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Thread: Mark Hammer - thanks for the strat wiring tip ....

  1. #1
    Junior Member Todd Hepler's Avatar
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    Mark Hammer - thanks for the strat wiring tip ....

    In the letters section of this month's VG.

    Sounds like a useful modification to a stock strat's wiring.

    -Todd

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    You're welcome. I hadn't realized they printed my letter (this makes about 4 of them in recent years; guess they like me). I suppose I need to stop by the newsstand this evening.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Hammer
    You're welcome. I hadn't realized they printed my letter (this makes about 4 of them in recent years; guess they like me). I suppose I need to stop by the newsstand this evening.
    Hey Mark,

    Can you give us details? Or do we have to by the mag?

    steve

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    Nothing special. Just the same thing I've been touting here for years now. It's the lead swap on a 5-way switch. Simplest Strat mod in the world, and maybe the most practical.

    If you resolder the middle pickup lead to where the bridge pickup lead goes on your standard 5-way switch, and do the inverse for the bridge pickup, you get the following combinations:

    Pos 1 - neck only
    Pos 2 - neck + bridge
    Pos 3 - bridge
    Pos 4 - bridge + middle
    Pos 5 - middle

    You end up losing one of the traditional Strat "cluck" combinations, but you gain the Telecaster neck+bridge setting, which a Strat normally cannot do. All other settings are part of a normal Strat switch. Having both sparkle and cluck in one guitar is sweet. The tone controls are not affected at all, provided the tone pots follow where the pickups go.

    Having the most trebley position being the centre position is a little disorienting at first, but you soon get used to it.

    As well, normally a matched Strat set has the middle pickup RWRP. In this instance, you want the bridge pickup RWRP and the neck and middle same polarity in order to produce hum-rejecting combinations in positions 2 and 4.

    I'm sure there are other reasons to shell out your $8 for it, but if that's all you wanted from the mag, there you go.

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    Thanks, Mark.

    steve

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    Strat Mod

    If you don't mind a mini switch, I just wired the bridge pickup direct to output using an on/off mini switch ! It allows you to turn on the bridge pickup any time you want, giving you all the traditional strat sounds plus neck/bridge and a phadoid 3 pick up Brian May type sound.

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    That's also a good idea.

    The Strat provides no end of what is possible for a mod. What I came up with was something that required NO additional parts. The outcome may be something that some find limiting, but out there are tons of players who either don't want to, or can't justify/afford, or can't find, the parts needed or the expertise needed to mod their Strat/clone to get additional sounds, or who get skittish when holes need to be drilled or parts replaced. Swapping two wires is about as simple as it gets. Plus it is something that is easily reversible if you don't like it, and nothing has to get destroyed in the process.

    I figure there's a place for something like that alongside all the other hundreds of terrific and often ingenious wiring/rewiring schemes for 3-pickup or dual-humbucker guitars that let users get sounds they couldn't get previously.

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    Wink

    That's really trick. But as I couln't live without that ONE #2 sound. I'm not familiar with Tele sounds but Brad Paisley cracks whip!

    How about using that idea with the neck pup instead. Also as the resistance/power of neck and middle pickups are usually the same you can swap their locations for a done deal that's humcancelling and balanced output as before. And if you didn't tell someone right away...Guitar Cranium!

    Pos 1 - middle
    Pos 2 - middle + neck
    Pos 3 - neck only
    Pos 4 - neck + bridge
    Pos 5 - bridge

    (I do love the jazzy sounds of strat pickups in series as well. So it would be nice to have a couple hum cancelling sounds as well without going nuts with a Superswitch and a DPDT)

    Recently, I heard some profs talking together about how getting an article (magazine) published is a big feather in your cap. So great going!

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    Great idea! And kudos to you for giving my idea a clever and productive quarter twist.

    The thing is that there are LOTS of ridiculously simple ideas that can work exceptionally well for a given player's needs without having to drill, route, or otherwise tear up a perfectly lovely guitar, or render it so complicated that you need a graduate degree to operate it. The trick is to get past the traditional way of thinking about traditional switches and controls. As you note, sometimes you DO have to give up one thing to get access to others, but if what you gain is something you have been otherwise unable to get, so much the better.

    Since my cheapo Turser Tele has a MUCH more accessible control cavity than that found on Strats, I'm going to have to try out your idea. One thing I like about it is that the user can simply "throw" the switch back for leads, whereas in my configuration, you have to get it in the middle position. I can see where, in the heat of the moment, it may be trickier for some players than what you have. I chose to keep position 4 rather than 2, but quite frankly never tried out #2 on my guitar so maybe I don't know what I'm missing! I wound the middle and bridge pickups on mine and, having recently scored a roll of #42 wire for myself, have plans to wind an improved neck pickup. Maybe I'm missing out on something I didn't realize.

    As for articles being a feather. It's true. But, speaking as someone who taught university for 15 years, a letter to the editor ain't that kind of article. Still, I'm flattered you saw it in that light, and appreciate your response. Thanks!

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    B-N out-of-phase

    If you want to preserve two hum-cancelling sounds with your mod, I'd suggest to put the neck pickup in reverse. This gives you the bridge-neck combination out-of-phase. To my ears this sounds even more like a Telecaster than the in-phase combination. I've installed a phase reverse switch for the neck pickup on my Strat deluxe and I can get both of them. The B-N out-of-phase is my absolute favourite.

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