September Mod Of The Month: Phase Reverse and Blender

For September, we’re discussing a pretty cool trick that utilizes a Blender Pot and a Push Pull Pot. We’re going to utilize the Push Pull Tone Pot as a Phase Reverse switch – to reverse the phase of one of your pickups. Next, we’ll use the Blender Pot to blend between in-phase and out-of-phase tones. With this mod, you’ll be able to achieve all sorts of tones, from full-on out-of-phase to only slightly out-of-phase.

What You’ll Need:

  1. 250K / 500K Push – Pull Pot
  2. Blender Pot
  3. Pickups with 2-Conductor With Shield Lead


The Mod:

We’ll have to break this modification up into a few different parts to explain it, as each guitar is a little different. First up, the Push / Pull Switch. This mod will reverse the phase of one of your pickups:

Phase Reverse with a Push Pull Pot - Lindy Fralin

Installation:

Your out-of-phase pickup (could be neck or bridge, really doesn’t matter) will be wired into this Push Pull Tone Control. The other pickup will be wired into the switch, which we’ll get to in a minute. As stated earlier, you’ll need 2-Conductor (With Shield) Lead for this installation to work. This allows you to Ground the metal (Shield) and flip the coil direction (White and Black). To ground out the metal, you can solder the shielding to the casing of the pot.

How it works:

Your signal is coming in to lugs B & E (common) of the push pull pot. When pushed down, White is connected to White, which goes to the switch, and Black is going to ground, like it’s supposed to. When pulled up, White is connected to Black (going to ground) and Black is now connected to the switch. Accordingly, your pickups are now out of phase now that your coil directions is reversed. Now, on to the Blender pot and Switch:

The Switch & Blender Pot:

Blender Pot 3-Way Switch Wiring

Installation:

For this installation (the guitar in the video above), we’re using a 3-Way switch, although any switch will work. The Bridge pickup is wired direct to the switch, and the Neck pickup is going to the Push Pull pot, above before coming to the switch. The Blender Pot is being wired into the first lugs on each side (follow the arrows to make this work). After you have it all wired up, the rest is wired just like a normal Strat – you’ll have a Master Volume, a Master Tone, and a Blender!


Wait, I have a Les Paul!

We got you. Check out the below diagram to see how to wire this up. Since the pickups normally go to their respective volume pots first, A few things are important to note:

  1. We didn’t want to clutter the diagram with ground connections, so make sure your ground connections are all correct.
  2. This time, you’re going straight to the Blender rather than the switch from the Push-Pull Phase Switch.
  3. You can either leave your other tone knob out of the circuit, or do something else with it. This guitar utilizes a Master Volume, a Master Tone and a Blender.

Phase Reverse Mod Les Paul


How to Use It:

You’ll have your standard pickup tones, and use of a Blender to get all the tone in-between. Pulling up on the switch will put the Neck pickup out of phase with the bridge pickup. You’ll be able to hear this in position 2, when both pickups are on at once. Using the Blender won’t do anything on Position 2, but choose either the Neck or Bridge and you’ll be able to sweep the in-phase (or out of phase) pickup in and out and get the whole variety of tones!

 

3 Comments

  1. Hi Tyler,
    Your post is really timely as I’ve been scratching my head looking for a solution to have a master volume but not loose the ability to blend the humbuckers in the OOP middle position which provides such great versatility of tones. In my scenario, I’ve flipped around the magnet on the neck pickup, so my middle position is always out of phase. Would I still need a push pull to enable the blend pot, or would the blend pickup only affect the middle position anyways?
    To clarify, if I’m in bridge position is the blend pot going to affect the sound or volume of the bridge pickup, or is the blend opt only in effect in the middle position?

    Thanks!

    1. Eduardo,

      Thanks for your question – If you have a permanently out of phase neck pickup, the push/pull pot wouldn’t be necessary. We use it here so you can get out of phase tones, as well as in-phase tones.

      That being said, the Blender pot really doesn’t work as much on the middle position, as both pickups are already selected. It really only works on the Neck only or Bridge only position, as it rolls in the volume of the opposite pickup, respectively.

      For instance, if you’re on your Bridge pickup, and the blender is wired like the diagram above, turning the Blender pot would roll in the out-of-phase neck pickup and get the exact same results as the mod describes.

      Tyler

  2. Oh, OK, I was thinking this would only work in the middle position and blend both pickups.
    But I guess that works too, thanks!

    Great articles by the way, nice wiring ideas.

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