Pickups

P-13 pickups out of phase switch wiring.

1

I have a Silvertone 1427, which is almost the same as an H63, Espanada or Harmony H62. It has P-13 pickups which are a pre-curser to P-90s made by Gibson. Only appear on a few Gibson guitars for a couple of years but Gibson supplied Harmony with them and they appear on some 1950's archtops.

I've watched some youtube videos such as this: and think its out of phase sound would be great to have available but it's not currently wired for that.

I took it to my local tech today and he said the wires make that difficult. The ground is an exposed, hollow braided wire with the shielded lead in the center. And switching lead to ground and vice versa poses problems.

I found some photos of a P-13 opened up and it doesn't appear that trying to flip magnets would be an advisable solution especially in a 57 year old pickup.

I'd prefer to leave the existing wiring of pickups, switch, caps and pots as unmolested as possible, imaging a switch accessable through the unbound F-hole.

Any input from folks with knowledege of making this kind of mod in a vintage guitar without doing anything drastic appreciated. Thanks.

2

fortunately these silvertones we own arent that expensive, so you can carefully desolder a tone pot and put it away for safe keeping should you sell the instrument.. replace it w a CTS push/pull pot as that had a dPdT switch on it for letting you choose an out of phase setting for your guitar. I've only had the speedbump versions on my Silvertone's so I'm not sure about the leads on those P-13s but you will have to disconnect the lead going from the bobbin to the pickup body and attach a length of new lead to it and create another ground lead for the pickup housing.. this will create 3 leads coming the pickup. Send the pickup body ground lead to the back of whatever pot you have the other ground running to and then take the other two leads from the bobbin and wire them to the dPdT switch on the pushpull tone pot you replaced. like so

I went a head and put in a pot and added an extra output jack as I have a pickup the world ribbon on the bridge and the DeArmond FHC at the neck, to have the best of both worlds.

3

Thanks. I don't have a lot of experience with wiring so let me see if I've got this straight. I'm picturing there is the current lead with ground sheathing around it from the pickup to the pot and also a ground from the bobbin soldered to the pickup body. So desolder the connection to the pickup body and attach a new lead to that wire still attached to the bobbin? Then would I need to attach the additional ground wire to the bobbin and ground it on the pickup body? Hoping if this is the case I wouldn't need to disassemble the pickup to attach new ground to bobbin.Then attach the existing and new leads/grounds to the new PP pot as shown in the diagram?

Regardless of corners cut in manufacturing back in the day these particular Silvertone and Harmony guitars with dual P-13 pickups are getting up there in value these days and this one is 100% original, all original parts intact and in good condition. Sounds great as is but seems like the perfect guitar for that out of phase tone. Trying to balance that desire with not doing anything I can't easily put back to original.

5

Tavo’s idea won’t work without taking the pick up apart and changing the inside. The trouble is that the two wires from the bobbin are soldered to eyelets on the base. One of these eyelets makes a connection to the base and the other is isolated from it. The braided wire is connected to the same eyelets from the outside. So anywhere on the base you are connected to the minus of the bobbin.

I took a P13 apart and changed the connections for a project I did. The outside wire had been changed so it wasn’t original anyway. Luckily the bobbin was original. I didn’t disconnect the ground from the bobbin though so it wouldn’t make it possible to go out of fase. But perhaps you can see how it works.
Here is the topic I made about it: Hofner P13 project

6

thanks for the info, nice Hofner, not very familiar with those. The Silvertone has a tailpiece made by Hofner. I'm hesitant to open up a 57 year old pickup that hasn't previously been opened.

7

thanks for the info, nice Hofner, not very familiar with those. The Silvertone has a tailpiece made by Hofner. I'm hesitant to open up a 57 year old pickup that hasn't previously been opened.

– Gregory_Pecarry

Thanks. It's a fun instrument to play. Nice and light and a bit rough.....

I would be hesitant to open up a completely original P13 as well. Mine was original on the inside but the outside wires had been changed anyway. So it was a less of a problem, I think.
I think I would leave your P13 the way it is but that's up to you..... ; )

8

Greg:

My Silvertone 1427 was restored by an expert luthier in NJ. George Goumas. www.fretshop1.com.

At his suggestion, I went with a switch tucked into the lower f hole, to change phase. Works perfectly. Not sure how the wiring was achieved, but he could tell you. George has done a number of old Silvertone and Harmony restorations, really knows his stuff. My 1427 was dramatically improved by his attentions.

MD

9

Thanks MD. Just sent him an email. Found one example of a 1427 restoration on his site, maybe yours? Does yours have a super deep round neck? Not uncomfortable but quite a handful compared to anything else I've played.

10

Can't you just take the magnet out of one pickup and flip it over????

11

Then it's not switchable

12

Take it to someone who's experienced enough with pickup work to not be afraid to go in there and isolate the - side of the coil from the ground. It's not very hard, it's not rocket science, you just have to know what you're doing and be very careful. And I agree with Tavo, a push-pull pot is ideal for switching it in and out.

Almost everyone I know who plays one of those Harmonies has a phase switch in there for "that jump blues tone", it really can't be that hard to do.

13

I have a 1427 as well, that I bought with the wrong pick ups in it. I had a set of P 13s and spacers/harness in my parts bin, and had my luthier install them and had one flipped to do out of phase. Of course I can't find the video I posted to YouTube of it, and I just popped a string or I'd make another one so you'll have to take my word for it for the moment. In any event, it didn't seem to be much of a deal at the time and required no extraordinary efforts. It's not quite as extreme as the out of phase tone I get on my ES 350, but there's plenty of Stormy Monday in there and is a bit less noisy.

14

It's a simple mod. Desolder the cover and the wires and just put a new eyelet in the hole that the ground is connected to. One that doesn't make contact with the base. Then solder two wires to the eyelets and another to the base. Done in no time... ; )

16

btw.. you wanted something non intrusive.. perhaps you should have paul setzer make you a repro pickguard and incorporate this min slide dpdt switch on the actual pickguard? Early DeArmond avail here: http://www.ebay.com/itm/DeA...

– THE NOCTURNE BRAIN™ (actually loves hippies)

The original pickguard is not the best shape. Kind of wonky curves that don't follow the curves of the guitar well. He could probably make a much better one.

17

Not to do anything to discourage patronizing our own fine artisan, but there are many inexpensive repros of this guard on the market. This line has been a fave of mine for decades - I bet I've owned well over a dozen examples and played countless more

18

Greg:

My Silvertone 1427 was restored by an expert luthier in NJ. George Goumas. www.fretshop1.com.

At his suggestion, I went with a switch tucked into the lower f hole, to change phase. Works perfectly. Not sure how the wiring was achieved, but he could tell you. George has done a number of old Silvertone and Harmony restorations, really knows his stuff. My 1427 was dramatically improved by his attentions.

MD

– mad dog

I heard back from George, He was very generous and sent some diagrams, photos and descriptions of the OOP switch mod. Said he was closing his shop and packing up to move to Florida.

The one thing I still am a bit confused about is locating attachment points for the lead and ground lead. Per George: "Solder a length of of 22 - 24 gauge stranded hookup wire to the pickups hot output wire, and a black wire to the pickups ground lead."

Seems both lead and braided ground wires are soldered to the same point of attachment. Looks like a screw with both inner lead and outer braided wire clamped down and soldered over. The braided wire is soldered onto the surface of the back plate. (Can't seem to upload photos here.)

Any recommendations of someone I could send the pickup to that could reliably attach the necessary leads to attach to the switch?

I don't want to ship the guitar but maybe the pickup. I'm in a small college town not near larger places with one tech who is good with most things, but I get the feeling this is a little out of his comfort zone. I'm about 5 hours from Nashville, Atlanta, and New Orleans. Also will be in the San Francisco Bay area next month visiting family. I live in Hooterville essentially.


Register Sign in to join the conversation