    MN – (Parallel)
    N – (Single)

    The pull positions allowed me to add the following:
    BN – (Parallel)
    BMN – (Parallel)
    BM – (Series)
    NM – (Series)

    And I still had a whole extra potentiometer to work with that I devoted to reverse the phase of the M pickup (which is the pickup involved in practically all combinations). The phase shift functions on both the series and parallel connections. On a side note, Im using a 22nF capacitor for tone, and no treble bleed.

    Well thats about it. The guitar is a whole lot more versatile and fun now. I was never considering selling that one but as it turns out it became my favorite now. Again, I hope this example provides for some inspiration/motivation to other readers out there. Its not very difficult at all, so be creative with your wiring as well as with your music. If you have any instrument you are considering getting rid of, hey go ahead and make it a project, it may become your favorite!! And for a fraction of the cost of buying whichever new one you had in mind.

    Thanks again for the tutorial!

  8. In a 2 humbucker, 1 Push-Pull Volume Pot, 1 Push-Pull tone pot, is it possible to set the volume Push pull as a cool split and the Tone control as a series/parallel?

    1. Hey Charles,

      You can perform this mod if each pickup has its dedicated mod. For instance, if the Neck Pickup was a Coil Split and the Bridge Pickup was the Series / Parallel mod or vice versa. You cannot perform the Series Parallel mod with both pickups, you’d need two individual push pull pots for this.

      Tyler

  9. Hi, great article!

    I’m confuses with the “normal” and the CTS Pot. Ist this the right compare:
    A = C1
    B = 2
    C = 4
    D = 1
    E = 3
    F = C2

    Thank you!

    1. Hey Herb,

      I see what you’re getting at: Here’s a comparison:
      A = 1
      B = C1
      C = 2

      D = 3
      E = C2
      F = 4

      I hope that clears things up!

  10. How can I wire my push-pull pot to act as a toggle switch? So when it’s down it would be my bridge humbucker and when it was up it would be my bridge humbucker.

  11. Stupid question – For your Series/Parallel push pull pot, is that done using the a volume or tone pot? I have a strat with two HBs, 3 way blade switch, 1 vol, 2 tone.

  12. Hi Tyler, any advice on how I would wire a 2 tone 2 volume Les Paul for the following
    •series/parallel
    •in/out phase
    •tone bypass for each pickup BUT still be able to adjust the volume for each pickup with its volume knob

    I have four 500k CTS push/pull pots to work with. Thanks for any insight you could throw my way.

    1. I’m not sure how you can accomplish all of these items – it seems like you wouldn’t have enough leads to accomplish it. For instance, Series / Parallel push pull uses all 4 leads of a 4-Conductor Shielded wire. I’m not sure this is possible.

      If you find something, let us know!

  13. Great article! I have a question: the intention i have is to use a push-pull pot in place of the stock 25K volume pot on our ernie ball music man stingray 5 circa 1994 axe we thump away at (mostly in the low end range) as an active/passive switch.

    my understanding is the pickups themselves are passive however the preamp is active so the above would be do-able.

    the only thing am a bit unsure is where the pot’s switch section will be wired to/from in that if it bypasses the volume when in passive i would need to stay with 25K value but if it retains the volume i would want to have the range to encompass the passive pickups?

    any feedback would be positive.

    1. Hey Paul,

      Thanks for your question. As it turns out, I’m not 100% sure. I would recommend taking to the Bass forums where you might have a little better luck finding this answer. Good luck!

      Tyler

  14. Hi!

    I have a question about the 2 capacitor tone knob. In your schematic you have the output of the volume pot going to the middle lug of the tone pot with nothing else connected to the either 2 lugs. Wouldn’t the output of the volume pot need to go to the left lug and the output of the capacitor circuit connect to the middle lug? Maybe im wrong! (probably am)

    Thanks!

  15. Would I be able to use a push/pull pot like a momentary kill switch if I put a heavy duty spring around the barrel of the pot? Assuming it would work,I would probably also want a knob with a grub screw to ensure it stays on.

    1. Hey Stan,

      What you are going for is not really what the push pull pot is designed to do, so I wouldn’t recommend it. I would go for more of a normal spring-loaded momentary switch, like the one here: Momentary Switch

  16. Great article! Greatly appreciate the information!

    So, I’m doing a build of a Mockingbird style, with a 3 way toggle selector, 1 vol, 2 tone (possibly vice-versa on the volume/tones). I have 2 single conductor humbuckers (not braided) and would like to put a push/pull pot for each of the three knobs to A.) Reverse Phase, B.) Bright Switch and C.) 2 Tone cap mod.

    Is this possible? If so, how would the circuit work? Any advice on how to make this work would be greatly appreciated. Thanks either way!

  17. Hi Tyler, sorry to bother you. I’m planning a telecaster build and the configuration is as follows:

    Neck: Seymour Duncan P-Rail (a humbucker pickup with a single coil and a P-90 coil joined together)
    Middle: Single coil
    Bridge: Hot-Rail.

    I was going for a standard strat configuration with a 5-way switch but I would also like to be able to split the P-Rail and isolate the single coil and the P-90, as well as being able to split the hot-rail bridge pickup. I wouldn’t want to waste the P-Rail by only being able to use one coil and not the other. I’m not experienced with wiring outside of standard configurations, so I was wondering is there any way to achieve this using push-pull pots as I would like to have three pots (volume, tone, tone) rather than using toggle switches.

    I thought I could use the volume pot to split the P-rail and isolate the P-90 for example, then I could split the rail using the second tone pot for a single coil, would I then be able to use the first tone pot to split the P-Rail and isolate the single-coil? I’m probably being very ignorant but I just thought I’d ask as I can understand how you explain things. If this is total rubbish just ignore me!

    1. Hey Jodie,

      Thanks for this great question. As it turns out, there’s not a way you can easily do this modification. You can do one of the following:

      1.) Keep the P90 and the Split Bridge
      2.) Keep the Single coil bar (neck) and the Split Bridge.

      When splitting a Humbucker, you have a White (Hot), a Black + Shield (Ground), and your Red + Green (split). Connecting the Red + Green to ground leaves you with a single coil left, say, the P90 in this instance. However, to reverse this, you’d need to connect White to Ground and Black to Hot. That would allow you to split the Neck and you’d be left with the Rail.

      There may be a way to accomplish this modification, but I’m drawing a blank at the moment.

      To do one of the aforementioned mods, you just need (2) Push Pull Pots if you want independent switching of the split, or (1) Push Pull Pot if you want a master split control.

      Hope this helps!

      1. Hi Tyler, thanks for getting back to me. I understand what you mean thanks so much for explaining this helps a lot!

  18. Tyler,
    I have a Tele I built with a Seymour Duncan Stag Mag in the bridge and a GFS mini humbucker in the neck with a 3-way toggle wired like a regular Tele. I want to add a Razor single coil in the middle and use a push pull pot to split the Stag Mag and activate the single coil when in the up position and the 3- way toggle is in the bridge position. Do not want to split the mini humbucker. Can you help me? The push pull can be either the volume or the tone which ever is easier.

    Thanks,
    Robert Templeton

    1. Sure, Robert. Thanks for your question. You first need to decide if you’re going to go with a 5-Way switch or not. Either way, you need to identify which leads are the “split” on your Seymour Duncan – usually the “finishes” of each coil, tied together.

      You’d run those to your middle posiion lug on your Push Pull Pot, either lug B or E. Next, you’ll need to attach the corresponding lug A or D to ground. Pulling up will give you a coil split. See the diagram, which is illustrated above.

      Tyler

      1. Thanks Tyler, but how do I activate the single coil with the push pull? What I’m looking for is: 3 way toggle in bridge position, push pull down, full humbucker.
        3 way toggle bridge pos, push pull up, humbucker split, single coil activated. Does this make sense? Thanks Robert.

        1. Yep – it’s the exact way I described. Find the “split” lead, and when it’s pulled up, it gets attached to Ground. Follow the diagram above.

  19. So I cant seem to rap my mind around what is the true significance of the lugs on a pot?
    I understand that 1 starts the circuit, 2 is the variable sweeper & 3 is the end of the resistance circuit. But what I cant figure out, is if it matters if 1 & 3 are swapped and if so what is the strategy of choosing which lugs to wire tone controls? For Instance, when using 1 cap. between both tone controls, why does one pickup get wired into lug 2 and one get wired into lug 1 and not 3, but when using 2 separate caps. both pickups can be wired to lug 2 instead of lug 1 or 3? Also how is it that the #1 lug of the vol. can be grounded and still receive signal threw lug 3? and what happens if these are switched besides reversing the vol. direction? Would there be a certain way to wire two master tone controls with two different cap. values?

    Maybe Im over complicating it all but it seams to be the one problem I cant find an answer to cause it doesnt seem as if anyone else has brought this particular thing up in any forums Ive been reading. Anyway any help I can get on this would be greatly appreciated!

  20. I have two tone pots on tele I am building. One pot is CTS push pull . I assume I would use this pot on the tone. The other pot is a normal pot. Both pots are 500. I have two humbuckers & I want to be able to coil split both. Also would I need any other additions eg caps & what size would I use.

    1. Hey Paul,

      Thanks for your question. If you want to coil split both humbuckers at once, you can run the “Tap” leads (Red / Red & Green on our humbuckers) to one Push Pull Pot. If you wanted independent switching control, you need two Push Pull Pots, one to split the Neck pickup, and one to split the Bridge pickup. It really doesn’t matter which position the pots are in, just whatever you want to grab to split.

      Tone caps are really subjective, but I’d start at something around a 0.2mfd.

      Tyler

  21. I’m going to leave the blend pot idea for now and go with a partial coil tap for each hum bucker. I’m also going to put in a 2 way toggle switch for neck pickup out of phase.

  22. One more thing, is it possible to have it so that the blend pot (when it’s developed) only affects the pickup volumes when pickup up selector is in middle position? i.e.: when pick up selector switch is on either neck or bridge pickup, the master volume controls the overall volume.

  23. Hi. I justed started an instrument making course and I’m building a tele style guitar with 2 humbuckers. I would like to have the capability of switching the neck humbucker out of phase (possibly with a push pull style pot). I would like then when pickup selector is in the middle position, I can blend the two volumes of each humbucker in any ratio I want. Is this possible? Ideally I would like to be able to achieve all this with one pot; or if that’s not possible, then an extra pot just for blending. I only want the blending function to work when the knob is pulled up. i.e.: I only want the 2 humbucker volumes to be affected by the blend functionality when the knob is in the ‘up’ position. Do you think this is achievable? Thanks.

    1. Hey Fred,

      That’s not possible at the moment…however, we have two custom pots being developed by CTS at the moment. One of which is a Push Pull Blender, which you’ll be able to achieve this modification. Look early next year for the pot.

      Tyler

  24. Is it possible to have 2 pickups connected to one push/pull pot for coil splitting and then ANOTHER push/pull pot for phase flipping?

    I’m trying to decide between that for a set of humbuckers, or using a free-way switch (6 position toggle switch) and a push/pull together.

    1. Hey Brad,

      If you have 3-Conductor Lead, yes. The Red Leads from the 3-Conductor would go to the Coil Splitting Push Pull Pot, and one of the White and Black Leads from one pickup would go to the Phase Reverse Pot. You can use the diagrams listed on this page.

      Tyler

  25. Longtime lover of Fralin pickups and customer service here!!

    I need help please! I am wanting to wire 2 single coil bass pickups to a CTS push/pull pot for series/parallel switching.

    Thanks in advance!

  26. Great article! I’m in the process of replacing the electronics in my Les Paul. I’ve got a P90 (2 wire) in the neck and Humbucker (4 wire) in the bridge, and I have 4 push-pull pots available (2x vol, 2x tone). Any wiring suggestions?
    I definitely want to coil split the humbucker, and I like the idea of the Bright Switch.

    1. Jason,

      Thanks for writing us. There’s truly a lot you can do. I would imagine you wouldn’t need all of the push-pull pots, as Les Paul wiring can get exponentially tricky. If you were to do something, I would do 3 Push Pull Pots, (1) Push Pull coil-split for the humbucker on the bridge, and (2) Bright Switches on the Tone.

      Tyler

  27. Hello ! I have a 2006 Gretsch 5120, with the stock pu’s…( I know…I should replace them…maybe someday ). Anyway, I have a 500k push-pull pot that is wired up to be a volume pot, with treble bleed, both up or down, but when you pull it up, it also does a very nice bass cut. It’s worked in a variety of guitars, so I thought I would replace the Master Volume control in the Gretsch, and the volume with treble bleed works great, up or down…but the bass cut isn’t happening. It’s been a while since I’ve used the switch, so I’m wondering if some other wire, or cap, or resistor might be missing, or maybe because there are 2 other neck and bridge volume pot’s, plus a tone control to deal with…do I need to hook up all of those controls also ? This pot was always a drop in type deal and always worked great…can you direct me to a shematic/diagram that could help ?
    Thanks, Tim Coulter.

  28. Thank You for this article! I’ve been wondering for a while how to use two tone caps with one pot and couldn’t find the wiring anywhere. I figured out how the caps go but had no idea how to connect it to the pot lugs etc.

  29. Correct me if I’m wrong but the Bright Switch in the up (on) position doesn’t actually bypass the volume pot. It lifts the ground to the vol pot, but the signal goes through the pot (which then acts as a variable resistor/rheostat). So even when the bright switch is on, turning the vol pot will still lower the volume. It does bypass the tone pot, however, so there might still be a small volume or treble boost.

  30. I have a passive five string Schecter bass (Raiden) with a push/pull tone pot that changes the dual coils to single when pulled up. I’d like to keep my bridge pickup as a humbucker and only split the coil on the neck pickup. Would I just remove the appropriate black jumper ground wire (A or D) to achieve this?

    Thank You
    Gavin

    1. Gavin,

      It’s tough to tell you exactly what to do as I can’t find the exact wiring diagram for your bass. However, you can identify which lead off of the bridge pickup is going to the push pull pot. All you would need to do is remove the ground connection to that lead. I recommend studying the diagram above on how coil tapping works, and relate it to your specific situation. There should be a lead that gets connected to ground when you pull up – you can remove that to keep the bridge pickup a Humbucker.

      On another note, you can coil tap two pickups with 1 side of the switch, or with both sides of the switch. In other words, if you see both pickups heading to the same terminal, you’ll need to separate those.

      Tyler

  31. I have a question that I can’t seem to find anywhere else and you seem well educated on the workings of push pull pots. I recently purchases a PRS S2 24 which has coil tapping with the tone knob. When I pull up on the knob I am experiencing a crackling sound. Spin the tone knob doesn’t seem to make it worse and it only happens right when I switch from humbucker to single coil mode. Is this something that needs to be cleaned or possibly the result of a bigger problem? If so, what’s the best way to clean a push pull pot?

    1. Michael,

      Good question. It’s tough to say for sure, but that sounds like a dirty connection. This can be easily remedied with some contact cleaner (available at your local electronic supply store). If it’s an Alpha-style pot, like the ones drawn on this page, there are small openings where the Switch meets the Pot. You can spray a small amount and pull / push a few times. That might solve your problem. I’m not sure what else could be causing that.

      Tyler

  32. Awesome explanation.

    Got me wondering though: I’m thinking of a setup with two p90’s. One Volume One Tone, when I use P/P for both controls, can I use the P/P-part for either engaging a pickup or not?

    I’m like thinking of getting rid of the 3-way, and just use the P/P to turn a pickup on or off, can I do that, or am I thinking too simple? It’s a little like the mini-switches on old Teisco guitars, they just cancel out a pickup, hence giving you the ability to switch from neck to neck+bridge to bridge.

    Hope you can confirm my thought 😉

    1. Hey Rob,

      This is what I was able to work up – Diagram Here

      You can work with this, but each pot will be a separate Push/Pull on/off switch for each pickup. Tone Pot would be Bridge, and Volume would be Neck. By pulling up on the switch, you’ll kill the pickup.

      Hope that helps!

      Tyler

  33. Is a push pull pot setup the same as a push push pot?
    And if so, can the wiring be reversed so that the pickups are split in the down position?

    1. It depends on the manufacturer. If you have a DPDT pot, with the 6 terminals on the back, it should be wired the same. However, study how your pot works and use our A-F wiring labels to achieve the same results.

      Tyler

  34. Hi, great diagrams!
    Can you explain how to make a true bypass with CTS push/pulls, i want to have the exact wiring as in modern les pauls, split/split/phase/bypass. I have an SG and have bought the jimmy page setup and want to alter it. thanks!

    1. Alfred,

      Thanks for your question. Without having a diagram handy, it’s tough to see exactly what they are doing at Gibson. However, the diagrams for the Coil Taps are listed Above, along with the Phase Reverse. You would use the Bright Switch in your Tone Pot 2 position, but have all three grounds from the pots running to post E on the DPDT switch. in theory, Lug 3 of all three pots would all be attached there. When you pull up, all three grounds would be removed.

      I hope this helps!

      Tyler

  35. Hi!. Fantastic article! Thanks!
    I have a guitar with 1 Humbucker (bridge) and 2 singles (neck / middle). 1 vol e 1 tone pot. I have a toggle switch for 3 pickups. The position on the toggle switch is: up: neck pickup – middle: neck / middle pickups – down: bridge pickup. I want to add a push/pull DPDT to turn on/off only the middle pickup no matter where the switch is. But I can’t get it work on all toggle positions. When I put the toggle switch down (bridge pickup on) and I pull the push/pull pot, it turns on the middle pickup, but also turn on the neck pickup! I can’t leave only the middle pickup on with the bridge pickup. With the toggle switch in the other positions everything is fine. But with the toggle switch on the bridge position and the push/pull up all pickups are actives. I’m going crazy with this! Can you help me please?

    Thank you very much in advance! Francisco

    1. Hey Francisco,

      A simple way to accomplish this is to actually run the Middle Pickup hot wire to the DPDT Switch before sending it to the toggle switch. If you look at the diagram above under “Coil Splitting”, think of the red wire as the Middle Pickup hot.

      The same lug that you soldered the Hot Lead to can have a wire going to the Toggle Switch, as the DPDT’s output.

      The ground location is on lug “A”, meaning that the middle pickup will cut off when pulled up. If you want to reverse this, place the ground location on lug “C”.

      I hope that helps!

      1. Hey Tyler! Thank you. Sorry, but I have a few questions. Just remember that I want to pull the push/pull pot to turn only the Middle pickup on. So I run the hot from Middle pickup to the the lug B (diagram above). From the same B I run another wire to the toggle switch lug, right? But why I have to ground lug A of the push/pull pot? And what I solder to lug A to output the signal of the Middle pickup? I can send you a pic from the toggle switch diagram if you want.
        Thanks for the help!

        1. Well you wouldn’t want to ground lug “A” if you want to turn the pickup on when pulled up, that would “kill” the pickup when pulled up.

          You’d want to ground lug “C”, so the pickup is off until you pull up. The reason here is that you’re sending the entire pickup signal to ground, which won’t enter your “hot” signal.

          1. Ok, but when I pull the push/pull pot the Middle and the Neck pickup turns on. That’s the problem. I think it’s the way the hot from the middle and neck pickups are connect on the toggle switch. What I connect to lug A? Running the middle pickup hot to the DPDT pot first and then to the toggle it’s not the same to run first to the toggle and then to the DPDT? Let me send you the toggle switch schematics to can visualize better the problem.

  36. Hey Ty,
    Sorry if it wasn’t clear the switch be using the A to switch B the wires get tied and C is ground of pick ups? I just want it coi split/tap the mini hum only. The neck position. Thanks. Jonny.

    1. Jonny, This is a little confusing to read. Can you email me a diagram of what you have going on? I’ll try to diagnose it.

  37. Hey Ty.
    Hope is well. I’m redoing a old Kramer. Using a push Pull vol. to control hum single coil. It’s a SSH config with a DPDT where it’s full, off, tap for the bridge Hum. 5 way, 2 tone that I have independently to control neck and middle and one tone control bridge. Neck has. 022 bridge is .047 cap all 1 Meg pots. Because this is my first attempt to wire in a push pull. On the left side I have the top post go to the 5 way switch, the red and white get tied and to second post and then bottom post to ground of the pick up? Or just to the pot it’s self along with all grounds?

  38. Hi,
    Thanks for the fantastic article dude. But I still a bit confused. I’ve got a tele with 2 humbuckers and I’d like to be able to split both humbuckers but without adding any switches. Can you help

    Thanks
    Adam

    1. Hey Adam,

      Sure I can take a stab at it. Honestly the best way to split both humbuckers is to add a simple Push Pull Pot. The simplest way to split them is this:

      1.) Run your Humbucker’s Tap Lead (Red on 3 Conductor, Red & Green tied together for 4 Conductor) into a common terminal on the switch (Either B or E).

      2.) Connect Ground to the Top Terminals – Either A or D of the same side that the leads are connected to, and when you pull up, you’ll split both humbuckers at once.

      Note: You can use both sides of the switch for more room. Humbuckers go into Terminal B & E, and Grounds are connected to A and D.

      Note 2: This will split both humbuckers at once. If you want separate switches, you’ll need to perform this mod on your Volume Pot AND Tone Pot, with each humbucker going to a separate pot.

      Hope this helps!
      T

  39. Probably a simple thing I’m asking. I have a 2- humbucker, single volume, single tone, toggle setup. Is it feasible to use push/pull pots to run the pickups independently (like a 2 Volume/2 Tone, toggle setup)? Basically so the neck pickup can be turned down independently and the toggle acts as a kill switch..

    1. Hey Rob,

      There’s probably a way to wire this up with Push Pull pots, but you might like to use Concentric Pots instead: 500K Concentric Pots

      You can wire the Neck and the Bridge both into that, and have independent volume control over both pickups. You can also do the same with the Tone controls, or, you can use our mod here for two tone caps: Click Here

      I hope that helps!
      Tyler

      1. Actually, the concentric pot is a easy solution except i want to keep this guitar visually original..only 67 of this model exist.. I think the double cap tone and push/pull volume looks like a great fix.. Again, thank you!

  40. Oh MAN. I was doing some light research because I have an old junk electric that I thought I’d use as my first project to see if I could have a go at wiring pickups and pots and was wondering if there were any cool uses of the push pull for us single coil (strat specifically) players. Boy am I excited to get working on this thing now! I’ll probably start with this hunk of junk and when I’m confident,go to town on my American strat. I saw on someone else’s article the idea of doing all three knobs up as volume and tone knobs for each individual pickup. If I did that,would I still be able to run any of your tips or would I have burned out my options by doing that?id like to do the bright mod and install your volume kit (I’d never heard of that but as a blues player that sounds so groovy) but I’d settle for just being able to do one or the other.

  41. Hi Tyler
    I have two problems with the drawing and description of the Bright Switch Push/Pull Mod.
    The text says “and Lug 2 goes to the input of the Tone Pot”
    I see no connection from Lug 2 of the volume pot to the tone pot.
    And the text says: “with the Grounded leg of the Cap”.
    I see no grounding of the cap.
    It’s probably just me being stupid, but could you clarify that?
    Kind regards
    Lennart

    1. Hey Lennart,

      Thanks for catching this! I’ve re-written the explanation for clarity. The diagram is indeed correct.

      Tyler

  42. Hi Tyler,

    Cool article! Definitely helpful!

    I have a 2012 American Deluxe Strat with the SSS configuration and S1 switching. I was planning on swapping out the bridge pickup to a Seymour Duncan Hot Rails mini humbucker, and replace the bridge tone pot with a 500k push pull pot to split the mini humbucker.

    Is the above configuration possible if I want to retain the current configurations from the S1 wiring as well? The S1 switch is on the volume pot by default. Hoping you can shed some light on how this can be achieved.

    1. Sure thing, it’s possible. Just coil tap the mini like the diagram in the post, and wire the pot part of it like a tone pot – you’ll be good to go!

  43. I enjoy your articles.Will a treble bleed cap function on a push pull volume pot like it does on a normal pot? Thanks!

    1. Hey Ricky,

      Yes it does, with a slight difference. Normally, the Treble Bleed Kit will make your entire guitar slightly brighter as it’s on the whole time. With the Push pull, you can keep it off until you’re ready to use it, keeping your original tone the same.

      Tyler

  44. Just to thank you and congratulate you, because this article is great (as well as many others on your website)! I wish the best of luck to Fralin’s team on their business.

  45. Hi,

    I have 1 neck humbucher with 4 wires & 1 ground wire and 1 humbucker with 2 wires.
    I want to make mod to neck 4 wire humbuker with push-pull pot so that I have the single coil on when pushed down, and humbucker when pulled up.
    Please instruct me of :
    1. is push/pull pot is instead of volume pot of neck PU ?
    2. where I soldier all 4 wires of PU on the push/pull pot ?
    3. will turning pot coutnerclock direction decrease volume and clockwise increase volume of PU in both humbucking and single coil mode?

    I do no find complete diagram of this mod on your illustrations .
    Or do I miss something?
    thank you in advance
    Zarko

    1. Zarko,

      Thanks for your question, and I’ve edited it for clarity.

      1.) I’m not sure what you’re asking here – could you clarify?

      2.) On a 4-conductor humbucker lead, the outer wires of both the coils need to be tied together. For example, our Red and Green are the ends of both the coils. Tied together, they put the humbucker in series. The only difference between our humbucker diagram and the one you need is the location of the ground. You’d want your ground connection on Lug C, instead of A. That sends the slug coil to ground when pushed down.

      3.) Yes, that is how most pots are wired.

      Tyler

      1. Thak you for your reply. I actually want coil split on neck PU north coil when push/pull is up, and full humbuker when down. I made a mistake in my first message.
        However where do I connect + ( hot) wire from neck PU and south start wire and ground wire?

        Can you send me complete diagram for this?

        Thank you in advance
        Best regards
        Zarko

  46. How can I make the bright switch without the tone pot, cause I do not use tone in my circuit. By the way, congratulations for this guide! It’s amazing!

    1. Leandro, You can’t complete this mod without some sort of external switch. I’d recommend copying the Switch part of this mod on a DPDT toggle switch instead.

      Tyler

          1. Thanks a lot man! I did yesterday directly, without any pots, basically pickup, a 3 switch toggle directly to jack, just to listen how it sounds, and uow, it sounds amazing! Now, I don’t know if I will use a volume pot again! Thank you very much!

  47. Hi!
    Cool article.
    I have a Les Paul with one 4-conductor humbucker and one 2-conductor humbucker. I guess I need one DPDT pot connected to the 4-conductor to do a phase invert ala Peter Green, so that the two HBs are out of phase with each other. Which pot should this be? Also, can I also do a coil tap or a coil split or anything else cool with the other pot connected to the 4-conductor HB? What are my opportunities here, besides the phase switch? 🙂

    1. Hey Matt,

      So, technically you can flip the phase of your humbucker with 2-Conductor (I’m assuming it’s not a Gibson-style braided lead – then you can’t.) But if you have a humbucker that has the shield separated from the coil, then you can flip the phase if it and reverse the coil direction.

      That being said, you can certainly coil-tap the 4-Conductor Wire Humbucker by tying the two outside wires (Red and Green in our case) together and sending those to ground. You’ll need a Push/Pull or DPDT switch for both operations, and you’ll need two separate switches.

      Tyler

      1. Thanks for the quick answer! I guess I mixed the terminology here: my “2-conductor” is in fact a vintage style braided lead. Guess my only option here is to flip the polarity on the 4-conductor with a push pull pot, and leave the rest as it is? Or can I coiltap the 4-conductor as well as invert its phase with push pull pots both in volume and tone for this humbucker?

        1. Hey Mats,

          You can do both – to do so, you’ll need to tie together the Red and Green (our color codes) and send those to the secondary push pull pot (tone, for example) and use our diagram to coil tap it. The Phase reverse would only need the White and Black wires (inside coil wires) to perform this mod.

          Basically, decide which pot you would like to perform each function (volume pot push pull for phase reverse, tone push pull for coil tap), then use the White and Black wires for the Phase reverse, and the Red and Green wires for the coil tap. You’ll be able to do both!

  48. I’ve wired two humbuckers each to its own dpdt volume pot. The problem I’m having is that when the pots are pulled to split the coils and 3way toggle is in the middle position, one volume cancels out both split coils rather than just the one it controls when the pots are pushed in. Please help me get independent volume control for the split coils!!!

    1. Chris,

      There could be multiple things wrong with this, but my gut is telling me that you have the volume pots wired wrong. I would take this to a local luthier for assistance.

      Tyler

      1. Well, I discovered that I had wired the volumes to be dependent on each other so I swapped the output wire from lug 1 to lug 2 on the pots and baddabing! Works perfectly as it should! Thanks!

        1. I figured something was going on there…glad you got it worked out! Happy jamming!

          T

  49. I’m very confused. I modded a Les Paul by adding push-pull pots on each of the tones to split the humbuckers. However, when I got the guitar back, it sounded like a blanket was thrown over it, especially on the neck pickup.

    It has a 520k measurement, so I’m really confused and bummed. Any ideas?

  50. Hello ,

    When doing COIL SPLITTING can the default behaviour be reversed?
    Pull Pot is pushed down (feels like engaged ) => single coil
    Push Pull Pot is pulled up => (feels like released ) => humbucker

    Many thanks

    1. Sure thing it can, Daniele – you have to move the “Ground” Jumper from Terminal “A” on your push Pull to Terminal C. That way, You have a single coil when your push pull is pushed all the way down, and when you pull up, you have a full humbucker as it lifts the ground.

      Tyler

  51. I’ve been trying to find a good resource for how these work beyond just a wiring diagram. This is by far the best article I’ve found. The examples are great and your explanations are huge help. Thanks!

  52. My current setup is: 4 wire Humbuckers bridge & neck, one tone one volume DPDT pots, one toggle switch. Currently up on volume pot turns neck pickup into a single coil as does tone/bridge. Is there a way to have the volume pot engage both as SC’s, leaving the tone pot free to switch between top & bottom coils on both pups? I don’t want to add any switches, pots, etc..

    1. Carey,

      Thanks for your question. Sure you can – you’d just use both sides of the switch. Look on the coil-splitting diagram – you’ll see that one side of the switch is being used with a 4-conductor wire (red and green tied together) and the other side of the switch is being used with 3-conductor wire (red wire only). This illustrates that you can coil split two humbuckers with one switch.

      Hope this helps!

      Tyler

    1. Sure you can. This mod will work for all instruments. You might not tell as much of a difference, although you might tell a lot!

      Tyler

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