i am new to this site and have a question for all you guitar techs out there. I just bought my son a Kramer, an Aerostar.. probally a Korean version. It has 3 single coils on it and on the bottom side of the bobbins there are 2 ceramic magnets the run parallel along each edge, on all three pickups. My questions are they any good? and can I wire 2 of them together and place them close like a humbucker? I do know how to solder and follow a schematic..I just don't know much about pickup wiring( do's and don't). I plan on scraping the bridge pickup and installing a PAF HB in it's place. My 13 yr old son digs EVH and this is going to be a dad-son project so any advice would be greatly appreciated thanks....BA
I just bought my son a Kramer, an Aerostar.. probably a Korean version.
The country of origin should be marked thereon.
It has 3 single coils on it and on the bottom side of the bobbins there are 2 ceramic magnets the run parallel along each edge, on all three pickups.
This is the traditional single coil pickup structure for this pricing level of guitar. You are correct in that there are two ceramic magnets against 6 steel pole slugs.
My questions are they any good?
Define "any". Do they work, (they apparently do)? While functional, they are not in the same league as Duncan or DiMarzio or any other boutique pickup maker. A set of the really good ones cost more that this guitar.
The pickups are likely adequate for this guitar at this time. This does not address whether this guitar is adequate for the type of music that your son likes to play.
....and can I wire 2 of them together and place them close like a humbucker?
Yes, just make sure that if the poles magnetically attract on two of them, you use those two for your meta-pickup. Since magnet polarity is the issue (RP - although the ceramic bars could be removed and repositioned, nah, extra work) and wires can be swapped (if there are two unshielded wires from each pickup) for RW. For two coils to be humbucking, one has to be RWRP (reverse wound, reverse magnetic polarity) with respect to each other.
I do know how to solder and follow a schematic..
Good, grabbing the wrong end can be painful (on either).
I just don't know much about pickup wiring( do's and don't).
Well, you're in luck. There are several folk a'board here that think that they do.
I plan on scraping the bridge pickup and installing a PAF HB in it's place.
Man, that's harsh. You could like just save it fer later.......
My 13 yr old son digs EVH and this is going to be a dad-son project so any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Well then, if your son likes the heavier sounding guitar tones and you might want to preserve the kinder gentler subtler single coil sounds (for when his hearing returns), I can recommend a new wiring scheme that will make those three single coils have alternate modes where they get louder and darker and can drive an amp earlier.
My all-time favorite for a Strat-type guitar (SSS VTT 5-way) is the Mike Richardson scheme that I added two phase switching push pull pots to (it requires one push pull pot for the extra 5 modes).
I'm a little confused on what your end result is going to be. You talk of making a humbucker out of 2 SCs, and also about replacing the bridge pickup with a PAF. Are you doing both of these things, ending up with a 2 humbucker setup? Or is making a HB an option to be done instead of the PAF, with the made-up one going into the bridge position?
What I am trying to do with the Kramer is to 1. install a PAF in the bridge 2. somehow combine the mid and neck single coils so they will have a more metal sort of sound. The parallel ceramic magnets on the bottom of the pickups had me confused, was thinking they were something unique, never saw that before. Can I just SIMPLY put a 3 way switch in and have the neck on 1, both neck and mid on 2, and the bridge PAF on 3. I don't want to invest to much money, I mostly want my 13 yr old son to learn about how guitars work and such. But I was thinking of a Golden Age HB for the bridge , keeping just 2 of the singles for mid and neck. No complicated switching he has only been playing for 3 years...maybe in the future though...thanks:)
Thanks for your response and qualification of what you want in more detail. I often over-respond in design suggestions since under-responding and inching upwards just takes too long.
1. install a PAF in the bridge
2. somehow combine the mid and neck single coils so they will have a more metal sort of sound.
You can do this, but the pickups will need to be connected in series and not parallel (the normal combination). Both of the links that I posted do this for the hotter/darker sounds.
If you combine the middle and neck in parallel, it will sound exactly like what the middle and neck combined do today, with the exception of a narrower sensing window if you place them beside each other. Not very hot, but Stratty/jangly.
The parallel ceramic magnets on the bottom of the pickups had me confused, was thinking they were something unique, never saw that before.
Nah, it's just less expensive than using 6 individual magnets.
Can I just SIMPLY put a 3 way switch in and have the neck on 1, both neck and mid on 2, and the bridge PAF on 3.
I presume that your Aerostaris the 3 single coil one in the link and that it has a 5-way lever selector switch.
I also presume that you are going to use the Tele 3-way lever switch (a true 2 pole 3 throw [DP3T] switch).
I also presume that you will use the middle and neck as a hum canceling combination in position #2, and that for "more metal" sounds they will be connected in series.
This is straightforward and can be realized without any shorted or hanging coils.
It gives (in my/current Fender wiring positions): 1. Bridge humbucker 2. Neck single coil in series with middle single coil 3. Neck single coil
Note that with the 3-way lever switch, any of these combinations can be in any one of the three positions.
If you want to reuse the 5-way lever switch, you will get these (positions as denoted in my template link below): 1. Bridge humbucker 1&2. Bridge humbucker in parallel with [neck single coil in series with middle single coil (the neck humbucker)] 2. Neck single coil in series with middle single coil (the neck humbucker) 2&3. Neck single coil 3. Neck single coil
If a 0.033 uF shunt capacitor is added in, the following occur: 1. Bridge humbucker 1&2. Bridge humbucker in parallel with [neck single coil in series with middle single coil (the neck humbucker)] 2. Neck single coil in series with middle single coil (the neck humbucker with the hottest/middy sound) 2&3. Neck single coil in series with [middle single coil in parallel with shunt cap (the neck humbucker with the hotter/somewhat bright sound)] 3. Neck single coil in series with shunt cap (a brighter sounding neck only tone).
In any case, I would wire the bridge tone circuit directly across the bridge pickup, and the neck tone circuit directly across the neck/middle construct.
What form would you like the design in? I could draw a schematic or describe the structure (in essence I already have) and give you and your son the opportunity to construct your own schematic.
Initially, this templatemay help. Note that I use position #1 for the bridge-most selection. While Fender have used the opposite in years past, they've come around to the method like mine starting a few years back.
I use the same designations for both the 3-way and 5-way lever switch since, aside from the detent mechanism, they are the SAME switch.
Let us know the level of design that you want. Since you want to involve your son in learning some "plumbing", a little plumbing discovery project often helps (and you can check back in here for some guidence sub-rosa if needed).
Hey ChrisK, first of all thanks for all your expertise. What I want to do for sure is just keep it simple. I thought I could read schematics but after looking at yours I feel stupid. You definitely have advanced Elec. Tech background. Here is my plan:
1 HB- 2 S Coils- 1 vol- 2 tone- 3 way switch
A.) Bridge HB alone mounted directly to the body cavity with it own tone control. B.) Mid & neck wired in series like you suggested so they are hum canceling and provide a heavier dark tone. C.) And have the neck single coil be able to be alone on posi 3 guess. Like you mentioned position 1 Bridge, 2 mid/neck, 3 neck only. I do want the single coils to have there own tone and have the HB to be on the second tone. Question: what value pots and caps do you think would be best for this setup. I plan on saving the 5 way and my spare S. coil for another project if this Kramer goes well. This should be a totally simple setup am I correct? Again ....a huge thank you...you have been VERY helpful.
I was thinking of saving some bucks and installing a Golden Age PAF style HB at the bridge location and keeping the 2 single coils mid/neck. just a 3 way switch though. I want the 2 single coils to be hum cancelling. I want to keep it simple for my 13 yr old...he'll be helping with the project I'll try to do a coil split or somthing more elaborate maybe on the next project
By studying your schematic it looks like I'll be wiring it the same either way just adding a cap with the mid pickup,... and that will expand my tone selections more so it makes sense now why you mentioned using the 5 way switch. Will a basic 5-way fender style lever switch be suitable? The one on the Kramer now has been abused needs replacing.What type of caps should I use? I am sure once I start actually wiring this it will make more and more sense. The different tone selections has my son revved up to get this project started asap......thanks
Will a basic 5-way fender style lever switch be suitable?
What type of caps should I use?
I use film caps. They are sold at Guitar Centers (I think) and Radio Shacks. I don't like to use ceramic disk caps, they're not really suited to audio applications. A 25 to 50 volt (or more) rating is fine.
I am sure once I start actually wiring this it will make more and more sense.
Plumbing is. And the switch operation is externally visible. After all, it's just an open-frame rotary switch turned side-ways with a goofy knob on it.
The different tone selections has my son revved up to get this project started asap......thanks
Well, if you're going to do something, you might as well make it interesting, eh?
...you have been VERY helpful.
Any project that builds parent/child interaction is to be greatly encouraged.
After all, Mark Twain said, "When I was 16, my father was the stupidest man alive. By the time I turned 22, I was surprised by how much the old man had learned in 6 years....."
I spent time with my children, heck they still call, visit, and even ask advice.......................