Let’s take a look at how to coil-split a Seymour Duncan SH-2N Jazz. Humbucker pickups are usually wired to use both of their coils at the same time; coil-splitting is when you use a switch to shut off one of the coils to make it sound much like a single-coil pickup. Splitting the pickup will give you more tone options, and the modification is completely reversible.
This modification can be accomplished using any humbucker pickup that has four colored wires and one bare wire. The design is always the same, but the color of the wires is often different between manufacturers or models.
The Seymour Duncan SH-2N Jazz pickup is a brighter-sounding pickup, and an excellent choice for the neck position. The extra treble helps the notes remain clear, even when playing very fast. It uses Alnico magnets and has a moderate output.
One of the most significant decisions we need to make when performing this modification is the type of switch to use to turn off one of the coils. For this guide, we are going to use a push-pull pot because it allows our mod to be reversible. You can use a toggle switch if you prefer, and the instructions to complete the modification are almost identical.
The downside to the push-pull pot is that it requires more space below the Volume or Tone control. Some guitars may not have enough room. You will want to check your guitar before deciding which switch to use.
The same instructions are used for the toggle switch as are used for the push-pull pot. You will have the added challenge, however, of where to install it on your guitar. You will most likely need to drill a permanent hole, so guitars that have pickguards with a lot of open space underneath are a candidate for the toggle switch.
The Push-Pull Pot
A push-pull pot is a regular Volume or Tone control that has a switch built into it. Pulling out, or pushing in, the shaft of the pot toggles the switch.
Installing the Pickup
To install the pickup, we first need to figure out which color wire goes to each coil. As with many Seymour Duncan pickups, in the SH-2N Jazz, the Green and Red wires go to one of the coils. The White and Black wires go to the other. The bare wire is a shield wire that is not directly connected to either of the coils and always goes to Ground. (Fig 1)
The most common way to wire the SH-2N Jazz for regular operation is to solder the White and Red wires together. We then use the Black wire as the Hot, and the Green as the Ground, when installing the pickup into your guitar. The Bare and Green wires are often soldered together. (Fig 2)
Next, we install our pickup into our guitar. We are going to wire it as if it is the only pickup, and we are only going to be concerned with the Volume control and the Output jack. If you need step-by-step instructions installing the SH-2N Jazz, we have an article here at humbuckersoup.com that will show you how. (Fig 3)
Splitting The Coils
The next thing we need to do for Seymour Duncan SH-2N Jazz Coil Splitting is change the standard Volume pot to a Push-Pull. The Push-Pull pot will be bulkier and have more connection tabs on it, but you should be able to see the three that were on the original Volume control in the same place. Wire these three tabs the same way as the original. (Fig 4)
The tricky thing about this coil-split is that it can be difficult to fit all of the ground wires on the back of a Push-Pull pot with the added switching component. The steel casing around these components is also thinner than regular pots, and a soldering iron can melt the inside if you are not careful. It might be easier to move your ground wires to the Tone pot if you have one. (Fig 7)
NOTE: If you find that the coil is splitting when the Volume knob is pushed-in instead of pulled-out, move the Ground wire from Tab 6 to Tab 4.
When the Volume knob is in the “pushed-in” position, your guitar signal travels through the first coil, starting at the Black wire, and continues right through the second coil, exiting the Green wire just like it was designed to do.
When the Volume knob is in the “pulled-out” position, your guitar signal travels through the first coil, starting at the Black wire, but this time it exits through the new ground wire that you installed, the one coming from the switch. So now, your signal never goes through the second coil, because your pickup is “split.”
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