I have a Dean electric guitar (couldn't find it on their website, sorry) with a 3 position switch, 2 knobs, and 2 double humbuckers. I know what the switch does, but am confused about the knobs.

I am aware that with two knobs, one is for volume and one is for tone, but my knobs either push in or pull out. I have Googled some and haven't found anything else like this. One knob controls volume and it appears the other controls tone, but I'm unclear on how pushing them down or pulling them up affects things. What do these knobs do then, in either of their settings?

1 Answer 1


Most likely they are "coil split" (1) or "coil tap" (2) switches, one for each pickup.

If so, these engage a bypass in the wiring of the humbucking pickups that either 1) completely removes one of the two humbucking coils from the circuit, turning the pickup into a single-coil pickup, or 2) bypasses some of the coil windings in the two coils, resulting in a lower level of signal output and a thinner tone with more pronounced harmonic content.

  • 1
    A possible additional function, which I have on one of my guitars is to switch between modern and traditional tones using different circuits for the signal path.
    – Doktor Mayhem
    Commented Apr 5, 2013 at 23:45
  • That would involve different capacitors for tone controls in a passive design, or active equalization in an active design (if your Dean guitar has a compartment for an internal battery, then there is an active tone circuit or preamp on board.)
    – user1044
    Commented Apr 6, 2013 at 1:47
  • It's also possible that one is a polarity invert switch like Jimmy Page used to wire in. Commented Apr 8, 2013 at 19:12
  • Maybe. The Jimmy Page mod is not likely to be found on a stock import Dean guitar.
    – user1044
    Commented Apr 8, 2013 at 19:14
  • 2
    It is much more likely to be a coil split than a coil tap. Coil tap and coil split are often used interchangeably but they are two different things. Your number 1) describes a coil split, 2) describes a coil tap. Coil taps are quite rate and are unlikely to be found on a cheap guitar.
    – Fergus
    Commented Jul 8, 2014 at 20:29

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.