“Out of Phase” Guitar Pickups

TK Smith

I was recently asked why I played so many songs with my guitar pickups wired out of phase on Big Sandy’s “On The Go” LP.  The answer to that is… shortly before we recorded the album Robert played me a recording by Louie Innis,  ‘’Ain’t Got A Pot To Peel Potatoes In’’. The song features a great takeoff guitar solo with out of phase pickups. It was the first time I can remember hearing that sound. Immediately I put a push/pull tone pot in my Gretsch to have the option of the out of phase sound. I’ve always thought that the guitar player on this Louie Innis recording might be Roy Lanham but I’m only guessing. If anyone knows the session details of this recording please leave a comment.

You can hear the great Louie Innis recording here


  • TK,

    I LOVE this SOUND !! Can you provide any details on how you wired your Gretsch to get this ‘out-of-phase’ tone ? I have a Gretsch 6120 w/Dynasonics and I would love to be able to get this kind of tone out of it.


    Bruce Lipski

    P.S. Do you have any pricing for your Charlie Christian pickup ? I’ve got a Tele project that is searching for a unique neck pickup.

  • Hey TK,
    Not too sure, but I do know that he used Zeb and Zeke Turner on bass and guitar on some if these ’50’s sessions. They are likely candidates for this solo as well.

  • Bruce, you just have to switch the + and the – and ground the housing separately on one pickup. Also, I have a handful of the Charlie Christian type pickups for sale at $225. plus shipping. Contact me if you’re interested.

  • I was just listening to some Jimmy Nolen stuff yesterday that has some great out of phase tones, and thinking about a push-pull pot in one of my guitars! Nolen played an ES-5 at the time, and those had that sound “built in”.

  • It could be Casey Clark. The noodling he is doing sounds like the same stuff on Teenage Queen by Lonnie Barron. I could be mistaken but I believe Casey Clark plays on that record.

  • Hello Tk!

    I just discovered you and your site recently and holy crap your awesome! I mean your blog is just fantastic and your interests are real similar to mine! I can’t get enough of your videos and your stuff with Big Sandy and you are definitely up there as one of my favorite guitarists and soon influences.

    Well anyways I just wanted to know if that is an original Standel amp? Do you still have it? Also whats that echo/delay unit you have there?

    Again I cannot stress how cool your blog is. In the future I’ll contact you to purchase one of your blade pups so I can put it in my tele! Hopefully your ol duo jet will come up on ebay or something.

    Thanks and Merry Christmas!