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Re: Strat Pickup Wiring Question

8/10/1999 3:21 AM
Mark Hammer Re: Strat Pickup Wiring Question
***Can you spell out the details of that switch in greater detail? I guess I must be missing something because it seems to me that you would have no output from the middle position of the selector switch if the added switch in line with the middle pickup lead was open......***  
oops, you're right.  
I was always under the impression that the 5-way gave you all 3 pickups in the middle position. I gather the standard switch only provides the middle pickup in the middle position, from your description.  
In which case, what FuzzFace really wants is a 3-way switch (Tele-style, easily purchased) to get front-both-rear, and use the push-pull switch on the tone pot to bring the middle pickup in. This would mean the middle pickup gets wired to the switch on the pot (assuming he goes with this option), and from there to the Volume control. The 3-way switch would also go to the volume pot.  
One of the options to consider is whether series or parallel wiring is preferred. A SPDT switch on the pot can provide a quasi series wiring. If the output of the 3-way switch goes to the centre lug of the switch (i.e., the one that gets connected to the two outside lugs), you can run a wire from one of the outside lugs to the volume control, and connect the middle pickup between the volume control and the other outside lug.  
Using this scheme, one gets standard 3-way switching from the front and rear pickups in parallel (when combined). When the pot is pushed (or pulled, depending on wiring), the front and rear are placed in series with the middle pickup and fed to the volume control. I describe this as "quasi-series" because it is only true series when the middle pickup is combined with EITHER the neck OR bridge pickup. When those pickups are combined with each other, they are in parallel, and only THEN are in series with the middle pickup. I haven't frittered around with this so I really couldn't tell you what it sounds like, except that users generally find a slightly lower resonance in their sound because of the additive inductance of pickups attached end to end.  
The alternative is to wire up the middle pickup in parallel, which is certainly not the worst of all possible sounds. It just depends on what you want and the tone of the PU's to start with. In this case, the 3-way goes right to the volume control, and the middle PU goes to the pot-switch, then to the volume control.  
Incidentally, this will yield six different combinations, yielding all Strat and Tele sounds, a very nice place to be in if you ask me.
8/10/1999 6:24 PM
Steve A.

:quasi-series linkage  
    My Sup'rStrat harness has one of those: with the middle pickup in parallel with the neck and bridge pickups in series. The sound reminds me of Hubert Sumlin's work with Howlin' Wolf in the early 60's. It has more bass than the typical neck/middle notched position (great for chords) and the highs do start to roll off a bit as you go up the fretboard on the high-E string. It is an interesting linkage for an occasional change of pace and comes FREE with every Sup'rStrat harness...  
:series linkages with the middle pickup  
    I've gotten a few questions about how it would sound if either the neck or the bridge pickup was wired up in series with middle pickup. I must admit that I've never tried it so I thought I'd check with you... How about all 3 pickups in series?  
Steve Ahola
8/11/1999 4:10 AM
Mark Hammer
Couldn't tell you what these sound like. Sorry.
8/10/1999 6:12 PM
John Kos

I have a suggestion a little different the the rest. For me it required zero rewiring and does exactly what I wanted. Move the neck pickup to the middle, middle pickup to the bridge, and the bridge pickup to the neck. Then you have neck, neck+bridge, bridge, bridge+middle, and middle when going from the bottom switch position to the top position.  
Have fun,  
John Kos
8/11/1999 4:21 AM
Mark Hammer
Nice trick. Best used, however, when all three pickups possess identical qualities. Where a given guitar has different pickups in each position, moving pickups is precluded.  
That being said, there is no rule that says that the pickup selector switch HAS to work like a bass-through-to-treble control. Admittedly, it makes more intuitive sense to a player in midstream if the tone gets crisper as you move the switch further to the rear, but I suppose one can get used to it; after all, Strat players got used to not having a neck+bridge combination!!  
A compromise between buying a new switch and doing the shifty polka as John describes would be to connect the bridge pickup to where the middle pickup normally goes on the switch, and the middle to where the brideg normally goes, leaving the front pickup wired in as per usual.  
This should give you Neck, Neck+Bridge, Bridge, Bridge+Middle, and Middle. The first three positions get you standard Tele switching, 4 gets you cluck, and 5 gets you middle; an acceptable arrangement.
8/12/1999 3:21 AM
Mark Hammer
Well, I did this today to my nephew's Charvel, and it seems to have worked out fine. The first 3 positions are the standard Tele/3-way settings, and 4-5 get you two kinds of Strat cluck (middle and middle-plus-bridge). This only required one pole of the two-pole 5-way switch.  
I had hoped to wire up the Tone control to the other pole so that the Tone control would be disabled for positions 4 & 5 (the "cluck" settings). In theory it is possible to do this by running a wire from the Volume control input to lugs 1 & 2 on the other half-switch (the ones which correspond to where the neck and middle pickups would normally be connected to on the other pole of the switch). The wiper lug of that section of the switch goes to the input of the Tone control pot (i.e., where the Volume control would normally be connected to the Tone control). This lets you mute the tone a bit with the Tone pot for the first 3 "Tele" combinations, and lifts the Tone control out of circuit for the two positions involving the middle pickup (remember, we've switched the middle and bridge PU's in our wiring scheme). It's a nice way of easily getting radical shifts in tone within the constraints of a master-tone/master-volume arrangement Sadly the other pole on the switch was dead., so for now it remains only a good system in theory, rather than practice.  
I will say that it will take a bit of getting used to to think of the centre position of the 5-way switch as the "lead" position.  
Thanks for the idea, John.

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