May Mod Of The Month – Series / Parallel Humbucker Wiring

All of our humbuckers are wired in series, which means one coil’s output goes into another’s input. This explains why all humbuckers sound big, bold, and beefy. But, what if you wanted to make your humbuckers sound more like a strat? Well, here’s May’s Mod of The Month: Series / Parallel Switching:


In a standard guitar, like a Strat or a Tele, your pickups are wired in Parallel. What this means is each pickup has its own path of output. For instance, the White (hot) leads are attached to the switch, and the Black leads are attached to Ground. Series wiring puts your pickup’s outputs into your other pickups. To illustrate, we’ve literally made an illustration:

Fralin Series and Parallel

Parallel wiring gives the pickup signal the shortest possible distance to the Output Jack. Series wiring gives the signal a much greater distance to travel. Having to travel a greater distance, the signal experiences more resistance, thus getting bigger and beefier.

Let’s look at our Humbucker wiring: you have a Slug Coil (the coil with Alnico magnets), and the Screw Coil (the coil with adjustable screws).

Black is the start of the Slug Coil (Ground)
Red is the finish of the Slug Coil
Green is the finish of the Screw Coil
White is the start of the Screw Coil (Output)

Our Humbuckers have the following signal path: Black > Red > Green > White. This is our standard series wiring. Wiring the pickups in Parallel, Black > Green > Red > White. The “Starts” of the coils are wired together, and the “Finishes” of each coil are wound together.

The Mod*:

*Note: if you want to do this mod, you’ll need a 4-Conductor Wire – Black, White, Red, Green, and Shield.*

*Note 2: the colors depicted are the color codes for our humbuckers. Different manufacturers have different color codes.

By replacing your volume pot with a 500K Push/Pull, you can achieve Series / Parallel with the pull of the pot. When Pushed Down, your humbucker is working usually – in series. When pulled up, your Humbucker is wired in Parallel. Remember that the Shield is always grounded (not depicted in the drawing below).

Series & Parallel Push Pull Modification for Humbuckers

How It Works:

Red is connected to Green in terminals B & C- like a standard humbucker when pushed down. White and Black are not connected to anything, leaving them out of the switch. When pulled up, Red connects to white (B – A), and Green connects to Black (E-D). This gives you the Parallel “Strat” tone we’ve all come to love.

Written By:

Tyler Delsack

👋 I'm Tyler Delsack, the Manager of Fralin Pickups. I've been a guitarist for 26 years, and along with managing the shop and working on this Website, I love tinkering with things!

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