PJ Bass Wiring Mods

Today I was back at the iron for the first time in a couple months, it seems, wiring in some modifications to my Fender Squier P-J Bass.

I wanted to try wiring the pickups in series, and figured I might as well do other stuff while I was in there, so I also added mods to put the pickups out of phase with each other, and a different tone capacitor.  The diagram is below.

Image adjusted to make it easier to read, in case you’re trying to do that

First off, I had the wrong value potentiometers (I used them anyway, but may switch them out for the correct values some other time).  The stock pots were 500KA for the neck volume, 500KB (not sure why linear taper) for the bridge volume, and 500KA for the tone.  I had 250KA for all (based on Seymour Duncan’s “P-J BASS, 1 VOLUME, 1 BLEND, 1 TONE” schematic).

Next, the volume controls were wired with the hot input from the pickup to lug 2 and the output on lug 3, instead of the opposite (which I think of as “normal”).  I followed the stock wiring, against my plan (I updated the drawing), but I may switch it to normal (hot in to lug 3, out from lug 2).

I used DPDT push-pull pots for all three controls; in all cases down is the stock wiring, and up is my mod.

The neck pickup volume control, when pulled out, puts the pickups in series.  This results in an overall volume boost and a tone closer to the neck pickup’s sound than the bridge’s tone.  It’s a great sound, and worth doing the mods just for this.

Pulled, the bridge volume control puts the pickups out of phase with each other.  It’s a thin, edge-y sound, not something I’d probably use a lot but maybe cool for overdubs, specific song sections, or if I ever start a post-punk band.

The tone control pulled engages a 33nF tone capacitor, instead of the stock 68nF.  This raises the cutoff frequency of the low-pass filter, retaining more treble, and it seems musically useful all the way down to its minimum setting.  (The minimum setting on the stock cap is way too bassy for any use I can think of.)

Overall I’d highly recommend the pickups-in-series mod, and straight up changing the tone cap to 33nF if not making it switchable.

I’m going to get some kind of black pickguard.  Maybe after that’s in, I’ll do a demo video of the wiring mods.

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