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Old January 3rd, 2007, 04:39 PM   #1 (permalink)
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4 way switch wiring problem

G'day.

120 here.
Has anyone installed a 4-way switch selctor, wired it exactly like the wiring diagram had only 2 selections; the first 2 positions were both neck & bridge pickups parallel & the next 2 were just the neck pickup?

These switches are where the wiring can be the classic tele 3 way plus the 4th for bridge and neck in series (fatter tele tone ).

If anyone has had that and found how to overcome it, I'd really appreciate your advise.

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Old January 3rd, 2007, 05:43 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Yup.

I had that happen to me twice, on 2 different guitars, using two different wiring schemes, same exact result as yours. I never did get those suckers to work and just plum gave up on 'em, as I got the exact same result twice in a row, when everything else works perfectly.

One was the stock scheme, the other was Rob DeStefano's version.

On the second one, when the same thing happened, I got ticked off, flipped the switch around (just in case) rewired it, exact same thing.
Then I tried to think it thru to find my problem, came up with an alternate wiring, it got worse.

I thought this was pretty ridiculous considering I wire up multiple pot-active electronics setups regularly and they work every time, first time.

I said to **** with them and installed 3-ways instead, which wired up quick and worked perfect each time.

I'm still not sure what the problem is, I wouldn't mind giving it another shot if someone could explain the problem, I know I wired 'em correctly per diagrams.

I think it has something to do with the pickups 3rd wire, but can't really prove it, and got tired of trying.

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Old January 3rd, 2007, 05:54 PM   #3 (permalink)
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No help here, other than to say I'm having the exact same problem with my current build. I've looked over the wiring a hundred times and it looks right compared to the wiring schemes. I set it aside for awhile in order to come back to it with fresh eyes someday.

This place is incredible. Two people on other sides of the world with the same problem at the same time.
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Old January 3rd, 2007, 06:20 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Yes its at the stage of using a 3 way - maybe wire a series neck/bridge - I do like a 'fat' sound and my bridge p/up has 10.5 kiloOhms of fat resistance to play with.

Its friggin frustrating when spending so much time on something, look at it every which way - rewire it different ways, write stuff on forums and only to be back to the drawing board - two people on either side of the globes havin the same problem at the same time - maybe having the same solution!!
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Old January 3rd, 2007, 10:33 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I've wired 2 in the last week,just like the diagram that came with the switch and they worked fine. Might have a bad switch or wire connection. Start over,1 wire at the time. The only pup that should have 3 wires is the neck,and that 3rd wire should be grounded to the cover,but the only thing that does is cancel the hum. make sure the lugs on the switch match up to the diagram.
All of mine will be 4 way before its over. I'm sure its something youve overlooked,dont give up.
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Old January 4th, 2007, 01:07 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Thanx folks - Sudancat, you've just inspired me to have another look. Cheers. I did wonder what the 3rd wire was for and figured it was when only the bridge p/up is activated. Hopefully I'll find out.
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Old January 4th, 2007, 10:33 AM   #7 (permalink)
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used this when i did mine, worked finehttp://www.**********************/product/WDUSS4L1101
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Old January 4th, 2007, 12:22 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Perhaps a quick explanation of how the 4-way (series) setup works will help with your troubleshooting.

A standard Tele 3-way switch selects the pickups by switching between their hot leads and routing them to the volume pot - in fact, this is how just about all "normal" pickup selectors work.

The Fender 4-way Tele scheme doesn't do that with the neck pickup. If you look at the drawing, the HOT from the neck pup goes straight to the volume pot - just as if it were "always on." The neck pickup is selected (activated) by where its NEGATIVE (ground) lead is routed.

If its negative lead is "OPEN," it doesn't play - throw #1.

If its negative lead goes to ground, it does play, either solo or parallel to the bridge pup - throws #2 and #3.

If its negative lead is routed to the bridge's HOT lead, it plays in series (if the bridge pup is NOT also selected) - throw #4.

Some more help... Let's talk about the neck pup:

Part of the problem is that we have all used the shorthand "GROUND" for the coil's NEGATIVE lead. Most of the time, the terms are interchangeable - but NOT when you have a separate coil-NEGATIVE lead and an GROUND/SHIELD lead, like most modern four-conductor pickups have. The lead bundle will actually have FIVE wires, the fifth being a bare ground/shield, separate from any coil leads. Back to our Tele dilemma...

The third conductor on a modern Tele neck pup is an independent ground/shield lead for the cover of the the pickup. So, the three leads are coil HOT, coil NEGATIVE, and cover GROUND/SHIELD. Until you install the pickup, the GROUND does NOT have continuity with the coil's NEGATIVE lead.

If you are modding an old two-conductor Tele neck pup, you will be cutting the jumper that connects the coil's negative lead to the metal cover, and adding a new lead to the metal cover for the new ground/shield lead.

In any case, the cover's ground/shield lead, when tested against both of the other (coil) leads, should show "OPEN" on a meter. This ground/shield lead is soldered to the back of the volume pot.

The coil's negative (the old "ground") lead should go to the 4-way as shown in the drawings.

The HOT lead is soldered to the 4-way and on to the volume pot as shown in the drawings.

Is that any help?
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Last edited by Deaf Eddie; April 4th, 2008 at 11:28 AM.
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Old January 4th, 2007, 02:40 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Deaf Eddie - that is a hugely comprehensive explaination - makes me wonder whether the 'Deaf' in 'Deaf Eddie' is just a little satire thrown in for good measure.

I'll study what you have written - and get a new pick up selector!! I ran an ohmeter through the connections and even though I did it a few different ways, there seems to be no connection from left to right sides on all but 2 and 4 position. For the meantime I've put a 3 way in her which is easy enough to do - and solder. I'm still in hunt for that elixiar of tones which seems like a life long endevour. All in good time (and in a selector thats not faulty!!)
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Old January 4th, 2007, 03:40 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Thanks much for the explanation.

In my case, I don't use typical Tele neck pickups, they're usually a Strat neck pkp of some variety, so there is no cover wire because there's no cover.

Look at this quote from editorjuno talking about Keystone pickups and their three wires. I believe this kind of situation is what I am consistently running into when I refer to 3 wires, I think somewhere in here is my problem.

Most pkps I'm using have this third wire...Bardens actually have 4 (black, brown, green, shield), HD's have three, Lawrences, Lace, most current pkps are using this 3-wire scheme, and I'm certain somewhere in here is the core of my problem.

Quote:
As a matter of fact, you can freely reverse the white and black leads of our Keystone bridge pickup for Teles to remedy phasing conflicts -- the bridge/string ground is entirely isolated from the coil and is connected separately via the blue lead.
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Old January 4th, 2007, 04:10 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Once more, with feeling - and a drawing!

Here's a hint: if the neck pup always plays, the neck pup's negative lead has a path to ground, and is NOT going through the switch exclusively.

You seem to be confused about how the switch works. There's only ONE throw where the left and right sides are connected - throw #4, the series combo. Here's a quick drawing that I did, perhaps this will help:



The lugs with the "C" next to them (at the opposite ends of the poles (rows of lugs)) are the COMMON lugs for this switch - they are the constant against which the other lugs are switched. You can readily see how this scheme switches the bridge's HOT lead and the neck's NEGATIVE lead, with the neck's HOT lead always connected to the volume pot.

If you look at the two lugs with the "1" near them,
you will be able to trace the signal path like this:
The bridge pup hot (and neck pup hot) connect to the volume pot.
But, only the bridge pup plays, because the neck pup's negative lead is NOT grounded.

For "2", the bridge pup plays AND the neck pup plays, because the neck pup's negative lead now has a path to ground.

For "3", the neck pup only plays - the bridge pup's hot is NOT connected, and the neck pup's negative still has a path to ground.

For "4", you get series - the neck pup's negative lead is now connected to the bridge pup's HOT lead, so they play in series.

Not shown in this drawing is the neck pup's ground/shield lead - it has NOTHING to do with the switching, and just gets soldered to ground.

As you look at the drawing, notice that the two poles (rows of lugs down the side) are reverse-symmetrical - in other words, turning the switch 180 degrees and rewiring (as Drak tried) has no effect on the function of the switch!

One other thing that COULD be an issue here - I've seen this on Strat 5-ways - is that you may have a non-Fender switch with a different lug layout. I haven't seen a 4-way like this, but there's always a first time - so it would be odd, but possible...

In other words, the common lugs may be at the other end of the poles - instead of bottom-left and top-right, as shown in the drawing, the switch may have been manufactured with top-left and bottom-right as commons.

This is a common issue when people use the replacement 5-ways from Stewmac.com and a few others in a Fender axe - the commons are at the "wrong end" of the row of lugs (poles). And I don't EVEN want to get into the Mega-S switches!

If this were the case, then all you need to do is "mirror-image" the drawing - reverse it left for right - so that the commons in the drawing match your switch. You should be able to meter-check this, or heck, even just eyeball it by looking at the wiper.

Does that help?
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Old January 4th, 2007, 04:36 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Drak, your investigation into three-wire pups will be your redemption!

I run into this a lot with the custom Strat mods I sell (FAT-O-Caster and Chromacaster). It's a simple concept, once you grasp it:

ALMOST ALL three-wire single-coil pickups have a coil-HOT lead, a coil-NEGATIVE lead, and an independent GROUND/SHIELD lead. When you purchase this type of pickup, the installation instructions from the factory invariably tell you to twist the coil-negative and ground leads together, and solder them to ground.

EEEEAAAAK! (my version of the wrong-answer-buzzer) Wrong!

That is true ONLY if you are doing the plain ol' boring stock stuff - NOT if you want to have some custom switching happening.

Of the pickups that you mention, I only have hands-on experience with Laces, and indeed, they are manufactured just like that - one lead is the coil HOT (orange), one leads is the coil NEGATIVE (white) and one lead is the GROUND/SHIELD (green). With a Lace neck pickup in yer 4-way Tele, the orange wire goes to the volume pot, the white wire goes to the 4-way, and the green wire goes to ground.

I ramble on: with Lace pups in a Strat, where I'm doing a bunch of series, out of phase, and series/out phase combos, the green wire ALWAYS GOES TO GROUND. You can pretty much solder that green lead to the back of the volume pot and ignore it. The leads that you will be messing with (switching) are always gonna be the orange (hot) and white (negative).

As I said, this is kinda confused by the fact that only for FOREVER have we been calling the coil's negative lead GROUND, and technically, quite often, we shouldn't.

Your other point, about using two-conductor Strat pups in the 4-way mod, is right on. With NO metal cover to ground, and no metal in the baseplate, Strat pups just use the coil-hot and coil-negative leads - no "third wire" to mess with, no ground/shield. The pup's "ground" lead (the coil-negative) NEVER gets soldered to ground - it only gets grounded through the 4-way.
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Old January 4th, 2007, 06:11 PM   #13 (permalink)
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If I can't make this 4-way work now, I should be Hoss-whipped and Hog-tied!

...I'm getting the soldering iron out now...


Thank You Very Much for the nice detailed answer, most appreciated.
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Old January 4th, 2007, 10:29 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deaf Eddie
Perhaps a quick explination of how the 4-way (series) setup works will help with your troubleshooting.

<excellent explanation snipped>

Is that any help?
Deaf Eddie, that is a GREAT explanation. And perfect timing since I am about to redo my pickups with a 4-way switch.

Hats off to you, this is why this is a GREAT forum to visit and read.

-Garrett
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Old January 5th, 2007, 11:29 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Far out Deaf Ed - you are like the king of 4 way switches!!! It looks like I'm not the only one who you've helped out either.

Thanks a whole bunch - I've copied and pasted the info and diagram onto a word doc (or is that 'into' a word doc???) so I don't lose the info.

Rock on dude!
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Old January 5th, 2007, 05:06 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Well, I'm not sure what I did wrong last time, but dangit if it didn't work just fine this time.
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Old October 13th, 2007, 04:50 PM   #17 (permalink)
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4 Way Tele switch.....Wild to see people all over having trouble wiring this thing up just like me. Plus I'm trying to add a DPDT switch to have in & out of phase at both series & parallel. It's my first attempt and fun to boot....I'll write of my results.......
Plus I've moved the Vol Pot up front, Tone Pot to middle and the 4way switch to the rear...Hope others like that physical set-up as I do....

Have a great Day...............................Cheers......Tele Drifter
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Old December 20th, 2007, 09:04 AM   #18 (permalink)
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I was having the same problem and the answer was not the wiring. If you take the switch off the plate and it works like mine did the problem is the switch itself. The width of the lever doesn't allow it to engage the #1 & #4 positions. To fix this I had to clip and file that shoulder on the lever down so it didn't bottom out on the plate before engaging the bridge and neck positions. Hope this works for you - it was driving me nuts till I took a very close look.
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Old December 20th, 2007, 01:35 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Don't feel bad though........I have installed several 4-way's. 2 of them had this problem and both cases were tracked down to converting the neck pickups. In both of those cases there was still a connection of the pickup cover to ground that I could not see.

Anyway, you will get it.

I never found the 4th sound very useful, but you may love it!
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Old December 21st, 2007, 12:55 AM   #20 (permalink)
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My 4way Tele with phase shifting: All Done plus for the heck of it I split the neck humbucker so all kinds of tones. Next problem. Doing again a 4way with phase switch, twin P-90's but the difference is that this Memphis Les Paul Special from the flea market has Vol/Tone for each pickup. My 4Way schematic for Tele has the hot lead from the jack ( he checks the schematic again ) going to the vol pot, to the switch, to the pickups and then to ground. While my schematic for twin picks with dual vol/tone pots ( checks again ) the hot lead from the jack goes to the 3Way switch, then to the vol pots, the the pickups and then ground. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm, yeah this is a little bit of head scratch. So which is the way to go on this one....How to do what I want is what I'm asking....Long day and I don't want to screw with it when I'm tired. So tommorrow I'll check back and hope someone has an answer.................Thanks all...........The Teledrifter

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