5-way switch mod, I have an issue

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by LeamanCrews, Jul 31, 2021.

  1. LeamanCrews

    LeamanCrews TDPRI Member

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    I had a spare Strat 5-way switch and a .001uf cap sitting around, so I looked to see what I could do with them in my Tele. I found this diagram.
    [​IMG]
    And everything worked! Only problem was in position 5--the two pickups in series--I was getting the problem where you get hum when you touch the strings. NOT hum that goes away when you touch the strings, but hum WHEN you touch the strings. It was so annoying because that series wiring sounded otherwise amazing!

    Recognizing this problem as the bridge being grounded to output, I checked and I saw that I had accidentally grounded the bridge to the same switch lug as the bridge pickup ground. (Dumb mistake; I saw a spare wire and thought it was the bridge pickup ground, not even noticing I already had that wired up.) So I moved the bridge ground to the top of the tone pot.

    So now the problems: In position 4, I get nothing now, like it's a kill switch. In position 5, only the bridge pickup comes on.

    I've been trying to figure this out why it worked (albeit with unbearable hum in position 5) with the grounding mistake, but now it doesn't with the bridge grounded onto the tone pot. Positions 1, 2 and 3 still work fine.

    Does anyone have any suggestions as to how to fix this? As an FYI, the neck pickup is grounded to the volume pot. Should it be grounded on the switch somewhere?
     
  2. hamerfan

    hamerfan Tele-Meister

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    Wrong connection of neck pup at the left side. Move it to the middle lug.
     
  3. guitar_paul1

    guitar_paul1 Tele-Holic

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    I had an issue also. Turns out I accidentally ordered a 3 way switch. D'oh.
     
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  4. LeamanCrews

    LeamanCrews TDPRI Member

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    That really seemed like it was going to be it, as it made a lot of sense. But after doing that, I ended up with only positions 1 and 5 working, and only the bridge pickup working.

    I put it back the way it was, and now I'm back to what I had before (1-3 work as expected, nothing on 4, bridge only on 5). This is really puzzling.
     
  5. LeamanCrews

    LeamanCrews TDPRI Member

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    Ha ha, I think I could fix that problem!
     
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  6. Deaf Eddie

    Deaf Eddie Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    The issue is probably that your bridge pickup has another path to ground. It should NOT be grounded on the back of any pot, and its negative (aka ground, here) should ONLY go to the common lug as indicated in the drawing.

    Tell me about your bridge pickup... metal baseplate? If that's the case, you will have to disconnect the baseplate from the pickup's negative lead and run a new lead to ground the baseplate. Kind of like these pic of a Strat bridge pup with a metal baseplate (SEE LINK).

    Tell me more...
     
  7. LeamanCrews

    LeamanCrews TDPRI Member

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    The bridge pickup is grounded to the lug as shown in the diagram. I have the bridge itself grounded to the back of the tone pot, but the bridge pickup is definitely grounded to the lug as shown in the diagram.

    My pickups are an inexpensive import set, and do not have baseplates. But I do know what you're talking about, as I recently did that modification to my Jaguar's bridge pickup, which was grounded to its baseplate (or "the claw" as it's typically called in Jaguar-speak).

    As I mentioned earlier, the neck is grounded to the back of the volume pot, as the diagram does not show it grounded to the switch. I've been wondering though if it does need to be grounded to the switch somewhere?
     
  8. LeamanCrews

    LeamanCrews TDPRI Member

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    UPDATE

    I read some discussion, including some on this forum, and apparently there is some debate as to whether series switching can be done with a standard 5-way switch. Some say it can only be done with a 5-way super switch.

    To me, it seems like it should be possible with the standard switch, but this discussion got me to looking for alternatives. I saw this Bill Lawrence 5-way mod over at Premier Guitar, did a quick rewire and it works!

    It's not series wiring, but it does give me 5 different tones, and that's good enough for now.

    I appreciate everyone's help!
     
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  9. Deaf Eddie

    Deaf Eddie Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    [the neck pickup] does need to be grounded to the switch somewhere?

    Nope, its ground lead just goes to ground. Your issue is a puzzlement...
     
  10. jfgesquire

    jfgesquire Friend of Leo's

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    Your bridge pickup has a start and end wire and they both go to the switch.

    Neither one can have any connection to ground. This is similar to a 4 way switch diagram for a Telecaster, only there the NECK pickup cover goes straight to ground, touching neither lead going to the switch.

    I would love to see how your bridge pickup is attached to the bridge and what ground wires are there.
     
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  11. LeamanCrews

    LeamanCrews TDPRI Member

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    My posts here are awaiting moderator approval, I suppose because I am a new member. So you haven't seen my earlier post where I say I have given up on the series wiring for now, and went with a different 5-way scheme. But I appreciate your post anyway, because I'm pretty sure you nailed the problem.

    I'm thinking even though the bridge pickup's black wire is on the switch, it still has a ground connection to the bridge itself. And the bridge itself has a ground wire running off of it, which I've got soldered to the top of the volume pot.

    So the bridge pickup still has another path to ground, and that's why it doesn't work. And that would explain why it worked when I had the bridge's ground wire on the switch (both the bridge pickup ground and the bridge ground). It had the unbearable hum when touching the strings, but it otherwise worked.

    This would also explain why some past series wiring I've attempted in other guitars failed. So THANK YOU very much for clearing this up for me! This was driving me nuts!
     
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