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Discussion Starter #1
I want to compare the sound of the neck SC on my Epi SL against a $20 Belcat Hot Rail I got on amazon. I need help to figure out how to connect a 4 wire + ground pickup in place of a 2 wire SC while getting noise cancellation and HB sound, etc.

The HB has ground, white, green, red and black wires, the SC only has white and ground wires.

@mhammer I haven't forgotten what we talked about, after I do this test (for my YouTube page) the hot rails is all yours to experiment with (unless it sounds so good I can't live without it in which case the SCs are yours).

Thanks!
 

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Red is hot, black and bare wire are ground, green and white are used to split coils. Just wrap some tape around them and keep them out of the way. It is "possible" that it's something else but based on your pic I'm about 95% sure that's what you're dealing with.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
That was it! I did exactly as davetcan says. Here is the audio comparison, first I play the Neck position with the stock Single Coil then with the Belcat at exactly the same height:

https://soundcloud.com/https%3A%2F%2Fsoundcloud.com%2Fandrei-martinez-agras%2Fepi-sl-stock-single-vs-belcat-hot-rail
The Belcat sounds darker but I can't tell if this is because of the direct comparison with the typical brightness of a SC or because the Belcat sounds simply bad. I have no enough knowledge about HB in general and I will appreciate other people's input. What I can say for sure is that such a difference in tone is welcome in my guitar stand, I just don't want to go extremely far from what I was originally looking for which is a Les Paul-ish sound.

Thx!
 

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The Belcat certainly sounds muffled and muddy by comparison. Keep in mind it's a $20 pickup. I'd try adjusting it closer to the strings, as close as possible while avoiding magnetic pull on the strings. The single coil actually sounds really nice to my ears.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for listening Dav, here is a new comparison between three different heights (low-mid-high). Apart from the slight increase in amp distortion I don't hear much difference in tone but I could be wrong. One thing I might say is that apart from the lack of clarity in the Belcat I don't hear any annoying or unbalanced frequencies that would typically make a pickup bad in my opinion. Please let me know what you think if you have time to listen:
https://soundcloud.com/https%3A%2F%2Fsoundcloud.com%2Fandrei-martinez-agras%2Fepi-sl-belcat-hot-rail-height-low-mid-high
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
I found on one of the links Greco shared that if I connect the coils in parallel it might sound brighter (although it did take Sai if it would still no hum) black and white together with ground and green and red won't produce any sound, I'm trying a different combination now, I also have a multimeter but I'm not sure how to use it.

Update. I found how to measure in ohms. Green and red and one coil, black and white are the other. Now will try to find the right polarity and see what happens.
 

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Boy that's a tough call. My afternoon ears actually like the Belcat in parallel, which is probably where you started this morning. Any chance you could play over a backing track? The series and single coil sound a little harsh when breaking up but that might just sit nicely in the mix. Sorry to be a pain :)
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Boy that's a tough call. My afternoon ears actually like the Belcat in parallel, which is probably where you started this morning. Any chance you could play over a backing track? The series and single coil sound a little harsh when breaking up but that might just sit nicely in the mix. Sorry to be a pain :)
Not a pain at all, I appreciate a lot your company and opinions on this thread! Here is an improvisation over a song I'm working on, you'll have to excuse me the lack ideas but I lost the first 2 strings swapping the pickups this morning.
https://soundcloud.com/https%3A%2F%2Fsoundcloud.com%2Fandrei-martinez-agras%2Fimprov-epi-lp-sl-belcat-hot-rail-neck-pos
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Damn, that sounds great, I wouldn't change a thing. Honestly the pups sound really good.
That rewiring proved my original opinion about the $20 Belcat wrong. Now I want to replace the bridge SC with another one, identical. It doesn't sound as full or has as much power as the HB that mhammer installed on my Telecaster but it sounds good enough to make a difference in tone from the other 2 guitars I own and I was looking for variety when I bought this guitar.
 

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I listened to all the clips and might be the only one who enjoyed the original SC more. Seemed to have a nice pop and skip to it.

With the bridge Bellcat, can you lean the treble side of the pickup closer to the strings then the bass side?
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I listened to all the clips and might be the only one who enjoyed the original SC more. Seemed to have a nice pop and skip to it.

With the bridge Bellcat, can you lean the treble side of the pickup closer to the strings then the bass side?
I really like the original SC but I already have a Tele and a Strat and the Belcat doesn't sound too bad after today's experiments. I suppose I can try leaning the treble side closer to the strings and see if that helps getting even closer to he LP sound but I enjoy pickups with plenty of body and changing the angle could break the balance between sustain and clarity. Anything I do I will report here, thank you so much for the help guys!
 
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