Applying Humbucking (HB) Pairs Analysis to the Music-Man St. Vincent Guitar
© 2016 Don Baker dba android originals LC, Tulsa OK
The Music-Man St. Vincent guitar uses a five-way switch to chose among three mini-humbuckers, positioned at the neck, middle and bridge. The coils in each humbucker are wired in series, producing a stronger, warmer tone that would a parallel-coil connection. In order (which way I forget), the switch chooses bridge, middle, neck, bridge || middle || neck, and bridge || neck, where “||” means in parallel.
This article will analyze what kind of HB pairs the same 6 coils could produce. Consider the neck humbucker as two coils NN (neck north up) and NS (neck south up). Consider that the middle humbucker to be MN and MS, and the bridge humbucker as BN and BS. Because NN is so close to NS, MN is so close to MS, and BN is so close to BS, some humbucking pair combinations will have little difference in tone from others.
In the table below, the left-most column shows the supposed relative physical order of the single-coil poles in space, the middle columns show the in-phase HB pairs, with equivalent HB pair just to the right. The right columns show the contra-phase HB pairs, with any pairs with equivalent tones just to the right.
As humbucking pair theory predicts, there are 15 HB pairs, but because the close spacing of the coils at the neck, middle and bridge, 6 of those pairs are essentially equivalent to 6 others, leaving 9 pair with unique outputs, which can be connected either in series or parallel, for a total of 18 HB pairs with unique tonal outputs, out of 30.
Legal notice – The switching system for HB pairs is protected under U.S. patent pending 2016/0027422 A1, filed 7/23/2014, and an undisclosed U.S. Provisional Patent Application, filed 6/28/2016.