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Posted on Friday, October 08, 2004 - 11:09 am:   

Hi All,

How many positions is the Tri-Sound switch supposed to have?

Posted on Friday, October 08, 2004 - 11:09 am:   


Hmmm, this is a trick question, right?


Why do you ask?
Posted on Friday, October 08, 2004 - 11:09 am:   

Thanks John. Logic dictates that it should be three, but I have never played a guitar with a working Tri-Sound circuit. I now have in my possession an AS200 with a bi-sound switch. Position one is full humbucker mode, position two is. . . full humbucker mode. Very strange indeed. -Seth
Mark Munchenberg
Posted on Friday, October 08, 2004 - 11:09 am:   


the trisound switch should definitely have 3 distinct sounds to it. The up position is full humbucker, the middle is two coils in parallel (I think!!), and down position is one coil on its own.

The sounds can best be described as Fat, Thin, Weedy.


Fred B.
Posted on Friday, October 08, 2004 - 11:09 am:   


Does the "bi-sound" have three positions, and is only wired for two? The tri-sounds have six poles which on vintage Ibanez are wired with the four outside poles criss-crossed, maybe taking a look at one of JD's wiring diagrams would give a better idea on what this means:

Usually the "up" position (switch pointing to the pickups) is humbucker, "middle" is single-coil, and "down" is parallel (a tinny sound of the humbucker coils wired in parallel). If you're looking for replacement tri-sounds, Ibanez still sells them...actually bought a couple of replacements a while back for one of my AR300s. Hope this helps.

Posted on Friday, October 08, 2004 - 11:09 am:   


The switch has two positions instead of the usual three and doesn't seem to be wired to do much of anything. There's a "click" when the switch changes position, but it doesn't noticeably affect the tone of the pickup. All of the electronics are a mess, actually. The bridge pickup tone control seems to affect volume as well as tone for some reason. . .

It's good to know Ibanez makes tri-sound replacements, Fred. Just out of curiousity, where did you buy them?

So, what's the verdict on the Tri-Sounds, guys? Do the single coil and parallel positions produce useable sounds? Does a tapped humbucker approximate the neck pickup of a Strat or tele? Why do the parallel coils produce such a "weedy", "tinny" sound?

Mark Munchenberg
Posted on Friday, October 08, 2004 - 11:09 am:   


I thought the weediest sound was the single coil on its own, not the parallel set up. I could be mistaken though.

Personally I rarely use the tri-sound on my Performer. On this guitar I only have it available on the neck humbucker. I find most use for it when I combine the neck and bridge pickups. Here I put the trisound switch in the middle position occaisionally. It gives a slightly more jangly sound.

The only time I use the weedy sound is when I perform Nutbush City Limits. Here I'll turn the amp up to compensate for the volume drop, hit the weedy button and stomp on the tube screamer. You get instant Ike Turner.

As for the coil taps and parallel sounds making your guitar sound like a Strat, forget it. It is not convincing at all.

The tri-sound is a good way of increasing the guitar's versatility, particularly in the studio, but as far as live is concerned, the volume differential is troublesome. You always have to tweak the amp.

to sum up, the tri-sound is not a bad thing, but it doesn't make a guitar any better either. It just makes it different.


Fred B.
Posted on Friday, October 08, 2004 - 11:09 am:   


I ordered the replacements directly from Ibanez, and they were pretty helpful about it. Their US base is in PA. The Ibanez website used to have pieces of their parts catalog available, though I'm not sure where they are now since they've redesigned the website.

In contrast to Mark's comment above, I use the tri-sounds in my Artists a lot, the extra texture in combining a humbucker setting on one pickup with a parallel setting on the other gives a great twang for clean blues leads. The single-coil settings don't sound like something from a Strat or Tele, but (in my case) given that the Artists are of the set neck mahogany/maple cap variety, I don't even think popping a pickup from a Fender into it would made it sound like one.

Good luck in any sort of restoration project with it, I've definitely been through that "fixing mucked up wiring job" process before...

Posted on Friday, October 08, 2004 - 11:09 am:   

ahhhhhhh I looooooove rewiring....

I take so much pride in my wiring..

Cable ties, complete shielding, perfect solder joints... I dont try and fix the mess... I pull it to bits and start again........
Username: Spangler41

Registered: 02-2004
Posted on Friday, September 23, 2005 - 11:03 pm:   

I have an Ibanez AM255 with the original Tri-Sound switches. I use a POD XT Pro and using the bridge pickup with the Tri switch down can get a reasonable Tele tone.

Been thinking of rewiring another guitar with the same wiring scheme. Does anyone have a schematic of the wiring?

Username: Bcalla

Registered: 01-2002
Posted on Saturday, September 24, 2005 - 6:10 pm:   

Hi David -

Someone gave me this as the wiring for a Musician MC300.

MC300 Wiring Diagram

Username: Tubescorcher

Registered: 03-2004
Posted on Saturday, September 24, 2005 - 11:51 pm:   

Check this link out. It should answer all of your questions on guitar wiring.
Username: Guitartim

Registered: 04-2001
Posted on Monday, September 26, 2005 - 11:12 am:   

I love Mark's 'weedy' description of the single coil position!

My '79 2630 has a tri-sound switch, but is wired to the bridge pickup. After switching out the original Super 70's to Super 58's, the 'weedy' sound in the middle position is a bit more long as the volume is increased. Now it's 'funky and weedy'. With the help of an equilizer/booster or Tube Screamer, some cool sounds are possible...especially on Nutbush City Limits.


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