Dimarzio PAF Master Coil Splitting

DiMarzio PAF Master Coil splitting

If you have a DiMarzio PAF Master installed in your guitar, coil-splitting the pickup can be an easy way to add some versatility to the sound of your guitar. If you’re not familiar with coil-splitting, it is a process that deactivates one of the coils in a humbucker, giving you a single-coil sound. This article assumes you have a Di Marzio PAF Master installed in your guitar, and if you don’t have it installed, we have the complete step-by-step instructions here: DiMarzio PAF Master Wiring Diagram.

The DiMarzio Wiring Code

The wiring code references the wire colors coming from your pickup. Most humbuckers have four colored wires plus a bare one. The four colored wires represent the beginning and end of each of the two coils and the bare shield wire grounds the pickup itself. Knowing which colored wire is the beginning of one coil or the end of another is vital to wiring the guitar correctly.

We’ve already installed our pickup, so it’s easy to figure out the wiring code, but understanding this concept is vital to understanding the DiMarzio PAF Master coil splitting modification, so let’s take a closer look at it in Example 1.

Example 1

You can see in this example that the Red wire is the Hot, and the Green wire is the Ground. The bare wire connects to the Green wire to ground the pickup, and we tie the Black and White wires together and tape them off. These wires are connected because it’s common practice to run one coil directly into the other when using humbuckers.

If you check your guitar, you should see the Red wire goes to the switch or one of the lugs on the volume, while the Green and bare wires go to the back of the volume pot. These connections will not change in our modification. We will only need the Black and White wires.

Choosing Your Pot

Since you will probably not want to keep the modification active at all times, you will need some way to turn it on and off. We recommend using a push-pull pot as your switch because it’s reversible, but many people opt for a mini-toggle switch instead. If you use a toggle switch, you will need to drill a hole in your pickguard to hold the switch.

If you use a push-pull pot, you will need to convert your standard tone pot to a push-pull. Some guitars don’t have enough room in the cavity for the push-pull pot. Either way, the DiMarzio PAF Master coil splitting wiring that we are going to show you is the same.

To install the push-pull pot, remove the standard tone control, and install the push-pull the same way.

Example 2 illustrates a conventional wiring diagram.

Example 2

Example 3 illustrates the same circuit with a push-pull pot.

Example 3

Splitting the Coil

DiMarzio PAF Master coil splitting is very simple. It requires connecting the black and white wires from the pickup to the switch of the push-pull pot, and connecting a ground wire from the switch to the back of the volume pot or tone control.

You can see the standard way to wire the push-pull pot in Example 4.

Example 4

You can see the usual way to wire the mini-toggle switch in Example 5.

Example 5


When you pull out the push-pull pot, you create a connection between the Black and White wires and ground. This connection allows all of the signal to go to ground instead of the second coil, and essentially replaces the Green wire, and as a result you get the sound of one coil activated. When you push the pot back in, the connection is severed, and the signal travels through the second coil, creating the normal humbucker sound.

We hope that you have enjoyed reading this article, and that it has answered any questions you might have. If you have learned something new, please feel free to share this short guide to DiMarzio PAF Master coil-splitting on Facebook and Twitter. For more articles on guitar electronics, visit humbuckersoup.com.

Our resident electronics wizard came by his skills honestly — first as an apprentice in his father’s repair shop, later as a working musician and (most recently) as a sound designer for film. His passion for guitar led him to Humbucker Soup, where he continues to decode the wonders of wiring and the vicissitudes of voltage. Ed has never taken his guitar to a shop — he already knows how to fix it.